MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted bail to a woman, who was nine months pregnant, on humanitarian grounds. The HC noted that there was a serious case against the woman but since she was pregnant in the ninth month, her custody wasn't warranted.
A bench of Justice Sarang Kotwal was hearing a plea filed by one Iqra Shaikh through her counsel Asif Naqvi seeking bail.
As per the FIR lodged with the Seawoods Police station, the complainant Sunita More had a men's boutique in the area. Next to her shop was the shop of Iqra's husband, who was into the business of repairing air conditioners.
More claimed that Iqra suspected that she and her husband had illicit relationship and thus used to often visit her boutique and pick up quarrels with her.
In September 2021, Iqra allegedly barged into More's boutique and poured some chemical on the reception counter and set it ablaze.
"On merits, Mr Naqvi, the counsel for Iqra could not point out any circumstance in her favour. However, he submitted that she is into her ninth month of pregnancy. He pointed out that the FIR was lodged in September 2021 and, therefore, at this juncture, her custodial interrogation is not necessary," Justice Kotwal noted.
Prosecutor P H Gaikwad produced investigation papers before the court, which contained statements of the eye witnesses and the photographs of the damage caused to the shop.
"On merits, at this stage, the investigating agency has sufficient material to show Iqra's involvement. There are eyewitnesses and photographs of the damage caused to the shop. The incident was not a small incident," Justice Kotwal opined.
The judge further noted that the police didn't make any steps to arrest Iqra since the FIR was lodged.
"Today when she is in her ninth month of pregnancy, her custodial interrogation would not be justified on humanitarian grounds," Justice Kotwal said, adding, "Inaction on the part of investigation agency is also serious. Therefore, I am protecting her by way of anticipatory bail order."