Bombay HC grants bail to pregnant woman accused of abetting husband's suicide

The woman, Ashwini Sonwane, is currently six months' pregnant with the deceased's child

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, June 01, 2022, 07:37 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

Observing that it is the duty of the court to ensure that a pregnant woman and the baby are protected, the Bombay High Court has granted pre-arrest bail to a pregnant woman accused of abetting her husband's suicide.

A vacation bench of justice Milind Jadhav, on May 30, directed release of Ashwini Sonawane, who is six months pregnant, against personal bond of Rs 25,000 in case of arrest.

The court noted that although the offence was serious, it was granting relief “..since the applicant is a pregnant woman, it is the duty of the court to ensure that she and the baby are protected.”

The HC was hearing an application filed by Sonawane seeking pre arrest bail in the FIR registered against her at the Yawat police station in Pune by her father-in-law in April for abetment of suicide of her husband.

In April, Ankush Sonawane registered a complaint that his son, Rahul, died by suicide in April as Ashwini betrayed him. He also alleged that a month before the incident, she had fought with his son and left for her parents' house.

Ankush Sonawane alleged in the FIR that he received a call from a relative informing that his son had shared a photograph of a handwritten note and location on WhatsApp social media wherein he said he was committing suicide as his wife betrayed him.

Ankush Sonawane said that he immediately called his son’s mobile number which was answered by a policeman informing that Rahul had met with a railway accident and his dead body was found near Javajibuvachi Wadi in Pune.

Refuting the allegations, Ashwini claimed in her plea that it was her father-in-law who had been demanding dowry from her due to which her husband was under stress. In order to show that her relation with her husband were cordial, Ashwini said that two days before the incident Rahul gifted her a watch.

Prosecution opposed the plea stating that the offence was serious and the maximum sentence is 10 years.

The HC observed that “no doubt the offence registered per se is serious”, however looking at the fact the applicant (Ashwini) is 25 weeks pregnant, it is equally duty of the court to ensure that she and the foetus are protected and shed is “not kept under duress or stress”.

Also, that she is required to visit hospital, pre and post-delivery.

The HC has said that in case need arises, the Investigating Officer can visit the Applicant considering her medical condition.

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