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Allahabad High Court Denies Bail to Mother Accused of Murdering Three-Year-Old Child, Orders Mental Health Evaluation

The Allahabad High Court has denied the bail plea of a mother accused of murdering her three-year-old child. The order was passed by a Single Bench of Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery while hearing a Criminal Misc Bail Application filed by Aarti Devi.

The applicant, Aarti Devi, approached the court seeking bail under Section 439 Cr.P.C in a case registered under Section 302 I.P.C at Ahirauli Bazar Police Station, District Kushinagar. She is accused of murdering her three-year-old child.

According to the post-mortem report, the child had sustained eight stab wounds. The applicant also inflicted two lacerated wounds on herself, one on her neck and another on her left wrist. An eyewitness reported that the applicant took the child to her room, and when others heard noises and entered the room, they found the child lying in a pool of blood and the applicant injured.

During the investigation, the knife used in the crime was recovered based on the applicant’s information. The court noted that while the applicant’s counsel pointed out some contradictions in the prosecution witness’s statements, it would not delve deeply into these at this stage. The Additional Government Advocate (A.G.A) for the State maintained that the witness’s statement was consistent and incriminating.

The applicant’s counsel argued that her husband, the father of the deceased, had sworn the application and that her mental condition was not well. Despite an application for her medical examination being moved before the trial court, it appeared to have been overlooked. The counsel requested the court to order a mental health examination for the applicant and noted that she had been in custody since March 8, 2023, assuring that she would not misuse bail if granted.

The A.G.A. for the State assured that appropriate treatment would be provided if the jail authorities were informed of her condition.

The court considered the submissions and the legal principles of bail, emphasizing factors such as prima facie evidence, the nature and gravity of the accusation, the severity of potential punishment, the risk of absconding, the character and behavior of the accused, the likelihood of the offense being repeated, and the risk of influencing witnesses.

The court concluded that it was not a fit case for bail based on the following grounds:

The case involves the brutal murder of a three-year-old child by the applicant, who is the child’s mother.

Although the applicant inflicted injuries on herself, it cannot be concluded at this stage that her mental health was unfit at the time of the incident.

Any contradictions in the prosecution witness’s statements are matters for the trial, and the court accepted the A.G.A’s submission that a witness’s statement should be read in its entirety.

The court referred to various judgments, including Deepak Yadav vs. State of U.P (2022) 8 SCC 559, and Shahaja @ Shahajan Ismail Mohd Shaikh vs. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 883.

The court rejected the bail application but noted the concerns regarding the applicant’s mental health. It directed the Jail Authority to arrange for her consultation with a Government Hospital and to provide a report to her representative. The applicant was given the liberty to approach the court again with the medical health report if the trial had not substantially progressed within eight months.

“The Court takes note of the submission regarding the applicant’s mental health. Therefore, it is directed that the Jail Authority will provide consultation to the applicant from a Government Hospital under due process and a report thereof will also be provided to her representative. The applicant will have the liberty to approach this Court along with the medical health report in case the trial has not substantially proceeded within eight months,” the order reads.

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