No court relief for man who 'forced' wife to abort

New Delhi, June 8 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has denied anticipatory bail to a woman's husband and in-laws who allegedly forced her to swallow abortion pills for causing a miscarriage.

Sympathising with a "traumatised" Aarti Gupta, Justice R.V. Easwar said "at this age serious damage could have been caused to her reproductive system by forcing her to swallow abortion pills without medical advice or supervision".

"With the serious nature of the allegations made in the complaint, the applications for anticipatory bail cannot be allowed. I reject them," the court said, directing police to provide protection to Aarti at her parental home.

The woman's husband, Ashish Gupta, and his parents had moved court with anticipatory bail pleas after his wife lodged a first information report against them for causing miscarriage without her consent and cruelty.

Gupta said the matter has now been settled between him and his wife and she had agreed to withdraw the police complaint.

The court, however, took note of the statement of the victim before the trial court in which she alleged that was made to consume the pills forcibly and was under pressure to give a statement exonerating the accused.

"The so-called settlement between the complainant and her husband appears unreal and concocted," said the court.

"I have carefully considered the rival submissions and weighed the circumstances of the case. The complainant (Aarti) is present in court. From her demeanour and the manner in which she responded to the queries of the court, it appears to this court that she is under tremendous pressure and compulsion," said Justice Easwar.

"She clearly appeared traumatised. From the complaint it is seen that there is enough material to show that all the three applicants had significant roles in forcing her to swallow the abortion pills," the court said.

Aarti, who married to Ashish in January, said in her complaint to police in April that her husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law used to torture her and also abuse her verbally.

It was alleged by her that they also used to say that she was having an illicit affair with some other man and when she got pregnant, they said the child in her womb was not of her husband and they forcibly made her swallow abortion pills.

In her complaint, Aarti referred to some "sadhu baba" whose assistance was taken by her husband and the in-laws for causing the miscarriage.

The high court also asked the trial court to verify the age of Aarti at the time of the marriage and directed police to trace the "sadhu baba".

Justice Easwar said: "It also appears to me that police should, as a part of their investigation in this case, trace the so-called sadhu baba whose assistance was allegedly taken by the applicants (accused) and make a thorough investigation by recording his statement and dealing with him in accordance with law."

"The complainant says that she is now residing in her parental home and this has been confirmed by her father who is also present in court. I, therefore, direct the SHO concerned to afford adequate protection to the complainant by arranging a visit by a constable to her parental home every day in the morning and in the evening to ensure that no harm is caused to her," the judge said.

The prosecution opposed the anticipatory bail pleas saying the offence was serious.

A sessions court had also dismissed the accused's anticipatory bail pleas.

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