The Supreme Court has said it is a fit case where stringent action has to be taken against delinquent officers while hearing the bail petition filed by a man accused of murdering his wife for want of dowry in 1999.
The Court had previously been shocked at the glaring instances of lethargy on the part of the law. On the 21-year delay in the arrest of the dowry death accused and more than two-year delay on the uploading of the order on the Patna High Court website.
The matter came up for hearing on Wednesday. The Apex Court perused the reports filed by the state of Bihar as well as the Registrar General. “We are not satisfied with the reasons given in the said report regarding the inordinate delay in the investigation and prosecution of the petitioner (Bachcha Pandey)-accused,” said the Supreme Court.
The reason stated in the report that there were 11 investigating officers in the case, who were frequently changed, which was the main cause for inordinate delay in investigation of the case.
The Court noted, “Apart from the above, we find that the postmortem report of the deceased was obtained on 10-3-1999 and since the doctor did not find any ante-mortem injury on the body of the deceased, the viscera of the deceased was preserved after postmortem and opinion regarding the cause of death was reserved for want of viscera examination report. However, due to negligence and dereliction of duty on the part of the Investigating Officers, the Viscera was sent for examination to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Muzaffarpur only on 8-11-2004 and the report was obtained from the said Laboratory on 28-07-2005.”
The Apex Court has list the matter for instructions in third week of January, 2021, after noting down the lapses on the part of the Investigating Officers.
The Court was hearing the petition filed by a man accused of the harassment and murder of his wife for want of dowry in 1999. The woman’s brother lodged an FIR in February 1999 complaining that his sister was continuously harassed by Bachcha Pandey, a BSNL employee, and his family who had thrown her out of her matrimonial home. After a compromise, she went to live with the husband. Her family was informed of her death after the cremation had taken place.
On the previous hearing, the bench led by Justice Ramana had said, “Despite the seriousness of the allegations, it is quite alarming that no actions were taken by the police against Pandey. After a lapse of more than 21 years since the incident and the registration of the FIR, Pandey was arrested in the case only on June 7 this year.” The bench noted that his bail pleas had been rejected by the trial court and the HC.