The Bombay highcourt on Monday noted that though there was some misunderstanding between Jiah Khan and Suraj Pancholi”it cannot be said that on June 3, he had acted in any manner which could reflect a mens rea (intention) that he wanted her to commit suicide. In the absence of any mens rea, instigation or aid, it cannot be said that (Suraj) had driven her to commit suicide on that day”.
TOI has been reporting on the case, especially the zealousness showed by the police to book and keep Suraj behind bars despite the opinion of legal experts.
Family sources said they had received the HC order and would deposit the bail amount on Tuesday so that Suraj can be released from Arthur Road jail where he is lodged as an undertrial.
The court took apart the prosecution case-one adverse evidence after another. It was the discovery of an alleged “suicide note” that had led to Jiah’s mother registering a case of abetment of suicide against Suraj. The judge, though, questioned the evidence during the hearing. “Is the script addressed to Suraj or (are they) extracts from her diary? Whether it can be called a suicide note? When there is no date on it can it be linked to the day she committed suicide?” asked the court.
The police claim that Suraj used to harass Jiah and even forced her to go through an abortion, came up for court scrutiny. The judge pointed out that Jiah’s sister knew about the abortion but there was no evidence to indicate that her family had ever questioned Jiah about it. The judge added that the abortion appeared to be “out of (her own) volition and therefore it cannot be said that (Suraj) had forced her to undergo medical termination of pregnancy or otherwise”.
The court said that it could not ignore the fact that “Jiah had a suicidal tendency” and had previously tried to commit suicide. The judge noted that at that time it was Suraj who had called a doctor, had her treated and tried to get her out of depression.
The police case was built upon the last hours of Jiah’s life when there was a reported fight between the couple over a female friend. The court after going through the text messages obtained from Jiah’s phone observed that there was some misunderstanding . “It is clear that Jiah was extremely obsessive and possessive about Suraj,” said the court.
The court also did not agree that the bouquet that Suraj sent with a card which read “best of luck” was to break off the relationship. “It is clear that Rabiyah has misunderstood it to be an indication of breaking of relations.”
Additional public prosecutor Prajakta Shinde opposed the bail saying the police feared that Suraj would tamper with evidence if released on bail. The court said that the police had already sent Suraj’s mobile phone to retrieve messages which the police claimed he had deleted. “It cannot be said as of now that Suraj has caused disappearance of evidence. He did not make any attempt to destroy the letters (reportedly written by Jiah) in his possession,” said the judge.
The court asked Suraj to report to the Juhu police station every alternate day for a month. It also cautioned him against influencing any witnesses in the case or even contacting their common friends. The court clarified that its observations were prima facie and should not be used at the time of trial.