Delhi HC dismisses ex-minister Somnath Bharti's bail plea, faces arrest

New Delhi: AAP MLA Somnath Bharti faces arrest with the Delhi High Court on Tuesday rejecting his plea for anticipatory bail in the domestic violence case lodged against him by his wife, observing that the allegations against him were backed by "documentary proof" and that Bharti is 'violent'. 

Terming the allegations against former Delhi law minister Bharti by his wife, Lipika Mitra, as "very serious", Justice Suresh Kait said she has been tolerating his "cruelty" and "brutal assault".

Justice Suresh Kait said Bharti is not only "violent and outrageous at home but also before the public at large".

Somnath Bharti
Somnath Bharti

Dismissing his plea for protection from arrest in the case, the court said being an MLA he should have shown more "generosity and responsibility towards his wife and children".

"The present case is not a simplicitor one for the offences under Sections 498-A (cruelty towards a married woman)/406 (criminal breach of trust) IPC as the complainant has been tolerating cruelty with brutal assault, which is evident from an e-mail dated March 20, 2013, sent by the complainant (wife) to the petitioner (Bharti)...

"Bharti is elected as Member of Legislative Assembly of Delhi. He should have shown more generosity and responsibility towards his wife and children. Earlier, he had financial difficulties, therefore, every time, he compromised with his wife. But after being elected as MLA, he failed to win the sentiments and trust of his wife," the judge observed. 

The court also pulled up Bharti for his midnight drama by reaching police station after he was granted protection from arrest till an order was pronounced on his anticipatory bail plea.

"After granting protection by this court vide order dated September 15, 2015, Bharti reached the police station at 2 am and compelled the police officers to record his presence. The said conduct of the petitioner cannot be appreciated in any manner. Thus, he has misused the protection granted by this court," the judge said.

The court relied on her medical report supporting the allegations that he unleashed his dog on her while she was pregnant. 

"The court said the allegations against him are not bald but supported with documentary proof. The complainant time and again compromised with the petitioner for the sake of their marriage and family. She even cooperated during his election," it said.

Lipika had filed a complaint of domestic violence with Delhi Commission for Women on June 10 alleging that her husband had been abusing her since their marriage in 2010. She had also given a complaint to the police in this regard. 

Delhi Police then registered an FIR against Bharti under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 498A (cruelty towards wife), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 313 read with 511 (attempt to cause miscarriage without woman's consent), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.

The court, while denying him the relief, also noted that the fact that he was involved in two more cases, registered at Malviya Nagar police station for several offences, including molestation, under the IPC, "speaks volume and shows that Bharti is not only violent and outrageous at home but also before public at large..."

"Moreover, during arguments, the counsel for the state produced the medical papers of her being bitten by the dog of Bharti. The allegations against the AAP MLA are not bald but supported with documentary proof.

"The complainant time and again compromised with the petitioner for the sake of their marriage and family. She even co-operated during the election of petitioner. Despite that, their marriage is not running smoothly," the judge observed in the 23-page order.

The high court had on September 17 reserved its verdict while protecting Bharti from arrest till pronouncement of its order. 

Bharti had moved the high court seeking protection from arrest after a trial court denied him anticipatory bail on September 14 and another court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.

Bharti's plea for anticipatory bail was turned down by a trial court observing that it was the second complaint filed against the MLA by his wife who has alleged that he did not mend his conduct despite assurance before Crime Against Women Cell of the police.

Special Public Prosecutor Shailendra Babbar, appearing for Delhi Police, submitted that Bharti used to harass and treat his wife with cruelty, both physically and mentally and had demanded verbally more dowry articles.

It was alleged that Bharti used to harass and torture his wife when she was pregnant "by repeatedly abusing at her work place knowing fully well that her health condition was not well as she was diabetic and hypertensive."

The police had also contended that the AAP MLA had on one occasion directed his dog to attack his pregnant wife in front of their one-and a-half-year-old daughter.

Countering the allegations levelled by police, Bharti's counsel senior advocate Dayan Krishnan had argued that the sum and substance of the FIR against the MLA was a matrimonial dispute which has been "blown out of proportion" in view of his "elected position".

Bharti's counsel had denied the allegation that his client had commanded the dog to attack his wife, saying the pet was a family member.

Brushing aside Bharti's contention, Justice Kait dismissed his petition, saying "keeping in view the law discussed above and the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, this Court does not find any merit in the instant petition".

Bharti's wife, who was present in the proceedings in trial court as well as high court, had refused to reconcile with her husband saying he had mistreated and abused her when they were together.

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