J&K HC Allows Accused to Perform Ceremony of ‘Narayan Bali’ of Deceased Wife

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On 19th August 2020, Justice Rajnesh Oswal heard the case of Rakesh Kumar vs. Union Territory of J&K, via video-conferencing. The Court did not grant him bail but allowed him to perform the ceremony of ‘Narayan Bali’ of his late wife.

Facts of the case

On 09.05.2020, the applicant’s wife passed away. Therefore, the learned Sessions Judge granted interim bail to the applicant for a period of 21 days. However, before the expiry of the said interim bail, the applicant filed another application that sought an extension of interim bail for one month. The Court was informed that the applicant has to perform ‘Narayan Bali’ for a period of 11 days as he is the husband and he has to perform her last rites. Further, the applicant has two minor daughters one is aged 8 years and the other is 11 years old. On 29 May 2020, the Trial court dismissed the application for extension of interim bail. Thus, the applicant filed the present bail application to perform the ritual of ‘Narayan Bali’ of his late wife.

On 02.07.2020, this Court directed the respondent to confirm if it was necessary for the applicant to perform ‘Narayan Bali’ ritual of his late wife. The respondent conducted an enquiry with the prominent persons of the locality and with the priest. It was found that the applicant has to perform the said ritual within six months from the date of death of his wife. Further, it would take five days to perform the said ritual. 

Arguments of the applicant

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The learned counsel for the applicant argued that the Court should grant bail to the applicant so that he can perform ‘Narayan Bali’. There is no one at his home except for his minor daughters. He had performed the last rites of his wife, thus, it is necessary for him to perform this particular ritual as well.

Arguments of the respondent

The applicant is facing trial under Sections 302, 109, 147, 341 and 342 RPC and Sections 4 and 25 of Arms Act. The trial is going on before the Sessions Judge, Samba. The applicant is facing trial in a murder case which is punishable with death or life imprisonment. Therefore, he cannot be enlarged on bail.

Court’s Analysis

The applicant is facing trial for committing the heinous offence of murder. The trial of the applicant is still in its infancy. The prosecution is yet to lead its evidence. At this stage, no concession can be granted to the applicant. 

Court’s Order

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The applicant cannot be enlarged on bail. However, the Court considered the fact that the applicant has to perform ‘Narayan Bali’ of his late wife. Taking into consideration that there are only two minor daughters in his family, the applicant shall be allowed to perform the ritual for 5 days. However, proper custody and escort shall be ensured. Further, all the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) required under COVID-19 restrictions should be observed while taking him to his native village.  The Court disposed of the application.


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