On Thursday, the Kerala High Court granted bail to a crippled mother accused of drowning her newborn infant in a bucket of water [Nisha Suresh v. State of Kerala]. The child was the accused’s sixth child and was presumably an unwanted child as a result of an unexpected pregnancy.

While granting the applicant’s bail request, single-judge Justice Gopinath P noted that the applicant’s continued imprisonment is not required for the purposes of any investigation. Given the facts and circumstances of the case, and the fact that the petitioner is said to suffer from multiple disabilities, and that she has been in custody since December 10, 2021, and that her continued detention may not be necessary for the purpose of any investigation, I am of the opinion that the petitioner can be granted bail subject to conditions, the Court stated. Nisha Suresh, the applicant-accused, was charged with murder under Section 302 (Punishment for Murder) and Section 34 (Common Intention) of the Indian Penal Code 1860. The accused contends that the charges levelled against her are completely false, and that the infant’s death was unplanned and resulted from an accident.

The petitioner claimed that she has been bedridden for the past ten years due to several handicaps, and that she had asked her older child, who is 15 years old, to bathe the new-born infant. The accused claimed that the new-born baby drowned and died while being bathed due to her elder child’s inexperience. Advocate SP Joseph, who represented the accused, argued that she should not be held culpable for the death of the infant since, according to the facts of the case, the applicant made no attempt to conceal the baby’s body in any way. The prosecution claims that, based on allegations from neighbours and others in the neighbourhood, the applicant concealed her pregnancy from everyone, implying that she was embarrassed to be pregnant with her sixth child. The prosecution further claimed that the applicant killed the infant on purpose because the dead-infant was the result of an unplanned pregnancy and hence was an unwanted child for the applicant.

Given the totality of the circumstances, the Court granted the bail motion and commanded that she be released on bail after depositing a 25,000 bond and priority scheduling sureties.

The court has also ordered the petitioner to appear in front of the officer involved whenever it is essential. While on bail, the petitioner was further ordered not to tamper with the inquiry, mislead or coerce any witness, or engage in any other criminal activity.

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