Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday granted bail to Sooraj Pancholi, son of actor Aditya Pancholi, while observing that he cannot be held solely responsible for the "impulsive" act of suicide committed by actress Jiah Khan.
"No doubt that it was an unfortunate incident that a young girl has committed suicide. She (Jiah) must have been impulsive and he (Sooraj) cannot be held solely responsible for it," Justice Sadhna Jadhav said.
Sooraj Pancholi, 22, arrested on June 10, has been granted bail on a surety of Rs 50,000. The court has directed him to surrender his passport and appear before the Juhu police every alternate day.
The court also observed that the letter, purportedly written by Jiah and recovered from her house, could not be taken as a suicide note as it is not addressed to anyone and is not dated.
"The question is if the script recovered from the deceased's house is addressed to the applicant (Sooraj) or is it just extracts from her diary? Whether it can be called suicide note at all? When there is no date on it can it be linked to the day she committed suicide? " the court queried. It added that the letter written by Jiah never reached the applicant.
"Therefore it cannot be said that the emotions expressed in the letter ever reached the applicant," Justice Jadhav said.
The court also held that Sooraj never nurtured an intent or "mens rea" (motive) to push the girl to commit suicide.
"She was in the relationship on her own volition. It all depends on the pscyhe of the person. It cannot be ignored that Jiah had suicidal tendencies. Earlier also she had attempted suicide and it was the applicant who took care of her," Justice Jadhav said, adding that the deceased's mother was not even aware of this incident.
The court further said that it was clear that the deceased was extremely possessive of the applicant, who was focusing on his career and hence could not give much time to Jiah.
"It also appears that on the day of the incident there was some misunderstanding between the deceased and applicant due to which Jiah was in a rage of fury," the court said.
Observing that a 22-year-old boy has been in jail for 21 days and that there was no need for further incarceration, the court granted bail to Sooraj.
He had moved the High Court on June 26 seeking bail in the case, after a sessions court had earlier rejected his bail plea, saying that prima facie Jiah had been mentally abused by Sooraj.
He was arrested on the basis of a letter, purportedly written by Jiah, which was found by her mother Rabiyah Khan and her sister from Jiah's bedroom a few days after she hung herself from the ceiling fan on June 3.
In the letter, Jiah mentioned how she was mentally harassed by Sooraj and how she had undergone an abortion.
Sooraj, lodged in Arthur Road prison in central Mumbai, had said in his bail plea that he and Jiah were in a consensual relationship and the letter was being misused by Rabiya.