Supreme Court Ordered Remand in Custody for Arati Shah’s Husband

  December 7, 2023 By: INSEC

The Supreme Court has issued an order for the pretrial detention of Motibabu Shah in connection with the death case of his wife, Aarati Shah, of Dhanusha.

A joint bench of Supreme Court Judges Nakul Subedi and Til Prasad Shrestha on December 6 issued an order directing the imprisonment of Aarti Shah’s husband and releasing her father-in-law, Madanmohan Byahut Sudi, on a bail of Rs 100,000.

23-year-old Aarti Shah, a resident of Thapachowk, Janakpurdham Sub-metropolitan city-9 of Dhanusa, was found dead at home on May 21, 2023.

After the aggrieved party filed a complaint at the District Police Office, Dhanusha, alleging that the family members, including her husband, had beaten her to death on the pretext of dowry, the police arrested the victim’s husband, Motibabu Shah, and her father-in-law, Madanmohan Byahut Sudi, for investigation. Nevertheless, in a petition submitted by the accused to the High Court, Janakpurdham, seeking the annulment of the district court’s decision, the joint bench consisting of High Court Chief Justice Sharda Subedi and Kiran Kumar Pokharel, on October 5, 2023, ordered the release of Aarti’s husband, Motibabu Shah, and father-in-law, Madan Mohan Bayahut Sudi, on bail, citing insufficient evidence.

The District Public Prosecutor’s Office, Dhanusha filed a case of killing against the accused in the District Court, Dhanusha on June 16, 2023.The district court ordered to send the accused  to prison for pre-trial detention on June 20. Following the appeal by the District Public Prosecutor’s Office, Dhanusha, against the High Court’s decision, the Supreme Court ordered the retrial imprisonment of Aarati’s husband, Motibabu Shah, and granted bail of Rs 100,000 to his father-in-law, Madanmohan Byahut Sudi.

According to the Supreme Court’s order, Aarti’s husband admitted to engaging in physical altercations with the deceased, confessing to slapping her four/five times on the day of the incident. The defendant’s statement was corroborated with the post-mortem examination, which revealed a black and red mark below the left eye eyebrow and a red mark near the left ear, confirming the assault. Statements made by Pradeep Kumar Shah, Shankar Kumar Shah, and Dilip Kumar Yadav expressing their belief that the deceased was killed by the defendant, Motibabu Shah, were considered. When the mention of the incident being “Suicidal in Nature” in the autopsy report was investigated by the Nepal Government Medical Council, it was found erroneous. Consequently, it is now believed that the death of the deceased resulted from the homicide committed by Motibabu Shah. The High Court’s order issued on October 5, 2023, to include him on the ordinary date for the preliminary hearing of the case has been annulled.

Previously, when they conducted a relay hunger strike in Maitighar starting from June 16, urging a thorough investigation into the incident with allegations of Aarti Shah’s  killing under the pretext of dowry, the police arrested 22 individuals, including 47-year-old Vinod Prasad Shah, who had reached the south gate of Singha Durbar on August 14.

Similarly, INSEC published news on September 8 about Aarti’s father Binod Prasad, uncle, brother, and other family members who were on a relay hunger strike, demanding a fair investigation into the incident. In an act symbolizing their perception of justice being dead and government inaction, they shaved their heads.

Aarti and Motibabu got married on July 13, 2020.Aarati’s family from Dhanusha, have been engaged in a relay hunger strike for 175 days, asserting that their daughter Aarati was killed due to non-payment of dowry. Their demand is for a fair investigation into the incident.

Bimal Poudel