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Penal Code, 1860 : Ss.498A, 306 and 109 r/w s.34 IPC – Dowry harassment – Mental torture – Suicide by wife – Husband convicted and sentenced by trial court – Upheld by High Court – On appeal, Held: The circumstances enumerated in the deceased’s letter to her parents and the evidence of PWs lead to a situation where she was virtually left with no option except to take upon extreme step of putting an end to her life – Trial court and High Court correctly evaluated the entire evidence on record and arrived at correct conclusion – Hence no interference called for. The appellant and his parents were charged with offences punishable under Ss.498A, 306 and 109 r/w S.34 IPC for dowry harassment, causing mental torture to the deceased. Appellant was convicted and sentenced by the trial court; his parents were acquitted. High Court upheld the same. Hence the appeal. -Dismissing the appeal, the Court HELD: 1. The evidence of P.W.6 (neighbour of the deceased), P.W.7 (sister of the deceased) and P.W.8 (father of the deceased) clearly lead to the only conclusion that this was a case of extreme mental cruelty which was perpetuated from the point of marriage and lasted till the deceased had committed suicide. There cannot be any iota of doubt that the extreme mental cruelty and torture compelled the deceased to put an end to her life. The appellant was wholly responsible for creating all the circumstances which led the deceased to take an extreme step of putting an end to her life. [Para 22] [ 46-F, G] 2. Exh. 46, the letter written by the deceased to her parents on 9.10.1989 immediately before she had committed suicide, gives graphic description of the number of instances of extreme mental torture, day in and day out. This letter gives the impression that the appellant was deriving sadistic pleasure in causing extreme mental torture to the deceased. He would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the maximum mental torture and agony is caused to the deceased. There is not the slightest doubt that the circumstances which have been enumerated in Exh. 46 and the testimony of P.Ws. 6, 7 and 8 lead to a situation where the deceased virtually was left with no option except to take an extreme step of putting an end to her life. [Para 23] [ 46-H; 47-A, B] 3. The Additional Sessions Judge and the learned Judge of the High Court correctly evaluated the entire evidence on record and arrived at correct conclusion. No interference is called for. [Para 24] [ 47-E, D] CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Criminal Appeal No 891 of 2001 From the final Judgment and Order dated 9.3.2001 of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Bench at Aurangabad in Criminal Appeal No. 187 of 1991 U.U. Lalit, Nitin Sangra and Sidhesh Kotwal (for Gaurav Agrawal), with him for the Appellant. Sushil Karanjkar and Kailash Pandey (for Ravindra Keshavrao Adsure), for the Respondent. =abatement of suicide – extreme mental torture 1. putting restrictions on her salary2insulting before the guests for small things3.constantly proclaiming that he is going to give divorce 4. intentionally by twisting the leg of the son, broken the leg of kid 6. proclaiming that others are waiting for him 7. providing no room for love and affection even for single movementh. 46, the letter written by the deceased to her parents on 9.10.1989 immediately before she had committed suicide, gives graphic description of the number of instances of extreme mental torture, day in and day out. This letter gives the impression that the appellant was deriving sadistic pleasure in causing extreme mental torture to the deceased. He would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the maximum mental torture and agony is caused to the deceased. We do not find the slightest doubt that the circumstances which have been enumerated in Exh. 46 and the testimony of P.Ws. 6, 7 and 8 lead to a situation where the deceased virtually was left with no option except to take an extreme step of putting an end to her life.

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 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 CRIMINAL APPEAL NO 891 OF 2001

Milind Bhagwanrao Godse .. Appellant

 Versus

State of Maharashtra & Another .. Respondents

 JUDGMENT

Dalveer Bhandari, J.

1. This appeal is directed against the judgment of the High

Court of Judicature of Bombay, Bench at Aurangabad in

Criminal Appeal No. 187 of 1991 dated 09.03.2001. The

appellant (original accused no. 1) and his parents (original

accused nos. 2 and 3) were alleged to have committed offences

punishable under sections 498A, 306 and 109 read with
 2

section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (for short `IPC'). The

learned IInd Additional Sessions Judge, Beed convicted the

appellant under section 498A IPC to suffer rigorous

imprisonment for one year and to pay a fine of Rs.2,500/-, in

default whereof to suffer further rigorous imprisonment for six

months. The appellant was also convicted under section 306

IPC to suffer rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay

a fine of Rs.5,000/-, in default whereof to suffer further

rigorous imprisonment for six months. Original accused nos.

2 and 3 were, however, acquitted by the learned IInd

Additional Sessions Judge, Beed.

2. Brief facts which are necessary to dispose of the appeal

are recapitulated as under:

 The appellant was married to the deceased Lata on

9.11.1987. The deceased was a highly qualified woman. She

had obtained distinction in Masters of Science (M.Sc.). She

secured second position in the Marathwada University in the

Diploma in Business Management. She had also passed

Diploma in Higher Education. She was doing Bachelor of
 3

Education (B.Ed.) at the time of commission of the offence.

She was serving as a Lecturer in Balbhim College at Beed.

3. The deceased Lata after marriage resided with the

appellant. The appellant was living in a joint family with his

parents. It was not a happy marriage from its very inception.

There was constant taunting leading to mental cruelty to the

deceased by the appellant and his parents.

4. The deceased visited her parents at Pandharpur in

January 1988. She disclosed to her parents that she was

constantly subjected to humiliation. The deceased again

visited her parents in May 1988. She again disclosed to her

parents that the appellant and his parents used to subject her

to extreme mental cruelty and torture. She complained that

the appellant asked her not to spend her salary, otherwise he

would divorce her.

5. She also disclosed to her parents that the appellant used

to tell her that a number of beautiful girls were after him. She

also complained that the appellant and her father-in-law used

to demand the salary from her and on refusal, both of them

used to frequently ask her to leave the house. She further
 4

told her parents that her mother-in-law dispensed with the

services of maid servants and compelled her to do all that

domestic work.

6. She again visited at Pandharpur on third occasion for the

purpose of delivery in July 1988. She was there from July

1988 to October 1988. She delivered a baby boy. The

appellant and the deceased took a residential quarter on rent

and stayed there for three weeks. However, they vacated the

rental premises and started residing separately on the first

floor of the ancestral house. The deceased was brought back

to the ancestral house against her wishes.

7. It is an admitted position that the appellant was a junior

lawyer and not settled in practice. He used to constantly

demand money from the deceased. The appellant used to give

her threats of divorcing her even in case of slight delay in

withdrawing money from the bank to be given to the

appellant. According to the statements of Vidhya P.W.7 and

Vasant P.W.8, sister and father of the deceased respectively,

and Exh. 46, it is abundantly clear that the appellant
 5

constantly used to give threats of divorce. This led to extreme

mental torture to the deceased.

8. There was a family function Jawal ceremony (first head-

shaving ceremony of child) in August 1989 at the house of the

appellant. All guests including the parents and sisters of the

deceased were invited for the ceremony. The parents and

sisters of the deceased noticed ill treatment meted out by the

appellant to the deceased on account of shortage of vegetable.

The appellant had humiliated and insulted the deceased in

presence of all guests and announced that he would take

decision to divorce her in that very month.

9. On 9.10.1989 at about 6:15 p.m., Vasant P.W.8, father of

the deceased, received a telegram to the effect "Lata burnt

seriously. Do not come with Rohit for his insecurity". The

telegram was signed by one Dodsay. In response to the

telegram, the parents of the deceased rushed to Beed. They

reached Beed at 2.15 a.m. on 10.10.1989. They saw the

completely burnt dead body of the deceased in the hospital.
 6

10. The deceased, because of constant mental torture caused

by the appellant, decided to put an end to her life. On

9.10.1989 at about 2.30 p.m. at Dhondipura, Beed, the

deceased committed suicide by setting herself on fire.

11. One unknown boy informed Vidhya P.W.7 that the

deceased had visited the post office at 1 p.m. on 9.10.1989.

Vidhya P.W.7 went to the post office and made enquiry. It was

found that the deceased herself had sent telegrams Exhs. 35

to 37 to her father Vasant P.W.8, to her sister Vidhya P.W.7

and to her parental uncle at Kolhapur. Vasant P.W.8 went to

the police station and lodged the first information report Exh.

50 on 10.10.1989 at 4.00 p.m. On the basis of the first

information report, Crime No. 313 of 1989 was registered

under sections 498A and 306 read with section 34 of the

Indian Penal Code.

12. The Investigating Officer prepared inquest panchnamma

Exh. 16 of the dead body of the deceased on 10.10.1989. He

prepared spot panchnamma Exh. 29. The deceased had

committed suicide in the kitchen. The Investigating Officer

sent the dead body for autopsy. The autopsy was performed
 7

on the dead body of the deceased on 10.10.1989. The

deceased had 100% burns. The charge sheet was submitted

against the appellant and his parents in the Court of Chief

Judicial Magistrate, Beed. The learned Chief Judicial

Magistrate, Beed committed the original accused to the

Sessions Court, Beed to stand their trial.

13. The prosecution examined 11 witnesses in order to prove

the guilt of the accused. Sushma P.W.6 is the next-door

neighbour. Vidhya P.W.7 and Vasant P.W.8 are the sister

and father of the deceased respectively.

14. The defence of the appellant is that the deceased was a

highly educated woman. She was over ambitious. She wanted

all the luxuries of life. However, the appellant was a junior

lawyer and not settled in the practice of law. His income was

too meager to fulfill the dreams of the deceased. The appellant

admitted that he was demanding money from the deceased for

the purpose of their maintenance and not for bad vices. As

per the appellant, the deceased was frustrated in life because
 8

her dreams were not fulfilled and ultimately she had

committed suicide.

15. In the instant case, the first information report was

lodged by Vasant P.W.8 which fully stands corroborated to the

prosecution case. In his statement, he stated that the

appellant was constantly demanding money from the deceased

and he also prohibited the deceased from spending money

even from her salary and used to threaten her to divorce her.

Vasant P.W.8 further stated in his statement that the

appellant used to continuously demand money and in case of

delay in payment, he used to scold her. Vasant P.W.8 stated

that at the time of Jawal ceremony in 1989, the appellant

scolded the deceased because of shortage of vegetable and

food in the presence of everyone. Vasant P.W.8 also stated

about letter Exh.46 and identified the writing of the deceased.

16. Exh. 46 is a letter written by the deceased to her parents

on 9.10.1989, just before she had committed suicide. The

deceased wrote in the letter that she was an unlucky girl.

She thought that she would have some moments of
 9

happiness, but it was not possible because of the nature of

her husband (the appellant herein). She mentioned that on

the last day and night, the appellant had quarrelled with her

and in the morning the appellant cursed the father of the

deceased. She stated that the appellant had gone to the

extent of saying that since she was so proud of the influence

of her father, she should live with her father in matrimony and

also said many things of that sort. She specifically stated

that the appellant had harassed her so much that it would not

be possible for her to live with him any more. She further

stated in the letter that it is one thing of not earning money

and another to frequently dishonour and to give trouble to the

deceased and her son Rohit.

17. She stated in the letter that the appellant deliberately

twisted the leg of Rohit (his small son) and broke his bone.

She also stated in the letter that the appellant did so because

he had a brother Arvind who was physically handicapped and

he wanted Rohit to be like Arvind and also because the

deceased loved her son Rohit intensely. She stated in the

letter that the appellant had unusual attraction towards other
 10

girls, particularly towards deceased's sister Asha, Sushma,

Sandhya, sister of Charuhas, wife of Anil Pangrikar. The

deceased wrote in the letter that the appellant, in order to

torture and mentally harass her, used to say that these girls

had good physical figures and looked beautiful. The deceased

also stated in the letter that the appellant used to say that

there would be a row of girls now for marriage with him.

These comments led to severe mental torture.

18. She requested her parents to take care of her minor son

Rohit and wanted that there should not be a shadow of the

appellant on Rohit.

19. This letter is indeed very emotional and was written in

extreme distressing mental condition. This letter clearly

demonstrates that the deceased was so much mentally

tortured by the appellant that she had decided to put an end

to her life.

20. The accused persons were tried for offences punishable

under sections 498A and 306 IPC. The learned IInd
 11

Additional Sessions Judge, Beed relied on the evidence of

Sushma P.W.6 (neighbour), Vidhya P.W.7 (sister) and Vasant

P.W.8 (father) of the deceased respectively. After careful

scrutiny of the entire evidence, the learned IInd Additional

Sessions Judge acquitted accused nos. 2 and 3, but convicted

accused no. 1 under section 498A IPC and sentenced him to

suffer rigorous imprisonment for one year and to pay a fine of

Rs.2,500/-, in default of payment to fine to further undergo

rigorous imprisonment for six months. The appellant was also

convicted under section 306 IPC and was sentenced to three

years' rigorous imprisonment and was also directed to pay a

fine of Rs.5,000/-, in default of which to further undergo

rigorous imprisonment for six months.

21. The appellant, aggrieved by the judgment of the learned

IInd Additional Sessions Judge, Beed, preferred an appeal

before the High Court of Bombay at Aurangabad Bench. The

High Court correctly analyzed the entire evidence on record

and came to a clear finding that the prosecution has

established the guilt of the appellant beyond reasonable

doubt. The appeal filed by the appellant was dismissed and
 12

the order of conviction and sentence passed by the Learned

IInd Additional Sessions Judge, Beed was confirmed. The

appellant, aggrieved by the judgment of the High Court,

preferred this appeal.

22. The concurrent findings were found against the

appellant, however, in the interest of justice, we again

carefully examined the entire evidence and documents on

record. The evidence of Sushma P.W.6 (neighbour of the

deceased), Vidhya P.W.7 (sister of the deceased) and Vasant

P.W.8 (father of the deceased) clearly lead to the only

conclusion that this was a case of extreme mental cruelty

which was perpetuated from the point of marriage and lasted

till the deceased had committed suicide. There cannot be any

iota of doubt that the extreme mental cruelty and torture

compelled the deceased to put an end to her life. The

appellant was wholly responsible for creating all the

circumstances which led the deceased to take an extreme step

of putting an end to her life.
 13

23. Exh. 46, the letter written by the deceased to her parents

on 9.10.1989 immediately before she had committed suicide,

gives graphic description of the number of instances of

extreme mental torture, day in and day out. This letter gives

the impression that the appellant was deriving sadistic

pleasure in causing extreme mental torture to the deceased.

He would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the

maximum mental torture and agony is caused to the

deceased. We do not find the slightest doubt that the

circumstances which have been enumerated in Exh. 46 and

the testimony of P.Ws. 6, 7 and 8 lead to a situation where the

deceased virtually was left with no option except to take an

extreme step of putting an end to her life.

24. In our considered view, the learned IInd Additional

Sessions Judge and the learned Judge of the High Court

correctly evaluated the entire evidence on record and arrived

at correct conclusion. No interference is called for. The

appeal being devoid of any merit is accordingly dismissed.
 14

25. Consequently, the bail bond of the appellant are

cancelled. The appellant is directed to surrender forthwith to

serve out the remaining sentence. ...............................J.
 (Dalveer Bhandari) ...............................J.
 (Harjit Singh Bedi)
New Delhi,
February 12, 2009.

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