//
you're reading...
legal issues

Sec.498 A, 304 B , 306 I.P.C. r/w 34 I.P.C. – Trial court convicted the accused – High court acquitted the accused – Apex court held that In the present case from the evidence of prosecution witnesses particularly of Santoshbai (PW-6), Geeta (PW-7), Chandrakanta (PW-8), Ranjit (PW-9) and Ranchhod Prasad Pande (PW-11), we find that the harassment of the deceased was with a view to coerce her to convince her parents to meet demand of dowry. The said willful conduct has driven the deceased to commit the suicide or not is a matter of doubt, in absence of specific evidence. Therefore, in the light of Clause (b) of Section 498-A IPC, when we hold all the accused Nos.1 to 6 guilty for the offence under Section 498-A IPC, we hold that the prosecution failed to prove that the deceased committed suicide. The accused are, therefore, acquitted for the offence under Section 306 r/w 34 IPC. This part of the judgment passed by the Trial Court thus cannot be upheld. The prosecution on the basis of evidence has successfully proved that the deceased died within 7 years of her marriage; the death of the deceased is caused by burns i.e. nor under normal circumstances. It has also been proved that soon before her death, during her pregnancy the deceased was subjected to cruelty and harassment by her husband and relatives of accused that is accused No.1-Shivpujan, accused No.2-Rajendra, accused No.3-Malti Devi, accused No.4-Anita, accused No.5-Surendra and accused No.6-Virendra in connection with demand of dowry. Therefore, we hold that the prosecution successfully proved with beyond reasonable doubt that accused Nos.1 to 6 are guilty for the offence under Section 304-B, r/w 34 IPC. For the reasons aforesaid, we set aside the major part of the judgment dated 18th August, 2005 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Nagpur Bench, Nagpur in Criminal Appeal NO.388 of 2005 except the part relating to offence under Section 306 r/w 34 IPC. = STATE OF MAHARASHTRA … APPELLANT VERSUS RAJENDRA & ORS. … RESPONDENTS = 2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41754

Sec.498 A, 304 B , 306 I.P.C. r/w 34 I.P.C. – Trial court convicted the accused – High court acquitted the accused – Apex court held that In the  present  case  from  the  evidence  of  prosecution  witnesses particularly  of  Santoshbai  (PW-6),  Geeta  (PW-7),  Chandrakanta  (PW-8), Ranjit  (PW-9)  and  Ranchhod  Prasad  Pande  (PW-11),  we  find  that   the harassment of the deceased was with a view to coerce  her  to  convince  her parents to meet demand of dowry. The said willful  conduct  has  driven  the deceased to commit the suicide or not is a matter of doubt,  in  absence  of specific evidence. Therefore, in the light of Clause (b)  of  Section  498-A IPC, when we hold all the accused Nos.1 to 6   guilty for the offence  under Section 498-A IPC, we hold that the prosecution failed  to  prove  that  the deceased committed suicide. The accused are, therefore,  acquitted  for  the offence under Section 306 r/w 34 IPC. This part of the  judgment  passed  by the Trial Court thus cannot be upheld. The prosecution on the basis of evidence has successfully proved  that the deceased died within 7 years of her marriage; the death of the  deceased is caused by burns i.e. nor under normal circumstances.  It  has  also  been

proved that soon before her death, during her  pregnancy  the  deceased  was subjected to cruelty and harassment by her husband and relatives of  accused that is accused No.1-Shivpujan, accused  No.2-Rajendra,  accused  No.3-Malti Devi, accused No.4-Anita, accused No.5-Surendra  and  accused  No.6-Virendra in connection with demand of dowry. Therefore, we hold that the  prosecution successfully proved with beyond reasonable doubt that  accused  Nos.1  to  6

are guilty for the offence under Section 304-B, r/w 34 IPC. For the reasons  aforesaid,  we  set  aside  the  major  part  of  the judgment dated 18th August, 2005 passed by the High Court of  Judicature  at Bombay, Nagpur Bench, Nagpur in Criminal Appeal NO.388 of  2005  except  the

part relating to offence under Section 306 r/w 34 IPC. =

By the impugned judgment the  High  Court

held that unless the prosecution proves that death  was  suicidal  and  that

the deceased was treated with cruelty and was harassed by  direct  evidence,

the presumption  under  Section  113-A  does  not  apply  in  the  case  and

acquitted all the accused-respondents from the charges under Section  498-A,

Section 304-B and Section 306 IPC all read  with  Section  34  IPC,  thereby

reversing the finding of the Trial Court.=

The deceased sustained 98% burn injuries in the early morning  of  8th

April, 1999, in her matrimonial house i.e. the house of the  accused  Nos.1,

2, 3, 5 and 6. She was taken to Mayo Hospital, but  before  treatment  could

commence, she died at 9.30 a.m. on the same day itself and at that time  the

deceased was in the 7th month of her first pregnancy.=

Since  7th  month  of

the pregnancy of the deceased was to begin, on 8th April,  1999  at  6  a.m.

her father had been to her matrimonial house to fetch her. Accused  insulted

him on account of dowry demands and refused to send the deceased  with  him.

At 9 a.m. accused No.5-Surendra i.e.  elder  brother-in-law  (jeth)  of  the

deceased came to the house of parents of the deceased  and  told  them  that

their daughter had sustained  burns  and  that  she  was  admitted  in  Mayo

Hospital. The parents of the deceased immediately rushed to  Mayo  Hospital.

It was found that their daughter was already dead.=

Trial court convicted the accused – where as High court acquitted the accused=

Apex court held that

From the above mentioned facts, it is clear that there  was  a  demand

of  dowry  for  purchasing  Hero  Honda  Motorcycle  and  other  house  hold

articles. The evidence of torture is also  clear  from  the  fact  that  the

deceased was not provided food and as such she had become weak that  too  at

the time when she was in the 7th month of pregnancy.

24.   Section 304-B IPC relates to dowry death, which reads as follows:

304B. Dowry death.–(1) Where the death of a woman is caused  by  any  burns

or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances  within

seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her  death  she

was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband  or  any  relative  of

her husband for, or in connection with, any demand  for  dowry,  such  death

shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be  deemed

to have caused her death.

Explanation.-For the purposes of this sub-section, “dowry”  shall  have  the

same meaning as in section 2 of the  Dowry  Prohibition  Act,  1961  (28  of

1961).

(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with  imprisonment  for  a

term which shall not be less than  seven  years  but  which  may  extend  to

imprisonment for life.”

The expression “soon before her death”  is  used  in  the  substantive

Section 304-B IPC and Section 113-B of the Evidence Act. No definite  period

has been indicated and  the  expression  “soon  before  her  death”  is  not

defined. The determination of period which can come within  the  term  “soon

before” is left to be determined by the Court depending upon the  facts  and

circumstances of each case. In this connection one may  refer  the  case  of

Yashoda and another vs. State of M.P., 2004 (3) SCC 98.

25.   The presumption under Section 113-B of the Evidence Act  with  respect

to dowry death can be raised  only  on  the  proof  of  the  following  four

essential conditions:

1)    The woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment,

2)    by the husband or his relatives;

3)    For or in connection with any demand for dowry;

4)    soon before her death.

Refer Kaliyaperumal vs. State of Tamil Nadu, 2004 (9) SCC 157 [AIR  2003  SC

3828].

26.   Section 113-B of the Evidence Act reads as under:

113B. Presumption as to dowry death.—When the question is whether  a  person

has committed the dowry death of a woman and it is shown  that  soon  before

her death such woman has  been  subjected  by  such  person  to  cruelty  or

harassment for, or in connection with,  any  demand  for  dowry,  the  Court

shall presume that such person had caused the dowry death.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this section, “dowry death” shall have  the

same meaning as in section 304B, of the Indian Penal Code, (45 of 1860).

27.   In dowry death cases direct evidence may not be available. Such  cases

may be proved by circumstantial evidence. Section 304-B IPC read with  113-B

of the Evidence Act indicates the rule of presumption of dowry death. If  an

unnatural death of a married woman occurs within  7  years  of  marriage  in

suspicious circumstances, like due to burns or any other bodily  injury  and

there is cruelty or harassment  by  her  husband  or  relatives  for  or  in

connection with any demand for dowry soon before her death then it shall  be

dowry death.

28.    Section 306 IPC relates to abetment to suicide as follows:

“306. Abetment of suicide.—If any person commits suicide, whoever abets  the

commission of such suicide, shall be punished with  imprisonment  of  either

description for a term which may extend to ten  years,  and  shall  also  be

liable to fine.”

29.   Section 113-A of the Evidence Act deals with  presumption  as  to  the

abetment to suicide by a married woman, read as follows:

“113A. Presumption as to abetment of suicide by a  married  woman.—When  the

question is whether the commission of suicide by a woman  had  been  abetted

by her husband or any relative of her husband and it is shown that  she  had

committed suicide within a period of  seven  years  from  the  date  of  her

marriage and that her husband or such relative of her husband had  subjected

her to cruelty, the Court may  presume,  having  regard  to  all  the  other

circumstances of the case,  that  such  suicide  had  been  abetted  by  her

husband or by such relative of her husband.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this  section,  “cruelty”  shall  have  the

same meaning as in section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).]”

30.   For the purpose of Section 113-A  IPC  cruelty  shall  have  the  same

meaning as in Section 498-A IPC which reads as follows:

“498A. Husband  or  relative  of  husband  of  a  woman  subjecting  her  to

cruelty.—Whoever, being the husband or the relative  of  the  husband  of  a

woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be  punished  with  imprisonment

for a term which may extend to three years  and  shall  also  be  liable  to

fine.

Explanation.—For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means—

(a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to  drive  the

woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb  or

health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or

(b) harassment of the  woman  where  such  harassment  is  with  a  view  to

coercing her or any person related to her to meet any  unlawful  demand  for

any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or  any

person related to her to meet such demand.”

31.   In the  present  case  from  the  evidence  of  prosecution  witnesses

particularly  of  Santoshbai  (PW-6),  Geeta  (PW-7),  Chandrakanta  (PW-8),

Ranjit  (PW-9)  and  Ranchhod  Prasad  Pande  (PW-11),  we  find  that   the

harassment of the deceased was with a view to coerce  her  to  convince  her

parents to meet demand of dowry. The said willful  conduct  has  driven  the

deceased to commit the suicide or not is a matter of doubt,  in  absence  of

specific evidence. Therefore, in the light of Clause (b)  of  Section  498-A

IPC, when we hold all the accused Nos.1 to 6   guilty for the offence  under

Section 498-A IPC, we hold that the prosecution failed  to  prove  that  the

deceased committed suicide. The accused are, therefore,  acquitted  for  the

offence under Section 306 r/w 34 IPC. This part of the  judgment  passed  by

the Trial Court thus cannot be upheld.

32.   The prosecution on the basis of evidence has successfully proved  that

the deceased died within 7 years of her marriage; the death of the  deceased

is caused by burns i.e. nor under normal circumstances.  It  has  also  been

proved that soon before her death, during her  pregnancy  the  deceased  was

subjected to cruelty and harassment by her husband and relatives of  accused

that is accused No.1-Shivpujan, accused  No.2-Rajendra,  accused  No.3-Malti

Devi, accused No.4-Anita, accused No.5-Surendra  and  accused  No.6-Virendra

in connection with demand of dowry. Therefore, we hold that the  prosecution

successfully proved with beyond reasonable doubt that  accused  Nos.1  to  6

are guilty for the offence under Section 304-B, r/w 34 IPC.

33.   For the reasons  aforesaid,  we  set  aside  the  major  part  of  the

judgment dated 18th August, 2005 passed by the High Court of  Judicature  at

Bombay, Nagpur Bench, Nagpur in Criminal Appeal NO.388 of  2005  except  the

part relating to offence under Section 306 r/w 34 IPC.  The  judgment  dated

20th July, 2005 passed by the Trial Court in Sessions Case  No.447  of  2000

holding accused Nos.1 to 6 guilty for the offence u/s 498A and 304B IPC.  is

upheld but the part of the judgment relating to offence  under  Section  306

r/w 34 IPC against the accused Nos.1 to 6 stands set aside by  the  judgment

passed by the High Court. The respondents- accused  No.1-Shivpujan,  accused

No.2-Rajendra, accused No.3-Malti Devi, accused  No.4-Anita,  accused  No.5-

Surendra and accused  No.6-Virendra  be  taken  into  custody  forthwith  to

undergo the remainder period of sentence for offence  under  Section   498-A

and 304-B read with 34 IPC.

34.   The appeals are allowed to the extent above.

2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41754

Advertisements

About advocatemmmohan

ADVOCATE

Discussion

Comments are closed.

Blog Stats

  • 1,730,407 hits

ADVOCATE MMMOHAN

archieves

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,853 other followers

Follow advocatemmmohan on WordPress.com