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Monica Thapar

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QUASHING OF FIR-under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C., the High Court was free to consider even material, that may be produced on behalf of the accused, to arrive at a decision whether the charge as framed could be maintained. = Dr. Monica Thapar fell ill. – Dr. Girish Kazi, a cardiologist. It was suspected, that she has a hole in her heart. Based on the aforesaid diagnosis, Dr. Dumaswala, another cardiologist, conducted Doppler echo-cardiography. The said echo-cardiography confirmed the presence of a large hole in her heart. On the advice of doctors who attended on Dr. Monica Thapar at Medical College, Surat, she was shifted to Urmil Heart and Lung Centre, Surat, on 24.9.1992. While at Urmil Heart and Lung Centre, Surat, Dr. Monica Thapar allegedly suffered a massive heart attack on 26.9.1992. The same supposedly proved fatal. 3. The factum of death of Dr. Monica Thapar was conveyed to the immediate family of Rajiv Thapar, as well as to the family of the deceased=Telephone bills demonstrate, that phone calls were regularly made from the residence of Rajiv Thapar (appellant no. 1), to the maternal family of Dr. Monica Thapar. The family of the husband of Dr. Monica Thapar was in consistent and regular contact with the other family members also. This relationship is shown to have been subsisting even at the time of the illness of Dr. Monica Thapar which proved to be fatal. Of utmost importance is a letter written by Rajiv Kapoor (the brother of the deceased, and the son of Madan Lal Kapoor, the respondent-complainant). In a letter dated 22.9.1992, just four days before the death of Dr. Monica Thapar (on 26.9.1992), Rajiv Kapoor showered praise on the immediate family of Rajiv Thapar residing at Delhi. His letter to his sister describes her in-laws in Delhi, as “very affectionate and very caring”. The telephone bills, as also the letter addressed by Rajiv Kapoor to his sister (Dr. Monica Thapar), are materials of sterling quality. Neither of the said materials has been controverted, either on veracity or on truthfulness. All this, in our opinion, would undoubtedly and inevitably result in concluding, that the relationship between the two families was cordial and affectionate. Clearly contrary to what has been alleged in the complaint. 30. Even though the statement of Dr. Pritu Dhalaria has been relied upon by the SDM, Delhi in the inquest report, which completely knocks out all the pleas advanced by Madan Lal Kapoor (the respondent-complainant), we are of the view, that it would be improper to make any reference thereto in deciding the present controversy. Reliance on the statement of Dr. Pritu Dhalaria would be permissible only after the same is recorded by a court on oath, whereupon, he has to be subjected to cross-examination. Only then, his statement would acquire credibility for reliance. Any fact situation based on the oral testimony, by one or the other party, cannot be the basis of a determination, akin to the one in hand. 31. We are persuaded to conclude from the facts and circumstances of the case exhaustively discussed in the foregoing paragraphs, that all the steps delineated in the paragraph 23 above, can be answered in the affirmative, on the basis of the material relied by the accused, more particularly, the post-mortem examination report dated 28.9.1992 conducted by a Medical Board comprising of four doctors, whose integrity has not been questioned by the respondent-complainant; the chemical analysis findings contained in the Central Forensic Science Laboratory’s report dated 9.2.1993 which has not been disputed by the respondent-complainant; the inquest report of the SDM, Delhi, dated 6.7.1993, findings whereof have been painstakingly recorded by involving the respondent-complainant; the letter of Rajiv Kapoor (the brother of the deceased) dated 22.9.1992 addressed to Dr. Monica Thapar just four days before her death, the contents and authenticity whereof are not subject matter of challenge at the hands of the respondent-complainant; and finally, the telephone bills produced by the appellants-accused substantiating consistent and regular contact between the rival families, which have not been questioned. We, therefore, have no hesitation in concluding, that the judicial conscience of the High Court ought to have persuaded it, on the basis of the material examined by it, to quash the criminal proceedings initiated against the appellants-accused. We, therefore, hereby quash the aforesaid proceedings. 32. Despite the conclusion recorded hereinabove, we are of the view, that in the facts and circumstances of this case, there should have been no difficulty whatsoever for the High Court to have exercised its judicial conscience for invoking the power vested in it under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. From the narration of the facts recorded above, it emerges, that even though the respondent-complainant Madan Lal Kapoor, in his complaint dated 6.7.1993, adopted a clear and categoric stance, that his daughter Dr.Monica Thapar had been poisoned to death, before the Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi, the respondent-complainant ventured to suggest, that the appellants-accused had strangulated her. The Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi, summoned two of the doctors who were members of the Medical Board which had conducted the post-mortem examination, and sought clarifications from them. He also recorded the statement of one of the said doctors. The Additional Sessions Judge, thereupon, ruled out the plea of strangulation. When the respondent-complainant himself was uncertain about the manner in which his daughter had allegedly died, the High Court should have viewed the matter keeping in mind the likelihood of the hurt caused to a father who had lost his daughter within one year of her marriage. The matter needed to have been evaluated, on the basis of one of the parameters laid down in State of Haryana & Ors. Vs. Bhajan Lal & Ors., 1992 Supp. (1) SCC 335, namely, whether the criminal proceedings initiated by Madan Lal Kapoor (the respondent-complainant) were actuated by malice and ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused with a view to spite him due to some private/personal grudge. There is yet another reason emerging from the facts of the case which needed to be kept in mind. Madan Lal Kapoor (the respondent-complainant) had continued to represent before the SDM, Delhi, that he would produce the mother of the deceased, who knew the facts best of all. Despite that, the mother of the deceased did not appear in the inquest proceedings to record her statement, even though a number of opportunities were afforded to the respondent-complainant to produce her. The permissible inference is that he was himself not privy to the facts. The fact that the mother of the deceased had not appeared to record a statement against the appellants-accused has to have some reason/justification. Would a mother who believes that her daughter had been poisoned/strangulated, restrain herself from recording her statement,despite the persuasion of her husband? Probably not. The instant factual position has been recorded hereinabove, not for the sake of determination of the present controversy. In a factual situation not as clear as the one in hand, facts such as these, could be taken into consideration by a High Court for recording its satisfaction, on the parameters formulated above. 33. For the reasons recorded hereinabove, criminal proceedings against the appellants-accused are hereby set aside. The order of the High Court is accordingly also set aside, but on grounds different from those taken into consideration by the High Court. The instant appeal, accordingly succeeds.

“REPORTABLE” IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.__174___ OF 2013 (Arising out of SLP (Criminal) No. 4883 of 2008) Rajiv Thapar & Ors. …. Appellants Versus Madan Lal Kapoor …. Respondent J U D G M E N T JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR, J. 1. Leave granted. 2. Rajiv Thapar (appellant … Continue reading

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