BOMBAY HIGH COURT
CRIMINAL APPLICATION NO.1213 Of 2016 IN CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 555 OF 2016
NEERAJ SUBHASH MEHTA
THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
Judgement On : 13th JANUARY 2017.
The applicant / accused married Neha Mehta (since deceased) on 27th April 2009 and thereafter she started cohabiting with the applicant / accused and his family at Nerul, Navi Mumbai, in her matrimonial house.
Neha Mehta died suicidal death on 28th September 2014 by hanging herself at the house of the applicant / accused. On the basis of report lodged by Kamal Sharma –father of deceased Neha, the applicant / accused and coaccused were prosecuted and ultimately convicted and sentenced as indicated in opening paragraph of this order. Charges of subjecting a married woman to cruelty and abetting her to commit suicide are held to be proved against the applicant / husband.
This is an application for suspension of releasing the applicant / accused on bail during pendency of the appeal. The applicant / accused is convicted of the offences punishable under Sections 498A and 306 read with Section 34 of the IPC and he is sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 3 years for the offence punishable under Section 498A read with Section 34 of the IPC and to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 10 years for the offence punishable under Section 306 read with Section 34 of the IPC. In addition, the applicant / accused and the co accused are directed to. pay compensation of Rs.25,000/ each to the first informant.
Hon’ble Court Observed :
By catena of judgments of this court as well as Apex Court what amounts to cruelty as envisaged by Explanation to Section 498A of IPC is explained. Cruelty implies harsh and harmful conduct with certain intensity and persistence. It covers acts causing both physical and mental agony and torture or tyranny and harm as well as unending accusations and recrimination reflecting bitterness putting the victim thereof to intense miscarries.The conduct, in order to prove guilt, must be such as strongly stirring up the feeling in the mind of a married woman that life is now not worth living and she should die, being the only option left. In other words, provisions of Section 498A of the IPC envisages intention to drawing or force a woman to commit suicide by un abetted persistence and grave cruelty. A willful conduct of such a nature as is likely to propel or compel amarried woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to her life, limb or health is required to be established. In other words, matrimonial cruelty is included from the definition of legal cruelty.To put it in other words, ordinary petulance and discord or differences in domestic life does not amount to cruelty. By keeping this aspect in mind, let us prima facie examine the instant case for a limited purpose as to whether the applicant / accused is entitled for liberty.
Hon’ble Court Held :
If the impugned judgment and order of the trial court is perused, then it is seen that the reasoning part is in paragraph 65 of the judgment. Reliance is placed on evidence of PW1 to PW3 by the learned trial court. It is observed that the dispute was over the issue of the deceased having made “kaccha chapati.”
Further observations are to the effect that this was too trivial matter to invoke extreme and harsh response of calling her brother and parents. In other words, the learned trial Judge was very well aware of the fact that the incident of commission of suicide was preceded by a trivial incident in the matrimonial life of Neha. Still, without further discussion, offence punishable under Section 498A of the IPC is held to be proved. Then by taking aid of Section 106 of the
Evidence Act, as well as Section 113A thereof, it is held that the offence punishable under Section 306 of the IPC is proved.
In the wake of this evidence against the applicant / accused, and the fact that during trial, he was on bail, he deserves liberty, and therefore the application is allowed.