PARAPALLI KUMAR vs STATE OF A.P

Andhra High Court
THE HONOURABLE SRI  JUSTICE B.SESHASAYANA REDDY              

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1738 of 1999    

PARAPALLI KUMAR    

STATE OF A.P. REP BY P.S. SAROORNAGAR         
LATER TRANSFERRED TO P.S. L.B.NAGAR, R.R. DIST.        

Counsel for the Appellant       : MR. KOWTURU VINAY KUMAR       

Counsel for the Respondent  : PUBLIC PROSECUTOR     

:JUDGMENT:  

1.      This Criminal Appeal is directed against the judgment dated     23-7-1999
passed in S.C.No.137 of 1997 on the file of II Additional District and Sessions
Judge, Rangareddy District at Saroornagar, whereby and where under the learned
Additional District and Sessions Judge found A1-Parapalli Kumar guilty for the
offences under sections 304-B and 498A IPC and convicted him accordingly and
sentenced him to suffer RI for 8 years and pay a fine of Rs.500/-, in default to
suffer SI for three months for the offence under section 304B IPC and RI for one
year and fine of Rs.500/-, in default to suffer SI for 3 months for the offence
under section 498A IPC.

2.      The prosecution case, in brief, is:

        A1 married Kavitha, daughter of P.W.1 and P.W.2, on 1.4.1994. A2-Suddala
Ravi is brother-in-law of A1. After the marriage A1 started harassing his wife
Kavita (hereinafter referred to as the deceased) on the ground of additional
dowry. It is alleged that he beat the deceased on the ground of her not
fulfilling his demands. On 28.8.94 at 1500 hours A1 returned home in an
inebriated mood and beat the deceased and also abused her for not getting his
demands fulfilled. The deceased being not able to put up the physical and mental
harassment in the hands of A1 resorted to put an end to her life. At about 4
P.M. she poured kerosene on herself and lit fire. On hearing her cries
neighbours rushed to the scene and in the mean while, A1 woke up from sleep and
extinguished flames. The deceased was shifted to Osmania General Hospital for
treatment. On 29.8.94 P.W.9-Mohd.Saravarali Khan, Head Constable, Saroornagar 
P.S., Hyderabad on the instructions of Circle Inspector of Police (P.W.12)
proceeded to Osmania General Hospital and recorded the statement of the deceased 
and handed over the same to Station House Officer, Saroornagar Police Station.
Ex.P.4 is the statement of the deceased recorded by him. Basing on Ex.P.4
statement, P.W.13-Y.Yadagiri, Sub-Inspector of Police, Saroornagar Police
Station registered a case in Cr.No.517 of 1994 under section 498A IPC and issued
Ex.P.9-FIR. He also recorded the statement of the deceased under section 161 of
Cr.P.C, which has been exhibited as Ex.P.11. A requisition was sent to the
Munsif Magistrate, Hyderabad (West and South) to record the dying declaration of
the deceased. P.W.10-Ch.Kishore Kumar, Munsif Magistrate, Hyderabad (W & S)   
received Ex.P.5 requisition from the Station House Officer, Saroornagar Police
Station through P.C.799. He proceeded to Osmania General Hospital and recorded 
the dying declaration of the deceased, which has been exhibited as Ex.P.6. The
doctor who was present at the time of recording dying declaration of the
deceased certified that the deponent was in a fit state of mind to give her
statement. Ex.P.6 dying declaration contains the certificate issued by the duty
Doctor-Dr.D.Madhusudhan Rao. The deceased succumbed to the injuries while  
undergoing treatment in Osmania General Hospital on 4.9.94 at 1 P.M. There upon,
Ex.P.10, memo of alteration of section of law came to be filed in the court by
P.W.12-K.Jaganmohan Reddy, Inspector of Police, Saroornagar P.S. P.W.12  
conducted inquest on the dead body of the deceased. Ex.P.2 is the inquest
report. After the inquest the dead body was subjected to post mortem
examination. P.W.7 held autopsy on the dead body of the deceased on 5.9.94 and
issued Ex.P.3 post mortem report opining that the deceased died of burn
injuries. After completing investigation, P.W.14-B.Janardhan Reddy laid a charge
sheet before the Additional Judicial First Class Magistrate, Hyderabad (E & N),
Hyderabad. The learned Magistrate took the charge sheet on file as P.R.C.No.173
of 1994 and committed the case to the Sessions Division, R.R. District at
Saroornagar. The learned Sessions Judge took the case on file as S.C.No.137 of
1997 and made over the same to the II Additional Sessions Judge, R.R. District
at Saroornagar for disposal according to law. The learned II Additional Sessions
Judge, on hearing the prosecution and the accused, framed charges under sections
304-B and 498A IPC, read over and explained the same to the accused, for which
the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried. To bring home the guilt
of the accused for the offences with which they stood charged, prosecution
examined 14 witnesses, proved 11 documents and marked four material objects. The 
learned II Additional Sessions Judge, on appreciation of the evidence brought on
record and on hearing the prosecution and the accused, found A1 guilty for the
offences under sections 304-B and 498A IPC and convicted him accordingly and
sentenced him as stated supra. However, the learned II Additional Sessions Judge
found A2 not guilty for the offences under sections 304-B and 498A IPC and
acquitted him accordingly. Hence, this Criminal Appeal by A1.

READ  Flimsy evidence is impermissible to convict of murder, 498A

3.      Heard learned counsel appearing for appellant/A1 and Additional Public
Prosecutor appearing for the State.

4.      Learned counsel appearing for the appellant/A1 submits that P.Ws.1 to 3
are interested witnesses and therefore no implicit reliance can be placed on
their testimony. He further submits that Ex.P.4 statement and Ex.P.6 dying
declaration are not out of the free will of the deceased and they are the
outcome of tutoring of the deceased by her parents. A further submission has
been made that it is A1 who extinguished the flames of the deceased and
therefore the conduct of the deceased soon after the occurrence speaks of his
innocence of the offences with which he stood charged.

5.      Learned Additional Public Prosecutor submits that the dying declaration of
the deceased which have been exhibited as Exs.P.4, P.6 and P.11 are consistent
to the fact that A1 harassed the deceased on the ground of additional dowry and
the deceased being not able to put up the harassment resorted to setting fire to
herself and thus the conviction and sentence of A1 for the offences under
sections 304-B and 498A IPC is legal and proper and the same is not liable to be
interfered with in this appeal.

6.      The prosecution examined 14 witnesses and proved 11 documents and  
exhibited three material objects to bring home the guilt of the appellant/A1 for
the offences under sections 498a and 304 B IPC. P.W.1 and P.W.2 are parents,
P.W.3 is the brother of the deceased. P.W.4 is the neighbour to P.Ws.1 to 3.
P.W.5 is cousin of P.W.1. P.W.6 and P.W.8 are neighbours to the deceased. P.W.7  
is the post mortem Dioctor. P.W.9 is the Head Constable who recorded the
statement of the deceased, which has been exhibited as Ex.P.4.  P.W.10 is the
Magistrate who recorded the dying declaration of the deceased. Ex.P.6 is the
dying declaration. P.W.11 is the panch witness for the scene of offence
panchanama. P.W.12 is the Inspector of Police, Saroornagar Police Station,
Hyderabad who sent requisition to the Additional Judicial First Class
Magistrate, Hyderabad (W & S). Ex.P.5 is the requisition sent to the Magistrate
to record the dying declaration of the deceased. He filed Ex.P.10 memo of
alteration of section of law consequent on the receipt of intimation of the
death of the deceased.  P.W.13 is the Sub-Inspector of Police, Saroornagar,
Hyderabad who received Ex.P.4 statement of the deceased and registered a case in
Cr.No.517 of 1994 under section 498A IPC and issued Ex.P.9-FIR. He also recorded
the statement of the deceased which has been marked as Ex.P.12. P.W.14 is the 
Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Saroornagar who filed the charge sheet.

READ  Membership of the Society

7.      The entire case rests on the evidence of P.Ws.1 to 3 and dying
declarations of the deceased, which have been exhibited as Exs.P.4, 6 and 11.
P.W.9 recorded Ex.P.4 statement of the deceased. P.W.10 recorded Ex.P.6 dying  
declaration of the deceased. P.W.13 recorded Ex.P.11 statement of the deceased.
There are three written dying declarations of the deceased apart from the oral
dying declarations of the deceased made to P.Ws.1 to 3. The text of the written
dying declarations of the deceased have been extracted by the trial court in its
judgment. Paragraphs 23 and 24 of the trial court judgment reproduced the
relevant portions of the dying declarations of the deceased.

8.      It is well settled that as a matter of law, a dying declaration can be
acted upon without corroboration. See KUSHAL RAO V. STATE OF BOMBAY1, HARBAN          
SINGH V. STATE OF PUNJAB2, GOPAL SINGH V. STATE OF M.P.3. There is not even a         
rule of prudence which has hardened into a rule of law that a dying declaration
cannot be acted upon unless it is corroborated. The primary effort of the court
has to be to find out whether the dying declaration is true. If it is so, no
question of corroboration arises. It is only if the circumstances surrounding
the dying declaration are not clear of convincing, then the court may for its
assurance look for corroboration to the dying declaration.

9.      In another decision in KANAKSINGH RAI SINGH RAV V. STATE OF GUJARAT4  it       
is held by the Supreme Court that the law is well settled and if a dying
declaration is made voluntarily and truthfully by a person who is physically in
a condition to make such statement, there is no impediment in relying such a
declaration.
               
10.     The essential ingredients of Section 304-B IPC are:

READ  Bharat Chaudhary & Anr. Vs. State of Bihar & Anr.

i) The death of a woman should be caused by burns or bodily injury and otherwise
than under normal circumstances;
ii) Such death should have been occurred within seven years of the marriage;
iii) She must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or
relative of her husband;
iv) Such cruelty or harassment should be for or in connection with demand for
dowry.
11.     The deceased died of burn injuries within 7 years of the marriage. There
is no dispute with regard to the cause of death of the deceased.  This fact has
been amply proved by the post mortem Doctor who has been examined as P.W.7. As a   
matter of fact the deceased succumbed to the burn injuries while undergoing
treatment in Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad. Therefore, prosecution has
amply proved that the deceased died of burn injuries.

12.      The dying declarations of the deceased are consistent to the fact that on
the date of the incident A1 came in an inebriated mood and beat her on the
ground of additional dowry and thereupon the deceased being not able to put up
with the harassment resorted to put an end to herself by setting fire to
herself. The written dying declarations i.e Ex.P.4, P.6 and P.11 are fully
corroborated by the ocular testimony of P.Ws.1 to 3. There is no material to
show that the dying declarations were the result of product of imagination,
tutoring and prompting. On the contrary, the same appears to have been made by
the deceased voluntarily. They are trustworthy and have credibility.

13.     The trial court considered the evidence brought on record in right
perspective and found the appellant/ A1 guilty for the offence under section
498A and 304-B IPC. I do not see any valid ground to interfere with the
conviction of the appellant-A1 for the offences under sections 304-B and 498A of
IPC. However, keeping in view the age of the appellant/A1 I am inclined to
reduce the sentence imposed from 8 years to 7 years. But for the reduction of
sentence of imprisonment from eight years to seven years, this Criminal Appeal
fails and the same is dismissed.

1 1958 SCR 522 
2 1962 SUPP(1) SCR 104  
3 AIR 1972 SC 1557 
4 (2003) 1 SCC 73

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *