* IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
+ Crl.Appeal No.661/2001
Date of Decision: 22nd May, 2017
HOMPAL SINGH ORS. ….. Appellants
Mr.Vishal Raj Sehijpal,
Ms.Meenakshi Joshi and
STATE OF DELHI ….. Respondent
Through Mr.Akshai Malik, APP.
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE P.S.TEJI
1. The present appeal has been filed under Section 389
Cr.P.C. against judgment and order on sentence dated
06.09.2001 whereby the appellants have been found guilty and
convicted for an offence punishable under Section 304B IPC
and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for ten years
2. The facts of the case, as per the case of the prosecution,
in a nutshell are that on 01.09.1995 an intimation was received
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vide DD No.15A at 8.45 P.M. that one lady by the name of
Rita had been admitted in the GTB hospital in an unconscious
condition. The said DD was marked to SI Sher Singh who
proceeded to the hospital along with Const.Naresh at 12 in the
night, intimation regarding the death of said Rita was given
vide DD No.20A. On 02.09.1995, the SDM visited the
hospital and conducted the inquest proceedings. On
04.09.1995, the SDM recorded the statements of father and
brother of the deceased and directed registration of the case
which gave rise to the present FIR bearing No.298/1995.
3. The post mortem was conducted on the body of
deceased Rita where the doctor opined that the cause of death
was consumption of organo phosphorous poison.
4. After completion of investigation, challan was filed and later
the M.M. committed the case to the court of sessions.
5. Vide order 06.09.1996, charge under Sections 406/34 IPC,
498A/34 IPC and 304B/34 IPC was framed against all the accused
persons to which they pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.
6. In support of its case, the prosecution examined 17 witnesses
in all. PW-1 SI Daulat Ram, PW-2 Sheela Devi, PW-3 Ramakant,
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PW-4 Dr.Anil Kohli, PW-5 HC Satpal Singh, PW-6 Const.Rajni,
PW-7 Const. Mahesh, PW-8 ASI Subedar Singh, PW-9 SI Sher
Singh, PW-10 J.Ramana Reddy, Junior Scientific Officer, PW-11
Sh.K.K.Dahiya, PW-12 HC Ravinder Kumar, P-13 Const.Rajender
Singh, PW-14 Dr.T.S.Daral, PW-15 SI Devi Charan, PW-16 HC
Abhay Singh and PW-17 Const.Jagdish.
7. In support of their case, the accused examined eight witnesses.
8. After conclusion of recording of evidence, statement of
accused persons were recorded under Section 313 Cr.P.C.
9. Vide the impugned judgment and order on sentence dated
06.09.2001, all the accused except Smt.Sushila, who was acquitted of
the charged offence, were convicted under Section 304B IPC and
sentenced to undergo RI for ten years. Hence the present appeal.
10. In support of the appeal, the appellants/accused have taken the
grounds that there is no legal evidence against the appellants
justifying their conviction, that there has been inordinate and
unexplained delay of three days in lodging the FIR which made the
entire prosecution case suspicious; that the evidence rendered by the
related witnesses of the deceased was self-contradictory and
unreliable; that the medical evidence does not support the prosecution
case as the ‘organo phosphorous compound’ which was found in the
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viscera of the deceased, is commonly found in the insecticide which
is normally used in the household for keeping away pests, grain
insects etc.; that the investigation has not been fair to invoke
confidence and the document Ex.PW11/B, which is in the
handwriting of the S.D.M., records that “her parents have alleged foul
play in her death”. This document is dated 02.09.1995 on the
contrary PW-1 to PW-3 have in clear terms stated that they never met
the S.D.M before 04.09.1995, that the co-appellant Arvind, husband
of the deceased, had himself removed his wife Rita (deceased) to the
hospital which shows that the deceased was well looked after in her
matrimonial house; that there is no independent corroboration to the
testimony of PW-1 to PW-3 and that the judgment of the Trial Court
is otherwise based on conjecture and surmises.
11. On the contrary, learned Additional Public Prosecutor for the
State has vehemently opposed the aforesaid contentions raised on
behalf of the appellants and submitted that the judgment of
conviction and order on sentence as passed by learned Additional
Sessions Judge do not suffer from any irregularity or illegalities and
is passed with a reasoned order, therefore, the same is not liable to be
12. Arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the appellant
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as well as learned APP for the State were heard.
13. PW-1 Daulat Ram is the father of the deceased. He has
deposed that Mr.Hompal, father in law of the deceased, told them at
the time of marriage that saptapadi would not be performed unless
colour TV and scooter were given to them. A quarrel took place on
this issue and further marriage ceremonies were stopped. However,
later with the intervention of the baratis and people from the side of
girl, marriage and bidai ceremony were performed. He further
deposed that after marriage, his daughter came to his house on the
occasion of Rakhi where he found the physical condition of his
daughter had deteriorated and he enquired from her whether she was
happy in her matrimonial home, to which his daughter told him that
there used to be quarrels all the time on the issue of colour TV and
scooter and everybody used to harass her for this demand. He also
deposed that on the occasion of Rakhi, when his daughter came to her
parental house, she was told to bring Rs.31,000/- in cash, otherwise
she should not come back to the matrimonial house. He also deposed
that in his absence a call was received by his son that nobody from
the parental house of the deceased should visit the accused and if
anybody does that, their legs shall be broken. On 01.09.1995 at about
10 PM, a telephone call was received at the house of his son’s friend
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informing that his daughter was in a critical condition and that they
were being called. When they reached at the gate of house of the
accused, they were told by Usha, wife of Ashwini, brother in law of
the deceased, that the condition of the deceased was critical. While
they were on the way to the hospital, they came to know that their
daughter had expired.
14. PW-2 Smt.Sheela Devi is the mother of the deceased. She
also deposed on the same lines as her husband (PW-1) with
respect to the demand of dowry from her deceased daughter.
15. PW-3 Ramakant also made statements similar to that of
PW-1 and PW-2.
16. PW-4 is Dr.Anil Kohli. He deposed that he had
conducted post mortem on the dead body of the deceased and
opined that the cause of death of the deceased was poisoning
with organo phosphorous poison. He deposed that the ante
mortem injuries found on the person of deceased could be
caused during administering medicine to her while trying to
17. From the testimony of PW1 to PW3, it is amply clear that
the deceased was being harassed by the appellants for or in
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connection with demand of dowry. In their testimony, these
witnesses have deposed that after the marriage of the deceased
with the appellant Arvind Kumar, she was harassed and beaten
up by the appellants for or in connection with demand of dowry.
They have stated that the appellants used to demand scooter, TV
and cash from the deceased and for the same, they used to
harass her and also gave beatings to her. It is also stated by the
witnesses PW-1 and PW-2 that the appellants had demanded
cash of Rs.31,000/- from them which they were unable to give.
18. Thus, from the testimony of above witnesses, there is
enough evidence on record from which it has been established
that the deceased was being harassed by the appellants for or in
connection with demand of dowry. Therefore, the conviction of
the appellants deserves to be upheld under Section 498A/34
19. So far as the conviction of the appellants under Section
304B IPC for causing the dowry death of the deceased is
concerned, in the case of Devi Lal vs. State of Rajasthan AIR
2008 SC 332, Hon’ble Apex Court has observed that the
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ingredients of provisions of section 304 B IPC are (1) that the
death of the woman was caused by any burns or bodily injury or
in some circumstances which were not normal; (2) such death
occurs within 7 years from the date of her marriage; (3) that the
victim was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or
any relative of her husband; (4) such cruelty or harassment
should be for or in connection with the demand of dowry; and
(5) it is established that such cruelty and harassment was made
soon before her death. It was further observed that before an
accused is found guilty for commission of an offence, the Court
must arrive at a finding that the ingredients thereof have been
established. It was held that statement of a witness for the said
purpose must be read in its entirety. It is not necessary for a
witness to make a statement in consonance with the wording of
the section of a statute. What is needed is to find out whether
the evidences brought on record satisfy the ingredients thereof.
20. Necessary ingredients of dowry death as provided under
Section 304B of IPC are :
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(i)Deceased was the subject matter of cruelty on account
of dowry and culminates into guilt of accused under
Section 498A IPC;
(ii)The death should have taken place due to bodily
injuries other than normal circumstances; and
(iii)Such death was the subject matter of cruelty soon
21. As far as death of the deceased Rita is concerned, it is not
in dispute that she died due to consumption of poison which
shows that the death of the deceased was not under normal
circumstances which fulfils the first ingredient for the
commission of offence under Section 304B IPC.
22. The second ingredient that death of the deceased had
taken place within seven years of her marriage with the
appellant Arvind Kumar is established from the evidence, as
marriage had taken place on 02.07.1995 and her death took
place on 01.09.1995 i.e. within a year of her marriage.
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23. The next and the most important ingredient required to be
proved from the evidence is that the deceased was subjected to
cruelty and harassment on account of demand of dowry by her
husband or any relative of her husband and that was done soon
before death. The prosecution has produced PW1 to PW3 to
prove this ingredient. PW1 happened to be the father of the
deceased, PW2 happened to be the mother of the deceased and
PW3 happened to be the brother of the deceased. The detailed
discussion of their testimony has already been made.
24. The last ingredient is based upon the commission of
offence under Section 498A IPC and while committing the
offence under Section 498A IPC, if it connects with the death,
then it would be an offence punishable under Section 304B IPC.
The prosecution has failed miserably to establish beyond
reasonable doubt that any cruelty or harassment was meted out
to the deceased for or in connection with demand of dowry by
any of the appellants soon before her death. The ingredient of
harassing or beating the deceased for or in connection with
demand of dowry soon before her death is missing from the
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testimony of above mentioned prosecution witnesses. Though
from their testimony, it has duly been established that the
deceased was subjected to harassment and cruelty for or in
connection with demand of dowry, but no incident or occasion
had been brought on record to connect any of the appellants
with the said harassment or cruelty meted out to the deceased
“soon before her death”.
25. The argument advanced by the learned APP for the State
is that Section 113B of the Indian Evidence Act leads to the
presumption of the guilt of the appellants. Section 113B of the
Indian 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
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26. The presumption under Section 113B of the Evidence Act
can be drawn only where the ingredients of Section 304B IPC
are fulfilled. The prosecution has failed to establish the
necessary ingredient of dowry death i.e. cruelty or harassment
meted out to the deceased by the appellant “soon before her
death”. As mentioned above, the prosecution has failed to prove
the chain of necessary ingredients to raise the presumption
under Section 113B of the Indian Evidence Act.
27. From no stretch of imagination, the evidence led by the
prosecution in the present case could culminate into conviction
of the appellants under Section 304-B read with 34 IPC.
28. It has been brought on record that all the appellants
remained behind the bars before suspending their sentence by
this Court as evident from their nominal roll.
29. In view of the above discussion and the evidence
discussed, this Court upholds the judgment of conviction and
order on sentence awarded to the appellants under Section 498A
read with Section 34 of the IPC.
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30. However, the judgment of conviction and order on
sentence awarded to the appellants under Section 304B read
with Section 34 IPC is set aside.
31. Apparently, the death of the deceased had taken place on
01.09.1995; the charge was framed on 06.09.1996; judgment of
conviction and order on sentence was passed on 06.09.2001; the
appellants have faced the protracted trial for about 22 years and
since there is no minimum sentence provided under Section
498A IPC, the interest of justice would be met if the sentence of
the appellants is modified to undergo RI for a period of two
years. It is held accordingly.
32. The appellants are already on bail. Their bail bonds and
surety bonds are discharged.
33. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
34. Pending application, if any, is also disposed of.
MAY 22, 2017
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