State Of Maharashtra vs Govardhan Vithal Govande And Ors on 20 July, 2017

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IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
BENCH AT AURANGABAD

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 296 OF 2001

The State of Maharashtra,
Through the Police Station Mukhed,
At the instance of one
Tukaram S/o Sakharam Pohare,
Age : 50 years, Occu : Agri.,
R/o : Pimpri (Mahipal),
Tq. Dist. Nanded.
…APPELLANT
VERSUS

1. Govardhan Vithal Govande,
Age : 23 years,

2. Gayabai Prayagbai Ramji Buktane,
Age : 35 years,

3. Satwabai Vithal Govande,
Age : 40 Yrs., (died)

All residents of Shemboli,
Tq. Dist. Nanded.

4. Sow. Ambubai @ Gayabai Gangadhar
Sadavarte, Age : 30 years,
R/o : Dhotra, Tq. Purna,
District Parbhani
…RESPONDENTS

Mr. R.V. Dasalkar, APP for appellant/State.
Mr. Anil M. Gaikwad, advocate for respondent nos.1 and 2.
Respondent no.3 – died., Respondent no.4 – served.

CORAM: S.S. SHINDE AND
S.M. GAVHANE, JJ.

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DATE OF RESERVING JUDGMENT : 3rd July,2017.

DATE OF PRONOUNCING JUDGMENT: 20th July, 2017.

JUDGMENT [PER S.S. SHINDE, J.]:

This appeal is directed against the

judgment and order dated 6th April, 2001, passed by

the IInd Assistant Sessions Judge, Nanded in

Sessions Case No. 188 of 1996, thereby acquitting

respondent nos.1 to 4 (original accused nos. 1 to

4) from the offence punishable under Sections

498-A, 304-B and 306 read with 34 of the Indian

Penal Code (for short “I.P. Code”).

2. The prosecution case in nut-shell, is as

under:-

A) The marriage of Phulwantabai (now

deceased), who is daughter of informant – Tukaram

Pohare (PW-3), was solemnized with accused no.1

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on 1st May, 1993. At the time of marriage, dowry of

Rs.15,000/-, a gold ring and utensils and other

necessary household items were given by Tukaram

(PW-3). After marriage, she started cohabiting

with accused no.1 – Govardhan. Accused nos. 2 to

4 were also residing with accused no.1. Accused

no.3 was the step-mother of accused no.1. The

accused persons treated her well for about one

year and thereafter, accused no.3 started teasing

Phulwantabai and accused no.1 started beating her.

Accused no.1 was also insisting her to bring the

amount for purchasing costly household items from

her father. Because of such ill-treatment,

Phulwantabai was brought by her father to his

house and she stayed there for about six months.

However, thereafter accused no.1 along with four

persons had gone to the house of father of an

informant and had given assurance that, accused

no.1 – Govardhan will treat Phulwantabai well.

Therefore, on the assurance given by accused no.1,

he sent Phulwantabai for cohabitation.

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Thereafter, Tukaram (PW-3) and the maternal uncle,

Narayan Sawant (PW-9) went to fetch Phulwantabai,

so also to take her to the house of Tukaram at the

time of Panchami festival, but the accused did not

send her.

(B) Thereafter, Tukaram (PW-3) got knowledge

about the ill-treatment meted out to Phulwantabai.

Therefore, on 2nd September, 1996, her elder

brother – Raosaheb Tukaram Pohare (PW-5), went to

meet Phulwantabai and accused no.1, Tukaram (PW-3)

also persuaded accused no.1 and requested not to

give illtreatment to Phulwantabai. However, within

couple of days thereafter on 5th September, 1996,

Tukaram (PW-3) received information about the

death of Phulwantabai.

(C) Upon receiving such information, Tukaram

Pohare (PW-3) and his son Raosaheb along with

other villagers went to village Shemboli, where

the accused were residing. While going to village

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Shemboli, first they went to the hospital at

Barad. It was told to them that, Phulwantabai was

taken to Nanded, as the doctor was not available

there. Then Tukaram Pohare went to Police

Station, Mudkhed, where he was informed about the

death of Phulwantabai, and that, the dead body was

sent to Shemboli after post-mortem. Raosaheb and

Tukaram then lodged the report in Police Station,

Mudkhed. Then they went to village Shemboli.

They found that accused no.1 was not there.

Therefore, they carried dead body of Phulwantabai

to their home at village Mahipal Pimpri. On the

next day i.e. on 6th September, 1996, the funeral

has taken place.

(D) Thereafter, Police started investigation,

collected necessary documents, recorded statements

of the witnesses, and after completion of

investigation filed the charge-sheet in the Court

of Judicial Magistrate First Class, Nanded. The

Judicial Magistrate First Class, Nanded committed

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the case to the Court of Sessions, as the offence

is exclusively triable by the Court of Sessions.

(E) The Sessions Court framed the charge

against the accused persons under Sections 498-A,

306, 304-B read with 34 of the I.P. Code. The same

was read over to the accused and the accused

persons pleaded not guilty and claimed to be

tried.

(F) The defence of the accused, as gathered

from the statement recorded under Section 313 of

the Code of Criminal Procedure (for short

“Cr.P.C.”) is that, the dowry was paid voluntarily

by the father of deceased Phulwantabai. On the

date of incident, Phulwantabai got annoyed because

accused no.1 scolded her, as the ration card was

not traced out, which was given in her custody.

Because of such scolding, she consumed poison and

committed suicide. The accused denied that, they

demanded any item or dowry from the parents of

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Phulwantabai and also she was subjected to

illtreatment. During pendency of the trial,

accused no.3 the step-mother of accused no.1,

expired and the prosecution against her was

abated.

3. After recording the evidence and

conducting full fledged trial, the trial Court

acquitted all the accused for the offence

punishable under Sections 498-A, 304-B, 306 read

with 34 of the I.P. Code. Hence this Appeal by the

State.

4. Learned A.P.P. appearing for the State

submits that, the prosecution examined the father,

mother, brothers and other witnesses so as to

prove the charge framed against the accused for

the offence punishable under section 498-A of the

I.P. Code. It is submitted that, all the witnesses

have stated about the ill-treatment and harassment

given by the accused to deceased Phulwantabai. Her

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death was within seven years from the marriage.

The medical evidence also supports the prosecution

case, and therefore, the view taken by the trial

Court of acquittal of the respondents was not

possible. Therefore, he submits that, the appeal

deserves to be allowed.

5. On the other hand, the learned counsel

appearing for the respondents i.e. original

accused submits that, the evidence of the

prosecution witnesses is inconsistent. Prior to

the alleged incident, for six months deceased

Phulwantabai stayed in her parents house. He

invites our attention to the findings recorded by

the trial Court and submits that, those are in

consonance with the evidence brought on record and

the view taken by the trial Court is possible. The

learned counsel appearing for the respondents

placed reliance on the exposition of law by the

Supreme Court in the cases of Rajinder Singh V/s

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State of Punjab1, Major Singh and Anr. V. State of

Punjab2 and Maya Devi and Anr. V. State of

Haryana3, and submits that, the appeal filed by the

State may be dismissed.

6. We have given careful consideration to

the submissions advanced by the learned A.P.P.

appearing for the State and the learned counsel

appearing for the respondents (original accused

nos.1 to 4). With their able assistance, we have

carefully perused and scrutinized the entire notes

of evidence brought on record by the prosecution.

7. It appears that, initially the trial

Court framed the charge for the offences

punishable under Sections 498-A read with 34 and

Section 306 read with 34 of the I.P. Code,

however, the additional charge was framed for the

offence punishable under Section 304-B read with

1 2015 AIR (SC) 1359
2 AIR 2015 SC 2081
3 AIR 2016 SC 125

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34 of the I.P. Code. It appears that, the

panchanama of scene of offence, post-mortem

examination notes, Chemical Analyzer’s report,

viscera of Phulwantabai was found having teaces of

insecticide called “Endosulfan”, death of

Phulwantabai, marriage solemnized on 1st May, 1993,

death occurred within seven years and also

Rs.15,000/- was given by the parents of

Phulwantabai at the time of marriage have been

admitted by the respondents. However, the real

question is who was an author of death of

Phulwantabai. In order to prove charge against the

respondents/accused, the prosecution examined,

Dr. Rajendra Nivruttirao Kagne, the Medical

Officer (PW-2), who opined the final cause of

death as poisoning and the nature of poison was

Endosulfan. He also stated details about the

injuries on the person of Phulwantabai. He stated

that, those injuries are ante-mortem.

During his cross-examination, he stated

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that, immediate death is not possible due to the

poison detected in the body of Phulwantabai. After

having insecticide the patient gets convulsions.

He further stated that, if such patient is carried

on a motor cycle by two other persons and if left

leg of such patient touches the motor cycle while

having convulsions the injuries as stated by him

in column no.17 are possible.

8. The prosecution examined Tukaram Sakharam

Pohare (PW-3), father of Phulwantabai. He stated

details of solemnization of marriage of

Phulwantabai with accused no.1 – Govardhan. He

stated that, at the time of marriage, he paid

dowry of Rs.15,000/- and also household articles

such as utensils and cot and also the expenses of

marriage were also borne by him. Phulwantabai was

treated well for one year after the marriage. He

further stated that, the husband i.e. accused no.1

used to beat her and other accused gave

illtreatment and harassment to her. He further

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stated that, he wanted to take Phulwantabai to his

house for festival of Panchami, however she was

not sent by the accused. On the occasion of

Rakhipournima his son Raosaheb went to the house

of the accused and persuaded to sent Phulwantabai

to his house and thereafter after four days he

received information about death of Phulwantabai.

Then he went to Police Station, lodged the first

information report and then he went to village

Shemboli. He noticed the injuries on both legs and

hands of Phulwantabai. He took dead body to his

village and the same was cremated on the next day.

None of the accused attended the cremation.

During his cross-examination, he admitted

that, accused no.2 – Gayabai and accused no.4

Ambubai are the sisters of accused no.1. Accused

no.2 – Gayabai is widow and is residing at

Pawadewadi. He further stated that, accused no.4 –

Ambubai was married with a person from village

Dhotra, Tq. Purna and after marriage she begotten

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children. He also admitted that, accused no.3-

Satwabai owned the agricultural land and was

earning through the said agricultural cultivation

for livelihood. It appears that, the grievance

against accused no.3 was that, she used to ask to

do household work as well as the agricultural work

in the fields. He specifically admitted that,

before death, Phulwantabai was residing with him

for a period of six to seven months. He further

stated that, persons namely Ramji Vithal Govande,

Mahadu Laxman Govande, Mahadu Bhajoji Suryatale

and Tukaram Mahadu had come to his house. He had

talk with them. They assured him that,

Phulwantabai would not be asked to do the labour

work in the fields. Thereafter, Phulwantabai was

sent for cohabitation with them. Thereafter he

went to the house of the accused once or twice. He

after talking to his daughter returned to his

house. He further stated that, Phulwantabai

cohabited for four years with accused no.1. Since

his financial position is sound and Phulwantabai

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being the only daughter, he provided all things as

per his capacity before her demand. He paid

Rs.15,000/-, fan, cot and ring to accused no.1 on

his own. On the occasion of marriage of brother of

Phulwantabai accused no. 1 offered clothes to him

and after marriage accused no.1 left the place of

marriage with Phulwantabai. He stated that, though

accused no.1 was jobless at the relevant time, he

decided to fix the marital ties of Phulwantabai

with accused no.1. He did not ask about her wish.

She stated her wish voluntarily. The suggestion

was also given that, Phulwantabai wanted to reside

at Nanded, however, he denied the said suggestion.

He stated before the Court that, accused no.1 was

not present at Shemboli, however, the said fact

was told by him to the Police while lodging the

first information report. He further stated that,

the marriage of Phulwantabai was arranged with

accused no.1 after her consent. She was never

unhappy with accused no.1. He stated that, even

though on many occasions, he asked her not to go

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with accused no.1, she used to go with him no

sooner he used to come to fetch her. He stated

that, as Phulwantabai expired suddenly, he had to

lodge the report.

9. Thus, upon careful perusal of the

evidence of Tukaram (PW-3), it clearly emerges on

record that, prior to date of incident for six

months Phulwantabai stayed in his house, accused

persuaded him to send Phulwantabai to their house

and accordingly, she was sent to the house of the

accused. He also stated that, after one and half

year of marriage of accused no.1 with

Phulwantabai, they attended the marriage of his

son and also offered clothes to him and his

family. He used to visit the house of the accused.

Accused no.3 – Satwabai had sufficient source of

income. The accused also assured that,

Phulwantabai will not be sent for agricultural

work. On his own, he gave Rs.15,000/-, fan, cot

and household articles to Phulwantabai since she

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was his only daughter. The marriage of

Phulwantabai was arranged with accused no.1 after

her consent. She was never unhappy with accused

no.1. Even though on many occasions, PW-3 asked

her not to go with accused no.1, she used to go

with him no sooner he used to come to fetch her.

Therefore, aforementioned version from

the evidence of Tukaram (PW-3) that, Phulwantabai

was never unhappy with accused no.1 – Govardhan

and also other admissions given by him in his

evidence clearly show that, there was no

illtreatment or harassment as alleged and which

would attract ingredients of Section 498-A of the

I.P. Code.

10. The prosecution has examined Gandarbai

Tukaram Pohare (PW-4), who is mother of

Phulwantabai. It appears that, this witness has

improved the story regarding ill-treatment. She

deposed that, accused nos.2 and 3 used to ill-

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treat Phulwantabai as no child was begotten to

Phulwantabai. This is the improvements in her

evidence as PW-3 in his evidence did not state

about this fact. She in her evidence stated that,

accused no.1 had attended the marriage of Raosaheb

and Babasaheb solemnized after one year of the

marriage of Phulwantabai. At that time, accused

no.1 showed dis-pleasure as he was not presented

gold finger ring. She stated that, accused no.1

used to beat Phulwantabai for a TV-set and that,

once she had paid amount of Rs.5,000/- behind the

back of her husband to Phulwantabai. She also

stated that, the accused no.1 used to illtreat

Phulwantabai for bringing motor-cycle. All these

facts which are stated by PW-4 are by way of

omissions. The said facts have not been stated by

the PW-3 in his evidence.

However, in cross-examination, she has

admitted that, Phulwatabai was asked to stay with

him for six month. She also admitted in her cross-

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examination that, the amount of dowry of

Rs.15,000/-, cloths and other articles were given

to Phulwantabai happily. She also admitted that,

they did not wait for demand from the accused, and

before any demand from the accused, they provided

all aforementioned things. So also, when a

specific question was asked to PW-4 – Gandharbai

that, Phulwantabai was not in a position to

tolerate anything against her wish she kept mum

and did not answer the question. However, the

brothers of Phulwantabai, i.e. Raosaheb (PW-5) and

Babasaheb (PW-6) admitted that, Phulwantabai was

not in a position to tolerate anything against her

wish.

11. The prosecution has also examined

Raosaheb Tukaram Pohare (PW-5), the brother of

deceased Phulwantabai. He in his deposition stated

about the illtreatement meted out to Phulwantabai

at the hands of accused persons. He stated that,

for festivals Phulwantabai used to come to their

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house and used to tell about the illtreatment

occasionally. He stated that, in the marriage of

this witness and his brother, accused no.1 offered

clothes. He stated that, before six months of

incident, Phulwantabai resided with them in the

parents house.

However, in cross-examination, he

admitted that, he has only signed the report

without knowing the contents therein. He admitted

that, Phulwantabai was asked to stay at their

house by the parents and not that Phulwantabai

came voluntarily. He stated that, he did not state

while recording the statement by the police that,

accused used to demand motor cycle or TV set for

sending Phulwantabai, however, he did not state

the reason why the said fact is appearing in the

statement before police.

12. The prosecution has examined Babasaheb

Tukaram Pohare (PW-6), the brother of

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Phulwantabai. In his evidence, he stated that,

Phulwantabai was married with accused no.1. At the

time of marriage dowry of Rs.15,000/- and a gold

ring was given to accused no.1. After marriage

Phulwantabai went to cohabit with accused no.1 at

village Shemboli. He thereafter stated about the

illtreatment meted out by Phulwantabai and the

demands made by the accused persons. This witness

also improved the story of ill-treatment by

stating that, Phulwantabai was ill-treated as

there was no `Bolwan”, but his statement is silent

about it.

During his cross-examination, he stated

that, his parents brought Phulwantabai to stay

with them for a period of six months. He denied

that, before the demand of Phulwantabai they

provided her all articles. He admitted that, the

Bolwan was made by his parents. He admitted that,

as per the wish of his sister, her marriage was

solemnized with accused no.1. He admitted that,

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his sister was sensitive like him. The suggestion

was given to him that, he was deposing falsely

about demand of motor cycle, however, he denied

the said suggestion.

From perusal of the evidence of this

witness, it is clear that, he in his examination-

in-chief stated that, Phulwantabai was illtreated

as there was no `Bolwan’ however, in cross-

examination, he totally gave go by to the said

version stating that, Bolwan was made by his

parents. Thus, this admission disproved the story

of ill-treatment on the ground of Bolwan.

From perusal of the evidence of PW-3,

PW-4, PW-5 and PW-6, it is clear that, there are

several omissions and contradictions in their

evidence.

13. The prosecution examined Namdeo Sakharam

Pohare (PW-8), who in his evidence stated that,

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Phulwantabai was the daughter of his real brother.

She was married with accused no.1 on 1 st May, 1993.

At the time of marriage dowry of Rs.15,000/-, a

locket and clothes were offered to accused no.1.

Thereafter, he stated about the illtreatment which

has been meted out to Phulwantabai at the hands of

the accused. He stated that, accused no.1

prohibited Phulwantabai from coming to their

village. He also demanded motor cycle. Thereafter

he gave details of death of Phulwantabai and the

cremation. He also improved his evidence by

stating that, whenever, Phulwantabai came to their

village, she used to tell about the illtreatment

to her parents. However, it appears that, while

recording the police statement, he did not state

all these aspects. So also Vaijnath Gopalrao

Paralikar, Investigating Officer (PW-10) was

confronted with the said facts, he in his

deposition stated that, he did not state about

such facts as mentioned in examination-in-chief

while recording the statement.

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14. The prosecution examined Narayan Sambhaji

Sawant (PW-9), who in his deposition has improved

his statement, stating that, when he had gone to

fetch Phulwantabai, accused no.1 assaulted

Phulwantabai in his presence by a pipe. He was

demanding Hero Honda motor cycle. But in second

breath, he admitted that, Goverdhan did not

assault in his presence and he only saw the marks

of assault on the person of Phulawabai. So also

all these facts have not been appearing in the

evidence of PW-3, PW-4, PW-5 and also PW-7.

Therefore, this version of PW-9 is improved

version.

15. Upon considering the evidence of all the

prosecution witnesses in its entirety, the trial

Court found that, the same suffers from inherent

omissions, contradictions and improvements. There

is no evidence on record to show that,

Phulwantabai was subjected to illtreatment and

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harassment by the hands of the accused.

16. The prosecution has not brought on record

the cogent, convincing and sufficient evidence to

connect the accused with an alleged incident of

consuming poison by Phulwantabai. In absence of

any evidence brought on record that, the accused

in furtherance of their common intention subjected

Phulwantabai to cruelty and thereby abetted to

commit suicide and further caused dowry death, we

are unable to persuade ourself to cause

interference in the impugned judgment and order of

acquittal of the respondents.

17. The Hon’ble Supreme Court had occasion to

consider the scope and ambit of Section 304-B of

the I.P. Code in the case of Satvir Singh and

others vs. State of Punjab and another4. In Para 14

of the Judgment, it is held that :-

4 (2001) 8 S.C.C. 633

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“14. The essential components of Section
304-B are: (i) Death of a woman occurring
otherwise than under normal circumstances,
within 7 years of marriage. (ii) Soon
before her death she should have been
subjected to cruelty and harassment in
connection with any demand for dowry. When
the above ingredients are fulfilled, the
husband or his relative, who subjected her
to such cruelty or harassment, can be
presumed to be guilty of offence under
Section 304-B. To be within the province of
the first ingredient the provision
stipulates that “where the death of a woman
is caused by any burns or bodily injury or
occurs otherwise than under normal
circumstance”. It may appear that the
former limb which is described by the words
“death caused by burns or bodily injury” is
a redundance because such death would also
fall within the wider province of “death
caused otherwise than under normal
circumstances”. The former limb was
inserted for highlighting that by no means
death caused by burns or bodily injury
should be treated as falling outside the
ambit of the offence.”

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18. The Supreme Court in the case of Rajinder

Singh V/s State of Punjab (supra) while explaining

scope, ambit and purport of Section 304-B of I.P.

Code vis-a-vis Section 113-B of the Evidence Act

in para 23 held thus :-

“23. We endorse what has been said by these
two decisions. Days or months are not what is
to be seen. What must be borne in mind is
that the word “soon” does not mean
“immediate”. A fair and pragmatic
construction keeping in mind the great social
evil that has led to the enactment of Section
304B would make it clear that the expression
is a relative expression. Time lags may
differ from case to case. All that is
necessary is that the demand of dowry should
not be stale but should be the continuing
cause for the death of the married woman
under Section 304B.”

19. The Supreme Court, in recent Judgment in

the case of Heera Lal and another vs. State of

Rajasthan (Criminal Appeal No.790 of 2017) decided

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on 24th April, 2017, in Para 6 to 10 held thus:

“6. Having heard the learned

counsel appearing for the parties and

having gone through the evidence, we

are of the opinion that Section 113A of

the Indian Evidence Act requires three

ingredients to be satisfied before it

can be applied i.e. (i) that a woman

has committed suicide, (ii) such

suicide has been committed within a

period of seven years from the date of

her marriage and (iii) the husband or

his relatives who are charged had

subjected her to cruelty.

7. This Court in an illuminating

Judgment in Ramesh Kumar vs. State of

Chhattisgarh (2001) 9 SCC 618 has

stated the law as follows:-

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“This provision was introduced by the
Criminal Law (Second) Amendment Act, 1983
with effect from 26-12-1983 to meet a
social demand to resolve difficulty of
proof where helpless married women were
eliminated by being forced to commit
suicide by the husband or in-laws and
incriminating evidence was usually
available within the four corners of the
matrimonial home and hence was not
available to anyone outside the occupants
of the house. However, still it cannot be
lost sight of that the presumption is
intended to operate against the accused in
the field of criminal law. Before the
presumption may be raised, the foundation
thereof must exist. A bare reading of
Section 113-A shows that to attract
applicability of Section 113-A, it must be
shown that (i) the woman has committed
suicide, (ii) such suicide has been
committed within a period of seven years
from the date of her marriage, (iii) the
husband or his relatives, who are charged
had subjected her to cruelty. On existence
and availability of the abovesaid
circumstances, the Court may presume that
such suicide had been abetted by her
husband or by such relatives of her
husband. Parliament has chosen to sound a

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note of caution. Firstly, the presumption
is not mandatory; it is only permissive as
the employment of expression “may presume”
suggests. Secondly, the existence and
availability of the abovesaid three
circumstances shall not, like a formula,
enable the presumption being drawn; before
the presumption may be drawn the court
shall have to have regard to “all the other
circumstances of the case”. A consideration
of all the other circumstances of the case
may strengthen the presumption or may
dictate the conscience of the court to
abstain from drawing the presumption. The
expression – “the other circumstances of
the case” used in Section 113-A suggests
the need to reach a cause – and – effect.
Relationship between the cruelty and the
suicide for the purpose of raising a
presumption. Last but not the least, the
presumption is not an irrebuttable one. In
spite of a presumption having been raised
the evidence adduced in defence or the
facts and circumstances otherwise available
on record may destroy the presumption. The
phrase “may presume” used in Section 113-A
is defined in Section 4 of the Evidence
Act, which says – “Whenever it is provided
by this Act the court may presume a fact,
it may either regard such fact as proved,

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unless and until it is disproved, or may
call for proof of it.”

8. We find that having absolved the
appellants of the charge of cruelty, which
is the most basic ingredient for the
offence made out under Section 498A, the
third ingredient for application of Section
113A is missing, namely, that the relatives
i.e., the mother-in-law and father-in-law
who are charged under Section 306 had
subjected the victim to cruelty. No doubt,
in the facts of this case, it has been
concurrently found that the in-laws did
harass her, but harassment is something of
a lesser degree than cruelty. Also, we find
on the facts, taken as a whole, that
assuming the presumption under Section 113A
would apply, it has been fully rebutted,
for the reason that there is no link or
intention on the part of the in-laws to
assist the victim to commit suicide.

9. In the absence of this vital link, the
mere fact that there is a finding of
harassment would not lead to the conclusion
that there is “abetment of suicide”.

10. On the facts, therefore, we find,
especially in view of the fact that the

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appellants have been acquitted for the
crime under Section 498 A of the Code, that
abetment of suicide under Section 306 is
not made out.”

20. Therefore, in the light of discussion

hereinabove, we are of the opinion that, the

prosecution utterly failed to bring on record

sufficient, cogent and convincing evidence on

record and therefore, the trial Court has rightly

granted benefit of doubt in favour of the

respondents/accused. The Supreme Court in the case

of Muralidhar alias Gidda and another Vs. State of

Karnataka5 in para 12 held thus:-

12. The approach of the appellate
Court in the appeal against acquittal
has been dealt with by this Court in
Tulsiram Kanu Vs.State, AIR 1954 SC 1,
Madan Mohan Singh Vs. State of U.P., AIR
1954 SC 637, Atley Vs. State of U.P.,
AIR 1955 SC 807, Aher Raja Khima Vs.
State of Saurashtra, AIR 1956 SC 217,
Balbir Singh Vs. State of Punjab, AIR

5. 2014 [4] Mh.L.J.[Cri.] 353

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1957 SC 216, M.G.Agarwal Vs. State of
Maharashtra, AIR 1963 SC 200, Noor Khan
Vs. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1964 SC 286,
Khedu Mohton Vs. State of Bihar, [1970]
2 SCC 450, Shivaji Sahabrao Bobade Vs.
State of Maharashtra, [1973] 2 SCC 793,
Lekha Yadav Vs. State of Bihar, [1973] 2
SCC 424, Khem Karan Vs. State of U.P.,
[1974] 4 SCC 603, Bishan Singh Vs. State
of Punjab, [1974] 3 SCC 288, Umedbhai
Jadavbhai Vs. Sate of Gujarat, [1978] 1
SCC 228, K.Gopal Reddy Vs. State of
A.P., [1979] 1 SCC 355, Tota Singh Vs.
State of Punjab, [1987] 2 SCC 529, Ram
Kumar Vs. State of Haryana, 1995 Supp
[1] SCC 248, Madan Lal Vs. State of J
K, [1997] 7 SCC 677, Sambasivan Vs.
State of Kerala, [1998] 5 SCC 412,
Bhagwan Singh Vs. State of M.P. [2002] 4
SCC 85, Harijana Thirupala Vs. Public
Prosecutor, High Court of A.P., [2002] 6
SCC 470, C. Antony Vs. K.G.Raghavan
Nair, [2003] 1 SCC 1, State of Karnataka
Vs. K.Gopalakrishna, [2005] 9 SCC 291,
State of Goa Vs. Sanjay Thakran, [2007]
3 SCC 755 and Chandrappa Vs. State of
Karnataka, [2007] 4 SCC 415. It is not
necessary to deal with these cases
individually. Suffice it to say that
this Court has consistently held that in

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dealing with appeals against acquittal,
the appellate Court must bear in mind
the following: (i) There is presumption
of innocence in favour of an accused
person and such presumption is
strengthened by the order of acquittal
passed in his favour by the trial court,

(ii) The accused person is entitled to
the benefit of reasonable doubt when it
deals with the merit of the appeal
against acquittal, (iii) Though, the
powers of the appellate Court in
considering the appeals against

acquittal are as
extensive as its powers

in appeals against convictions but the
appellate Court is generally loath in
disturbing the finding of fact recorded
by the trial court. It is so because the
trial Court had an advantage of seeing
the demeanor of the witnesses. If the
trial court takes a reasonable view of
the facts of the case, interference by
the appellate Court with the judgment of
acquittal is not justified. Unless, the
conclusions reached by the trial court
are palpably wrong or based on erroneous
view of the law or if such conclusions
are allowed to stand, they are likely to
result in grave injustice, the
reluctance on the part of the appellate

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34

Court in interfering with such
conclusions is fully justified; and (iv)
Merely because the appellate Court on
re-appreciation and re-evaluation of the
evidence is inclined to take a different
view, interference with the judgment of
acquittal is not justified if the view

taken by the trial
Court is a possible

view. The evenly balanced views of the
evidence must not result in the
interference by the appellate Court in
the judgment of the trial Court.

[Underlines supplied]

21. In the result, the Appeal filed by the

State shall fail and accordingly, the same stands

dismissed. The bail bonds of the

respondents/accused, if any, shall stand

cancelled.

[S.M. GAVHANE, J.] [S.S. SHINDE, J.]

SGA

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