Pramod Kumar Verma vs The State Of Bihar on 6 September, 2017

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT PATNA

Criminal Appeal (SJ) No.164 of 2015
Arising Out of PS.Case No. -23 Year- 2009 Thana -CHAKAI District- JAMUI

Pramod Kumar Verma, S/o Tulsi Prasad Verma, Resident of Village-Manakola,
Police Station- Chakai, District Jamui.

…. …. Appellant/s
Versus
The State of Bihar …. …. Respondent/s
with

Criminal Appeal (SJ) No. 136 of 2015
Arising Out of PS.Case No. -23 Year- 2009 Thana -CHAKAI District- JAMUI

1. Tulsi Prasad Verma, Son of Topi Mahto.

2. Chunki Devi, Wife of Tulsi Prasad Verma.

3. Chhote Lal Verma, Son of Tulsi Prasad Verma.

All resident of village – Manakola, Police Station – Chakai, District – Jamui.

…. …. Appellant/s
Versus
The State of Bihar …. …. Respondent/s

Appearance:

(In CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015)
For the Appellant/s : Mr. Akhauri Kamal Kishore Sahay, Adv.

For the Respondent/s : Mr. Bipin Kumar, APP
(In CR. APP (SJ) No.136 of 2015)
For the Appellant/s : Mr. Akhauri Kamal Kishore Sahay, Adv.
For the Respondent/s : Mr. S.A. Ahmad, APP

CORAM: HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE ADITYA KUMAR TRIVEDI
ORAL JUDGMENT
Date: 06-09-2017

1. Criminal Appeal (SJ) No.164 of 2015 wherein

Pramod Kumar Verma is the appellant, Criminal Appeal (SJ) No.

136 of 2015 wherein Tulsi Prasad Verma, Chunki Devi, Chhote Lal

Verma are the appellants commonly originate against the

judgment of conviction dated 29.01.2015 and order of sentence

dated 30.01.2015 passed by Additional Sessions Judge, Jamui in

Sessions Trial no.334 of 2009, on account thereof, have been

heard together and are being decided by a common judgment.

2. All the appellants named above have been found

guilty for an offence punishable under Section 304B/34 of the IPC
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 2

and each one has been directed to undergo R.I. for ten years.

3. Jagdish Verma (PW.7) filed written report on

03.03.2009 disclosing therein that his daughter namely, Manju

Kumari (deceased) was married with Pramod Kumar Verma, son of

Tulsi Prasad Verma of village-Manakola on 28.04.2004 whereupon

came to her Sasural where she was staying. After sometime,

Pramod Kumar Verma, Tulsi Prasad Verma, Chunki Devi, Chhote

Lal Verma began to torture her for fulfillment of demand of cash

having made by the Pramod Kumar Verma. On being informed,

they rushed and tried to sort out a solution but, could not

materialized whereupon, panchayati was convened. They, (the

accused persons) have not conceded to accept the verdict of the

panchayati. During midst thereof, his daughter begotten a son

which is presently two and half years. About two months ago,

Pramod Kumar Verma demanded rupees fifty thousand on the

pretext that aforesaid amount was to be paid against appointment

as “Para Teacher” whereupon, he shown his inability on account

of indecency. However, he paid rupees five thousand in cash as

well as issued cheque appertaining to rupees five thousand in his

favour. On 01.03.2009 at about 07:00 PM his wife Tara Devi

dialed his daughter which was received by Pramod Kumar Verma.

On query, he said that today it would not be possible to have talk

with her daughter. She will be able to talk tomorrow. On

02.03.2009 at about 03:00 PM Pramod Kumar Verma dialed and

conveyed that condition of his daughter is serious and is admitted

at Jhajha Hospital. On this information, he rushed and reached at

the house of Pramod Kumar Verma on 02.03.2009 at about 07:00

PM where he found dead body of his daughter lying in the

courtyard. On query from the neighbours, he came to know that
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 3

accused Pramod Kumar Verma, Tulsi Prasad Verma, Chunki Devi,

Chhote Lal Verma assaulted her on the preceding night as well as

they caused murder to his daughter. It has also been disclosed

that she was pregnant of seven months. It has also been disclosed

that he had not approached the police due to night.

4. After registration of Chakai P.S. Case No.23/2009,

investigation commenced and concluded by way of submission of

charge sheet paving the way of trial which ultimately concluded by

way of recording conviction and sentence against the appellants,

subject matter of instant appeal.

5. Defence case, as is evident from mode of cross-

examination as well as statement recorded under Section 313 of

the Cr.P.C. is that of complete denial of the occurrence. It has also

been submitted that during course of pregnancy deceased had

sustained severe complications whereupon, was taken to the clinic

of Dr. Jaya Mitra, Jhajha and during course of treatment she died.

To substantiate the same, DW.1 Keshav Tanti has been examined

to exhibit the prescription as Ext.A.

6. Learned counsel for the appellants while assailing

the judgment of conviction and sentence has raised manifold

arguments. The first and foremost happens to be that conviction

and sentence recorded for under Section 304B of the IPC is not at

all found substantiated from the evidence adduced on behalf of

prosecution. To substantiate the same, it has been submitted that

from the written report as well as from the evidence of the

witnesses, it is apparent that marriage was solemnized in the year

2004 and since thereafter, though in vagueness there happens to

be an allegation to the effect that victim was tortured for
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 4

fulfillment of demand of dowry but, is not at all found

substantiated with any instance. That being so, it could be safely

interfered that there was no demand nay, torture on that very

pretext. Furthermore, it has also been submitted that right from

initial version of the prosecution, it is apparent that the cash

appertaining to rupees fifty thousand allegedly demanded by

appellant Pramod Kumar Verma was not in lieu of dowry nor it

should be as, the same was demanded for getting his appointment

as Para Teacher. That being so, the major ingredients for

constituting an offence under Section 304B of the IPC is not at all

found duly substantiated.

7. Furthermore, it has also been submitted that the

witnesses who have been examined in this case are the

Naiharwala of the deceased as their kith and kin only. Non of the

co-villagers of the appellants were examined during course of

investigation nor they have been cited as a charge sheet witness.

Furthermore, all of them happens to be hearsay in nature and so,

their evidences are inadmissible in the eye of law. That being so,

virtually it happens to be a case of no evidence.

8. It has further been submitted that PW.12, the

Investigating Officer had not found anything adverse during

course of inspection of the P.O. In likewise manner, it has also

been submitted that evidence of PW.9, the doctor who had

conducted postmortem also did not identify the culpability of the

appellants and the cumulative effect, as such it happens to be

nugatory steps are the end of the prosecution. So submitted that

the judgment of conviction and sentence recorded by the learned

lower court happens to be contrary to the spirit of law as well as
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 5

based upon wrong, flimsy grounds consequent thereupon, is fit to

be set aside.

9. In an alternative, it has also been submitted that the

demand was advanced at the end of Pramod Kumar Verma, the

son-in-law having no positive, concrete evidence against the

remaining appellants and that being so, appellants Tulsi Prasad

Verma, Chunki Devi, Chhote Lal Verma who are in-laws deserve

acquittal.

10. Controverting the submission having made on behalf

of appellants, it has been submitted on behalf of learned A.P.P.

that death of deceased at her Sasural within seven years of

marriage otherwise than normal circumstance is found duly

substantiated by the evidence of PW.9, the doctor along with other

witnesses. Furthermore, it has also been submitted that witnesses

have categorically stated with regard to activity of all the

appellants during intervening period, including demand as well as

torture meted out to the deceased and that had been properly

analyzed by the learned lower court while holding the appellants

guilty for an offence punishable under Section 304B/34 of the

IPC, therefore the judgment of conviction and sentenced recorded

by the learned lower court did not attract interference.

11. In order to substantiate its case prosecution had

examined altogether twelve PWs, namely, PW.1 Ram Das Ram,

PW.2 Ganesh Verma, PW.3 Karman Verma, PW.4 Tara Devi, PW.5

Kaleshwar Prasad Verma, PW.6 Suresh Prasad Verma, PW.7

Jagdish Verma, PW.8 Sheo Shankar Prasad Verma, PW.9 Dr.

Arun Kumar Singh, PW.10 Kamleshwari Yadav, PW.11 Ratan

Kumar Verma and PW.12 Arjun Ram. Side by side had also
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 6

exhibited, Written Report-Ext.1, Inquest Report-Ext.2, Postmortem

Report-Ext.3, Formal FIR-Ext.4, Cheque dated 12.12.2008 as

Ext.5 and the receipt having made by appellant Pramod Kumar

Verma as Ext.5/1. In likewise manner, defence had also examined

one DW.1 Keshav Tanti had exhibited prescription allegedly issued

by Dr. Jaya Mitra as Ext.A.

12. PW.9 had conducted postmortem over the dead body

of Manju Kumari on 03.03.2009 at about 02:15 PM and found the

following:

Rigor Morit was present in four limbs.

External examination:

(I) White froth coming out from left nostril while
blood as well as froth coming out from right
nostril.

(II) Swelling 3″x2″ with bruised area over left side of
face in front of left ear.

(III) Left eye mild congested.

                         (IV)    Left side of face congested.

(V) Abdomen protuberant.

On dissection- Abdominal distension due to

enlarged uterus about 28.30 week size. Fundua
of uterus and posterior surface of uterus
congested, on opening uterine cavity a female
dead fetus of 28-30 week size taken out.
Placenta attached with uterine well. Dark blood
clot over posterior wall of placenta behind uterus
in small amount. No haemoparitoneumia urinary
bladder full.

Both lungs congested. No Haemothorax. Lumen
of trachea containing blood tinged froth. Right
chambers of heard full of dark blood, left
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 7

chambers of heart empty.

No blood clots underneath the swelling over left
side of face in front of left ear.

No any other internal or external injury found.

All the above injuries were ante-mortem caused
by closing mouth and nostrils at a time for
sometime by some soft substance may be by
pillow. Since injury till death within 3-4 minutes.
In the opinion of the doctor death was due to
asphyxia by closing the mouth and nostril at a
time. Time elapsed since death 12 to 18 hours.

13. During cross-examination, it is evident that the

finding recorded by this PW had not been directly challenged at

the end of the appellant save and except proper identification of its

physiology and that happens to be reason behind, in para-6 he

had stated that asphyxia is a physiological phenomena occurring

in any human body due to lack of oxygenate in lungs arbula and

suffocation i.e. environmental phenomena in lack of oxygen in

external side. He had further stated that the froth comes out after

passing 3 to 4 mints of asphyxia. He had further stated that in

case of homicidal asphyxia by pressing the mouth and nostrils

there would be sign of eyes open, eye balls congested, face

congested and forth and forth blood clots which he mentioned in

the postmortem report. That being so, death of deceased Manju

otherwise than normal phenomenon is found duly substantiated

by the PW.9, doctor along with the fact that she was pregnant at

the time of her death. Now the evidence of remaining witnesses

have to be seen in order to adjudge finding recorded by the

learned lower court.

14. PW.1 had stated that deceased Manju Devi was
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 8

daughter of Jagdish Verma. This case has been instituted by

Jagdish Verma against Tulsi Prasad Verma, Chunki Devi, Chhote

Lal Verma. Manju Devi was married with Pramod Kumar Verma

about six years ago (on the day of his evidence) according to

Hindu rites and customs. After marriage, she began to reside at

her Sasural. After stay for sometime at her Sasural, she was

treated with cruelty at the ends of accused persons for

procurement of dowry and for that, she was even manhandled as

well as abused at due interval. Accused persons were demanding

rupees fifty thousand. Accused Pramod Kumar Verma even

advanced his demand from his father-in-law as well as mother-in-

law for payment of rupees fifty thousand to get himself employed

as Para Teacher. Jagdish had informed Pramod Kumar Verma

that he is unable to provide aforesaid amount even then, had paid

five thousand in cash as well as cheque appertaining to rupees

five thousand which he got encashed. On 01.03.2009, Tara Devi

had dialed to Manju Devi which was received by Pramod Kumar

Verma. He disclosed that Manju Devi is ill and is admitted at

Jhajha Hospital so, talk would not materialized. Tomorrow, he will

manage the same. On 02.03.2009 at about 03:00 PM Pramod

Kumar Verma had informed Jagdish Verma, his father-in-law that

Manju Devi is ill and is admitted at Hospital whereupon Jagdish

Verma and Suresh Verma rushed over motorcycle. During midst

of way, Pramod Kumar Verma again dialed and informed that

Manju Devi is now no more. Tara Devi had informed him with

regard to aforesaid event whereupon he along with Tara Devi,

Ganesh Prasad, Rohit Sah proceeded on motorcycle. They reached

at the house of accused in the night and found dead body of

Manju Devi having over cot in the courtyard. None were present.
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 9

From villagers they came to know that Pramod Kumar Verma,

Tulsi Prasad Verma, Chunki Devi, Chhote Lal Verma have

assaulted as a result of which she died. In torch light they have

had seen froth coming out from nostril, they have also seen blood

over her face as a result of which, they inferred that Manju Devi

has been murdered. Deceased was pregnant at that very time.

During cross-examination at para-3 he had stated that marriage

was solemnized about six years ago. Deceased had begotten a son

which is presently aged about two and half years. That child is

living with his father. In para-4 he had stated that he came to

know with regard to occurrence from the wife of informant. He had

further stated that Pramod Kumar Verma had informed regarding

the death. He had also informed regarding ailment of the

deceased. He had further stated that he is unable to disclose

names of the co-villagers of the Pramod Kumar Verma who had

disclosed regarding assault over the deceased. He had found blood

clot over one eye of the deceased. There was no injury over her

neck. He is not remembering whether he had seen the blood clot

over left eye or right eye. He had seen blood at the temporal

region. He had also seen the scare mark which was 2"-3" long over

temporal region. They have seen the dead body in torch light

which was not presented before the Investigating Officer. He had

denied the suggestion that Manju was ailing since before and on

account thereof she died. Court had also questioned him

whereupon he had stated that he had visited place of Manju Devi

after marriage twice or thrice. After the birth of son he had gone

there. At that very time, Manju Devi had not disclosed regarding

demand of dowry. Budhan Mahto was middle man during course

of negotiation. At the time of finalization of negotiation, he was
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 10

one of the participants. Rupees sixty five thousand, utensils, wrist

watch, ring, cloth were to be given which, the informant had

already given. There was nothing due. Then thereafter, he came to

know that deceased was being tortured over procurement of cash.

15. PW.2 had deposed that deceased happens to be his

niece who was married with Pramod Kumar Verma on 28.01.2004.

After marriage, she gone to her Sasural where, she began to reside

with her husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law, Debar. After

spending sometime, her Sasuralwala began to torture her for

procurement of rupees fifty thousand in lieu of dowry. Aforesaid

demand was made for getting Pramod Kumar Verma employed as

"Para Teacher". Even though they were suffering from financial

crunch, gave rupees five thousand in cash as well as cheque of

rupees five thousand to Pramod Kumar Verma. Even then, the

lust of Pramod Kumar Verma was not satisfied. He continued with

demand. Lastly, a panchayati was convened which also failed. On

01.03.2009 at about 07:00 PM his Bhabhi, Tara Devi dialed to

Manju which was received by Pramod. He disclosed that

conversation with Manju Devi is not possible. On 02.03.2009

Pramod Kumar Verma dialled and informed his brother, informant

that condition of Manju Devi is not well as such she has been

admitted at Jhajha Hospital. Getting such information, his brother

Jagdish Verma proceeded on motorcycle along with Suresh

Prasad. Then thereafter, Pramod Kumar Verma again informed

that Manju Devi has died whereupon, he along with Tara Devi,

Ram Das Ram, Karman Verma, Mahendra Prasad, Rohit Sah, Nem

Chandrapuri gone to the place of Manju Devi where they saw dead

body of Manju Devi kept over cot in courtyard. They have also

seen blood clot over her nose as well as both ears. They have also
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 11

seen some mark over left temporal reason, left eyebrow. After close

inspection of face of deceased, they have also found her nose

pressed. At that very time, she was pregnant of seven months. On

query, the neighbours disclosed that Pramod Kumar Verma, Tulsi

Prasad Verma, Chunki Devi, Chhote Lal Verma had assaulted

Manju Devi as a result of which she died. Police came, prepared

inquest report in his presence over which he signed (exhibited).

Then had stated that accused persons have committed murder of

Manju Devi out of greed for money. During cross-examination, he

had stated that Hem Lal Mahto and Budhan Mahto were the

middleman during course of negotiation of marriage. He is not

remembering the exact time of negotiation as well as finalization.

He is simply knowing that the demand which were paid by the

other side have already been falsified. After marriage, deceased

had gone to her Sasural. After staying one day, she came back

and then, staying for a day, she again returned back to her

Sasural. At that very time there was no compliant at the end of

deceased. In para-6, he had stated that Manju Devi begotten a son

after one year of marriage. Till then, Manju Devi was enjoying her

stay at Sasural in good condition. In para-8, he had stated that

his brother had gone to see his daughter and at that very time, he

took away gift items, sweets etc. He had stated that he is unable

to disclose exact date on which cash appertaining to rupees five

thousand was paid to the Pramod Kumar Verma and in likewise

manner cheque issued in his name. In para-10, he had stated that

he is unable to disclose the exact date of panchayati. In para-11,

he had narrated that his Bhabhi Tara Devi had disclosed with

regard to her conversation with Pramod Kumar on 01.03.2009.

Pramod Kumar had disclosed with regard to ailment of Manju as
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 12

well as she was suffering from vomiting. In para-12 he had stated

that he had seen blood clot over ear as well as nose of Manju. He

had not seen cut mark over eyebrow. He had seen her nose was

pressed. He had not seen any visible sign over her nose. In para-

13, he had stated that he is unable to disclose names of different

persons who had disclosed regarding assault over Manju Devi by

her Sasuralwala. He had further stated that in para-14 that they

arrived at the place of Manju Devi at about 09:00 PM. In para-15,

he had stated that he had not called Chowkidar and in likewise

manner Mukhiya as well as Surpanch. Thana lies at a distance of

2-3 KM. They have gone to the place of Manju on motorcycle. They

have not gone to Police Station in the night. He is unable to say

the exact time whereunder one could arrive at Chakai P.S. from

the place of occurrence. In para-16, he stated that on following

day, they have gone to Police Station. When police took away the

dead body, then thereafter he left place of Manu Devi. Police had

arrived at about 7-8 AM and stayed for an hour. Police was

informed by his brother. His brother had recorded his fardbeyan.

He had denied the suggestion that his niece was ill and was

properly treated, and during course of treatment she died. He had

also denied the suggestion that he falsely deposed.

16. PW.3 Karman Verma had deposed that this case has

been instituted by Jagdish Prasad Verma against accused Pramod

Kumar Verma, Tulsi Prasad Verma, Chunki Devi, Chhote Lal

Verma. Deceased Manju Devi was daughter of Jagdish Prasad

Verma who was married with Pramod Kumar Verma on

28.04.2004. Pramod Kumar Verma is resident of Mankola. Few

months after the marriage they began to torture deceased Manju

Devi for procurement of rupees fifty thousand from her father.
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 13

Manju Devi informed her parents. Parents of Manju Devi had

informed him whereupon they have gone to Mukhiya Kauleshwar

Verma. Mukhiya of Chakai had also arrived and then, they have

convened panchayati but, accused persons avoid the same. Manju

Devi had begotten a son who is presently aged about four years.

He had further stated that accused persons committed murder of

Manju Devi at Mankola itself. Pramod Kumar Verma had informed

over mobile over which he along with his sister Tara Devi, Ramdeo

Ram, Ganesh Verma have gone while Jagdish had gone earlier to

them. When they reached at the place of accused, they found dead

body of Manju Devi. They have seen blood coming out from nose.

They have also seen scratch mark at different parts of body.

During cross-examination, he had admitted that he happens to be

maternal uncle of deceased Manju Devi. He had further stated

that his father is alive but is an old. He had further stated that he

had participated during course of marriage of Manju Devi. He had

further stated that whatever been finalized during course of

negotiation, same was paid. Nothing due remained. In para-5, he

had stated that he had not gone to the place of Manju Devi. He

had further stated that the son of Manju Devi is residing along

with his father. In para-6, he had stated that he is unable to

disclose date of torture having meted out to Manju. He had further

stated that no Sanha was lodged relating to torture. He had

further stated that rupees fifty thousand was demanded two

months prior to death of Manju. He had further stated that one

Sanha was instituted thereafter. In para-7, he had stated that he

is unable to disclose the date of panchayati. He had further stated

that he is unaware with regard to cause of death of Manju Devi.

He had further stated that Pramod Kumar Verma had informed
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 14

regarding ailment of Manju Devi as well as having been admitted

at Jhajha Hospital. He had further stated that Pramod Kumar

Verma had informed his brother-in-law Jagdish with regard to

death of Manju. He had not seen blood over the earth beneath the

cot over which dead body of Manju was kept. Blood was over the

bed. In para-8, he had further stated that police had come on the

following day at about 8-10 AM. Police had seen bloodstain over

bed as well as blouse. He had further stated that police had taken

away the bed along with dead body. He further stated that he had

not seen cut mark over the dead body of Manju. He had further

stated that he had not gone along with police to P.S. After

departure of the dead body, he returned back. In para-9, he had

deposed that police had recorded his statement on the following

day itself. He had further narrated that he had stated before the

police that Pramod Kumar Verma had informed regarding death of

Manju Devi over mobile of Jagdish Prasad. In para-9, he had

denied the suggestion that Manju Devi was suffering from some

sort of ailment since before as a result of which she died.

17. PW.4 is the mother of victim. She had deposed that

Manju was married with Pramod Kumar Verma on 28.04.2004.

Pramod Kumar Verma is resident of Manakola. After marriage

Manju began to reside at her Sasural where, after sometime,

husband Pramod Kumar Verma, father-in-law Tulsi Verma,

brother-in-law (Debar) Chhote Lal and mother-in-law Chunki Devi

began to abuse as well as assault. They were demanding

motorcycle as well as rupees fifty thousand and for that her

daughter was being coerced. As the aforesaid demand was not

fulfilled on account thereof, she was being tortured. Then had

deposed that Pramod Kumar Verma came to her place about two
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 15

months ago from the date of occurrence and demanded rupees

fifty thousand so that he be able to get appointed under Para

Teacher. Her husband Pramod Kumar Verma had given rupees

five thousand in cash as well as one cheque appertaining to

rupees five thousand of Gramin Bank. Then had stated that she

had dialed on 02-03-Fagun to her daughter which was received by

Pramod Kumar Verma. She requested him to facilitate talk with

her daughter over which Pramod Kumar Verma had disclosed that

it is not possible today. Tomorrow she will be able to talk with her.

After sometime, Pramod Kumar Verma had informed her husband

requesting him to come hurriedly as Manju was admitted at

Jhajha Hospital over which her husband and Suresh Verma her

debar proceeded therefrom to Manakola. She dialed to Chhote Lal

whereupon she was informed by him that Manju is all right. After

two hour, when she again dialed Chhote Lal, he informed that

Manju died. Her husband had also informed her regarding death

of Manju Devi. She, after getting information regarding death of

her daughter gone to her place. They have seen dead body of

Manju lying over cot in courtyard. They have seen the dead body.

They have found some mark over her face whereupon they

informed that her Sasuralwala had caused her murder on account

of non-fulfillment of demand of dowry. During cross-examination

at para-4 she had stated that she happens to be illiterate having

no knowledge regarding English calendar. At para-5 she had

stated that whatever they undertook to give at the time of

negotiation, they have given and in the aforesaid background,

marriage was solemnized in pleasant atmosphere. After vidai,

Manju Devi gone to her Sasural and began to reside there. Out of

aforesaid marriage, she begotten a son who, presently is residing
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 16

with his father. In para-6 she had stated that she is unable to say

the exact date on which demand was made and the successive

dates over which she (deceased) was tortured. She had further

stated that no Sanha was lodged with regard to demand. She had

further disclosed that she never visited to the place of Manju

before her death. In para-7 she had deposed that she is unable to

say the exact date on which her husband had paid rupees five

thousand in cash as well as issued cheque in his favoured. She

had further stated that her husband had paid the amount after

borrowing from his brother Nakul and Ganesh. She came to know

after having disclosed by her husband. She had further stated

that her son-in-law happens to be compounder and earns Rs.10-

20 per day. In para-9 she had stated that Pramod Kumar Verma

had informed regarding ailment of Manju on phone. In para-10

she had stated that when she reached at the place of occurrence,

police was not there. Her husband was there. Dead body of Manju

was covered. Burned incense was there. Blood was not oozing out

from the injuries. In para-11 she had said that she had not

informed the police in the night though they have gone over

motorcycle. In para-12 she had stated that on the following day,

her husband had gone to police station where he gave fardbeyan.

Police also inquired from her. She had made her statement.

18. PW.5, Kaleshwar Prasad Verma, who happens to be

co-villager of the appellant. He had deposed that Manju Devi

daughter of Jagdish Verma was married with Pramod Kumar

Verma about four years ago. She died at her Sasural. How she

died, he is unable to say. There was cordial relation amongst the

spouse. During cross-examination he had stated that he used to

reside at Chakai chowk since 1999. He had further stated that he
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 17

had not convened panchayati at the instance of Jagdish Verma.

19. PW.6 had stated that Manju Devi daughter of

Jagdish Prasad Verma was married with Pramod Kumar Verma on

28.04.2004. After marriage, she had gone to Sasural and began to

reside. During course of her stay, her Sasuralwala began to

advanced demand of rupees fifty thousand on the pretext of

getting employment under Education Department. Father of

Manju had given cash appertaining to rupees five thouand as well

as cheque of rupees five thousand but, as the demand was not

satisfied by such offer on account thereof, she was subjected to

torture as well as harassment. He had further stated that he is

unable to say how Manju Devi had died. But she died at her

Sasural. He had also accompanied Jagdish Verma to the place of

Manju after coming to know to about her death. During cross-

examination, he had stated that he happens to be neighbour of

Jagdish Verma. He had not gone to the Sasural of Manju at an

earlier occasion. He had further stated that he had got no

information with regard to terms and condition of the negotiation

of marriage. Manju had begotten a son which is residing with his

father. The payment of rupees five thousand, issuance of cheque

of rupees five thousand, demand of rupees fifty thousand and

torture, harassment having inflicted upon deceased was disclosed

by Jagdish Prasad Verma. In para-7 he had disclosed that he had

gone to Manatola over motorcycle. They reached at Manatola

about 6-7 PM, but could not go to police station at that moment.

On the following day, at about 6-7 AM they have gone to police

station where informant Jagdish Verma gave his fardbeyan over

which, he put his signature. Then, thereafter, he returned back to

his house. On court question he had stated that he had not talked
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 18

with any co-villager. Jagdish Verma had talked but he is unable to

disclose their names. They remained at the Sasural of Manju

whole night. At that very time Pramod Kumar Verma, Chhote Lal

Verma and Tunki Devi were present. They have seen dead body of

Manju Devi which was kept over cot in a courtyard. Her dead body

was covered. He had seen blood clot over her nose as well as ear.

He had also seen mark of injury over her left temporal region. The

members of the house were weeping.

20. PW.7 is Jagdish Verma, informant himself, who had

stated that deceased was his daughter who was married with

Pramod Kumar Verma son of Tulsi Verma on 28.04.2004. After

marriage Manju had gone to her Sasural where she began to

reside. After sometime she was being harassed at the end of

Pramod Kumar Verma, Tulsi Prasad, Tunki Devi and Chhote Lal

for dowry. They were demanding cash in lieu thereof. After having

informed, he along with Ram Das came at the Sasural of his

daughter and then convened a panchayati wherein mukhiya

Kaleshwar had presided. Accused persons did not obey the dictum

of the panchayati. They were demanding rupees fifty thousand for

getting employment as Para Teacher. He flatly refused on account

of financial crunch however, paid rupees five thousand in cash as

well as issued cheque of rupees five thousand to Pramod Kumar

Verma on 12.02.2008. His daughter begotten a son who was two

and half years at the time of occurrence. His daughter was

pregnant of seven months. On 01.03.2009 his wife Tara Devi

dialed Manju Devi to talk which was received by Pramod Kumar

Verma. Pramod had disclosed that today it is not possible

however, it will be facilitated tomorrow. On 02.03.2009 at about

03:00 PM Pramod informed him to come as Manju is ill and is
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 19

admitted at Jhajha Hospital. Accordingly, he along with Suresh

Prasad proceeded over motorcycle. When they reached at the place

of Pramod found dead body of Manju in the courtyard of house.

He conversed with the villagers and during course thereof, came to

know that in the preceding night her husband, father-in-law,

mother-in-law and brother-in-law (Debar) assaulted her as a

result of which she died. Blood was coming from her nostril, left

ear. There was sign of injury over her left eyebrow. On 03.03.2009

he had tendered written report before the Officer-in-charge

(exhibited). Police came and prepared inquest report (exhibited).

Police took his further statement. Identified the accused. During

cross-examination at para-6, he had stated that Sasural of Manju

Devi lies 70-80 K.M. from his village. He had further stated that

they have not gone to Jhajha. They directly gone to Manatola.

They have gone inside house where found dead body over cot in a

courtyard. None of the family members were indulged in ritual.

None were present. Even after their arrival, none of the co-villager

came, dead body was covered with a cloth. They have not changed

the position of the dead body. There was no bloodstain over the

cloth by which dead body was covered. After sometime, the

neighbours came but he is unable to disclose their names. They

remained whole night. They have not gone to P.S. in the night. In

para-6 he had further stated that on 02.03.2009 Pramod Kumar

Verma had informed regarding ailment of Manju. He had also

informed that she was admitted at Jhajha. In para-7 he had

deposed that he was also interested in getting his son-in-law

appointed and for that, he had contributed the amount. In para-8

he had said that marriage was solemnized under congenial

atmosphere. Deceased had gone to her Sasural. Deceased visited
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 20

his place at different occasions. She had also begotten a son after

two years of marriage. At that very time he had gone there with

gift. No case was instituted at an earlier occasion though

panchayati was convened. In para-9 he had denied the suggestion

that as he had demanded the money from Sasuralwala of Manju

after her death which they refused on account thereof, instant

case has been filed.

21. PW.8, Sheo Shankar Prasad Verma is co-villager of

the appellant who had deposed that Manju Devi was married with

Pramod Kumar Verma about four years ago. She had begotten a

child. Manju is dead. She died at her Sasural. At the time of

occurrence she was pregnant of seven months. He had further

stated that on the alleged date of occurrence she had gone outside

to meet natures call and during course thereof, she developed

some sort of fear psychosis as a result of which, she suffered from

mysterious disease and for that, she was taken to Jhajha. Doctor

had referred to Patna and during midst thereof, she died. Then

thereafter, he was declared hostile. In usual course, during cross-

examination he had supported the case of the defence, that she

was being kept in good condition at her Sasural. There was no

demand.

22. PW.10 is a formal witness who had exhibited the

endorsement over the written report as well as formal FIR. PW.11

is also a formal witness who had exhibited the cheque issued but

informant in favour of appellant Pramod, as well as its receipt

having tendered by the Bank relating to its encashment.

23. PW.12 is the Investigating Officer. He had deposed

that after registration of the case, Officer-in-charge had entrusted
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 21

him with the investigation and during course thereof, he took

further statement of the informant, statement of witnesses,

prepared inquest report and sent the dead body for postmortem.

He had inspected the place of occurrence which happens to be

house of accused persons and then had detailed the topography

of the P.O. including location of the dead body having kept in the

courtyard over a cot. Further disclosed boundary of the aforesaid

house. Recorded statement of the witnesses. Arrested Pramod

Kumar Verma. Procured postmortem report and then, submitted

charge sheet. During cross-examination at para-4 he had stated

that on cursory perusal of the dead body, he found pregnancy but,

he had not mentioned the same in the inquest report. In para-5,

he had stated that he had received postmortem report on

24.03.2009. He had not requested the doctor to transmit the same

at an earliest. He had further stated that he had not gone through

the postmortem report. In para-6, he had stated that he had not

found any kind of objectionable item at the place of occurrence.

He had further stated that he had not gone to the Branch

Manager of Udnawah Gramin Bank nor he took his statement. He

had further stated that he had not inquired over treatment having

provided to the deceased at Jhajha. He had further stated that at

the time of inspection of the P.O., villagers have assembled but he

had not taken statement of any of them. He had further stated

that he had not investigated whether Pramod Kumar Verma was

one of the candidate of Para Teacher or not. He had further stated

that he had not obtained call details.

24. From the evidence as available on the record, it is

evident that deceased was done to death otherwise than normal

circumstance at her Sasural and the finding of PW.9 doctor
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 22

substantiated the same. It also goes out of controversy that

deceased was done to death within seven years of her marriage.

With regard to demand of dowry and torture, it is evident that just

two months prior to the death of occurrence father of deceased

had given cash as well as cheque and the said cheque has been

brought up on record by PW.11 having been encashed by the

appellant Pramod. Furthermore, there happens to be no denial at

the end of appellants on that very score nor there happens to be

any kind of explanation to suggest that aforesaid cheque was

issued against some other activity and not to satisfy the demand.

Now, the question remains whether that demand will constitute

dowry, and in likewise manner, subsequent event of torture.

25. In Bachni Devi Anr. v. State of Haryana

through Secretary, Home Department reported in AIR 2011 SC

1098 wherein similar question was raised the Apex Court had

decided the issue explaining Appasaheb case reported in AIR

2007 SC 763 in the following terms:

"16. While dealing with the term 'dowry' in Section
304B IPC, this Court in the case of Kamesh Panjiyar
alias Kamlesh Panjiyar v. State of Bihar (2005) 2 SCC
388 held as under :

"14. The word "dowry" in Section 304-B IPC has to
be understood as it is defined in Section 2 of the
Dowry Act. Thus, there are three occasions related to
dowry. One is before the marriage, second is at the
time of marriage and the third "at any time" after the
marriage. The third occasion may appear to be
unending period. But the crucial words are "in
connection with the marriage of the said parties". As
was observed in the said case "suicidal death" of a
married woman within seven years of her marriage is
covered by the expression "death of a woman is
caused ... or occurs otherwise than under normal
circumstances" as expressed in Section 304-B IPC."

"17. Learned counsel for the appellants heavily
relied upon the following observations made by this
Court in the case of Appasaheb (AIR 2007 SC 763):

"A demand for money on account of some financial
stringency or for meeting some urgent domestic
expenses or for purchasing manure cannot be termed
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 23

as a demand for dowry as the said word is normally
understood."

The above observations of this Court must be
understood in the context of the case. That was a case
wherein the prosecution evidence did not show 'any
demand for dowry' as defined in Section 2 of the 1961
Act. The allegation to the effect that the deceased was
asked to bring money for domestic expenses and for
purchasing manure in the facts of the case was not
found sufficient to be covered by the 'demand for
dowry'. Appasaheb (AIR 2007 SC 763) cannot be read
to be laying down an absolute proposition that a
demand for money or some property or valuable
security on account of some business or financial
requirement could not be termed as 'demand for
dowry'. It was in the facts of the case that it was held
so. If a demand for property or valuable security,
directly or indirectly, has a nexus with marriage, in
our opinion, such demand would constitute 'demand
for dowry'; the cause or reason for such demand being
immaterial."

26. In Maya Devi and another v. State of Haryana

reported in 2016 Cr.L.J. 629, the desirability of Section 304B as

well as implication of Section 113B of the Evidence Act has been

properly explained and concluded as follows:

"21. Section 304B IPC does not categorize death as
homicidal or suicidal or accidental. This is because
death caused by burns can, in a given case, be
homicidal or suicidal or accidental. Similarly, death
caused by bodily injury can, in a given case, be
homicidal or suicidal or accidental. Finally, any death
occurring "otherwise than under normal
circumstances" can, in a given case, be homicidal or
suicidal or accidental. Therefore, if all the other
ingredients of Section 304B IPC are fulfilled, any death
(homicidal or suicidal or accidental) whether caused by
burns or by bodily injury or occurring otherwise than
under normal circumstances shall, as per the
legislative mandate, be called a "dowry death" and the
woman's husband or his relative "shall be deemed to
have caused her death". The section clearly specifies
what constitutes the offence of dowry death and also
identifies the single offender or multiple offenders who
has or have caused the dowry death.

22. The key words under Section 113B of the
Evidence Act, 1872 are "shall presume" leaving no
option with a court but to presume an accused
brought before it of causing a dowry death guilty of
the offence. However, the redeeming factor of this
provision is that the presumption is rebuttable.

Section 113B of the Act enables an accused to prove
his innocence and places a reverse onus of proof on
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 24

him or her. In the case on hand, accused persons
failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the
deceased died a natural death. When Kavita allegedly
committed suicide, her husband-appellant No.2,
though he was not present in the house, was present
in his office at M.D. University, Rohtak at the relevant
time but he did not make any sincere effort to take
her to the hospital which was very near to the place of
the incident. Similarly, appellant No. 2 got the
deceased examined by DW-2 in order to create an
impression that she was struggling with chronic
depression but the truth floated upon the surface
when the deceased reveals that the accused persons
were maltreating her and she had started picking up
the ideas of suicide. Lastly, appellant No. 2 falsely
informed the court that having learnt about the death
of his wife Kavita, he left for Delhi to inform her family
members. In fact, the accused never went to Delhi
and the complainant received a telephonic message
from an unknown person regarding the death of his
daughter. So far as Maya Devi-appellant No. 1 herein
is concerned, there is no denying the fact that she was
working as a teacher in a government school and she
was not present at the relevant time at the place of
incident but it is very much clear from the evidence
on record that both the accused persons had a
dominating role in the entire episode and she had
always accompanied her son-appellant No. 2 herein to
the house of the complainant (PW-3) for the dowry
demands. The presumption under Section 113B of the
Act is mandatory may be contrasted with Section
113A of the Act which was introduced
contemporaneously. Section 113A of the Act, dealing
with abetment of suicide, uses the expression "may
presume". This being the position, a two-stage process
is required to be followed in respect of an offence
punishable under Section 304-B IPC: it is necessary
to first ascertain whether the ingredients of the
Section have been made out against the accused; if
the ingredients are made out, then the accused is
deemed to have caused the death of the woman but is
entitled to rebut the statutory presumption of having
caused a dowry death. From the evidence on record,
we are of the opinion that in the present case Kavita
died an unnatural death by committing suicide as she
was subjected to cruelty/harassment by her husband
and in-laws in connection with the demand for dowry
which started from the time of her marriage and
continued till she committed suicide. Thus, the
provisions of Sections 304B and 498A of the IPC will
be fully attracted."

27. True it is that Investigating Officer PW.12 has been

cross-examined on the score that whether he had investigated

over the fact that the appellant Pramod to be an applicant against
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 25

the post of Para Teacher, however, it is crystal clear that none of

the prosecution witnesses more particularly the mother Tara Devi,

PW.4 and father Jagdish Verma, PW.7 who categorically stated

that demand was on that very score, part payment was made only

two months ago from the date of occurrence and further having

been duly substantiated by Ext.5, 5/1, neither been denied nor

challenged. Not only this, they have not been challenged

controverting their evidence with regard to status of appellant

Pramod Kumar Verma as one of the candidate over Para Teacher.

On the other hand, PW.7 informant was cross-examined to the

extent whether he will see his son-in-law appointed or not. The

demand, as advanced from the parents of deceased was in the

background of relationship bonded with marriage, and so, it has

got proper inter connectivity. That being so, the prosecution is

found to have substantiated its case and on account thereof, in

terms of Section 113B of the Evidence Act the presumption is to

be taken against the appellant /accused. However, the same is

subject to rebuttal and so, the conduct of the appellants have to

be seen in order to search out whether if they have been able to

properly discharge the legal obligation.

28. In order to discharge such presumption in terms of

Section 113B, defence has exhibited Ext.A, the prescription

containing names of Dr. Kanhaiya Kumar Shethi as well as Dr.

Jaya Mitra and got it exhibited through DW.1, Keshav Tanti who

during examination-in-chief had stated that it happens to be in

pen of Dr. Jaya Mitra. Furthermore, it has also been deposed by

him that signature of husband of deceased Manju is also there.

During cross-examination, this witness had categorically admitted

that there happens to be no signature of the doctor over the same
Patna High Court CR. APP (SJ) No.164 of 2015 dt.06-09-2017 26

and that speaks a lot with regard to genuineness of the document.

Moreover, presence of appellant Pramod Kumar Verma over the

aforesaid prescription is indicative of the fact that this false

document has been created by him in order to save his skin. That

being so, it is apparent that defence had failed to discharge its

obligation to the hilt.

29. Taking into account the evidence as discussed

above, the reasoning so expressed, it is found and held that

prosecution had succeeding in proving its case simultaneously,

defence had failed to discharge its onus and that being so, the

finding so recorded by the learned lower court happens to be just,

legal and proper and is accordingly, affirmed. Consequent

thereupon, these appeals sans merit and are dismissed. Appellant

Pramod Kumar Verma is under custody which he will remain till

saturation of the period of sentence while bail bond of appellants

Tulsi Prasad Verma, Chunki Devi, Chhote Lal Verma (Criminal

Appeal (SJ) No. 136 of 2015) are hereby cancelled with a direction

to surrender before the learned lower court within fortnight to

serve out the remaining part of sentence failing which, the learned

lower court take proper step in accordance with law.

(Aditya Kumar Trivedi, J.)

Prakash Narayan

AFR/NAFR A.F.R.
CAV DATE N.A.
Uploading Date 11.09.2017
Transmission 11.09.2017
Date

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