Parasaram Vitthal Harde vs The State Of Maharashtra And One … on 22 December, 2017

1 CRI.APPEAL NO.574/2001 580/2001

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF BOMBAY
BENCH AT AURANGABAD

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.574 OF 2001

Parasaram s/o Vithal Harde,
Age 54 years, Occupation:
Service, working as a Primary
Teacher, in Zilla Parishad,
Aurangabad, resident of
Galleborgaon, Taluka Khultabad,
District: Aurangabad.

(at present in jail) …APPELLANT
(Orig.Appellant No.5)
VERSUS

1. The State of Maharashtra.

2. Rangnath Hari Jadhav,
Age 50 years, Occupation:
Service, Primary Teacher,
at post Shiur, Taluka Vaijapur,
District Aurangabad.
…RESPONDENTS

Mr.N.K.Kakade, Advocate for the appellant.
Mr. S.P.Tiwari, APP for respondent no.1.
Mr. M.P.Kale, Advocate, for respondent no.2.

WITH
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.580 OF 2001

1. Karbhari s/o Asaram Bhadait,
Age 31 years, Occ. Service,
R/o. Jalgaon, Tq. Vaijapur,
District : Aurangabad.

((2. Asaram s/o Rambhau Bhadait,
Age 65 years, Occ: Agriculture,
R/o as above.

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2 CRI.APPEAL NO.574/2001 580/2001

3. Sow. Sumanbai w/o Asaram Bhadait,
Age 59 years, Occ: Household,
R/o as above. ))

(APPEAL ABATED AS AGAINST APPELLANT NOS. 2
AND 3 AS PER COURT ORDER DATED 23.2.2016.)

4. Miss Anita D/o Asaram Bhadait,
Age 20 years, Occ: Household,
R/o. as above.

…APPELLANTS
VERSUS

1. The State of Maharashtra.

2. Rangnath s/o Hari Jadhav,
Age major, Occ: Service,
R/o Shivoor, Tq. Vaijapur,
District: Aurangabad.
(Ori.complainant).
…RESPONDENTS

Mr. R.N.Dhorde, Senior Advocate, i/b Mr. V.R.Dhorde,
Advocate, for appellants.
Mr. S.P.Tiwari, APP for respondent no.1.
Mr. M.P.Kale, Advocate, for respondent no.2.

CORAM: P.R. BORA, J.
***
Date of reserving the judgment: 4/9/2017
Date of pronouncing the judgment: 22/12/2017
***
JUDGMENT:

1. Both these appeals arise out of the judgment

and order passed by the second Additional Ad hoc

Sessions Judge, Aurangabad, in Sessions Case No.15/2000

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decided on 24th of December, 2001.

2. Appellants in both these appeals were

prosecuted in the aforesaid Sessions Case for the offenses

punishable under Sections 498-A, 306, 323, 504, 506 read

with Section 34 of IPC. Appellant nos. 2 and 3 in Criminal

Appeal No.580/2001 died during pendency of the present

appeal and the appeal, therefore, stood abated against the

said appellants. Appellant nos. 1 and 4 in Criminal Appeal

No.580/2001 were accused nos. 1 and 4 in the aforesaid

Sessions case whereas appellant in Criminal Appeal

No.574/2001 was accused no.5 in the aforesaid Sessions

case. Appellant nos. 1 and 4 in Criminal Appeal

No.580/2001 are hereinafter referred to as accused no.1

and accused no.4 whereas the appellant in Criminal Appeal

No.574/2001 is referred to as accused no.5.

3. Learned Sessions Judge has held the appellants

guilty for the offenses punishable under Sections 498-A,

306, 504 and 506 read with Section 34 of IPC. Accused

no.1 has been sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment

for ten years and fine of Rs.5,000/-; in default, to suffer

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rigorous imprisonment for six months for the offense

punishable under Section 306 read with Section 34 of IPC

whereas for the offense punishable under Section 498-A

read with Section 34 of IPC he has been sentenced to

suffer rigorous imprisonment for one year and fine of

Rs.1,000/-; in default, rigorous imprisonment for one

month. Accused no.1 has also been convicted to pay fine

of Rs.500/-; in default to suffer rigorous imprisonment for

fifteen days, for each of the offenses punishable under

Section 504 and 506 of IPC. The accused no.4 has been

given the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act. The

accused no.5 has been imposed with the similar

punishment as has been imposed on accused no.1.

4. Accused no.1 had married with deceased

Sangita on 9th of May, 1995. Accused no.4 is the real

sister of accused no.1 whereas accused no.5 is the

maternal uncle of accused no.1. Deceased Sangita

suffered an unnatural death on 15.11.1999. As per the

prosecution, deceased Sangita committed suicide by

consuming poisonous substance at her matrimonial house

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at village Jalgaon, taluka Vaijapur, district Aurangabad. It

was alleged that the accused persons with common

intention subjected deceased Sangita to physical and

mental cruelty on account of non fulfillment of their

unlawful monetary demands which ultimately drove

deceased Sangita to commit suicide by taking poisonous

substance. According to the prosecution, the accused in

furtherance of their common intention abated the

commission of suicide by deceased Sangita by subjecting

her to physical and mental harassment.

5. The father of deceased Sangita lodged report of

the alleged incident at Police Station, Vaijapur, on 16th of

November, 1999. In the report so alleged, it was alleged

that there were persistent monetary demands from the

accused persons and deceased Sangita was physically and

mentally harassed for fulfillment of the said unlawful

demands. It was alleged that the accused persons were

asking deceased Sangita to bring from her parents a sum

of Rs.50,000/- for purchase of a house. Accused no.1

also had demanded an amount of Rs.10,000/- for purchase

of motor cycle. Thereafter, one more demand was raised

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of Rs.20,000/- for purchase of colour T.V.set, etc. Lastly,

the accused had demanded Rs.5,000/- from the father of

deceased Sangita. Sangita had communicated the said

facts by writing an inland letter to her father prior to six

months of the alleged incident. Prior to that also, deceased

Sangita had sent one chit informing her father that her

husband i.e. accused no.1 was not happy with the clothes

presented to him and was expecting a gold ring.

Whenever deceased Sangita used to come to her parental

house, she used to disclose to her parents about her

harassment and tortures by the accused persons. In the

circumstances, it was alleged that deceased Sangita

committed suicide being fed up with the physical and

mental cruelty to which she was subjected by the accused

persons.

6. On the report lodged by Shri Rangnath Jadhav,

father of deceased Sangita, investigation was set in

motion. The Police persons carried out the usual

formalities of preparing spot panchnama, inquest

panchnama, etc. The post mortem examination of the

dead body of Sangita was also got conducted. The

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statements of all necessary witnesses were examined by

the investigating officers. The articles seized during the

course of investigation were sent for their chemical

analysis and the report received from the Chemical

Analyzer was made part of the chargesheet. After filing

of the chargesheet, the case was committed to the Court

of Sessions.

7. The learned Sessions Judge framed charge

against the accused persons on 26th June 2001. The

accused persons denied the charges raised against them

and claimed to be tried. In order to prove the guilt of the

accused, the prosecution examined as many as eight

witnesses. The defense of the accused was of total

denial and false implication. Accused no.1 also examined

one Dnyaneshwar Sahebrao Jadhav in his defense.

Learned Additional Sessions Judge after having assessed

the documentary and oral evidence convicted the accused

for the offenses charged against them and sentenced them

to suffer the punishment as noted hereinabove.

8. Learned Counsel appearing for the accused

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assailed the impugned judgment on various grounds. Shri

R.N.Dhorde, learned Senior Counsel, criticized the

judgment on several grounds. Learned Senior Counsel

submitted that the trial Court has failed in appreciating

that in the report initially lodged by PW 1 Rangnath, father

of the prosecutrix, no allegation was made by him against

any of the accused. Learned Senior Counsel submitted

that the prosecution has failed in bringing on record the

cogent and sufficient evidence to prove the accusations

against the accused persons.

9. Learned Senior Counsel further submitted that

accused no.1 himself is a teacher and was earning a good

salary. As such, according to him, there was no reason

for accused no.1 or his parents to make any demand from

deceased Sangita or her parents. Learned Senior Counsel

further submitted that in so far as the monetary demands

allegedly made by the accused persons and their

fulfillment by the parents of deceased Sangita is

concerned, the evidence on record is inconsistent and

unbelievable. Learned Senior Counsel further submitted

that accused no.1 was already possessing Hero Honda

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Motor Cycle and as such there was no reason for him to

demand any amount for purchase of the motor cycle.

Learned Counsel further submitted that the inland letter

(Exh.26) was not filed along with the chargesheet, and

prosecution did not examine the person who reached the

chit (Exh.27) and, as such, both the aforesaid documents

cannot be relied upon. Learned Senior Counsel,

therefore, prayed for setting aside the impugned judgment

and acquit the appellants accused from the charges

levelled against them.

10. Shri Kakade, learned Counsel appearing for

accused no.5, submitted that the allegations made against

the said accused by PW 1 Rangnath are afterthought.

Learned Counsel submitted that against accused no.5

there is absolutely no evidence. Learned Counsel further

submitted that the mother of the deceased Sangita viz.

Pushpabai (PW 5) has stated in her cross examination

that except accused no.1, no one else has made any

demand from them. Learned Counsel submitted that even

otherwise, accused no.5 was residing at a different place

and no such evidence has come on record to show that he

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was the frequent visitor either at village Jalgaon or at

village Shivur. Learned Counsel submitted that the trial

Court has without any evidence against accused no.5 has

held him guilty for the offense under Section 306 as well

as Section 498-A of IPC and also under Section 504 and

506 of IPC. Learned Counsel submitted that the judgment

of the trial Court, therefore, needs to be set aside and the

accused no.5 deserves to be acquitted.

11. Learned A.P.P. Shri S.P. Tiwari supported the

impugned judgment and order. Learned A.P.p. submitted

that since deceased Sangita suffered unnatural death

within seven years of her marriage, presumption under

Section 113-A of the Evidence Act was raised against the

accused and the accused have utterly failed in rebutting

the said presumption. Learned A.P.P. further submitted

that though the inland letter was not filed on record

previously and was not made part of the chargesheet, if

the FIR lodged by PW 1 Rangnath is perused, it contains all

that information which is revealing from the said inland

letter. Learned A.P.P. submitted that the inland letter was

sent by deceased Sangita from Lasur and the same was

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received to PW 1 Rangnath at Shivur prior to about six

months of the alleged incident. As such, according to the

learned A.P.P., the genuineness of the said letter cannot

be doubted. Learned A.P.P. submitted that the

prosecution witnesses have sufficiently proved the charges

levelled against the accused persons. Learned A.P.P.

further submitted that the trial Court has passed well

reasoned judgment and no interference is required in the

impugned order. He, therefore, prayed for dismissal of

both the appeals.

12. I have carefully considered the submissions

advanced by the learned Senior Counsel appearing for the

appellant in Criminal Appeal No.580/2001 and the

submissions made by the learned Counsel Shri Kakade

appearing for the appellant in Criminal Appeal

No.574/2001, and the learned A.P.P. Perused the

impugned judgment and the entire evidence on record.

13. It is not in dispute that deceased Sangita died

within seven years of her marriage. Marriage of Sangita

with accused no.1 was performed on 9th of May, 1995 and

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she died on 15.11.1999. It is further not in dispute that

Sangita suffered an unnatural death. Section 113-A,

Evidence Act, is a presumptive Section which enables a

Court to draw a presumption as to abetment of suicide by

a married woman (punishable under Section 306 of the

IPC) on proof of certain ingredients mentioned therein

including proof of cruelty. Explanation to Section 113-A

states that, ” for the purposes of this Section `cruelty’

shall have same meaning as in Section 498-A of the Indian

Penal Code. Thus, on reading Section 113-A and the

explanation thereto, it is clear that the meaning of

`cruelty’ as defined in Section 498-A has to be imported in

Section 113-A, Evidence Act, while deciding whether the

victim was subjected to cruelty or not. In other words,

cruelty as an ingredient for raising presumption under

Section 113, Evidence Act, must necessarily fall within the

four corners of the meaning of `cruelty’ as defined in

clause (a) or clause (b) of Explanation to Section 498-A of

IPC.

14. Section 498-A of the IPC reads as under:

“498A. Husband or relative of husband of a

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woman subjecting her to cruelty.–Whoever, being
the husband or the relative of the husband of a
woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be pun-
ished with imprisonment for a term which may
extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation.–For the purpose of this section,
“cruelty” means–

(a) any wilful conduct which is of such a
nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit
suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb
or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman;

or

(b) harassment of the woman where such

harassment is with a view to coercing her or any
person related to her to meet any unlawful demand
for any property or valuable security or is on account
of failure by her or any person related to her to meet
such demand.”

15. The definition of cruelty, thus, consists of two

parts, namely (a) and (b). It is necessary for the

prosecution to prove that its case falls under any of the

two categories mentioned above though in some cases

both the clauses may overlap. In so far as the instant

case is concerned, clause (b) would be more material since

the harassment of deceased Sangita by the accused

persons is alleged on account of non fulfillment of the

unlawful monetary demands made by the accused.

Perusal of the impugned judgment reveals that the learned

Additional Sessions Judge has held that deceased Sangita

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was subjected to cruelty by the accused persons for non

fulfillment of their monetary demands by deceased Sangita

and her parents. From the evidence on record, it has to

be, therefore, ascertained whether the conclusion so

recorded by the learned Additional Sessions Judge can be

sustained.

16. In order to prove that deceased Sangita was

subjected to cruelty, the prosecution has relied upon the

evidence of PW 1 Rangnath, PW 5 Pushpabai and the

documentary evidence in the form of inland letter

( Exh.26) and the chit (Exh.27) allegedly written by

deceased Sangita to her father.

17. As is revealed through the evidence of PW 1

Rangnath and PW 5 Pushpabai for about one year after

marriage, there was no demand and deceased Sangita was

treated well by the accused persons. As has further come

on record the very first demand made by Accused nos. 1

to 4 was of Rs.50,000/- and accused no.5 was instigating

them for making such demand. As stated by PW 1

Rangnath in paragraph no.3 of his examination in chief in

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March, 1998, deceased Sangita told him about the said

demand of Rs.50,000/-. It is the contention of PW 1 that

he withdrew the amount of Rs.20,000/- from his provident

fund account in March, 1998, and handed over the said

amount to accused no.1 and accused no.5 when they had

been to his house.

18. As has been further deposed by PW 1, few days

thereafter when deceased Sangita had been to Shivoor she

disclosed to PW 1 that her husband and in-laws are

making a grievance that they received less dowry in

marriage and that they have demanded a sum of

Rs.10,000/- so as to enable accused no.1 to purchase Hero

Honda Motor cycle. The evidence of PW 1 further

reveals that at the relevant time accused no.1 had been to

his village to take back deceased Sangita and at that time

he paid accused no.1 an amount of Rs.10,000/- to

purchase the Hero Honda motor cycle and sent deceased

Sangita with accused no.1.

19. As is further revealing from the testimony of PW

1, six months thereafter when deceased Sangita again had

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been to shivoor, she told him that the harassment to her

by the accused persons was intensified and many times

she was kept without food and was also beaten by the

accused. It was also disclosed by her that her harassment

was for the reason that according to the accused persons,

they had received very less dowry in the marriage of

accused no.1. As has been deposed by PW 1, at the

relevant time, he anyhow pacified deceased Sangita and

sent her back to her husband’s house.

20. As has been further deposed by PW 1, prior to

six months of her death, deceased Sangita had written an

inland letter to him which was received to him by post and

in the said letter she had complained that the accused and

more particularly accused no.1 is giving her mental and

physical tortures for not fulfilling the demand of

Rs.50,000/- for construction of the house. It was

complained in the said letter that accused no.1 assaulted

deceased Sangita and did not allow her to sleep. It was

also alleged that accused nos. 2 and 3 assisted accused

no.1 in beating her when she was residing at Jalgaon. It

was also informed by deceased Sangita that accused nos.

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2, 3 and 4 were asking her to bring Rs.20,000/- from her

parents for buying a colour Television and had threatened

her that if she failed to bring that much of the amount, shy

may not survive. Deceased Sangita had also informed that

she was kept without food in the farm house. Sangita had

earnestly requested her father in the said letter that he

shall anyhow make arrangement of Rs.20,000/- in next

two months.

21. Lastly, as has come on record in the evidence of

PW 1 Rangnath, deceased Sangita had been to his house

for the Diwali festival just few days prior to the alleged

incident and at that time had told her father that her

husband i.e. accused no.1 had asked her to bring

Rs.5,000/- for paying the said amount to accused no.5

since he was intending to start cotton business. As has

further come on record through the evidence of PW 1,

after Diwali festival was over, accused no.1 had been to

Shivur and at that time, P.W.1 gave him Rs.5,000/- and

sent deceased Sangita with him.

22. Now, it would be useful to see as to what has

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come on record through the evidence of Pushpabai, PW 5

mother of deceased Sangita. Pushpabai has also deposed

that for one year after her marriage, deceased Sangita was

treated well by her in-laws. As has been further deposed

by her, an amount of Rs.50,000/- was demanded by

accused from deceased Sangita and it was their contention

that when the father of Sangita is in Government service,

he can afford to pay such an amount. Pushpabai has also

deposed that deceased had disclosed to her that she was

being beaten for non fulfillment of the monetary demands

made by the accused persons. As has further come on

record through her evidence, her husband i.e. PW 1

Rangnath obtained loan of Rs.50,000/- from his Provident

fund and gave Rs.20,000/- out of the said amount to

accused no.1 and accused no.5. Pushpabai has further

deposed that two months thereafter accused no.1 had

made a demand of Rs.10,000/- for purchase of motor

cycle and accordingly the said amount of Rs.10,000/- was

given by her husband to accused no.1.

23. PW 5 Pushpabai has also deposed that six

months thereafter when deceased Sangita again had been

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to their house, had disclosed to her about the physical and

mental harassment to her by the accused on account of

non fulfillment of their monetary demands. Pushpabai has

also deposed about receipt of the inland letter and the chit

written by deceased Sangita to P.W.1 Rangnath.

Pushpabai has also deposed that lastly when Sangita had

been to their house, there was demand of Rs.5,000/- by

accused no.1. It was the contention of accused no.1 as

deposed by PW 5 Pushpabai that the said amount was to

be given to accused no.5 to start the cotton business. As

deposed by Pushpabai, such an amount of Rs.5,000/- was

given to accused no.1 when he had been to Shivur to take

back Sangita with him.

24. From the facts as were stated by PW 1

Rangnath and PW 5 Pushpabai in their respective

testimonies before the Court, it reveals that the very first

demand made by accused persons was of Rs.50,000/-.

Though nothing has been specifically deposed by both

these witnesses as to when such demand was made by the

accused, it can be gathered from the facts as are revealing

from their evidence that such demand was made in March,

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1998. In paragraph No.3 of his examination in chief, it is

deposed by PW 1 Rangnath that in March, 1998, it was

disclosed to him by deceased Sangita that she was being

ill-treated and was being tortured by the accused for

bringing the amount of Rs.50,000/-.

25. As deposed by PW 1 Rangnath, after it was

disclosed by deceased Sangita to him that she was being

tortured for bringing the amount of Rs.50,000/- from her

parents, he withdrew the amount of Rs.20,000/- from his

provident fund and in March, 1998, when accused no.1

and accused no.5 had been to their house, handed over

the said amount of Rs.20,000 to accused no.1. No doubt,

PW 5 Pushpabai has corroborated the fact that her

husband gave Rs.20,000/- to accused no.1, however, as

was pointed out by the learned Senior Counsel, the

prosecution has not brought on record any evidence

showing that PW 1 Rangnath had, in fact, withdrawn the

amount from his provident fund account. Further, there

are some inconsistencies as about withdrawal and

utilization of the said amount. When, in the examination

in chief, PW 1 Rangnath has stated that he withdrew an

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amount of Rs.20,000/- from his provident fund account

and gave it to accused no.1 in March, 1998, in his cross

examination he has stated a different fact that he had

taken loan of Rs.52,000/- or Rs.55,000/- from his

provident fund account in March, 1998. PW 1 has

admitted that the said loan was obtained by him by citing

the reason of the marriage of his second daughter. PW 1

has further admitted that at the relevant time the

marriage of his second daughter was settled. In his

further cross examination, he has stated that the loan

amount obtained from the provident fund account was

kept by him in Bank of Maharashtra, Shivur branch. PW

1 has further deposed that the amount of Rs.20,000/-

allegedly given by him to accused no.1 was possessed by

him in cash and while giving the said amount to accused

no.1, he did not make any withdrawal from the provident

fund amount which was kept in the Bank. PW 1 has then

admitted that when he obtained loan from his provident

fund, the date of marriage of his second daughter was

fixed.

26. In light of the facts which have come on record

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through the evidence of PW 1 Rangnath, if the facts as

were stated by PW 5 Pushpabai are perused, there appears

inconsistency on certain material aspects. Though PW 5

Sushilabai has confirmed that her husband PW 1 Rangnath

has obtained loan of Rs.50,000/- from his provident fund,

she has contradicted statement of PW 1 Rangnath that he

had deposited the said amount in his account in the Bank

of Maharashtra. PW 5 Sushilabai has deposed that PW 1

had kept the cash of Rs.50,000/- at home with her and

she had not deposited the said amount in any Bank. She

has further deposed that the said amount remained with

her for five to six months. She has also deposed that PW

1 gave amount of Rs.20,000/- to accused no.1 from the

said loan amount of Rs.50,000/-. Even if it is accepted

that PW 1 and PW 5 deposed before the Court in the year

2001, i.e. after the period of about three years of the

occurrence of the alleged incident and, therefore,

possibility of some variance in stating the facts would be

quite natural, it is difficult to accept that PW 5 Sushilabai

would not be remembering whether the amount of

Rs.50,000/- was kept by PW 1 in Bank of Maharashtra or

was kept at home. It is significant to note that PW 5

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Sushilabai has specifically deposed that her husband had

kept the cash of Rs.50,000/- at home with her. She has

further clarified that she had not kept the said amount in

any Bank. She has further answered that the said

amount remained with her for five / six months. Further,

when it is the contention of PW 1 Rangnath that he paid

the amount of Rs.20,000/- to accused no.1 which he was

possessing in cash at home and did not withdrew the said

amount from provident fund loan account; contrary to that

PW 5 Sushilabai has again made a positive statement that

her husband gave the amount of Rs.20,000/- to accused

no.1 out of the said loan amount of Rs.50,000/- borrowed

by him from the provident fund account. In the

circumstances, doubt is certainly created whether, in fact,

any amount was borrowed by PW 1 from his P.F. Account.

The doubt also arises whether the aforesaid amount was

borrowed by P.W. 1 Rangnath to satisfy the demand of the

accused or for the purpose of the marriage of his second

daughter. As was argued by learned Senior Counsel, it

appears more probable that if at all any amount was

withdrawn by accused No.1, it was withdrawn for the

marriage of his second daughter.

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27. In his testimony before the Court PW 1

Rangnath has deposed that accused no.1 had asked

deceased Sangita to bring from her parents an amount of

Rs.10,000/- for purchase of motor cycle. As has come on

record through his evidence at that time, Sangita had been

to the house of her parents and disclosed the demand

made by her husband of Rs.10,000/- for purchase of

motor cycle. PW 1 has deposed that deceased Sangita

had disclosed to him at that time that she was driven out

of the house by accused no.1 and before that, she was

bitterly beaten by him. PW 1 has also deposed that at that

time deceased Sangita stayed with them for 2/3 days and,

thereafter, accused no.1 had been to his house to take

back Sangita with him. PW 1 has further deposed that at

that time accused no.1 demanded Rs.10,000/- from him

for purchase of motor cycle and, accordingly, he gave him

Rs.10,000/- and sent his daughter with accused no.1.

The facts so stated as above by PW 1 are not fully

corroborated by PW 5 Pushpabai. PW 5 Pushpabai, though,

has deposed that accused no.1 had asked Sangita to

obtain Rs.10,000/- from her father for buying Hero Honda

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25 CRI.APPEAL NO.574/2001 580/2001

motor cycle and, accordingly, PW 1 Rangnath gave

Rs.10,000/- to accused no.1. PW 5 Pushpabai has not

deposed that anything was disclosed to her by deceased

Sangita that she was driven out of her house by accused

no.1 and that she was also beaten by accused no.1.

28. Thereafter, as has come on record, deceased

Sangita had been to her parental house at the time of

Diwali festival just few days prior to the occurrence of the

alleged incident. As has further come on record through

the evidence of PW 1 Rangnath as well as PW 5 Sushilabai,

deceased Sangita at that time, had disclosed to her

parents that accused no.1 had asked her to bring

Rs.5,000/- which he was intending to pay to accused no.5

for the purposes of his cotton business. PW 1 and PW 5

both have stated that accordingly, an amount of

Rs.5,000/- was paid to accused no.1. In so far as the

demand of Rs.5,000/- is concerned, it has come on record

through the evidence of PW 1 Rangnath, that at the

relevant time it was disclosed to him by deceased Sangita

that accused no.1 had threatened her that if she does not

bring that amount of Rs.5,000/-, he would not allow her to

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26 CRI.APPEAL NO.574/2001 580/2001

remain alive. PW 5 Pushpabai, however, has not deposed

any such fact in her testimony before the Court. Thus, the

facts stated by PW 1 Rangnath in his testimony before the

Court that, on both the occasions i.e. when the amount of

Rs.10,000/- was demanded by accused no.1 for the

purchase of motor cycle and, secondly, when the accused

had demanded an amount of Rs.5,000/- for the purposes

of giving the said amount to accused no.5 for cotton

business, threats were given to deceased Sangita that if

she does not bring the amount so demanded, the accused

would not allow her to remain alive, are not corroborated

by PW 5 Sushilabai. Reasonable doubts are, therefore,

created whether, in fact, any such threat was given by

accused no.1 to deceased Sangita as has been deposed by

PW 1 Rangnath.

29. According to the case of the prosecution,

deceased Sangita lastly had been to her parents at village

Shiur prior to three days of the incident of the commission

of suicide by her. As noted above, in her said last visit it

was disclosed by her to her parents that her husband had

demanded Rs.5,000/- which he was intending to give to

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his maternal uncle i.e. accused no.5 for his cotton

business. It has also come on record that at that time

deceased Sangita had been to her parental house for

Diwali festival and accused no.1, accompanied by accused

no.5, had been to Shiur and deceased Sangita was sent

back to her matrimonial house along with them. It has

also come on record that, at that time, accused no.1 also

made a demand towards PW 1 Rangnath to give him

Rs.5,000/-. It has also come on record that accordingly

PW 1 Rangnath gave the said amount to accused no.1. In

sum and substance, the demand which was disclosed by

deceased Sangita and which was also directly made by

accused no.1 to PW 1 Rangnath, was, thus, satisfied. I

reiterate that three days thereafter, deceased Sangita

committed suicide at her matrimonial house at village

Jalgaon. It is not the case of the prosecution and no

such evidence has been brought on record to show that in

the said period of three days i.e. after Sangita and accused

no.1 returned to matrimonial home from the parental

house of deceased Sangita after Diwali festival, deceased

Sangita was subjected to any harassment by the accused

persons on account of any fresh monetary demand or for

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28 CRI.APPEAL NO.574/2001 580/2001

any other reason whatsoever.

30. After having considered the facts as aforesaid,

more particularly that though certain demands were made

by accused no.1 from deceased Sangita, the said demands

were time to time fulfilled by her parents, and when

there is no evidence on record to show that at the time

when deceased Sangita committed suicide, any demand,

allegedly made by accused no.1 or by other accused

persons towards Sangita, and her parents, had remained

unfulfilled, it appears difficult to accept the case of the

prosecution that the act of deceased Sangita to commit

suicide was a result of the persistent harassment caused to

her by the accused persons for non fulfillment of their

unlawful demands.

31. Though it is established that deceased Sangita

vide inland letter at Exh.26 had informed her parents

about the ill-treatment by the accused persons on account

of certain monetary demands, having regard to the

subsequent events showing that the said demands were

complied with, by parents of deceased Sangita, there

appears no nexus in the act of commission of suicide by

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deceased Sangita on 15th Nov., 1999 and the complaints

made by her in the inland letter written by her to her

parents. The inland letter was admittedly written by

deceased Sangita prior to six months of her death and, as

has come on record, thereafter, an amount of Rs.20,000/-

was paid by PW 1 to accused no.1. With the risk of

repetition, I state that the last demand was of Rs.5,000/-

and that was also complied with by the parents of

deceased Sangita. In such circumstances, it is difficult to

accept that deceased Sangita would have committed

suicide for being harassed by her husband and in laws for

non fulfillment of their monetary demands.

32. The chit at Exh.27 was, according to the case of

the prosecution itself, was written by deceased Sangita

after one year of her marriage i.e. in the year 1996.

Moreover, if the contents of the said chit are perused,

what transpires is the fact that instead of the clothes,

accused no.1 was expecting a Television or a 4 gram gold

ring. Further, nothing has come on record to show that

on the said account any harassment was caused to

deceased Sangita by accused no.1 or by the other

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30 CRI.APPEAL NO.574/2001 580/2001

accused. Thus, the said chit also does not have any

nexus with the act of commission of suicide by deceased

Sangita.

33. It has to be stated that no action was initiated

by the parents of deceased after they had received the

inland letter (Exh.26) from deceased Sangita. Admittedly,

PW 1 Rangnath did not hand over the said inland letter to

the Police and produced the same in his evidence before

the Court. PW 5 Pushpabai in her cross examination has

stated that after reading the said inland letter, she did not

get a feeling that she should not keep her daughter with

accused no.1. Further, as I have elaborately discussed

hereinbefore, twice or thrice thereafter deceased Sangita

had been to her parents and in the said visits, another two

demands were made; one, for purchase of motor cycle,

and the other for giving certain amount to respondent no.5

for his cotton business and both demands were fulfilled.

Thus, in no case, it can be said that the complaint as was

made by deceased Sangita in the inland letter at Exh.26

was having any nexus with the incident of commission of

suicide by deceased Sangita.

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31 CRI.APPEAL NO.574/2001 580/2001

34. After having considered the entire evidence on

record, it does not appear to me that the evidence brought

on record by the prosecution was cogent and sufficient for

holding the accused persons guilty for the offenses with

which they were charged.

35. Though it was the case of the prosecution that

accused no.5 was instigating accused nos. 1 to 4 in

making demands from deceased Sangita and her parents

and was also involved in harassing deceased Sangita, no

dependable evidence has come on record against him. In

the letter dated Exh.26 nothing is mentioned by deceased

Sangita about any illtreatment or harassment to her by

accused no.5. It is further significant to note that in her

cross examination, PW 5 Pushpabai has clearly stated that

except accused no.1, no other accused had made any

monetary demand. It has to be further noted that

accused no.5 resides at a different village. Nothing has

been brought on record by the prosecution to show that

accused no.5 was frequent visitor at the house of accused

no.1 at village Jalgaon. Inspite of there being cogent and

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sufficient evidence against the accused no.5, the learned

Sessions Judge has held accused no.5 also guilty for the

offenses punishable under Sections 306 and 498-A of IPC.

Such an order cannot be sustained.

36. The prosecution has also failed in bringing on

record any trustworthy evidence against accused no.4.

No specific overt act was attributed against accused no.4.

Nothing has come on record showing the complicity of

accused no.4 in the act of committing suicide by deceased

Sangita.

37. Against accused no.1, what has come on record

through the evidence of PW 1 and PW 5 is the fact that he

had made certain demands to deceased Sangita and her

parents. As has come on record, the amounts were

demanded by accused no.1 firstly for purchase of house,

then for purchase of motor cycle and lastly, for giving

some financial assistance to accused no.5 for his cotton

business. It has also come on record, as I have

elaborately discussed hereinabove that, all these demands

were fulfilled by the parents of deceased Sangita. To

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attract an offense under Section 498-A of IPC, mere

making of demand of money is not sufficient. It has to be

further proved by the prosecution that deceased was

illtreated or coerced for non fulfillment of the said

demands. Though PW 1 Rangnath has deposed that it

was disclosed to him by deceased Sangita that she was

being illtreated and harassed by accused persons for

bringing certain amounts from her parents, as discussed

by me hereinbefore, PW 5 Pushpabai has not corroborated

the said evidence. The cross examination of PW 5

Pushpabai shows that the facts stated by her as about

illtreatment to deceased Sangita, in the evidence before

the Court were not stated by her when her statement was

recorded by the Police under Section 161 of the Code of

Criminal Procedure.

38. A reasonable nexus has to be established

between the cruelty and the suicide in order to constitute

an offense under Section 498-A of IPC. Even if suicide is

established, it has further to be established that it has

occasioned on account of cruelty which was of sufficient

gravity as to lead a reasonable person placed in similar

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34 CRI.APPEAL NO.574/2001 580/2001

circumstances to commit suicide. To attract Section 498-

A, the prosecution has to establish the willful conduct on

the part of the accused and that the conduct was of such

a nature as was likely to drive wife to commit suicide. It

was sought to be canvassed by the learned A.P.P. that the

cruelty should be held to be proved from the fact of

commission of suicide by deceased Sangita. In other

words, it was argued by learned A.P.P. that from the effect

( namely, suicide), the cause (namely, cruelty) be

presumed. The argument so made by the learned A.P.P.

cannot be accepted. No evidence whatsoever on the

prosecution side shows any overt act on the part of the

accused so proximate in time to show that the act of

deceased Sangita of committing suicide had a direct nexus

with the said overt act of the accused persons. As stated

above, mere making some demands would not be

sufficient to level the charge of cruelty within the meaning

of Section 498-A and the burden lies on the prosecution to

prove that the conduct of the accused was of such a

nature that it drove the wife to commit suicide.

39. It is unfortunate that deceased Sangita ended

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35 CRI.APPEAL NO.574/2001 580/2001

her life at a young age. However, what was transpiring in

her mind at that time has remained undisclosed. Prior to

three days of committing suicide by her, she had returned

from her parental house. At that time, the demand which

was made by accused no.1 was fulfilled by the parents of

deceased Sangita. There is no evidence to show as to

what happened in the said period of three days which

made deceased Sangita to take extreme step of

committing suicide. Though it is brought on record and

proved by the prosecution that accused no.1 had at least

on three occasions made certain monetary demands from

the accused, there appears no nexus in the said demands

and the act of commission of suicide by deceased Sangita

for the reason that all those demands were fulfilled by the

parents of deceased Sangita. If the illtreatment to the

wife is not on account of failure on the part of the parents

of the wife to meet the said demands, requirement of

Explanation-b of Section 498-A are not satisfied and hence

the accused cannot be held guilty for an offense under

Section 498-A of the IPC. In the instant case, the cruelty

alleged by the prosecution was as per Explanation-b to

Section 498-A of IPC, which cannot be said to have been

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36 CRI.APPEAL NO.574/2001 580/2001

proved.

40. After having considered the entire evidence on

record, it does not appear to me that the prosecution has

brought any such evidence on record on the basis of which

the accused could have been held guilty for the offense

punishable under Section 498-A of IPC. In order to

attract the provision of Section 113-A of the Evidence Act,

it must be proved that there was cruelty within the

meaning of definition given under Section 498-A of IPC.

In the circumstances, the conviction of the accused under

Section 306 of IPC also cannot be sustained. Even

otherwise, nothing has been brought on record by the

prosecution to show that the accused in any manner

instigated, incited or encouraged, much less aided, the act

of committing suicide by deceased Sangita. In the

aforesaid circumstances, the order passed by the learned

Sessions Judge cannot be sustained.

41. For the reasons recorded above, I am inclined

to allow both these appeals. Hence, the following order:

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37 CRI.APPEAL NO.574/2001 580/2001

ORDER

1. The judgment and order dated 24.12.2001,

passed by the Second Ad hoc Additional District Judge,

Aurangabad, in Sessions Case No.15/2000 is set aside.

The appellants in both these appeals i.e. accused nos. 1,

4, and 5 are acquitted of the offenses for which they were

charged in the aforesaid Sessions case. Their bail bonds

stand cancelled. Fine amount, if any, paid by them, shall

be refunded to them.

Both the Criminal Appeals stand allowed in the

aforesaid terms. Pending Criminal Applications, if any,

stand disposed of.

(P.R.BORA)
JUDGE

AGP/574-580-01cr.appeals

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