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Mst. Anusuiya @ Saraswatibai vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh on 25 January, 2018

NON-REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1224 OF 2008

Mst. Anusuiya @ Saraswatibai
Anr. ….Appellant(s)

VERSUS
State of Madhya Pradesh ….Respondent(s)

JUDGMENT

Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.

1) This appeal is filed by the two accused

persons against the final judgment and order dated

14.02.2007 passed by the High Court of Madhya

Pradesh at Jabalpur in Criminal Appeal No. 419 of

1992 whereby the High Court partly allowed the

appeal and while upholding the judgment dated

Signature Not Verified
02.04.1992 passed by the First Additional Sessions
Digitally signed by
ASHA SUNDRIYAL
Date: 2018.01.25
16:22:28 IST
Reason:

Judge, Chhindwara in Sessions Trial No.3/91

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convicting the appellants-accused under Sections

306 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1908

(hereinafter referred to as “IPC”) reduced the period

of their sentence awarded under Section 306 IPC

from Seven years to five years and a fine of

Rs.1000/- each, in default of payment of fine, to

further undergo RI for three months and under

Section 498A, from three years to two years. Both

the sentences to run concurrently.

2) Brief facts:

The case of the prosecution is that the

marriage of Rekhabai(deceased) and

Chandrashekhar (appellant No.2) was performed on

12.05.1989, six months prior to her death.

Appellant No.1 is the mother-in-law of the deceased.

3) On 21.11.1989, a Marg Report was recorded at

Chandameta Police Station that Rekhabai was

brought dead in W.C.L. Hospital Bandkuhee by

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Gajanand. After preparing the inquest

panchanama(Ex.P/8), the dead body was sent for

post mortem. Dr. R.K. Basor(PW-8) performed the

post mortem and submitted the report (Ex.P/10).

According to PW-8, the death of Rekhabai was quite

unnatural. Thereafter the viscera collected from the

dead body was sent to Forensic Science Laboratory

for Chemical examination.

3) On 25.11.1989, Saligram (PW-1), father of

Rekhabai(deceased), submitted a written report to

the police station, Chhindwara mentioning therein

that her daughter had committed suicide because

her in-laws were harassing her for not bringing

dowry in marriage and demanding one Fan and

Rs.500/- from her parents. He further said that on

19.11.1989, one day before the death of Rekhabai,

his daughter and son-in-law came to his house and

stayed there for the night and on the next morning,

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his son-in-law again demanded a Fan and Rs.500/-

from him and on not being given the same, he

started quarreling and went away saying that

consequence would be heard of the next day. On

the next day, when Rekhabai suddenly became ill,

Surendra Pathak(CW-1) examined her on the

request of Chandrashekhar and advised him to take

her to the Hospital. On the way to Hospital,

Rekhabai died.

4) On 30.03.1990, report of the Forensic Science

Laboratory was received mentioning therein that the

death of Rekhabai was caused by consuming rat

poison.

5) After investigation, charge sheet was filed and

by order dated 29.12.1990, the case was committed

to the Court of Sessions. The accused

persons(appellants) denied the charges.

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6) By judgment dated 02.04.1992, the First

Additional Sessions Judge, Chhindwara convicted

the appellants for the offences punishable under

Sections 306 and 498A IPC and sentenced both of

them under Section 306 to undergo rigorous

imprisonment of seven years and a fine of

Rs.1000/- each and in default of payment of fine, to

undergo further rigorous imprisonment for six

months. So far as the sentence under Section 498A

was concerned, both the appellants were sentenced

to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years.

The sentences were to run consecutively.

7) Challenging the judgment of the Trial Court,

the appellants (accused) filed appeal before the High

Court.

8) The High Court, by impugned judgment dated

14.02.2007, partly allowed the appeal, upheld the

conviction but modified the sentence awarded to the

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appellants under Section 306 from Seven years to

five years and a fine of Rs.1000/- each, in default,

to further undergo RI for three months and so far as

sentence under Section 498A was concerned, it was

modified from three years to two years. Both the

sentences were to run concurrently.

9) Against the judgment of the High Court, the

appellants (accused) have filed this appeal by way of

special leave before this Court.

10) Heard Mr.Pradeep Misra, learned counsel for

the appellants and Mr. B.N. Dubey, learned counsel

for the respondent.

11) Having heard the learned counsel for the

parties and on perusal of the record of the case,

though we uphold the conviction of the appellants

under both the Sections, namely, Section 306 and

Section 498 IPC, but having regard to the peculiar

facts and circumstances of the case as set out

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hereinbelow, modify the sentence and accordingly

reduce the period of sentence of both the appellants

as indicted below.

12) We have perused the evidence with a view to

find out as to whether the prosecution was able to

prove their case under the twin Sections, namely,

Sections 306 and 498-A of the IPC, which resulted

in death of Rekhabai and, if so, whether the two

Courts below were justified in convicting both the

appellants and awarding to them the sentence as

detailed above.

13) Having gone through the evidence and

examining the findings of the two Courts on all the

material issues involved in the case, we are of the

considered opinion that no fault can be found in the

manner in which both the Courts below appreciated

the evidence so also no fault can be found in their

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respective reasoning which resulted in convicting

the appellants.

14) It is a settled principle of law that if there is no

perversity noticed in the findings of the Courts

below and more so when the findings of the two

Court below are of concurrence then such findings

would be binding on this Court while hearing the

appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution. Such

is the case here.

15) It is not in dispute that Rekhabai died within

six months from the date of her marriage. The date

of marriage is 12.05.1989 whereas the death

occurred on 21.11.1989. It is not in dispute that

Rekhabai died due to consuming the poison. It is

also not in dispute that the two Courts, on

appreciating the evidence, recorded a categorical

finding that appellant No. 1, mother-in-law and the

husband (appellant No. 2) had demanded dowry

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from the parents of the deceased and when they

did not accede to the dowry demand, appellant

No.2- husband threatened the father of the

deceased and deceased herself of the dire

consequences for not acceding to his demand of

dowry.

16) It has also come in the evidence of the

deceased’s father (PW-1), which found acceptance to

the two Courts and, in our opinion, rightly that the

appellants used to beat the deceased soon after

their marriage till her death.

17) In the light of the aforementioned findings of

the two Courts below to which we concur, a case

under Section 306 and Section 498-A IPC was

rightly held made out against appellant No. 1-

mother-in-law and appellant No. 2-husband.

18) Indeed when an unnatural death of the

married woman takes place within seven years of

9
her marriage then a presumption, as envisaged in

Section 113-A of the Evidence Act,1972 against the

husband and his relatives is made out. In this case,

the same was duly made out with the aid of

evidence adduced against the appellants. The

appellants, however, in their defense failed to rebut

the presumption and whatever evidence they

adduced in defense was not held enough to give

them the benefit of doubt or clean acquittal.

19) We, therefore, uphold the conviction of both

the appellants under Section 306 and Section 498-A

of IPC

20) This takes us to the next question about the

award of sentence to the appellants under both the

Sections. We may state here that there is no appeal

filed by the State for enhancement of the period of

sentence. In other words, the State or/and

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Complainant accepted the jail sentence, which was

awarded to the appellants by the Courts below.

21) It is not in dispute that the appellant

No.1-mother-in-law has undergone total jail

sentence for a period of 9 months or so out of the

jail sentence awarded to her, during the pendency of

the appeal. It is also not in dispute that she is now

around 75 years of age and is not keeping well. It is

also not in dispute that she is presently on bail

granted by this Court.

22) So far as appellant No.2-husband is

concerned, he too has undergone around 1 year 1

month approx.

23) Apart from what is taken note of above,

learned counsel for the appellants made a

statement at the bar that appellant No. 2 has

remarried with a girl from the family of deceased,

i.e., the deceased’s aunt’s daughter and since then

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the relations between the two families have become

quite cordial.

24) Taking into consideration the totality of

aforementioned facts and, particularly the

circumstances, we are inclined to modify the

sentence of the appellants as under.

25) So far as appellant No. 1-mother-in-law is

concerned, we modify her sentence and reduce the

same to already undergone. In this view of the

matter, appellant No. 1-mother-in-law is not

required to undergo any more jail sentence.

26) So far as appellant No. 2-husband of the

deceased, Rekhabai, is concerned, his sentence is

reduced from 5 years to 2 years under Section 306

IPC. So far as sentence of 2 years awarded under

Section 498-A is concerned, it is upheld. The fine

amount awarded in both is also upheld. Both the

sentences are to run concurrently.

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27) In view of this, appellant No. 2, who is also on

bail by the order of this Court, has to surrender to

undergo remaining period of jail sentence awarded

to him by this Court. The bail granted to appellant

No. 2 is, therefore, cancelled to enable him to

surrender and undergo remaining period of jail

sentence awarded by this Court.

28) With the aforementioned modification, the

appeal stands allowed in part and the impugned

judgment stands modified accordingly to the extent

indicated above.

……………………………………..J.
[R.K. AGRAWAL]

……………………………………….J.
[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
New Delhi;

January 25, 2018

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