State Of Maharashtra vs Vilas Bhagawan Chavan & Ors on 8 May, 2017

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.965 OF 2001

The State of Maharashtra .Appellant

Vs.

1. Vilas Bhagawan Chavan, Age : 27 yrs. .Respondents
2. Satish Bhagawan Chavan, Age : 22 yrs.
3. Radhubai Bhagawan Chavan, Age : 45 yrs.
4. Kum. Kavita Bhagawan Chavan, Age : 18 yrs.

All R/o. Surli, Taluka – Karad, District – Satara

Mr.Y.M.Nakhwa, APP, for the Appellant – State
None for the Respondents

CORAM : REVATI MOHITE DERE , J.

DATE : 08.05.2017

ORAL JUDGMENT

. By this Appeal, the Appellant – State of Maharashtra

has impugned the Judgment and Order dated 31.08.2001 passed

by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Karad in Sessions Case

No.112 of 2000 acquitting the Respondent – accused of the

offences punishable under Sections 306, 498A, 323 504

r/w.34 of the Indian Penal Code.

2. A few facts as are necessary are stated as under :-

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The deceased – Surekha was married to Respondent

No.1 – Vilas Chavan on 08.03.1996. Initially, for about eight days

after marriage, Surekha was treated well. Thereafter, according

to Surekha, the Respondents were not behaving properly with

her. She has stated that Respondent No.1 would abuse and

assault her with fist and kick blows; that the Respondent No.2 –

Satish, her brother-in-law was trying to get intimate with her and

would leave no opportunity to do the same; that the Respondent

No.3 – Radhubai would abuse and assault her and would state

that she did not know cooking, was not behaving properly and

would starve her; and that the Respondent No.4 – Kavita, who

was 18 at the relevant time, would also abuse and assault her.

She has stated that being fed up with the ill-treatment, on

31.05.1996 at 12.00 noon, when nobody was in the house, she

consumed some poisonous substance, as a result of which she

started vomiting and became unconscious. She has stated that

she was admitted by the Respondent – accused in Krishna

Charitable Hospital, Karad. She has stated that she regained

consciousness, pursuant to which her statement dated

(10.06.1996) was recorded. On 24.06.1996, Surekha expired,

pursuant to which her statement dated 10.06.1996 was treated

as an FIR, and accordingly, C.R.No.93 of 1996 was registered, on

24.06.1996 as against the Respondent – accused. The offences

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alleged were Sections 306, 498A, 323 504 r/w.34 of the Indian

Penal Code. After investigation, charge-sheet was filed in the

Court of the learned Magistrate. As Section 306 was triable by

the Court of Sessions, the case was committed to the Court of

Sessions. Charge was framed on 24.04.2001. The Respondent –

accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried. Their defence

was of total denial and false implication.

3. The prosecution in support of its case examined five

witnesses; PW.1 – Anandrao Bajirao Jadhav, father of the

deceased; PW.2 – Dr. Mohan Yeshwant Patil, the Dr. who

performed the post mortem; PW.3 – Ishwar Sangappa Sutar, the

officer who investigated the case; PW.4 – Mahadeo Annarao Patil,

who recorded the statement of Surekha and PW.5 – Dr. Mrs.

Navina Brid, in whose presence Surekha’s statement dated

10.06.1996 was recorded. The learned Sessions Judge after

considering the evidence on record was pleased to acquit the

Respondent – accused of all the offences with which they were

charged. The Respondent – accused in support of their defence

examined DW.1 – Vasant Kashinath Jadhav, a Mediator, who

had settled the marriage and the dispute after marriage.

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4. Perused the papers, the evidence on record and the

impugned Judgment and Order.

5. The learned Sessions Judge was pleased to acquit the

Respondent – accused of all the offences/charges, as the

prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

The learned Sessions Judge has observed that PW.1 – Anandrao

Jadhav had infact supported the defence, in his

cross-examination. He further observed that PW.1 had admitted

in his cross-examination, that the entire hospital expenses were

READ  Salim Kadar Inamdar vs State Of Maharashtra on 21 July, 2005

borne by the Respondent – accused, even after she had regained

consciousness; that during his stay at the hospital with his

daughter, he had not made any complaint as against the

Respondent – accused, about the alleged ill-treatment meted out

to her; and that the deceased was in the hospital for 24 days,

and as such, he had ample opportunity to lodge a complaint. As

far as PW.4 – Mahadeo Patil and PW.5 – Dr. Mrs. Navina Brid are

concerned, the learned Sessions Judge has disbelieved their

testimony, in view of the several lacunae in their evidence. The

learned Sessions Judge has accepted the evidence of the defence

witness DW.1 – Vasant Jadhav.

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6. After considering the evidence on record, the learned

Sessions Judge observed that the prosecution had failed to

prove, that Surekha was subjected to cruelty by the Respondent

– accused, resulting in her committing suicide.

7. The evidence of PW.1 – Anandrao Jadhav, father of

the deceased – Surekha shows that all the Respondent – accused

were residing together. PW.1 – Anandrao has stated that after

the marriage of Surekha with the Respondent No.1 – Vilas

Chavan on 08.03.1996, Surekha went to reside in her

matrimonial house at village Surli. He has stated that after

marriage, his daughter, Respondent No.1 and his maternal

brother had come to their house for the Solava ceremony on

19.03.1996. He has stated that Surekha resided with them for

six days. According to PW.1 – Anandrao, Surekha had disclosed

to him, that all the Respondent – accused were harassing her,

ill-treating her and were not giving her food. He has stated that

he convinced Surekha’s in-laws and told them that they should

take care of her. He has stated that on 26.05.1996, his son

brought Surekha to their house when she stayed with them for

four days. She has stated that Surekha had disclosed that the

Respondent – accused were saying that she could not cook and

were harassing her on account of the same. He has stated that he

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had asked Surekha’s father-in-law to let Surekha stay with them

for two months, during which time, they could teach her cooking,

however, Surekha’s father-in-law asked him, to send Surekha

back and stated that they would not complain against her. He has

stated that in the month of June, 1996, he learnt that his

daughter – Surekha was admitted to the Krishna Charitable

Hospital, Karad, pursuant to which, he came to the hospital. He

has stated that Surekha was admitted in the I.C.U. and she had

been accompanied by her father-in-law. He has stated that

Surekha was unconscious and regained consciousness after

seven days. He has further stated that when Surekha regained

consciousness, she disclosed to him, that the Respondent –

accused were harassing her and as she could not bear the same,

she consumed insecticide.

8. In the cross-examination, PW.1 – Anandrao Jadhav

has admitted, that one Vasant Jadhav (DW.1) was the Mediator,

who had settled the marriage of Surekha with Respondent No.1 –

Vilas Chavan. He has stated that he did not ask about the

educational qualification of the Respondent No.1 – Vilas Chavan

and only asked whether the Respondent No.1 – Vilas Chavan

owned landed property or not. He has stated that he learnt that

the Respondent No.1, owned 4 – 5 acres of land. He has admitted

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that village Surli comes under the famine affected area. He has

further admitted that when he spoke to Respondent No.1 – Vilas

Chavan, he realised, that he had some defect in his speech. He

has also admitted that he had learnt, that because of the said

defect in speech, Respondent No.1’s marriage could not be fixed

earlier. The said witness has further admitted that his daughter –

Surekha was fluent in her speech as well as in her behaviour and

READ  Sk. Anamuddin @ Sk. Anamul Ali & Anr vs Unknown on 6 April, 2017

that she was a perfect cook and that it was her first proposal. He

has also admitted that he had brought to the notice of his

daughter – Surekha, Respondent No.1’s speech problem. He has

further admitted that his financial position was average; and

that the marriage was performed in a healthy atmosphere. He

has stated that soon after marriage, Surekha visited them a

couple of times. He has further admitted that Vasant Jadhav

(DW.1) from village Kharade had accompanied Surekha’s

father-in-law, when he had come to take Surekha back home.

There is an omission with regard to the allegation that

Respondent – accused were stating that Surekha did not know

cooking. He has further admitted in his cross-examination, that

he had visited Krishna Charitable Hospital on the same day,

when Surekha was admitted in the hospital. He has admitted

that during his six days stay at the hospital, he had not spent a

single penny on his daughter’s medicines; that he had not lodged

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any complaint during his six day stay, at the hospital alleging

ill-treatment to his daughter – Surekha, at the hands of

Respondent – accused, despite the fact, that the police had

enquired with him. He has further stated that after Surekha’s

statement was recorded, he went back to the village and that he

learnt that Surekha had expired on 24.06.1996. PW.1 –

Anandrao Jadhav has admitted that he had not spent any money

on his daughter even after she regained consciousness, and that

the entire expenses were borne by the Respondent – accused;

and that the Respondent – accused had paid all the hospital

charges. The said witness has, however, denied the suggestion

that his daughter disliked her husband i. e. Respondent No.1 –

Vilas Chavan and she was not ready to cohabit with him, because

of his speech problem. The said witness has admitted that there

were exchange of words, between himself and his daughter.

9. The evidence of PW.2 – Dr. Mohan Patil shows that

the deceased died due to multiple organ failure due to

consumption of poison. The viscera report has not been placed on

record.

10. PW.3 – Ishwar Sutar was attached to the Taluka

Police Station at the relevant time. He has conducted the

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investigation in the said case.

11. PW.4 – Mahadeo Patil is the officer, who was attached

to the Krishna Charitable Hospital at the relevant time. He has

stated that Surekha was admitted in the said hospital on account

of poisoning and that he was intimated by the ward authority to

record her statement. He has stated that later on, he recorded

Surekha’s statement as per her say, obtained her thumb

impression and obtained the signature of the Doctor.

12. In his cross-examination, the said witness has stated

that for the first time, he had recorded the dying declaration of

Surekha. He has stated that he did not know how long the patient

was in the hospital prior to recording of her statement. He has

stated that he asked questions to the patient and she replied. He

has admitted that he was not aware of the questions, which he

had put to the patient; and that he had not asked Surekha when

she was admitted in the hospital. He has also admitted that

Surekha had not disclosed the date when she had consumed

poison. He has admitted that saline was administered to

Surekha, at the relevant time and that the patient was not

talking when saline was applied to her. He has also admitted that

he had not recorded the time when the statement was recorded.

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He has also admitted that he had not requested the police station,

to requisition a Special Executive Magistrate for recording

Surekha’s dying declaration. He has denied the suggestion, that

he had prepared the statement after consulting Surekha’s father

and other relatives.

13. PW.5 – Dr. Mrs. Navina Brid, was the Medical officer

READ  Ranjeet Kumar @ Babloo & Ors vs State Of Bihar & Anr on 28 July, 2017

attached to the Krishna Charitable Hospital, at the relevant time.

She has only stated that Surekha was conscious but was anxious,

when her statement was recorded. She has admitted that she

was present when the statement was recorded and that she had

signed on the said statement, that Surekha was conscious.

14. In her cross-examination, she has admitted that

Surekha was unconscious for fifteen days. The said witness has

admitted that Surekha was being administered I.V., at the

relevant time. She has also admitted that they had not informed

the police that Surekha was conscious on 3rd, 4th 7th June,

1996. She has also admitted that she had not mentioned in the

case papers, that Surekha was conscious on the said dates. She

has further stated that some of the entries made in the case

papers do not bear her signature and that the entries are in the

hand writing of other doctors. She has admitted that she has

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written on the statement that the patient was conscious, but her

pupils were dilated on account of Atropine. She has stated that

the patient was treated by Psychiatrist – Dr. Kulkarni. She has

admitted that since the time of admission, I.V. was continuously

administered to Surekha. She has admitted that Surekha was

examined by a Psychiatrist and that the Psychiatrist in his

observation has mentioned, that the patient was extremely

agitated and had persecutory delusions.

15. The evidence of DW.1 – Vasant Jadhav shows that he

had settled the marriage of Surekha and Respondent No.1 –

Vilas. He has stated that Surekha had disclosed that she did not

want to co-habit with Respondent No.1, as he was a simpleton. He

has stated that when Surekha’s father PW.1 – Anandrao heard

this, he told her that he would not maintain her and that she had

to go to her husband’s house. According to DW.1 – Vasant,

Anandrao (PW.1) had sent Surekha to her matrimonial house

with his son Surli, eight days prior to the incident.

16. As the evidence on record, in particular, the dying

declaration of the deceased did not inspire confidence, the

learned trial Judge rejected the said evidence and acquitted the

Respondent – accused. The medical evidence shows that Surekha

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was admitted to the hospital on 31.05.1996; that her statement

came to be recorded on 10.06.1996; and that she expired on

24.06.1996. PW.5 – Dr. Mrs. Navina Brid states that she was not

the only doctor, who had examined the deceased and that there

were other doctors, who had examined Surekha. The said

witness has also admitted that she had not mentioned in the case

paper that Surekha was conscious on 3rd, 4th 7th June, 1996.

Admittedly, Surekha was being treated by Psychiatrist, who has

also not been examined by the prosecution. The evidence of PW.5

– Dr. Mrs. Navina Brid shows, that Surekha had persecutory

delusions. PW.4 – Mahadeo Patil’s evidence also does not inspire

confidence. His evidence does not show that, the patient was in a

proper frame of mind, when he recorded the statement. The said

witness has also admitted that he had not taken any steps to

requisition a Special Executive Magistrate, to record Surekha’s

statement. The evidence of the witnesses does not inspire

confidence in view of several lacunae in their evidence. The

evidence on record also shows that none of the Respondent –

accused were present in the house, when Surekha committed

suicide.

17. The overall reasons given by the learned Sessions

Judge for acquitting the Respondent – accused, cannot be faulted

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or be said to be perverse or unsustainable. The same are borne

out by the material on record.

18. Considering the aforesaid, the Appeal, being sans

merit is dismissed.

(REVATI MOHITE DERE, J.)

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