Paramjit Kaur vs State Of Delhi on 12 May, 2017

* IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
Date of Decision : May 12th, 2017

+ CRL.A. 566/2001
PARAMJIT KAUR ….. Appellant
Through Mr.Ajay Verma, Adv. with
Ms.Divya Chugh, Advocates.

versus

STATE OF DELHI ….. Respondent
Through: Mr. Panna Lal Sharma, Additional
Public Prosecutor for the State

AND

+ CRL.A. 606/2001
MANGAT SINGH ….. Appellant
Through Mr.Ajay Verma, Adv. with
Ms.Divya Chugh, Advocates.

versus

STATE OF DELHI ….. Respondent
Through: Mr. Panna Lal Sharma, Additional
Public Prosecutor for the State

CORAM:
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE P.S.TEJI

JUDGMENT

P.S.TEJI, J

1. Since both these appeals have been preferred against a

common judgment of conviction and order on sentence, therefore,

both these appeals are being decided together.

2. Aggrieved by the judgment of conviction dated 25.07.2001

Crl.A. Nos.566 601 of 2001 Page 1 of 12
convicting the appellants, namely, Paramjeet Kaur and Mangat

Singh finding them guilty under Sections 304B/34 and 498A/34

IPC and order on sentence dated 28.07.2001 vide which the

appellants were sentenced to undergo seven years rigorous

imprisonment for the offence under Section 304B/34 IPC and also

to undergo two years rigorous imprisonment for the offence under

Section 498A/34 IPC with a fine of Rs.500/- each, and in default of

payment of fine they were ordered to further undergo simple

imprisonment for three months, the present appeals have been

preferred.

3. The factual matrix emerging from the record is that deceased

Jaswant Kaur was married to the accused Sher Singh on

24.11.1989 and after a few months into their marriage, the relations

between the deceased and her in-laws started deteriorating wherein

they treated her with cruelty for bringing insufficient dowry. On

01.09.1990, the in-laws of the deceased caused injuries on her

person with some hot object and strangulated her. Thereafter,

accused Sher Singh took the deceased who was in an unconscious

state and admitted her to Batra Hospital where she remained in

coma till 04.09.1990 after finally passing away. Hospital

authorities informed the police who reached hospital and found the

deceased unfit for statement. Baldev Singh, father of the deceased

Crl.A. Nos.566 601 of 2001 Page 2 of 12
also reached the hospital and on the basis of his statement, FIR of

the instant case was registered.

4. In his statement made to the police, the complainant had

stated that his deceased was married with accused Sher Singh on

24.11.1989. After about 3-4 months of her marriage, when

deceased came to her parental home she informed them that her in-

laws were harassing her with petty domestic matters. He further

stated that the accused Sher Singh kept quiet every time the

deceased complained to him. He had spoken to the accused Sher

Singh in this regard but to no avail. On 30.08.1990, the deceased

came to her parental home and informed her parents about the

continued harassment on the part of her in-laws. On the

subsequent date, accused Sher Singh came to his house to take

back the deceased after giving an assurance of causing no

harassment to the deceased. On 01.09.1990, he came to know that

his daughter was admitted in a hospital.

5. During investigation, the police seized one knife and a nylon

rope with hair stuck on it from the matrimonial home of the

deceased. Accused persons were arrested and after completion of

investigation, charge sheet was filed in the Court.

6. Charge under Sections 498A/304B/34 IPC was framed

against both the appellants and other accused persons, namely,

Crl.A. Nos.566 601 of 2001 Page 3 of 12
Balwant Singh, Jageer Kaur, Sher Singh and Surjit Singh to

which they pleaded not guilty. The prosecution had examined as

many as 31 witnesses, namely, PW1 Baldev Singh, PW2

Dr.Dilshad Khan, PW3 Bihari Lal, PW4 Tarsem Kaur, PW5

Rajvinder Kaur, PW6 Ranjit Singh, PW7 B.K. Kaghroo, PW8

Ct.Sewa Ram, PW9 Smt. Santosh, PW10 Surjit Singh, PW11 HC

Vikram Singh, PW13 Dr.Chander Kant, PW14 Dr.R.K. Mani,

PW15 Kali Charan, PW16 HC Darshan Kumar, PW17 ASI Meer

Singh, PW18 Insp.Davinder Singh, PW19 HC Roshan Lal, PW20

HC Darshan Kumar, PW21 Smt.Rajvinder Kaur, PW22 Satnam

Singh, PW23 Ct.Rajbir, PW24 K.K. Arora, PW25 D.S. Chakoutra,

READ  Sanjeev Bhatiani vs Union Of India & Anr. on 26 May, 2014

PW26 Insp.Bhag Singh, PW27 Surjit Singh, PW28 Insp. Seeta

Ram Meena, PW29 Insp.Davinder Singh, PW30 HC Jasbir Singh

and PW31 Insp.Rajbir Singh.

7. The statements of the accused persons were recorded under

Section 313 of the Cr.P.C. Accused persons examined DW1 Gopal

Kishan Sharma as their defence witness.

8. The appellants were held guilty by the learned Additional

Sessions Judge vide judgment of conviction dated 25.07.2001 and

passed the order on sentence on 28.07.2001.

9. The grounds challenging the judgment of conviction are that

there is no sufficient evidence against the appellants to hold them

Crl.A. Nos.566 601 of 2001 Page 4 of 12
guilty. The appellants were living separately to the deceased and

were not present at the spot at the time of the alleged incident. The

appellants never demanded any dowry nor harassed the deceased

for or in connection with dowry. There are material contradictions

in the testimony of prosecution witnesses which make the case of

the prosecution doubtful. There is no direct or circumstantial

evidence against the appellants to connect them to the incident of

the present case. The deceased committed suicide and no role can

be attributed to the appellants in commission of the same. The

court below has wrongly convicted them under Section

498A/304B/34 IPC for the reasons that co-convict Sher Singh has

been held guilty for commission of murder of the deceased. The

ingredients of commission of murder and commission of dowry

death are altogether different and when it has been held that co-

convict committed the murder of the deceased, the appellants

cannot be held guilty of commission of dowry death.

10. Per contra, arguments advanced by learned Additional

Public Prosecutor for the State are that the appellants have been

rightly held guilty under Sections 498A/304B/34 IPC by the trial

court. The father and other relatives of the deceased have duly

supported the case of prosecution that the deceased was subjected

to cruelty and harassment on account of demand of dowry by the

Crl.A. Nos.566 601 of 2001 Page 5 of 12
appellants. There is sufficient evidence against the appellants to

hold them guilty for the offences of harassment on account of

demand of dowry and of dowry death.

11. Arguments advanced by the counsel for the appellants as

well as learned APP for the State were heard.

12. In his testimony, PW1 Baldev Singh stated that deceased

Jaswant Kaur was his daughter who was married to the accused

Sher Singh on 24.11.1989. In the marriage they had spent sufficient

amount as per their capacity. After 3-4 months into the marriage,

whenever his daughter used to visit their house, she used to

complain that Paramjit Kaur, Mangat Singh and Jagir Kaur used to

tease her for petty domestic matters. She used to tell them that they

were harassing her with an indication towards dowry. On

31.08.1990 accused Sher Singh came to their house and took the

deceased back by assuring that there would be no harassment in the

future.

13. PW4 Tarsem Kaur, mother of the deceased had stated that

her daughter informed her that she was being harassed by Paramjit

Kaur, Jagir Kaur and Mangat Singh for bringing insufficient

dowry. She further stated that whenever she complained to the

accused Sher Singh, he kept quiet. On 26.08.1990 she went to the

matrimonial house of her daughter and saw accused Paramjit Kaur,

Crl.A. Nos.566 601 of 2001 Page 6 of 12
Surjit Singh, Jagir Kaur and Mangat Singh quarrelling with the

deceased. PW4 brought her daughter to her house where she was

told by her daughter that she was being harassed by her in-laws and

was being pressurised to bring Rs. 20,000/- else she would be

killed. On the same day evening, accused Sher Singh came to their

house and took away her daughter. On 30.08.1990, her daughter

came back to her house and complained that her in-laws were

harassing her and abusing her. On 31.08.1990 accused Sher Singh

came and when PW4 complained to him, he told them that he

could not do anything and if something was given only then he

READ  Irfan Ahmed Baig @ Irfan Baig vs State Of Karnataka on 10 March, 2014

would be able to persuade his family to desist from harassing the

deceased. Her daughter asked her for some money in order to be

able to live peacefully with her in-laws. PW4 had given Rs. 5,000/-

and a gold chain to accused Sher Singh with the assurance that

more payment would be made when her son Surjit Singh would

come back from Dubai.

14. PW5 Rajvinder Kaur stated that the deceased was her sister.

After some time into her marriage with accused Sher Singh,

whenever her sister came to visit her maternal house she would

complain about her nanad, mother-in-law and brother of husband

teasing her for bringing insufficient dowry. On 30.08.1990

deceased came to their house and informed that apart from above

Crl.A. Nos.566 601 of 2001 Page 7 of 12
accused she was also being teased by the nandoi and his friend.

She had also mentioned that if any harm was caused to her then

dowry articles should be taken back. On 31.08.1990 accused Sher

Singh came to their house to take the deceased back. On that

occasion accused Sher Singh stated that if something was paid to

his family members they would keep quiet and maintain peace with

their daughter. Her mother gave Rs. 5,000/- in cash and a gold

chain to accused Sher Singh with a promise to pay more on arrival

of Surjit Singh from Dubai.

15. PW9 Smt. Santosh had deposed that the deceased was the

sister of her husband. She had gone to Abu Dhabi after about a

month of the marriage of deceased with Sher Singh. She had seen

Jaswant Kaur writing and signing. She had stated that letter Ex.

PW5/A was received by her in Abu Dhabi on 27.08.1990, being

written by the deceased. On a telephonic conversation with the

deceased, she was informed that she was not happy at her in-laws

house.

16. PW10 Surjit Singh is the brother of the deceased who stated

almost on similar lines as PW9 Smt. Santosh.

17. From the testimony of PW1, PW4, PW5, PW9 and PW10, it

is amply clear that the deceased was being harassed by the

appellants for demand of dowry. In their testimony, these

Crl.A. Nos.566 601 of 2001 Page 8 of 12
witnesses have deposed that after the marriage of the deceased with

accused Sher Singh, she was harassed and teased by the appellants

for or in connection with demand of dowry. They have stated that

the appellants used to tease the deceased for bringing insufficient

dowry. It is also stated by the witnesses that Tarsem Kaur, mother

of the deceased gave Rs.5,000/- and a gold chain to the accused

Sher Singh on a specific demand.

18. Thus, from the testimony of above witnesses, there is

enough evidence on record from which it has been established that

the deceased was being harassed by the appellants for or in

connection with demand of dowry. Therefore, the conviction of

the appellants deserves to be upheld under Section 498A/34 IPC.

19. So far as the conviction of the appellants under Section 304B

IPC for causing the dowry death of the deceased is concerned, it is

a matter of record that co-convict Sher Singh has been held guilty

under Section 302 IPC for commission of murder of the deceased.

The Trial Court while extensively examining the material evidence

and circumstances brought on record found Sher Singh guilty of

commission of murder of deceased. It is worth mentioning that

apart from convicting Sher Singh under Section 302 IPC he was

also convicted under Section 304B IPC.

20. The Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of State of Punjab v.

Crl.A. Nos.566 601 of 2001 Page 9 of 12
Iqbal Singh and Ors
. (1991) 3 SCC 1observed as under :

“8. …The legislative intent is clear to curb the
menace of dowry deaths, etc., with a firm hand.
We must keep in mind this legislative intent. It
must be remembered that since crimes are
generally committed in the privacy of residential
homes and in secrecy, independent and direct
evidence is not easy to get. That is why the
legislature has by introducing
Sections 113A and 113B in the Evidence Act
tried to strengthen the prosecution hands by
permitting a presumption to be raised if certain
foundational facts are established and the
unfortunate event has taken place within seven
years of marriage. This period of seven years is
considered to be the turbulent one after which the
legislature assumes that the couple would have
settled down in life. If a married women is
subjected to cruelty or harassment by her
husband or his family members Section 498A,
Indian Penal Code
would be attracted. If such
cruelty or harassment was inflicted by the
husband or his relative for, or in connection with,
any demand for dowry immediately preceding
death by burns and bodily injury or in abnormal
circumstances within seven years of marriage,
such husband or relative is deemed to have
caused her death and is liable to be punished
Under Section 304B, Indian Penal Code. When
the question at issue is whether a person is guilty
of dowry death of a woman and the evidence
discloses that immediately before her death she
was subjected by such person to cruelty and/or
harassment for, or in connection with, any
demand for dowry, Section 113B, Evidence Act
provides that the court shall presume that such
person had caused the dowry death. Of course if
there is proof of the person having intentionally
caused her death that would attract Section 302,
Indian Penal Code
. Then we have a situation
where the husband or his relative by his wilful
conduct creates a situation which he knows will

Crl.A. Nos.566 601 of 2001 Page 10 of 12
drive the woman to commit suicide and she
actually does so, the case would squarely fall
within the ambit of Section 306, Indian Penal
Code
. In such a case the conduct of the person
would tantamount to inciting or provoking or
virtually pushing the woman into a desperate
situation of no return which would compel her to
put an end to her miseries by committing suicide.
…”

21. The scope of convicting an accused under Section 302 IPC i.e.

READ  Gopal vs State Of Rajasthan on 13 February, 2009

for commission of murder and Section 304B IPC i.e. dowry death

are altogether different. The ingredients of both these Sections are

also separate. In convicting an accused under S. 302 IPC, the

prosecution is bound to prove its case either by way of direct

evidence or with the connecting chain of circumstances, whereas

convicting an accused for commission of dowry death specific

circumstances are to be established. In the present case, since co-

convict Sher Singh has already been convicted under Section 302

IPC by treating the death of deceased as murder, no case is made

out against the appellants to convict them under commission of

dowry death of the deceased. Thus, the conviction of the

appellants under Section 304B/34 IPC and order on sentence is set

aside.

22. In view of the above discussion and the evidence discussed,

this Court upholds the judgment of conviction and order on

Crl.A. Nos.566 601 of 2001 Page 11 of 12
sentence awarded to the appellants under Section 498A read with

Section 34 of the IPC.

23. However, the judgment of conviction and order on sentence

awarded to the appellants under Section 304B read with Section 34

IPC is set aside.

24. Apparently, the death of the deceased had taken place on

04.09.1990; the charge was framed on 10.07.1992 and 28.09.1995

against appellants Mangat Singh and Paramjit Kaur respectively;

judgment of conviction was passed on 25.07.2001; order on

sentence was passed on 28.07.2001; sentence of the appellants was

suspended by this Court in 2001/2002; the appellants have faced

the protracted trial for about 20 years and since there is no

minimum sentence provided under Section 498A IPC, the interest

of justice would be met if the sentence of the appellants is modified

to the extent already undergone by them. It is held accordingly.

25. The appeals are disposed of accordingly.

26. Pending application, if any, is also disposed of.

(P.S.TEJI)
JUDGE

MAY 12, 2017
dd

Crl.A. Nos.566 601 of 2001 Page 12 of 12

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