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Benefit of doubt, Acquittal in 498a IPC

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1340 OF 2013

Manoharan & Anr. ….Appellants

Versus

State Rep. by Inspector of Police …. Respondent

JUDGMENT
Uday Umesh Lalit, J.

1. In this interest by special leave, appellants (original indicted Nos.2 and doubt a exactness of a visualisation and sequence antiquated 04.12.2007 upheld by a High Court of Judicature during Madras dismissing Criminal Appeal No.843 of 2006 and thereby affirming self-assurance and visualisation of appellants underneath Section 498A IPC.

Reason:

2. A-1 Karuppaya, son of appellants got married to one Malathi, daughter of Karuthekannan and Vellathai (PWs 9 and 15 respectively) on 26.02.2001. According to a prosecution, during a time of matrimony there were dowry final and accordingly 50 sovereigns of gold, 2 sovereigns of palm chain, 3 sovereigns of bullion chain, income of Rs.50,000/- and certain residence reason articles were given by a relatives of Malathi. After matrimony a integrate started vital during Cuddalore. In Jun 2002 a integrate was sanctified with a child. It is purported that afterward A-1 prevented pronounced Malathi to enter a matrimonial home unless final for additional dowry were satisfied. Panchayat assembly was hold on 26.04.2003 yet no concede could be arrived at. A petition was sent by Malathi to a bureau of Chief Minister on 18.07.2003 whereafter Cuddalore military conducted inquiry. A-1 gave an endeavour that he would live with Malathi and accordingly he brought Malathi to a matrimonial home during Cuddalore on 08.12.2003.

3. On a inserted night of 8th and 9th of December, 2003, there was a argue between A-1 and Malathi and afterward A-1 is pronounced to have pounded her brutally with aruval. On 09.12.2003 during about 10.00 A.M. A-1 confessed his shame before PW-1 Village Officer and surrendered himself. Crime No.1587 of 2003 was purebred pursuant to a information given by PW-1, Village Officer and a review was undertaken.
4. PW-20 a Investigating Officer legalised a place of occurrence and available matter of A-1 in a participation of PW-19 and one Ramalingam underneath Exh.P-23 pursuant to that a blade was recovered. Body of Said Malathi was sent for post mortem that was conducted by PWs 10 and 11 who found following injuries:

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“(1) Left side scalp there is an incised damage fluctuating from a front to center line of scalp about 9-10 x 1-4cm x bone depth.
(2) There is an incised wound midst line of scalp about 10 x 2 cm x bone depth.
(3) There is an incised wound right side front nearby a hair line about 6 x 3 x 2 cm.
(4) There is an incised wound usually next a left eye 7 x 2cm x bone depth.
(5) There are dual incised wounds place on reduce jaw eloquently placed 6 x 1 cm upto bone abyss other 4 x 1 cm x bone depth.
(6) There is 3 x 1 x b one abyss next a 5th injury. (7) There is incised wound from a ankle of a mouth obliquely placed 5 x 1 cm upto muscle.
(8) Missing of a reduce jaw teeth left incised and canine.
(9) Fracture left side of mandible.
(10) Deep incised torn wound, right side of a neck fluctuating from 4 cm divided from a occipital inflection upto center of a neck, obliquely placed 10 x 1 x 3 cm upto flesh depth.
(11) Middle of a neck incised wound 4 x 2 cm x flesh depth.
(12) Abrasion over left side of a neck 2 x 1 cm. (13) Incised wound right index finger, obliquely placed 3 x 2 x upto bone depth. Fracture of bone of Phalanx. (14) Incised wound on a spine of right palm 4 x 2 x 1 cm. (15) There is torn damage on a (n.c.) about 3 x 1 x 1 cm left.
(16) Dorsum of left palm about 3 x 2 x 1 cm incised wound. (17) There is incised wound varying in distance left shoulder 4 to 6 cm x 1 x 1 cm.
(18) Incised wound left forearm 4 x 2 x 1 cm.
(19) There is incised wound left shoulder 6 x 1 x 1 cm.
(20) Abrasion over right knee 4 x 2 cm.”

5. Charges were framed opposite A-1, A-2 and A-3 for offences punishable underneath Sections 498A, 302 review with Section 34 IPC and also underneath Section 4-A(1)(2)(i) of a Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 1998 (1998 Act, for short). Court of Sessions during Cuddalore by a visualisation and sequence antiquated 11.09.2006 in Sessions Case No.82/2006 found A-1 guilty of offences punishable underneath Section 302, 498A IPC and underneath Section 4-A(1)(2)(i) of 1998 Act. The appellants were transparent of a charges underneath Section 302 IPC and Section 4-A(1)(2)(i) of 1998 Act yet were convicted for a offences underneath Section 498A IPC and condemned to bear 3 months severe seizure and to compensate excellent of Rs. 1000/-, in default whereof to bear severe seizure for one month. During a march of a judgment, a hearing justice observed:

“P.W.27 in her deposition would state that on 11-10-2003 relating to a minute forwarded from a Chief Minister’s Cell to a all Women Police Station, Cuddalore, an enquiry was conducted by her and during that time a defunct Malathi, A.1 and a relatives of both sides were present, however, on a indicted side time was sought for holding behind Malathi. From her deposition it is transparent that on 11-10-2003 there was no speak about a dowry problem. Hence, in such a case, in a deficiency of a minute sent to a Chief Minister’s Cell carrying been filed before this Court, a counterclaim speculation has to be supposed to a outcome that in a minute sent to a Chief Minister’s Cell there was no anxiety about a dowry problem and a enquiry during a military hire also was not on dowry problem and to that most border a advantage of doubt has to be given to a indicted relating to dowry problem. As such, a justification of PWs 26 and 27 in no approach uncover that there was any speak per dowry problem. In such a box there is force in a row of a counterclaim side that a problem between a parties is not especially centered on dowry, even yet as per a justification discussed supra there were talks about a bullion wealth and remuneration of money.”

6. The appellants challenged their self-assurance and visualisation by filing Criminal Appeal No.843 of 2006 while A-1 elite Criminal Appeal No. 1050 of 2006. Both a appeals were likely of by common visualisation and sequence antiquated 04.12.2007, that is currently underneath appeal. The High Court endorsed a perspective taken by a hearing justice and confirmed a self-assurance and visualisation of all 3 accused.

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7. The appellants being aggrieved, elite this interest by special leave. Initially, a appellants were postulated grant from surrendering and after they were systematic to be expelled on bail to a compensation of a hearing court, that advantage a appellants have enjoyed all through. It appears that a self-assurance and visualisation available opposite A-1 has achieved finality and in this interest we are endangered usually with self-assurance and visualisation of appellants underneath Section 498A IPC. Appearing for a appellants, Mr. V. Prabhakar, schooled Advocate invited a courtesy to a observations of a hearing justice as quoted hereinabove. In his acquiescence a appellants were entitled to acquittal. Mr. M. Yogesh Kanna, schooled Advocate for a State, however, upheld a judgments rendered by a courts below.

8. The justification in a benefaction box shows that after a minute was sent by Malathi to a bureau of Chief Minister, inquiries were conducted by a police. The justification serve indicates that during that juncture, no censure was done by Malathi or her relatives per any dowry associated harassment. Further, she was brought to Cuddalore on 08.12.2003 where a integrate used to live alone and a occurrence in doubt occurred on a inserted night between 8th and 9th December, 2003. In a circumstances, a justification on record is totally unsound to move home a assign opposite a appellants. We have left by a entirety of a matter and in a deliberate view, both a appellants are entitled to acquittal.

9. We, therefore, concede this interest and set aside a visualisation and sequence of self-assurance and visualisation as available opposite a appellants. The appellants are transparent of a assign of Section 498A IPC intended opposite them. The appellants are on bail. Their bail holds mount discharged.

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(Arun Mishra)
(Uday Umesh Lalit)
New Delhi, May 9, 2018

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