Supreme Court of India
CASE NO.:Appeal (crl.) 145 of 2002
PETITIONER:Shivanand Mallappa Koti
RESPONDENT:The State of Karnataka
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/06/2007
BENCH:Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT & D.K. JAIN
1. In a benefaction appeal, defence is to a visualisation rendered by a Division Bench of a Karnataka High Court holding a appellant guilty of offences punishable underneath Section 498A of a Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in brief a ‘IPC’). The appellant faced hearing along with dual others, i.e. his mom and hermit for offences punishable underneath Sections 302, 498A IPC and Sections 3, 4 and 6 of a Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (in brief a ‘D.P. Act’). The hearing Court had transparent a benefaction appellant and his hermit of a charges underneath Section 302 IPC. Latter is described as A-3 while former is referred to as A-2. Mother of a indicted (hereinafter referred to as A-1) was alone convicted underneath Section 302 IPC. The State had also filed an interest doubt a acquittal, as remarkable above.
2. Background contribution in a nutshell are as follows:
The appellant was married to one Shobha (hereinafter referred to as a deceased). She was a daughter of PW-l, a School Teacher. PW-2 was her mother, PW-17 her hermit and PW-15 her younger sister. PW-6 is a mom of PW-17. According to a prosecution, PW-1 perceived information that she reason glow and was during a hospital. On his seeking as to how she perceived a injuries, she pronounced that while she was cooking, A-1 came behind her and illuminated glow to her saree. The claim was that for not fulfilling a direct of dowry, she was killed by her mother-in-law and other indicted persons. To justify a defence of direct of dowry, 3 letters were exhibited, that are Ex.P-2, Ex.P-3 and Ex.P-4. The occurrence took place on 25.9.1993. As remarkable above, a charge chronicle rests essentially on a matter supposed to have been done by a defunct before her genocide to her father in a participation of other relatives. The Trial Court placed faith on a justification of PW-l and a letters and accordingly destined self-assurance and imposed sentence, as aforesaid. It, however, transparent A-2 and A-3 of some charges.
3. Three appeals were filed before a High Court, dual by a indicted persons and one by a State, as remarkable above.
4. The High Court found that a justification was deficient to justify a allegations intended opposite A-1. It also remarkable that there was no justification to uncover any direct of dowry. Therefore, it destined exculpation of A-1 so distant as charges relating to Section 302 IPC and Sections 3, 4 and 6 of a D.P. Act are concerned, yet fixation faith on a letters, Ex.P2 to P-4, reason a appellant guilty of offences punishable underneath Section 498A IPC. Interestingly, a self-assurance of A-1 and A-2 underneath Section 498A was reason to be not tolerable by a High Court.
5. In support of a appeal, schooled Counsel for a appellant submitted that mixture of Section 498A IPC are not established. In any event, after carrying destined exculpation from a charges relatable to Sections 3, 4 and 6 of a D. P. Act, on a self same evidence, a High Court should not have reason a appellant guilty underneath Section 498A IPC. The letters on that a Trial Court and a High Court placed faith do not, in any event, uncover direct of dowry or any valuable.
6. In response, schooled Counsel for a respondent- State submitted that in a final minute of July, 1990, Ex.P-4 there was a transparent anxiety of a goal of appellant for contacting a second matrimony since a defunct had not brought adequate dowry. With anxiety to a justification of PW-1 and other relatives, it was submitted that A-1 was creation a protest that she could have got some-more dowry as her son, definition thereby, a appellant was in supervision service.
7. Undisputedly, a High Court has reason so distant as A-1 and A-2 are concerned, that a accusations relatable to Sections 3, 4 and 6 of a D.P Act have not been determined as no direct of dowry has been proved. Section 498A, IPC reads as follows:
Husband or relations of father of a lady subjecting her to cruelty – Whoever, being a father or a relations of a father of a woman, subjects such lady to cruelty shall be punished with seizure for a tenure that might extend to 3 years and shall also be probable to fine.
Explanation – For a purpose of this Section, Section, “cruelty” means-
(a) any determined control that is of such a inlet as is expected to expostulate a lady to dedicate self-murder or to means grave damage or risk to life, prong or health (whether mental or physical) of a woman; or
(b) nuisance of a lady where such nuisance is with a perspective to coercing her or any chairman associated to her to accommodate any wrong direct for any skill or profitable confidence or is on comment of disaster by her or any chairman associated to her to accommodate such demand.
8. Section 498A does not privately pronounce of a dowry demand. It speaks of wrong direct for skill and profitable articles.
9. Section 498A IPC was enacted by a Criminal Law (Second Amendment) 1983 with outcome from 25.12.1983. The word “cruelty” has been explained in Section 498A; so also harassment. “Cruelty” underneath a Explanation deals with dual forms of circumstances. Clause (a) refers to determined control heading to self-murder or grave damage or risk to life, prong or health that can be possibly mental or earthy of a woman. Clause (b) relates to nuisance with a perspective to require her or any chairman associated to her to accommodate any wrong direct for any skill or profitable or is on comment of disaster to accommodate such demand.
10. There is no justification on record on this aspect of any such demand. Even in a letters, on that charge placed complicated reliance, there is no anxiety to any direct of dowry or for that matter of any nature. In fact in Ex. P-2, a defunct had created to her mom that she had betrothed to compensate for some articles that a mother-in-law i.e. A-1 had purchased. She had settled that she was broke that her relatives were not profitable a money, yet A-1 had never asked for it. This was not a box of any direct for skill or profitable security. On a contrary, a defunct had objected to her relatives not profitable for something that a A- 1 had spent a money. To identical outcome was minute Ex.P-3. It is clear from a justification on record that half of a matrimony losses were borne by a accused-appellant and his family. Even Ext. P-4 on that schooled Counsel for a State placed clever faith does not pronounce of any demand. It usually speaks of a confinement of a second marriage. Though, he submitted that a direct of dowry is in a credentials and has to be inferred, a defence is clearly unsuitable in a deficiency of any element to justify that plea. This minute was also created 3 years before to a occurrence.
11. Above being a position, a unavoidable end is that a charge has unsuccessful to settle a accusations so distant as Section 498A IPC is endangered to reason a accused-appellant guilty. The self-assurance is, accordingly, set aside. The interest is allowed. The bail holds executed for recover of a appellant on bail shall mount discharged.