IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BENGALURU
DATED THIS THE 7TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2018
THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE K.N.PHANEENDRA
CRIMINAL PETITION NO.5185/2017
AGED ABOUT 29 YEARS,
R/AT. NO.5, II BLOCK,
NEW HEMANTH POLICE OFFICER QUARTERS,
KORAMANGALA, BENGALURU – 560 034…. PETITIONER
(BY SRI. Y.R.SADASHIVA REDDY, SR. COUNSEL FOR SRI. DEEPAK J. ADV.)
1. THE STATE BY BOMMANAHALLI
REPRESENTED BY SPP
HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA,
BANGALORE – 560 001.
2. SRI. YOGESH,
AGED ABOUT 47 YEARS,
R/AT. BANDIGANAHALLI VILLAGE,
MYSURU HOBLI, HOLENARASIPURA TALUK,
HASSAN DISTRICT – 573 201…. RESPONDENTS
(BY SRI SANDESH T.CHOUTA, SPP-II FOR R.1 AND SRI. P.RUDRAPPA, ADV. FOR R.2.)
THIS PETITION IS FILED UNDER SECTION 482
CR.P.C. PRAYING TO QUASH THE ENTIRE PROCEEDINGS
IN C.C.NO.16087/2017 ON THE FILE OF C.M.M.,
BANGALORE FOR THE ALLEGED OFFENCES P/U/S 498(A),
304(B) R/W 34 OF IPC AND SEC. 3 AND 4 OF D.P.ACT.
THIS PETITION COMING ON FOR ADMISSION THIS DAY, THE COURT MADE THE FOLLOWING:-
The petitioner has sought for quashing of the entire proceedings in C.C.No.16087/2017 on the file of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Bengaluru for the alleged offences punishable under Sections 498(A), 304(B) r/w Section 34 of IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.
2. The petitioner is arrayed as accused No.6 in the said case. He is none other than the brother of accused No.1-Shivaraj. There is no dispute that deceased-Pooja, daughter of CW1-Yogesh of Bandiganahalli Village, Mysuru Hobli was given in marriage to accused No.1-Shivaraj. Subsequently, the said Pooja has committed suicide and she left a death note on the allegation that, at the time of marriage, the accused Nos.1 to 3 have demanded dowry and received the same along with some gold articles. After the marriage, the accused No.1 and deceased were living together along with other members of family of accused No.1. It is alleged that all the accused persons were abusing her, particularly accused Nos.1 to 5, in demand of further dowry of Rs.1,00,000/- etc., Accused No.6 was also abusing her that she came from some other family and she wants to sleep on a cot and he being the son of the family has to sleep on the floor etc., and having suffered humiliation at the hands of all the accused persons, it is alleged that she committed suicide by leaving a death note. On these allegations, police have investigated the matter and submitted charge-sheet which is sought to be quashed.
3. The entire charge-sheet paper if they are seen, the only allegation against the petitioner even including the death note is that the petitioner is the brother of accused No.1 and he was only telling the deceased to the effect that;-
“she has come from somewhere and she has to sleep on the cot and on the other hand, he is the son of that family and he has to sleep on the floor and also he was abusing her with filthy language.”
What was the filthy language used is not at all stated in the statement of any witnesses nor in the death note. It is the common allegation against all that family members of accused No.1 that they were treating her like a maid servant in the house. Except the above said allegation, there is no allegation so far as this petitioner is concerned with regard to demand of any dowry, demand of any gold articles or soon before the death there was no ill-treatment by him and demand of any articles from her. Therefore, as could be seen from the entire statement of witnesses and death note, there is no attraction of Section 304(B) of IPC or Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, even if the entire allegations are taken as they are.
4. Now, the Court has to see whether the said allegation is sufficient to attract Section 498-A of IPC as such. In this particular case, it is the allegation that due to the cruelty meted out by accused No.6 and others, the deceased has committed suicide. Section 498-A of IPC says that “Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine” In the said Section, in the explanation, cruelty is also explained as under:-
a) any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman;”
5. Therefore, willful misconduct of the petitioner herein must be of such a nature that it is likely to drive a woman to commit suicide. Admittedly, in this case, suicide has been committed by the deceased-Pooja. The question is whether the allegations are sufficient to constitute an offence to draw inference that it was willful misconduct and it was of such a nature sufficient to drive a woman to commit suicide. In order to felicitate a person to commit suicide, there must be an abetment to commit such offence by the person. Therefore, the Court has to fall back upon Section 107 of IPC which deals with abetment. The said Section says that, any person instigates a person to do a thing or engages one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing or intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing by the deceased or by means of willful misrepresentation or by means of willful concealment of material fact which he is bound to disclose or if he does not disclose and making other person to believe in the same and do some particular act.
6. Therefore, it goes to show that there must be some nexus between the abetment or the act of a person alleged which amounts to willful misconduct and the said act was of such a nature that it is likely to drive a woman to commit suicide. Mere casual allegation may not be sufficient to constitute such offence under Section 498(A) of IPC. Here in the death note or in the entire statement of witnesses, nothing is there on record to show that on what date, time the said accused No.6/petitioner has abused her in such a manner. Even abusing words used that she has been sleeping on the cot and he being son of the house, has to sleep on the floor that itself whether can be said is sufficient or likely to drive a person to commit suicide is in my opinion has to be tested from other surrounding circumstances of the case.
7. As I have already noted that there are no other allegations against this petitioner right from the marriage of lady except that above noted one sentence. Therefore, willful misconduct of the petitioner is also not specifically stated anywhere in the complaint, statements or in the death note except the above said one sentence. Therefore, in my opinion because the petitioner is also related to accused No.1, perhaps in order to bring him also to the books, such allegations are made. Therefore, in my opinion, even strictly accepting the said allegation, same is not sufficient to constitute any offence under Section 498(A) of IPC. Therefore, I have absolutely no hesitation to quash the proceedings so far as petitioner/accused No.6 is concerned. Under the above circumstances, I proceed to pass the following ORDER The petition is allowed.
Entire proceedings in C.C.No.16087/2017 pending on the file of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Bengaluru, for the offences punishable under Sections 498(A), 304(B) r/w Section 34 of IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, so far it relates to petitioner (accused No.6) in the said case is hereby quashed.