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Discharged of the offence under Sections 498-A and 306, I.P.C

Andhra High Court

 

Sebbella Veera Venkata …
vs

State Of A.P. on 31 October, 2003
Equivalent citations: 2004 (2) ALD Cri 225, 2004 CriLJ 1107

Bench: C Somayajulu
ORDER C.Y. Somayajulu, J.

1. Bhargava Laxmi (the deceased), wife of the petitioner, committed suicide on 18-3-2000. In connection therewith a case in Crime No. 70 of 2000 was registered by IV Town Police Station of Visakhapatnam under Section 174, Cr. P.C. At the time of inquest police seized three suicide notes, one addressed to the petitioner, other addressed to the mother of the deceased and the third addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Visakhapatnam, left behind by the deceased. Subsequently, on a complaint given by the brother of the deceased alleging that suicide by the deceased was due to the harassment meted out to her by the petitioner and his mother, the section of law was altered to Section 306 of I.P.C. and after investigation police filed a charge-sheet against the petitioner and his mother (A-2), for offences under Sections 498-A and 306, I.P.C., which was taken on file as P.R.C. No. 36/2000 on the file of the Court of the Ill-Metropolitan Magistrate, Visakhapatnam. After the case was committed to Sessions, mother of the petitioner (A-2) filed Crl. M.P. No. 178/2001 to discharge her. But, that petition was dismissed. Questioning that dismissal she filed Crl, R.P. No. 1243/2001 before this Court which was allowed by a learned single Judge on 18-4-2003 and she was discharged of the offence under Sections 498-A and 306 of the I.P.C. Thereafter petitioner filed Crl. M.P. No. 101 of 2003 before the trial Court seeking his discharge from the case. The learned Sessions Judge, Mahila Court, Visakhapatnam, by the order under revision dismissed the said petition on 26-9-2003. Hence this revision.

2. The contention of Sri E. Ayyapu Reddy, the learned counsel for the petitioner, is that since the three suicide notes left behind by the deceased do not refer to any harassment or ill-treatment by the petitioner, and when A-2 was ordered to be discharged by this Court in Crl. R.P.No. 1243 of 2001 the trial Court was in error in not discharging the petitioner. It is his contention that had the trial Court taken into consideration the note addressed by the deceased to the Commissioner of Police, it would not have failed to discharge the petitioner. It is his contention that statements made by the deceased in her suicide notes prevail over the statements of witnesses examined by police that the deceased committed suicide due to harassment and ill-treatment by the petitioner. The contention of the learned Additional Public Prosecutor is that since the suicide notes show that the deceased was unhappy and since the reasons for her unhappiness are not mentioned, in view of the evidence that is collected during the investigation, it has to be taken that the unhappiness of the deceased was due to the harassment meted out by the petitioner to her and so there are no grounds to discharge the petitioner.

3. The deceased being the author of the three suicide notes seized by the police is not in dispute. Those three suicide notes therefore are statements made by the deceased relating to the cause of her death, and hence would fall within Sub-section (1) of Section 32 of the Evidence Act and hence are relevant in finding out the cause of death of the deceased.

4. In the letter addressed by her to her mother the deceased while expressing her gratitude for her mother giving her in marriage to the petitioner as per her (deceased’s) desire, described the petitioner as vernacular matter omitted and vernacular matter omitted and made a request to her to support the petitioner, who is likely to be blamed for her death, and specifically stated that her soul would not rest in peace if she (her mother) were not to support the petitioner.

5. In the letter addressed to the Commissioner of Police, the deceased stated that no body is responsible for her death and described the petitioner as ‘God’ and a Very good person’ and was looking after her very well and since the petitioner started facing several difficulties after she entered into his life and had incurred heavy loss in business, she lost interest in life arid that she with a view to end the difficulties being faced by the petitioner after she entered into his life, is committing suicide.

6. In the letter addressed by her to the petitioner the deceased stated that she with a hope, that he would have mental peace if she were to die, is committing suicide. As a post script she stated that nobody should blame him (the petitioner) for her suicide.

7. The three suicide notes indicate that the deceased was a very emotional lady and had a lot of love and affection towards the petitioner. There is not eyen a whisper, in any of the three suicide notes left by the deceased, that the petitioner ever harassed or ill-treated her. In fact the note addressed by the deceased to the Commissioner of Police shows that she was under a strong belief that only after she entered into the life of the petitioner he incurred heavy loss in his business and lost his mental peace and so she decided to end her life, so that he may recoup his loss.

8. The reasons for her committing suicide can only be known to the deceased and not to others. Had the ill-treatment or harassment by the petitioner been the reason for her deciding to end her life deceased would not have failed to mention in at least one of her notes about the same. When the deceased herself did not make an accusation against the petitioner that she was harassed or ill-treated by him for dowry, the statement of harassment or ill-treatment of the deceased by the petitioner would only be an opinion evidence, over which no reliance can be placed.

9. Presumption, under Section 113-A of the Evidence Act for constituting an offence under Section 306, I.P.C. would arise only when there is prima facie evidence of cruelty or harassment for dowry by the accused. When the deceased described the petitioner as vernacular matter omitted and vernacular matter omitted and that nobody should blame him for her death, and that she is ending her life only with a view to see that the petitioner would be relieved of the difficulties into which he landed himself after she entered into his life, and when she specifically mentioned in the suicide note addressed to her mother that her soul would not rest in peace if she (her mother) were not to support the petitioner, no useful purpose would be served in proceeding with the trial of the case against the petitioner for the offence under Sections 498-A and 306, I.P.C. 10. Therefore, the revision is allowed and the petitioner is discharged of the offence under Sections 498-A and 306, I.P.C.

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