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Ajay Pal & Ors vs State on 25 April, 2017

* IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
+ CRL.A. No.69/2000
Date of Decision : April 25th, 2017

AJAY PAL ORS ….. Appellant
Through: Mr. Aditya Vikram, Mr. Harsh
Prabhakar, Mr. Harjeet Singh
Sachdeva, Advocates.

versus

STATE ….. Respondent
Through: Mr. Sundershan Joon, Additional
Public Prosecutor for the State
with Sub-Inspector Ramesh, Police
Station Sultanpuri, Delhi.

CORAM:
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE P.S.TEJI

JUDGMENT

P.S.TEJI, J

1. Aggrieved by the judgment of conviction dated 12.01.2000

convicting the appellants, namely, Ajay Pal, Yashoda and Deepa

finding them guilty under Sections 498-A/304B IPC and order on

sentence dated 14.01.2000 vide which the appellants were

sentenced to undergo seven years rigorous imprisonment for the

offence under Section 304B IPC and also to undergo three years

rigorous imprisonment with fine of Rs.1,500/- each for the offence

under Section 498A IPC, in default of payment of fine they were

Crl.A. No.69/2000 Page 1 of 12
ordered to further undergo simple imprisonment for two months,

the present appeal has been preferred.

2. The factual matrix emerging from the record is that the

deceased Vineeta was married with accused Ajay Pal on

16.06.1995 and after marriage she began staying in her

matrimonial home. On 25.06.1996 a wireless message was

received that a lady had been killed at D-Block, Rama Virhar, 15/3

Main Karala Road by a gunshot injury on the basis of which DD

no. 19-A was recorded and investigation handed over to ASI

Dharam Singh, who along with Constable Raj Pal reached the said

spot. At the spot, dead body was found with a gunshot injury and a

double barrel gun was found lying on a white bed sheet with blood

stains on it and spread across the cot. SDM Shri K.K. Dahiya was

informed about incident who ordered to get the dead body

preserved in the Mortuary. Crime team and fingers print expert

were summoned on the spot. The father, uncle and brother of

deceased came to the police station and were produced before the

SDM who recorded the statement of the father of the deceased. The

dead body of the deceased was also identified by the father of the

deceased. Thereafter, on the statement of the complainant (father of

deceased) FIR was recorded and SDM conducted subsequent

inquest proceedings.

Crl.A. No.69/2000 Page 2 of 12

3. In his statement, the complainant, namely, Naresh Pal, father

of the deceased stated that his daughter Vineeta was married to

Ajay Pal on 16.06.1995 and for the purpose of marriage, inlaws of

Vineeta (deceased) had demanded a motorcycle and Rs. 20,000/-

cash, of which cash of Rs. 20,000/- was given by Naresh Pal but

not the motorcycle. After 2-3 months of marriage, the complainant

went to meet his daughter, who informed him that her in-laws were

harassing her with demand of dowry, specifically asking for a

motorcycle. She further informed him that her mother-in-law

Yashoda, sisters-in-law Deepa and Pooja, and her husband would

often beat her for her inability to bring in sufficient dowry. On

26.06.1996, the complainant was informed that his daughter had

died due to a gunshot injury.

4. On the basis of statement of the complainant Naresh Pal,

FIR of the instant case was registered. After completion of

investigation, challan against accused Ajay Pal, Yashoda and

Deepa was filed in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi.

Since, co-accused Pooja was stated to be a juvenile, it was

submitted in the report u/s 173 Cr.P.C that supplementary challan

shall be filed against her in the Juvenile Court. All the accused

persons/appellants were arrested and after completion of

investigation, charge sheet was filed in the Court.

Crl.A. No.69/2000 Page 3 of 12

5. Charge under Sections 498A/304B IPC was framed against

all the appellants to which they pleaded not guilty. The

prosecution had examined as many as eleven witnesses namely

PW1 Shri K.K.Dahiya, PW2 ASI Rajinder Singh, PW3 Naresh Pal,

PW4 Shri Dalip Kumar, PW5 Ramesh Pal Singh, PW6 Constable

Geeta, PW7 Constable Bansi Dhar, PW8 Constable Nek Ram,

PW9 ASI Dharam Singh, PW10 HC Suresh Kumar and PW11

Dr.L.T. Ramani.

6. The statements of the accused persons were recorded under

Section 313 of the Cr.P.C. Accused persons examined four

witnesses in their defence.

7. The appellants were held guilty by the learned Additional

Sessions Judge vide judgment of conviction dated 12.01.2000 and

passed the order on sentence on 14.01.2000.

8. The grounds challenging the judgment of conviction is that

the appellants have been falsely implicated at the instance of the

complainant and his family members who were agitated over the

untimely suicide of their daughter. The complainant has failed to

successfully prove that his daughter was harassed for demand of

dowry or there was any cruelty on part of the appellants towards

the deceased with regard to demand of dowry. That in the absence

of demand of dowry, the presumption under Section113A Evidence

Crl.A. No.69/2000 Page 4 of 12
Act would fail and the prosecution had no grounds of conviction

against the accused person. That the Ld. Court has failed to

appreciate that in order to make out an offence under Section 304-

B IPC, the cruelty or harassment as alleged should be shown to

have been immediately before the death which could have resulted

in the immediate death/suicide.

9. 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 IPC by the trial

court. The father as well as other relatives of the deceased has duly

supported the case of prosecution that the deceased was subjected

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

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.

10. Arguments advanced by the counsel for the appellants as

well as learned APP for the State were heard.

11. In his testimony, PW3 Naresh Pal, the father of the deceased

stated that his daughter Vineeta (deceased) was married with the

accused Ajay Pal on 16.06.1995, and at the time of marriage Ajay

Pal had demanded a motor cycle but the same could not be given

by PW3. The mother-in-law of deceased, accused Yashoda had

Crl.A. No.69/2000 Page 5 of 12
demanded Rs.20,000/- and the same was given to her at the time of

marriage. After 2-3 months of marriage, deceased Vineeta

informed her father (PW3) that she was being harassed and beaten

by her in-laws and husband on account of bringing insufficient

dowry. Further, when this witness came to Delhi for taking his

daughter along with him, all the accused persons pressed for

fulfilling the demand of motor cycle. On 26.06.1996, this witness

was informed by the police that his daughter had died due to a

gunshot.

12. During his cross-examination, PW3 has demolished the case

of the prosecution. He admitted that a sum of Rs.20,000/- was

given in cash at the time of engagement ceremony and it was given

by him out of his own will. He further stated that sum of

Rs.20,000/- was handed over to the father of Ajay Pal. He further

stated that at the time of marriage, Ajay Pal was not doing any

service and since he was not doing any work/job, PW3 wanted him

to do some work/business. PW3 told him that whatever financial

help he could give, he would render that help to accused. He

further stated that relation of Vineeta with Deepa and Gudiya was

cordial. He admitted that mother-in-law of his daughter Vineeta

used to have complete faith and love on her. He further admitted

that he himself offered motor cycle to Ajay Pal for his business

Crl.A. No.69/2000 Page 6 of 12
purpose.

13. PW4 Shri Dalip Kumar, brother of the deceased, stated in his

testimony that he was sent by his father to the house of his sister

and he stayed there with her for 3-4months. He further stated that

during his stay at his sister’s matrimonial home she was beaten by

all the accused persons in his presence 3-4 times on different

occasions for her inability to fulfil the demand of a motor cycle. He

further stated that the accused person had threatened his sister that

they would not allow her to live in peace as long as she did not

bring a motor cycle from her parental home. This witness stated in

his testimony that upon his return, he informed his father about all

the occurrences at his sister’s matrimonial house following which

his father was trying to arrange for money to purchase a motor

cycle but during the meantime he received information that his

daughter had died.

14. PW5 Ramesh Pal Singh, uncle of the deceased, stated in his

testimony that his niece was tortured by her in-laws on regular

occasions and the same was known to him upon informing by the

deceased herself. The deceased had also informed this witness that

the accused persons used to beat her and abuse her for not fulfilling

their demand of bringing a motor cycle. On 26.06.1996, this

witness was informed by a police constable that his niece had died

Crl.A. No.69/2000 Page 7 of 12
due a gunshot injury.

15. PW3, PW4 and PW5 are the father, brother and uncle of the

deceased, respectively. Their testimonies dealt with above do not

give out any specific incidents whereby the deceased was harassed

by the appellants for or on account of demand of dowry. From the

evidence of the prosecution witnesses, and in particular PW3,PW4

and PW5, it is observed that they have made general allegations of

harassment by the appellants towards the deceased and have not

brought in evidence any specific acts of cruelty or harassment by

the appellants on the deceased. The allegations levelled against the

appellants are not credible in nature as they miserably fall short of

the basic details such as the day, date, time or any definite or

particular incident of any harassment towards demand of dowry

with respect to the deceased and thus fail to attract the scope of

Section 498A IPC.

16. Even otherwise, PW3-father of the deceased has not

supported the case of the prosecution during his cross-examination.

He had demolished the case of prosecution by saying that the sum

of Rs.20,000/- was given in cash at the time of engagement

ceremony and it was given by him out of his own will and that too

to the father of the accused Ajay Pal. He further stated that he

himself offered to help accused Ajay Pal for his work. He stated

Crl.A. No.69/2000 Page 8 of 12
that relations between his deceased daughter Vineeta and accused

persons Deepa and Gudiya were cordial. He admitted that mother-

in-law of his daughter Vineeta used to have complete faith and love

on her. He also admitted that he himself offered motor cycle to

Ajay Pal for his business purpose.

17. From the above testimony of father of the deceased, it is

apparent that he of his own will gave cash of Rs.20,000/- and it

was not demanded by the accused persons. He also admitted that

he offered motor cycle to the accused Ajay Pal for his business

purpose, thus demolishing the case of prosecution that any demand

of Rs.20,000/- was made by the accused persons or that the

deceased was harassed for the demand of motor cycle.

18. The Hon’ble Apex Court in Preeti Gupta v. State of

Jharkhand AIR 2010 SC 3363 took note of the fact that some

unscrupulous wives put all family members of the husband to

harassment by way of giving report alleging offence under Section

498-A IPC. The Court pointed out the role of the courts as

follows: “At times, even after the conclusion of criminal trial, it is

difficult to ascertain the real truth. The courts have to be extremely

careful and cautious in dealing with these complaints and must take

pragmatic realities into consideration while dealing with matrimonial

cases. If allegations are scrutinized with pragmatic approach

Crl.A. No.69/2000 Page 9 of 12
contemplated by the Supreme Court, it is evident that general and

omnibus allegations are made against all the petitioners. Such

indiscriminate activity on the part of the second respondent, cannot be

supported by this Court. Registration of case on report of the second

respondent by the police against the petitioners herein is nothing short of

abuse of process of criminal law”.

19. This court in the matter of Smt.Neera Singh

v. The State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi) and Ors. I (2007) DMC 542

has observed that “in the absence of any specific allegations

attributing any specific overt acts against any of the appellants

pertaining to the alleged demand for dowry and subjection of the

complainant to harassment and ill-treatment, continuance of

proceedings against them based on the general and omnibus

allegations of sweeping nature, is nothing but abuse of process of

law”

20. In the case of Vipin Jaiswal v State of A.P AIR 2013 SC

1567 it was observed that:

“In our view, onus was on the prosecution to prove
beyond reasonable doubt the ingredient of Section
498A, IPC and the essential ingredient of offence
under Section 498A is that the accused, as the husband
of the deceased, has subjected her to cruelty as defined
in the Explanation to Section 498A, IPC. Similarly, for
the Court to draw the presumption under Section
113B of the Evidence Act that the appellant had caused
dowry death as defined in Section 304B, IPC, the

Crl.A. No.69/2000 Page 10 of 12
prosecution has to prove besides the demand of dowry,
harassment or cruelty caused by the accused to the
deceased soon before her death. Since the prosecution
has not been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt
this ingredient of harassment or cruelty, neither of the
offences under Sections 498A and 304B, IPC has been
made out by the prosecution.”

21. As observed above, the prosecution has not been able to

prove its case against the appellants beyond reasonable doubt to the

effect that deceased was harassed or meted with cruelty for or in

connection with demand of dowry. Thus, the prosecution has

failed to prove its case under Section 498A IPC against the

appellants and the judgment of conviction deserves to be set aside.

22. Apart from charging the appellants under Section 498A IPC,

they were also charged for the offence punishable under Section

304-B IPC.

23. Apart from other ingredients of causing dowry death, one of

its essential ingredients is harassment or cruelty meted out to the

deceased for or on account of demand of dowry. As discussed

above, the prosecution has failed to prove the allegations of

harassment or cruelty meted out to the deceased by the appellants

for or in connection with demand of dowry. By failing to prove

this essential ingredient of dowry death as provided under Section

304-B IPC, the prosecution has also failed to make out its case

Crl.A. No.69/2000 Page 11 of 12
against the appellants for causing the dowry death of the deceased.

Thus, the appellants are also entitled for acquittal for the offence

punishable under Section 304-B IPC.

24. In view of the totality of evidence discussed above and the

facts and circumstances mentioned above, the judgment of

conviction and order on sentence passed against the appellants

under Section 498A/304-B/34 IPC are set aside and the appellants

are acquitted for the said offences.

25. The appellants are on bail. Their bail bonds and surety

bonds stand discharged.

26. The appeal is accordingly allowed and disposed of.

(P.S.TEJI)
JUDGE

APRIL 25, 2017
dd

Crl.A. No.69/2000 Page 12 of 12

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