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Ajeet Kumar vs State Of Nct Of Delhi on 15 March, 2019

*IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
% Judgment reserved on : 31st January, 2019
Judgment delivered on: 15th March, 2019

+ CRL.REV.P. 649/2017 Crl.M.A.14196/2017 (stay)

AJEET KUMAR …… Petitioner

versus

STATE OF NCT OF DELHI ….. Respondent
Advocates who appeared in this case:
For the Petitioners : Mr. Rakesh Kumar Singh , Advocate.
For the Respondent : Mr. Hirein Sharma, APP for the State with
SI R.N. Ashangsomatai, PS Patel Nagar.
Mr. N.L. Sahai, Advocate for complainant.

CORAM:-
HON’BLE MR JUSTICE SANJEEV SACHDEVA

JUDGMENT

SANJEEV SACHDEVA, J.

1. Petitioner impugns order dated 15.03.2017 whereby the charge
has been framed against the petitioner under Section 498-A/304-B/34
of the IPC.

2. Petitioner was the husband of the deceased and was married to
the deceased on 25.06.2012. A child was born from the wedlock on
10.07.2013. On 26.06.2016, the wife is alleged to have committed
suicide.

3. On the complaint of the father of the deceased, the subject FIR
No. 606/2016 was registered under Sections 498A/304B/34 of the
IPC.

Crl.Rev.P.649/2017 Page 1 of 8

4. It is alleged in the FIR that the mother-in-law of the deceased
was not happy with her and she did not want the petitioner to reside
with her. It is alleged that after one year of residing in the matrimonial
home in the village, petitioner along with deceased shifted to Delhi. It
is averred in the FIR that the deceased used to talk to her mother but
she never complained about any problem and the only complaint that
she had made to the complainant was that some time her husband i.e.
petitioner would not talk to her.

5. It is stated that the petitioner never beat her. It is stated in the
FIR that neither the petitioner nor his family ever demanded dowry.
They used to harass her only because they did not like the deceased. It
is alleged that when the deceased was unwell and her brother had
gone to meet her, she complained that her husband and his brother
would not give her money for treatment. Subsequently, the deceased
committed suicide on 26.06.2016.

6. During investigation the statement of the mother of the
deceased was also recorded and she in her statement to the
Investigating Officer, alleged that the petitioner and his family would
not take care of the deceased and were not getting her treated for her
illness.

7. Charge sheet was filed after investigation only against the
husband i.e. petitioner.

8. The trial court by the impugned order and on perusal of the

Crl.Rev.P.649/2017 Page 2 of 8
material on record, held that death of the deceased was an unnatural
death which occurred within seven years of marriage and there are
clear-cut and specific allegations made by the parents of the deceased
and as such the trial court was of the view that charge under Section
498-A/304-B of the IPC was liable to be framed.

9. Learned counsel for the petitioner contends that the trial court
has erred in framing a charge against the petitioner and has solely
gone on presumption. Learned counsel submits that perusal of the
record shows that the parents of the deceased have categorically stated
that there was never any demand for dowry or harassment on the
ground of dowry of the deceased.

10. Learned counsel further contends that the statement of the
family of the deceased is that the in-laws of the deceased did not like
her and the petitioner would not permit her to buy things that she
wanted or give her money for her treatment and that the petitioner
never used to listen to her. Learned counsel submits that the
ingredients of Sections 498-A and 304-B of the IPC are not made out.

11. In the impugned order, the trial court has recorded as under: –

“I have given my thoughtful consideration to the
respective rival submissions made before me and I find
substance in the contention of Ld. Addl. PP that in the
present set of circumstances where the death of the
deceased took place within the period of seven years
from the date of her marriage with accused and further
the death of accused was an unnatural death and in the
statements of prosecution witnesses i.e. Gopal Prasad

Crl.Rev.P.649/2017 Page 3 of 8
Singh, Smt. Madhuri Singh and Anshuman there are
specific and clear allegations regarding harassment and
demand of dowry, so there are sufficient prima facie
material on record for framing of charge u/s 498 A/304
B/34 IPC.

Charge u/s 498A/304B/34 IPC be framed, accordingly
against accused.”

12. Perusal of the record shows that the observation of the trial
court that in the statement of the prosecution witnesses i.e. parents and
the brother of the deceased there are specific and clear-cut allegations
regarding harassment and demand of dowry is not borne out from the
record.

13. On the contrary, father of the deceased has categorically stated
that there was never any demand for dowry from the deceased or any
harassment on account of dowry. The mother of the deceased in her
statement has stated that the in-laws were taking care of the deceased
but there was nobody in her house to take care of her in the hospital
when she was pregnant. She had stated that the deceased had
complained to her that nobody in the petitioner’s house would give
any importance to what she had to say.

14. Father of the deceased has also filed a reply-cum-written
submissions in these proceedings stating that he had never deposed
before the Investigating Officer that there were any demands for
dowry made by the petitioner, rather he had specifically stated that no
demand for dowry was made. Further, it is contended that the

Crl.Rev.P.649/2017 Page 4 of 8
deceased had been residing in her parental house at Bihar for almost
two to two and a half years and she had gone to Delhi in January,
2016 and during the period that she was staying at her parents’ house
in Bihar, petitioner had been taking care of her maintenance and had
been regularly sending money to her bank account maintained with
State Bank of India.

15. Trial court in the impugned order has solely relied on the
statutory presumption of unnatural death within 7 years of marriage,
without noticing that apart from statutory presumption other
ingredients of the sections have also to be satisfied.

16. Section 498-A of the IPC reads as under: –

“Section 498A . Husband or relative of husband of a
woman subjecting her to cruelty.–

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.
Explanation.–For the purpose of this section, “cruelty”
means–

(a) any wilful 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;
or

(b) harassment of the woman where such
harassment is with a view to coercing her or any
person related to her to meet any unlawful demand
for any property or valuable security or is on

Crl.Rev.P.649/2017 Page 5 of 8
account of failure by her or any person related to
her to meet such demand.”

17. Section 304-B of the IPC reads as under: –

“304B – Dowry death.–

(1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any
burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under
normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage
and it is shown that soon before her death she was
subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any
relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any
demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry
death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to
have caused her death. Explanation.–For the purpose of
this sub-section, “dowry” shall have the same meaning
as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of
1961).

(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished
with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than
seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for
life.”

18. Section 498-A IPC makes treating a woman with cruelty
punishable. Cruelty has been defined as a wilful conduct which is
likely to cause the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury
or danger to life and harassment with a view to coerce her or any
person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or
valuable security.

19. Section 304-B of the IPC stipulates that where a death of a
woman occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within
seven years of marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she

Crl.Rev.P.649/2017 Page 6 of 8
was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative
of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry,
such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative
shall be deemed to have caused her death

20. Prior to the deeming fiction under Section 304-B IPC coming
into play, two things have to be established by the prosecution; i.e. (i)
death has occurred otherwise than under normal circumstances within
seven years of marriage and; (ii) soon before her death, the deceased
was subject to cruelty or harassment in connection with demand for
dowry.

21. In the subject case, the trial court has invoked statutory
presumption solely on the ground that death has occurred otherwise
than under normal circumstances within 7 years of marriage. The trial
court has erred in not appreciating that the basic ingredient of
harassment or demand for or in relation to dowry is absent in the
present case. Requirement of both Sections 304-B and 498-A is
harassment or demand for dowry. In the present case, categorical
statement of the father of the deceased is that there were no demands
for dowry. The mother and the brother of the deceased have also not
stated that there was any ever demand for dowry. Rather the statement
is that the petitioner used to maintain the deceased and deposit money
in her account even when she was staying at her parents’ house for 2 –
2-½ years.

22. The allegations are that the deceased was not liked by the

Crl.Rev.P.649/2017 Page 7 of 8
family of the petitioner, they would not take care of her, she was not
given money to purchase things she liked and petitioner would not
talk to her some times. These allegations would not satisfy the
requirements of section 498A or 304B. Firstly, no specifics have been
given and secondly there is categorical assertion that the deceased was
never beaten or harassed for dowry. Perusal of the record does not
show that there is any allegation of harassment for or in connection
with demand for dowry rather statements of the family of the
deceased are to the contrary.

23. On perusal of the record, I am of the view that the prerequisite
for framing of charge i.e. grave suspicion that the accused is likely to
have committed the offence is absent in the present case.

24. In view of the above, impugned order framing charge under
Section 498-A /304-B/34 of the IPC against the petitioner cannot be
sustained. The impugned order dated 15.03.2017 is accordingly set
aside. The petitioner is discharged of all offences. The petition is
allowed in the above terms.

25. Order Dasti under the signatures of Court Master.

MARCH 15, 2019/’rs’ SANJEEV SACHDEVA, J

Crl.Rev.P.649/2017 Page 8 of 8

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