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Judgments of Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Askar Sheriff vs State Rep.By on 3 June, 2019

1

INTHEHIGHCOURTOFJUDICATUREATMADRAS

Dated03.06.2019

CORAM

THEHONOURABLEMR.JUSTICEA.D.JAGADISHCHANDIRA

Crl.A.No.491/2010

AskarSheriff..Appellant

Vs

Staterep.by:
TheAssistantCommissionerofPolice
AvadiRange,Avadi,
ChennaiSuburbanPolice
inT-6AvadiCrimeNo.1564/2007..Respondent

Prayer:-ThisCriminalAppealisfiledu/s.374[2]SectionCr.P.C.,tosetasidethe
convictionandsentenceimposedontheappellantbyjudgmentdated
29.07.2010inSC.No.28/2010onthefileofthelearnedAdditional
SessionsJudge-FastTrackCourt-II,Poonamalleeandtoacquitthe
appellantbyallowingtheappeal.

ForAppellant:Mr.A.M.RahmathAli

ForRespondent:Mr.K.Prabakar,APP

JUDGMENT

ThisCriminalAppealisfiledagainstthejudgmentofconviction

andsentence,dated29.07.2010madeinSC.No.28/2010bythelearned

AdditionalSessionsJudge,FastTrackCourtNo.II,Poonamallee.The

appellantstoodchargedandtriedforthecommissionoftheoffences
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underSectionsections498-A;306and304[B]SectionIPCandtheTrialCourt,vide

impugnedjudgmentdated29.07.2010,hadacquittedtheappellantofthe

chargeslevelledagainsthimunderSectionsections304[B]and306SectionIPCand

however,convictedhimforthecommissionoftheoffenceunderSectionsection

498-AIPCandsentencedhimtoundergorigorousimprisonmentfor3

yearsandtopayafineofRs.5000/-,indefault,toundergothreemonths

simpleimprisonment.

2AskarSheriff–theappellantherein,isthehusbandof

thedeceased/victimAsinTaj.P.W.3-AbdulSalaamisthefatherofthe

victim;P.W.4-SultanaBeeisthemotherandP.Ws.5and8-Thamees

AhmedandGabreesAhmedarethebrothersofthedeceased/victim

respectively.

3Thecaseoftheprosecutionhasarisenonthebasisofthe

complaintEx.P1,dated05.09.2007,givenbyP.W.1-Amul,whoisa

residentofNandavanaMettur,Avadi,Chennaiandisalsotheneighbour

ofthedeceasedandtheappellant.DeceasedAsinTajwasgivenin

marriagewiththeappellanton19.06.2003andatthetimeofmarriage,

30sovereignsofgoldjewels,Rs.25,000/-cashandhouseholdarticles

worthRs.1,00,000/-weregivenassreedhana.Fromthedateof
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marriage,thedeceasedwaslivinginajointfamilyandsincemarriage,

thevictimAsinTajwasmetedoutwithcrueltyandtortureatthehands

oftheappellantonaccountofdowrydemandonvariousoccasionsand

sheusedtosayaboutthedemandofdowrybytheappellanttoher

parentswhohadcompliedwiththedemandsmadebythe

appellant/accused.Threemonthspriortotheoccurrence,theappellant

andthedeceasedcametoAvadiandstartedlivingseparately.Atone

pointoftime,priortotheirresidingatAvadi,thevictimwasmadetostay

atherparentalhomeattheinsistenceoftheappellantondemandof

Rs.3lakhsfromoutoftheretirementbenefitsofthefatherofthe

deceased/victim.Unabletobearthesame,on05.09.2007atabout4.30

p.m.,thevictimAsinTajcommittedsuicidebyhanging,resultinginher

death.Theparentsofthevictim,viz.,P.Ws.3and4receivedaphonecall

fromthepoliceabouttheirdaughtercommittingsuicide.RDOEnquiry

wasalsoconductedsincethevictimdiedwithin7yearsofhermarriage.

ThepolicerecordedthestatementofP.W.1underEx.P.1and

appellant/accusedwaschargesheetedfortheoffencesunderSections

304[B],306and498-ASectionIPC.

4ThecasewastakenonfileinPRCNo.28/2008onthe

fileoftheJudicialMagistrateNo.2,Poonamalleeandsubsequently,the
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casewasmadeovertotheTrialCourt,viz.,thelearnedAdditional

SessionsJudge,FastTrackCourtNo.II,Poonamallee,inSC.No.28/2010

andnecessarychargewasframed.Theaccusedhaddeniedthecharges

andsoughtfortrial.Inordertobringhomethechargesagainstthe

accused,theprosecutionexaminedPW.1toPW.12andalsomarked

Exs.P1toP13.Nooralanddocumentaryevidencewasletinontheside

ofthedefence.

5Oncompletionoftheevidenceonthesideofthe

prosecution,theaccusedwasquestionedunderSection313[1][b]SectionCr.PC

astotheincriminatingcircumstancesfoundintheevidenceof

prosecutionwitnessesandtheaccusedhascomewiththeversionoftotal

denialandstatedthathehasbeenfalselyimplicatedinthiscase.

6TheCourtbelow,afterhearingthearguments

advancedoneithersideandalsolookingintothematerialsavailableon

record,acquittedtheappellant/accusedfortheoffencesunderSectionsections

304[B]and306SectionIPCandhowever,foundhimguiltyforthecommissionof

theoffenceunderSectionsection498-AIPCandawardedpunishment,as

referredtoabove,whichischallengedinthisCriminalAppeal.

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7Thiscourtheardthesubmissionsofthelearnedcounselon

eitherside.

8Thelearnedcounselfortheappellant/accusedmadethe

followingsubmissions:-

aTheconvictionandsentenceimposedbythelearnedTrial

Judgeagainsttheappellanton29.07.2010inSC.No.28/2010isillegaland

contrarytotheevidencebeforetheCourt.

bThelearnedJudgeoughttohaveheldthattheevidence

placedbytheprosecutionhasnotprovedtheguiltoftheappellantfor

thecommissionoftheoffenceunderSectionsection498-AIPC.

cThelearnedTrialJudge,havingdisbelievedtheevidence

ofthewitnessesandhavingacquittedtheappellant/accusedforthe

chargesunderSectionsections304[B]and306SectionIPC,oughtnottohaveconvicted

theappellant/accusedfortheoffenceunderSectionsection498-AIPC,without

therebeinganyevidencetoshowthattheappellant/accusedhad

committedcrueltyonthedeceased-hiswife.

dThelearnedTrialJudgehadfailedtotakeinto

considerationtheembelishmentsinthiscaseandthatitistheadmitted

caseofP.Ws.3and4-parentsofthedeceased/victimthattheyhavenot

beenexaminedbytherespondentpoliceandinrespectoftheevidence
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ofP.Ws.5and8–brothersofthedeceased/victim,theInvestigating

Officer[P.W.12]hasadmittedthatthewitnesseshavenotstated

anythingaboutthevictim-theirsister,beingharassedbythe

appellant/accusedandthattheyhavenotstatedanythingtothe

InvestigatingOfficerduringenquiry,aboutthedemandofdowrymadeby

theappellant/accused.

eThelearnedcounselfortheappellant/accused,insupport

ofhiscontentions,placedrelianceuponthejudgmentreportedinCDJ

2002SC338[SectionGirdharShankarTawadeV.StateofMaharashtra].

9ThelearnedAdditionalPublicProsecutorappearingforthe

respondent/StatewouldsubmitthatthoughP.Ws.3and4haveadmitted

thattheyhavenotbeenenquiredbytherespondentpolice,itisthe

evidenceofP.Ws.5and8thattheirsisterwasharassedbythe

appellant/accusedfordemandofdowryandhence,submittedthatthe

judgmentoftheTrialCourtinconvictingtheappellant/accusedforthe

offenceunderSectionsection498-AIPC,doesnotwarrantsinterferenceand

praysfordismissalofthiscriminalappeal.

10Ihavegivenmycarefulandanxiousconsiderationto

therivalcontentionsputforwardbyeithersideandthoroughlyscanned
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throughtheentireevidenceavailableonrecordandalsoperusedthe

impugnedjudgementofconviction,includingtherelevantprovisionsof

LawandauthoritiesofvariousCourts.

11OnacarefulperusalofthejudgmentoftheTrialCourt,

whichisimpugnedherein,itisseenthattheTrialCourthaddisbelieved

theevidenceoftheprosecutionwitnesses,viz.,P.Ws.3,4,5and8in

respectofthechargesunderSectionsections304[B]and306SectionIPCandacquitted

theappellant/accusedofthesaidcharges.Theonlypointof

considerationisthatwhethertheTrialCourtwasrightinconvictingthe

appellant/accusedfortheoffenceunderSectionsection498-AIPC.

12WhileanalysingtheevidenceofP.Ws.3and4-fatherand

motherofthedeceased/victimrespectively,itisseenthattheyhavenot

beenexaminedbytherespondentpoliceduringenquiry.Further,itisthe

evidenceofP.W.11-RDOthatonlyP.W.3,thefatherofthevictimgavea

statementtohimandalltheotherwitnessesexaminedbyhimduring

enquiry,viz.,P.Ws.4,5and8,havestatedthattheyadoptthestatement

givenbyP.W.3.ItistheevidenceofP.W.12-theinvestigatingofficerthat

duringenquiry,P.Ws.5and8havenotspecificallystatedorspokenabout

thedemandofdowryortheharassmentmetedouttotheirsisteratthe
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handsoftheappellant/accused.Apartfromthesewitnesses,oneBabuji,

whoistherelativeofthedeceased/victimandwhowasexaminedby

P.W.11-RDO,hasnotbeenexaminedbeforetheCourt.Thereisnoteven

aniotaofevidencetoprovethecaseoftheprosecutionasregardsthe

offenceunderSectionsection498-AIPCandthatthedeceased/victimwasdriven

tocommitsuicideduetothesame.Theneighboursofthe

appellant/accusedandthedeceased/victim,viz.,P.Ws.1,2and9,also

havenotsupportedthecaseoftheprosecutionandtheyhavenotstated

anythingastotheappellant/accusedbeingharassedthedeceased/victim.

Theyhavestatedthattherewasnodifferenceofopinionbetweenthe

spousesduringtheperiodoftheirstayatAvadi.

13SectionCHAPTERXXAoftheIndianPenalCodedealswithCruelty

byhusbandorrelativesofhusbandandSectionsection498-AIPCreadsthus:-

498A.Husbandorrelativeofhusbandofa
womansubjectinghertocruelty—Whoever,
beingthehusbandortherelativeofthehusbandofa
woman,subjectssuchwomantocrueltyshallbe
punishedwithimprisonmentforatermwhichmay
extendtothreeyearsandshallalsobeliabletofine.

Explanation—Forthepurposeofthissection,
“cruelty”means—(a)anywilfulconductwhichisof
suchanatureasislikelytodrivethewomanto
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commitsuicideortocausegraveinjuryordangerto
life,limborhealth(whethermentalorphysical)of
thewoman;or(b)harassmentofthewomanwhere
suchharassmentiswithaviewtocoercingheror
anypersonrelatedtohertomeetanyunlawful
demandforanypropertyorvaluablesecurityorison
accountoffailurebyheroranypersonrelatedtoher
tomeetsuchdemand.

14Onperusaloftheentirerecordsandevidencein

consonancewiththeaboveprovision,thisCourtisoftheviewthatthe

prosecutionhasnotletinsufficientevidencetoshowthatthe

appellant/accusedhadsubjectedthedeceased/victim-hiswifetocruelty

whichwasofsuchanatureaswaslikelytodrivethevictimtocommit

suicideorcausegraveinjuryordangertoherlife,limborhealth,thereby

satisfyingtherequirementofSectionsection498-AIPC.

15InGirdharShankarTawadeV.StateofMaharashtra

[CDJ2002SC338],theHon’bleSupremeCourtofIndiahasheldin

paragraphNos.16and18asthus:-

”16WehavealreadynotedSection498-A
hereinbeforeinthisjudgmentandassuchweneed
notdelveuponthesameingreaterdetailherein
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exceptingrecordingthatthesamestandsattributed
onlyintheeventofproofofcrueltybythehusband
ortherelativesofthehusbandofthewoman.
Admittedly,thefindingoftheTrialCourtasregards
thedeathnegatedsuicidewithapositivefindingof
accidentaldeath.Ifsuicideisruledout,theninthat
eventapplicabilityofSectionsection498-Acanbehadonly
intermsofexplanation[b]theretowhichinno
uncertaintermsrecordsharassmentofthewoman
andtheStatuteitselfthereafterclarifiesittothe
effectthatitisnoteverysuchharassmentbutonlyin
theevenofsuchaharassmentbeingwithaviewto
coerceheroranypersonrelatedtohertomeetany
unlawfuldemandforanypropertyorvaluable
securityorisonaccountoffailurebyherofan
personrelatedtohertomeetsuchdemand–thereis
totalabsenceofanyrequirementsoftheStatutein
termsofSection498-AIPC.Thethreeletterssaidto
havebeenwrittenandasnoticedearliercannot
possiblylendanycredencetotherequirementofthe
Statuteofevenasimpledemandfordowry.

….

18Afaintattempthasbeenmadeduring
thecourseofsubmissionsthatexplanation[a]tothe
Sectionstandsattractedandassuchnofaultcanbe
attributedtothejudgment.This,inourview,isa
whollyfallaciousapproachtothematterbyreasonof
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thespecificfindingoftheTrialCourtandtheHigh
Courtconcurredtherewiththatthedeath
unfortunatelywasanaccidentaldeathandnot
suicide.Ifsuicideisleftout,theninthatevent
questionofapplicabilityofexplanation[a]wouldnot
arise–neitherthesecondlimbtocauseinjuryand
dangertolifeorlimborhealthwouldbeattracted.
Inanyevent,thewillfulactorconductoughttobe
theproximatecauseinordertobringhomethe
chargeunderSectionsection498-Aandnotdehorsthe
same.Tohaveanevent,sometimebackcannotbe
termedtobeafactumtakennoteofinthematterof
achargeunderSectionsection498-A.TheLegislativeintent
isclearenoughtoindicateinparticularreferenceto
explanation[b]thatthereshallhavetobeaseriesof
actsinordertobeaharassmentwithinthemeaning
ofexplanation[b].Thelettersbyitselfthoughmay
depictareprehensibleconduct,wouldnot,however,
bringhomethechargeofSectionsection498-Aagainstthe
accused.AcquittalofachargeunderSectionsection306,as
noticedhereinbefore,thoughnotbyitselfaground
foracquittalunderSectionsection498-A,butsomecogent
evidenceisrequiredtobringhomethechargeof
Sectionsection498-Aaswell,withoutwhichthecharge
cannotbesaidtobemaintained.Presently,wehave
nosuchevidenceavailableonrecord.”

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16AsheldoutbytheHon’bleSupremeCourtofIndiain

theaboveciteddecision,thoughanacquittalunderSectionsection306IPCitself

isnotagroundforacquittalunderSectionsection498-AIPC,theremustbea

cogentmaterialinthecaseoftheprosecutiontobringhometheguiltof

theaccusedfortheoffenceunderSectionsection498-AIPC.Further,thewillful

actorconductoughttobetheproximatecauseinordertobringhome

thechargeunderSectionsection498-AIPC.However,inthecaseonhand,

thoughthefactumofthevictimcommittingsuicideisnotdenied,ithas

tobeseenwhethertheconductoftheappellant/accusedhaddriventhe

victimtocommitso.AperusaloftheevidencesofP.Ws.1,2and9,who

areneighboursofthespouses,wouldshowthattherewasno

misunderstandingordifferenceofopinionbetweentheappellant/accused

andthedeceased/victimandthattheevidenceofP.W.4-motherofthe

victimasregardsdemandofdowryduringtheirstayatAvadi,isalsonot

supportedbyanyotherindependentwitness.Noevidencehasbeen

broughtforthbytheprosecutiontoshowthattheappellant/accused

committedcrueltyonthevictim.TheTrialCourt,havingfoundthat

therewasnoevidencefordemandofdowryandtheappellant/accused

havingabettedthevictimtocommitsuicide,hadacquittedthe

appellant/accusedforthechargesunderSectionsections304[B]and306SectionIPC.

However,strangely,onthesamesetoffacts,theTrialCourthadfound
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theappellant/accusedguiltyoftheoffenceunderSectionsection498-AIPC

withouttherebeinganyevidencethattheappellant/accusedbyanywilful

conductcommittedcrueltywhichwasofsuchanaturewhichhaddriven

thevictimtocommitsuicideandwouldthereby,intheopinionofthis

Court,iserroneous.

17Hence,inviewoftheabovefindingsanddiscussions,this

CourtisoftheconsideredviewthatthejudgmentoftheTrialCourt,

warrantsinterferenceandhastobesetaside.

18Intheresult,thesecriminalappealisallowed.The

impugnedjudgementofconvictionandsentenceimposedbytheTrial

CourtinSC.NO.28/2010videjudgmentdated29.07.2010,areherebyset

aside.TheAppellantisacquittedofthechargelevelledagainsthim.Bail

bondifany,executedbyhimshallstandcancelledandthefineamountif

anypaid,shallberefundedtohim.

03.06.2019
Web:Yes
AP

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A.D.JAGADISHCHANDIRA,J.

AP
To:

1.TheAdditionalSessionsJudge
FastTrackCourtNo.2,Poonamallee.

2.AssistantCommissionerofPolice
AvadiRange,Avadi,
ChennaiSuburbanPolice.

3.TheChiefJudicialMagistrate
Poonamallee.

4.TheJudicialMagistrateNo.2
Poonamallee.

5.ThePublicProsecutor,HighCourt,Madras.

Judgementin
Crl.A.No.491/2010

03.06.2019
http://www.judis.nic.in

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