HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE FOR RAJASTHAN AT
S.B. Criminal Appeal No. 898/2015
1. Bhagirath S/o Bhau Ram by caste Jat
2. Bhau Ram S/o Hanuwata Ram, by caste Jat
3. Smt.Shanti Devi W/o Bhau Ram, by caste Jat
All Resident of Bodwa, P.S.Kuchera, district Nagaur.
State of Rajasthan
For Appellant(s) : Mr.Nishant Bora with Ms.Chhavi Kalla
For Respondent(s) : Mr.O.P.Rathi, PP
HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE PRADEEP NANDRAJOG
1. Heard learned counsel for the parties.
2. Bhagirath and his parents Bhau Ram and Shanti Devi have
been convicted for offences punishable under Sections 306/34,
498-A/34 and 201 IPC. For the offence of abetment to commit
suicide they have been sentenced to undergo SI for a period of
seven years and to pay fine in sum of ₹5000/-, in default to
undergo SI for six months. For the offence punishable under
Section 498A/34 IPC they have been sentenced to undergo SI for
two years and pay fine in sum of ₹2000/-, in default to undergo SI
for three months. For the offence punishable under Section 201
IPC they have been sentenced to undergo SI for one year and pay
fine in sum of ₹1000/-, in default to undergo SI for one month. All
sentences have been directed to run concurrently.
(2 of 5) [CRLA-898/2015]
3. Bhagirath has already undergone a sentence of 6 years 8
months and 17 days as on 24.1.2019. His parents have undergone
a sentence of 11 months and are on bail. Bhagirath is still in jail.
4. It is the case of the prosecution that Bhagirath’s wife named
Santosh committed suicide in her matrimonial house on 6.5.2012.
Since it is not in dispute that Santosh poured kerosene oil on
herself and set herself on fire resulting in extensive burn injuries
and due to shock caused thereby she died, I note only such
evidence which would be relevant to sustain the charge for having
abetted Santosh’s suicide. Abetment being in the form of
instigation by demanding dowry that Santosh was left with no
alternative but to end her life.
5. For the offence punishable under Section 201 IPC, I note
that there is evidence of the place where victim set herself on fire
was tampered with, in that, using cow-dung and mud an attempt
was made to re-plaster the place.
6. I note the testimony of the parents and relatives of Santosh
on the issue of dowry demand and harassment.
7. PW-2 Mohan Ram, a cousin of Santosh deposed that
marriage of Santosh was solemnized eight years back. She joined
company of her husband after two years of the marriage. After a
year or two of joining her husband in her matrimonial house, his
sister was troubled on account of dowry. Two children were born
to Santosh. On the 4th of the month when his sister died the
ceremony of the maternal-uncle of the girl to give gifts to her was
held and for which his sister had come to the parental house. On
the 5th his sister returned to her matrimonial house.
8. The next witness is PW-6 Chhoti Devi, the mother of
Santosh. She deposed that her daughter was married to Bhagirath
(3 of 5) [CRLA-898/2015]
and at the time of the marriage dowry was given in sum of ₹2.25
lacs as also jewellery. Immediately after the marriage dowry
demands were raised. ₹3 lacs and a motor-cycle were demanded.
On 4th her daughter had come to parental house for the ceremony
of “Mayara”. Santosh told her that two days prior her in-laws had
broken her mobile phone. Santosh returned to her matrimonial
house on the 5th.
9. PW-8 Ram Kishore, another cousin of Santosh deposed that
after the marriage his sister was harassed on account of dowry
demand. A motor-cycle and ₹1 lac were demanded.
10. PW-12 Budharam, the father of Santosh deposed that his
daughter was married eight years back and at the time of
marriage he gave ₹2 lacs and jewellery. The in-laws demanded a
motor-cycle and ₹3 lacs. She was harassed for said reason. On 4 th
his daughter had come to their house for the ceremony of
11. PW-17 Ramlal, the brother of Santosh also deposed that his
sister was married eight years back and joined company of her
husband after two years of the marriage. On account of demand
of a motor-cycle and ₹75,000/- his sister was being harassed by
12. PW-20 Punaram, a cousin of Santosh also deposed that
Santosh was married 7-8 years ago and joined company of her
husband after two years. On account of dowry demand of
₹75,000/- his sister used to be troubled by her in-laws. After the
ceremony of “Mayara” his sister returned to the house of her in-
laws on 5th and died on the 6th.
(4 of 5) [CRLA-898/2015]
13. PW-24 Leela Devi, a relative of Santosh deposed that
Santosh was troubled by her in-laws and used to complain her
that reason thereof was her parents giving less dowry.
14. From a perusal of the testimony of the prosecution witnesses
it emerges that witnesses have spoken in the plural i.e. in-laws
demanding dowry without specifying whether it was the husband
or the mother-in-law or the father-in-law.
15. Relevant would it be to highlight that apart from there being
a consistent stand that a motor cycle was demanded, the money
demand varies between ₹75,000/- to ₹3 lacs. The witnesses have
not stated the day or even the month when the dowry was
demanded and on this aspect the learned Judge convicting the
appellants has held that it would be difficult for the witnesses to
remember the dates when dowry was demanded.
16. Suffice it to state that for the offence of abetment to suicide
if it is the case of the prosecution that the victim was instigated to
commit suicide on account of being troubled then harassment has
to be to such an extent that she was left with no option other than
to kill herself, the test of proximity between the date when the
victim took the extreme step and trouble inducing incitement to
do the act has to be established. Harassment by itself cannot
constitute abetment or instigation. Instigation means active
17. In the instant case, none has established. The conviction of
the appellants for the offence punishable under Section 306/34
IPC thus cannot be sustained.
18. Learned counsel for the appellants does not dispute the
offence concerning plastering of place of the crime using cow-dung
and mud and the presence of the appellants in the house.
(5 of 5) [CRLA-898/2015]
Effectively, the conviction of the appellants for the offence
punishable under Section 201 IPC is not challenged.
19. No serious attempt has been made to question the conviction
of the appellants for the offence punishable under Section
498A/34 IPC but the prayer made is that both parents Bhau Ram
and Shanti Devi be sentenced to undergo imprisonment for the
period which they have already undergone, which is 11 months.
As regards Bhagirath, he has already undergone a sentence much
beyond two years.
20. The appeal is disposed of acquitting the appellants for the
offence punishable under Section 306/34 IPC.
21. The appellants are convicted for the offences punishable
under Sections 498A/34 IPC and 201 IPC. For both offences I
inflict sentence of imprisonment for the period already undergone
by both parents Bhau Ram and Shanti Devi. Sentence of two
years imposed upon Bhagirath is maintained. He has already
undergone a sentence much beyond two years.
22. Bhau Ram and Shanti Devi have been admitted to bail. Their
bail bonds and surety bonds are therefore discharged.
23. Bhagirath is directed to be set free forthwith, if not required
in any other case.
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