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C vs Ig on 17 June, 2011

Bombay High Court C vs Ig on 17 June, 2011Bench: Shrihari P. Davare

(1)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY, AURANGABAD BENCH, AT AURANGABAD. rt

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 4 OF 2001

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Vithal Mhasuji Gadhe,

Age : 30 years,

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Occupation : Agriculture,

R/o. Wadwali,

Taluka : Paithan, .. Appellant District : Aurangabad. (Original accused no.1) h

versus

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The State of Maharashtra. .. Respondent. …………………..

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Mr. S.G. Chapalgaonkar, Advocate, for the appellant. Mr. B.V. Wagh, Additional Public Prosecutor, for the respondent.

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……………………

CORAM : SHRIHARI P. DAVARE, J.

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Date of reserving the

judgment : 10th June 2011.

Date of pronouncing the

judgment : 17th June 2011.

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JUDGMENT :

1. The challenge in the present appeal is to the judgment rt

and order dated 7-12-2000, rendered by the learned IVth ou

Additional Sessions Judge, Aurangabad, in Sessions Case No. 16 of 1998.

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2. It appears that the accused nos.1 to 5 faced the trial under Sessions Case No. 16 of 1998 for the charges levelled h

against them under Sections 498-A, 306, 323, 504, read with ig

Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, and the appellant herein i.e. original accused no.1 was convicted for the offences punishable H

under Sections 498-A, 306 and 323 of Indian Penal Code, and was sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for one year and y

to pay a fine of Rs. 1000/-, in default, to undergo further rigorous ba

imprisonment for three months, for the offence punishable under Section 498-A of Indian Penal Code, and was also sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine om

of Rs. 3000/-, in default, to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for six months, for the offence punishable under B

Section 306 of Indian Penal Code, was also sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 500/-, in default, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one month, for the offence punishable under Section 323 of Indian Penal Code, but was acquitted for the offence punishable ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (3)

under Sections 504, 506, read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, whereas accused nos.2 to 5 were also acquitted for the rt

aforesaid offences and, therefore, being aggrieved and ou

dissatisfied by the said judgment and order of conviction and sentence in respect of appellant herein i.e. original accused no.1, present appeal is preferred.

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3. The facts and events leading to the present appeal are h

as follows :

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(i) Accused no.1 i.e. appellant herein was married with the H

victim, namely, Surekha, about two years prior to her death and the accused nos.2 to 5 are relatives of accused no.1. Accused no. y

2Sheshrao is her brother-in-law and accused no.3 Mhasuji is her father-in-law and accused no.4 Sow. Godabai is her mother-in- ba

law, whereas accused no.5 Sau. Vandanabai is wife of accused no.2. It is alleged that after the marriage, deceased Surekha was om

treated well initially for a period of six months, but thereafter accused persons started to harass and illtreat her over demand of Rs. 25,000/- for the purchase of agricultural land. It is also B

alleged that when Surekha came to her parental house at the time of last Diwali, she disclosed about the unlawful demand of Rs. 25,000/- and illtreatment due to non-compliance thereof by the accused. But she was pacified and was sent back to her ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (4)

matrimonial home. It is further alleged that Laxman (PW 2), father of Surekha i.e. complainant, had gone to the matrimonial rt

home of Surekha to bring her for Nagpanchami festival. ou

However, accused refused to send her and, therefore, he alone returned back. After some time, Surekha came to his house. At that time also, she disclosed that accused were demanding Rs. C

25,000/- and threatened her that if the said amount was not brought, she should not return back. However, at that time, h

cousin brother of complainant, namely, Rameshwar, had expired ig

and, therefore, she stayed back at parental house for some time. Thereafter, she was sent back to her matrimonial home. H

However, Surekha returned back on the same day and on inquiry, she disclosed that her husband i.e. accused no.1 had assaulted her y

with hunter as she had not brought the demanded amount. ba

(ii) It is also case of the prosecution that on the next day, the complainant, namely, Laxman (PW 2) went to Grampanchayat om

office and called Nandu Kale (PW 5) and Sakharam Dhongade and narrated them about illtreatment sustained by his daughter Surekha at the hands of accused, in presence of accused nos.1 B

and 2 who were present there. Hence, both the said persons i.e. Nandu Kale (PW 5) and Sakharam Dhongade advised the accused, not to illtreat Surekha. Moreover, the complainant assured that he would pay the amount to the accused after sale of ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (5)

sugarcane crop. Thereafter, the accused took Surekha to her matrimonial home with them.

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(iii) However, the prosecution case reveals that on 12-10-1997, when complainant was near the bus stand, he received news that Surekha was ill and hospitalized in Government Hospital. C

Hence, complainant rushed to the Government Hospital and found that Surekha had already expired. Accordingly, h

information was given to Police personnel at Paithan Police ig

Station about accidental death and on that basis, Head Constable, Kaduba Bankar (PW 6) registered under A.D. No. 46/1997. H

Police arrived in the hospital and drew inquest panchanama of the dead body of Surekha and forwarded it for post mortem y

examination. Dr. Ramesh Khobare (PW 1) performed post mortem on the said dead body on 13-10-1997 and prepared post ba

mortem report which is produced at Exhibit 10 and probable cause of death ascertained was due to poisoning, and viscera was om

sent for C.A. examination.

(iv) It is also case of the prosecution that after cremation of dead B

body of Surekha, complainant i.e. Laxman (PW 2), lodged complaint with the Police personnel at Paithan Police Station and offence was registered against the accused under Crime No. 125/1997 on 13-10-1997 under Sections 498-A, 306, read with ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (6)

Section 34 of Indian Penal Code. rt

(v) Accordingly, investigation was carried out and Head ou

Constable Kaduba Bankar (PW 6) prepared the panchanama of the scene of offence which is produced at Exhibit 17. Moreover, Kaduba Bankar (PW 6) recorded statements of witnesses, C

namely, Laxman (PW 2), Sushilabai, Raju Dhonde (PW 3), Nandu Kale (PW 5) and others.

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(vi) Moreover,

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after completion of investigation, Head Constable Kaduba Bankar (PW 6) filed charge sheet against the H

accused before Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Paithan. Since offence punishable under Section 306 of IPC was exclusively y

triable by the Court of Sessions, learned Judicial Magistrate (First Class) committed the case to the Court of Sessions at ba

Aurangabad. Accordingly, charge against the accused was framed on 17-6-2000 under Exhibit 3 for the offences punishable om

under Sections 498-A read with Section 34, 306 read with Section 34, 323, 504 read with Section 34 and 506 read with Section 34 of IPC. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges B

levelled against them and claimed to be tried.

4. To substantiate the charges levelled against the accused, the prosecution examined as many as six witnesses, as ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (7)

mentioned below :

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(1) Dr. Ramesh Khobare (PW 1) – Medical Officer. ou

(2) Laxman (PW 2) – Father of victim Surekha (complainant).

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(3) Raju Dhonde (PW 3) – Brother of victim. (4) Sk. Nijam (PW 4) – Panch witness to spot panchanama Exhibit 17.

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(5) Nandu Kale (PW 5) – Independent witness, and ig

(6) Kaduba Bankar (PW 6) – Head Constable & H

Investigating Officer.

5. The defence of the accused is of total denial and y

appellant stated that Surekha died because of vomitting and lose ba

motions, in his statement recorded under Section 313 of Cr.P.C. and accused submitted that he has been implicated in this case om

falsely and claimed to be innocent. The accused neither examined himself on oath nor examined any defence witness. B

6. After considering oral as well as documentary evidence produced by the prosecution on record and after considering rival submissions advanced by the learned Counsel for parties, learned trial court acquitted accused nos.2 to 5 for the ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (8)

charges levelled against them under Sections 498-A, 306, 504, 506 read with Section 34 of IPC, and acquitted accused no.1 for rt

the offences punishable under Sections 504 and 506 of IPC, but ou

convicted him for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 306 and 323 of IPC and sentenced him as afore stated. Hence, the appellant i.e. original accused no.1 has challenged the order C

of conviction and sentence by filing present appeal and prayed for quashment thereof.

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7.

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Before adverting to the submissions advanced by learned Counsel for the parties, it is necessary to scrutinize the H

material evidence adduced and produced by the prosecution and in the said context, coming to the deposition of Laxman (PW 2) y

i.e. father of the victim, who stated that his daughter Surekha was married with accused no.1 Vithal about two years prior to her ba

death and they had given dowry amount of Rs. 25,000/- and 10 gms. finger ring in the marriage, and after marriage she went to om

reside with the accused at her matrimonial home. Initially she was treated well for about six months, but thereafter accused started assaulting and illtreat her on account of demand of Rs. B

25,000/- for the purchase of agricultural land. His daughter used to disclose about the same whenever she used to go to her parental house. Laxman (PW 2) has further stated that he had assured his daughter that he would pay the amount. He has also ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (9)

stated that he had gone to her matrimonial home for bringing her for Nagpanchami festival, but accused refused to send her. rt

However, on the next day, she came. On the third day, she was ou

sent back. He has further stated that when his daughter had come for Panchami festival, his daughter had told him that accused were making demand of Rs. 25,000/- for the purchase of C

agricultural land and accused also threatened her that if the said amount was not brought, she should not come back. h

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Laxman (PW 2) has also stated that thereafter in Bhadrapad, his cousin brother Rameshwar expired and, therefore, H

Surekha stayed for about two days and during said visit, she disclosed that her husband and other inlaws were making demand y

of cash. However, Laxman (PW 2) did not give her any amount and sent her back to her matrimonial home. On the same day, she ba

had gone to her agricultural field. However, accused no.1 assaulted her and told not to come unless she could bring Rs. om

25,000/- and, therefore, accused no.1 had also assaulted her with hunter. Hence, she returned to her parental home on the same day and disclosed that accused no.1 had assaulted her and she B

showed weal marks on her back and, therefore, victim Surekha stayed at her parental home for some time.

9. Laxman (PW 2) has further stated that on the next day, ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (10)

he went to Grampanchayat office and took two persons, namely Bandu Kale (PW 5) and Rakhmaji Dhongade. These persons had rt

called accused no.1 Vithal in Grampanchayat office. At that ou

time, accused no.2 came there. He has further stated that he told accused nos.1 and 2 that he would pay the amount after sale of sugarcane crop and that they should not illtreat his daughter C

Surekha. Accordingly, Surekha was sent back along with accused nos.1 and 2 to her matrimonial home. h

10.

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Laxman (PW 2) has further stated that on the day of Ekadashi, he had gone to Paithan and while he was proceeding to H

bus stand, Vishnu Rakhmaji met him and told that his daughter was ill and requested to go to the hospital at Paithan. y

Accordingly, Laxman (PW 2) went to the hospital and saw that his daughter was already expired and body was handed over to ba

him for cremation. Thereafter, he lodged complaint at Exhibit 13 after cremation took place.

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11. During the cross examination, Laxman (PW 2) has admitted that all Bhonde belonged to Shivsena Party, whereas B

accused belonged to Congress Party. He has further stated that wife of Subhash Kale belonged to Shivsena Party and she was Sarpanch of said village at the relevant time. He has also admitted that there was regular dispute between both the political ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (11)

parties. Laxman (PW 2) has further stated in the cross examination that he had 25 Acres of Bagayat land and he had rt

taken loan from Society to lay pipeline in his field and, therefore, ou

there was attachment of his land to the Society. He has also stated that he had taken money from Babasaheb Shinde from the same village and gave 3 Acres of land therefor. He has also C

stated that he had taken amount from a person, namely Mohan, from Jalgaon (Taluka : Shegaon), to whom he had given 5 Acres h

land. He has also admitted that maternal uncle of Surekha had ig

spent the amount for the marriage and they had purchased 10 Gms. gold ring, but could not state the denomination in which he H

had paid dowry of Rs. 38,000/-. y

12. Laxman (PW 2) has also stated in the cross examination that he sold his house about a month back and sells ba

vegetable. He has also admitted that death of his daughter Surekha took place one day prior to Dasara festival. He has om

further admitted that accused no.2 got about 25 acres of Bagayat land. He has further admitted that he has not lodged any complaint agaist the accused nor he had informed Police or B

Sarpanch, that accused had assaulted his daughter with hunter. He has further stated that he and Bappaji had gone and questioned accused no.3 as to why his daughter was assailed with hunter. But at that time, accused questioned them as to why they ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (12)

had entered into their land. He has also stated in the cross examination that the accused and he used to reside in the same rt

village. He has further stated that deceased Surekha came back ou

to his home and complained of assault and demand of accused no.1. She stayed at his house on that day but next morning he went to Grampanchayat office and took two persons, namely C

Nandu Kale (PW5) and Rakhmaji Dhongade and they called accused no.1 Vithal in Grampanchayat office. Few suggestions h

were given to Laxman (PW 2) putting the case of the accused to ig

him, but the same were denied by him. H

13. Coming to the testimony of Raju Dhonde (PW 3), brother of victim Surekha, who has deposed that Surekha was his y

sister and she was married with accused no.1 who belonged to the same village and during the marriage, they had given dowry ba

of Rs. 38,000/- and 10 Gms. golden finger ring. He has also stated that she was treated well for about six months after the om

marriage and thereafter accused started illtreating her and was making demand of Rs. 10,000/- for purchase of land and his sister disclosed about the same when she had come at the time of B

festival. However, he has stated that they did not pay the said amount. Moreover, his father had gone to the house of accused to bring his sister for Nagpanchami festival but the accused did not send her along with him, but after some time, his sister ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (13)

Surekha along came. At that time, his sister Surekha disclosed that accused had told her that she should not return until demand rt

of Rs. 25,000/- is met. He has further stated that as his uncle ou

Rameshwar had expired, his sister stayed at his house for about 2 – 4 days. Thereafter she left for house of the accused. However, she immediately returned back to parental house and disclosed C

that accused had assaulted her with hunter. Hence, he himself, his father Laxman (PW 2), his uncle and his brother immediately h

went to Grampanchayat office. Nandu Kale (PW 5) and ig

Rakhmaji Dhongade met them in Grampanchayat office. Moreover, accused nos.1 and 2 were also called at the said office H

and a meeting was held at the Grampanchayat office in presence of villagers. He has further stated that accused nos.1 and 2 were y

assured that they would pay amount of Rs. 25,000/- after sale of sugarcane. Thereafter accused nos.1 and 2 took victim Surekha ba

to her matrimonial home. He has also stated that after lapse of about 2 months from the said incident, his sister expired. om

However, he did not go to the house of accused to see her. He has also stated that on the next day, he saw his sister when her dead body was brought.

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14. During the cross examination, he has admitted that he cannot state, exactly up to what date his sister was treated well. His brother Bappasaheb used to meet her whenever he went to ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (14)

the village. He has also stated that his sister used to visit regularly at his house for festivals and holidays. However, she rt

never used to come casually to meet them. He has also stated ou

that he is educated up to 12th standard and he used to visit regularly to the house of the accused. However, he has further stated that for about two months from the date of alleged assault, C

he did not go to his sister. Few suggestions were given to him in the cross examination that there was no illtreatment to his sister h

and that he was deposing falsely at the instance of his father, but ig

the same were denied by him.

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15. That takes me to the testimony of Nandu Kale (PW 5), who has deposed that he knows Laxman Dhonde who is resident y

of village Wadwali, and his daughter was married with accused no.1 Vithal at the same village. He has also stated that after 8 ba

days of Panchami, Laxman (PW 2) came to his house and told him that some quarrel was going on in the house of inlaws of his om

daughter over demand of money and he was called therefor. He has also stated that accused nos. 1 and 2 met them near Grampanchayat office. He has further stated that Laxman (PW B

2) assured accused nos.1 and 2 that he would pay amount after sale of sugarcane crop, as well as, he told both the accused to settle the dispute as Laxman (PW 2) had agreed to pay the amount subsequently. Thereafter, victim Surekha went along ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (15)

with accused nos.1 and 2 to her matrimonial home. However, he has stated that he learnt thereafter that daughter of Laxman had rt

expired.

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16. In the cross examination, he has admitted that one Mr. Hirale had lodged complaint against him for burning his hut, as C

well as, one Santram Jadhav had also lodged complaint against him and others in the court of J.M.F.C., Paithan, which was h

ended in compromise. He has also admitted that there was ig

complaint against Arun Rustum Kale for having assaulted Education Officer of Zilla Parishad and he belonged to his H

relations. Hence, suggestion was given to him that he and Arun Kale belonged to Shivsena Party, but the same was denied by y

him. He has further stated that many people assembled near Grampanchayat office when he had talk with the accused, but ba

people had not questioned Laxman (PW 2) about it in his presence, although they were standing near Grampanchayat om

office for about 15 minutes. He has further stated that he did not call Police Patil or Sarpanch of the village for settling the dispute. He has also stated that he did not make inquiry with Laxman B

(PW 2) after the death of Surekha. Hence, suggestion was given to him that the complainant did not call him and there was no settlement at his instance, but the same was denied by him. It was also suggested to him that complainant never assured in his ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (16)

presence to the accused that he would pay the amount of Rs. 25,000/- after sale of sugarcane crop, but the same was denied by rt

him.

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17. That takes me to the deposition of Dr. Ramesh Khobare (PW 1), who has stated that he was working as Medical C

Officer at Paithan since 1997 and on 13-10-1997, he himself and Dr. Killarikar performed post mortem examination on the dead h

body of Surekha Vithal Gade, between 8.15 a.m. to 9.05 a.m. ig

Body was brought by K.K. Bankar of Paithan Police Station. He has also stated that it was dead body of female aged about 25 H

years, and clothes were stained with reddish froth and also with fical matter and there was fine bloody froth oozing from mouth y

and nostril. However, there was no evidence of external injury. He has also stated that on internal examination, brain, larynx, ba

lungs and internal organs were congested. On opening, the stomach mucosa was highly congested and it contained about om

200 Ml. of liquid material with black granules smelling kerosene. He has also stated that probable cause of death was due to poisoning. Accordingly, he has stated that he issued post mortem B

report which is produced at Exhibit 10, disclosing probable cause of death ascertained was poisoning.

18. Dr. Ramesh Khobare (PW 1) has further stated that he ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (17)

preserved routine viscera and the same was sent through Police personnel to Chemical Analyser. He has stated that on perusal of rt

C.A. report, it does not show that poison was detected in viscera. ou

He has further stated that though C.A. report does not detect poison, he could ascertain that death was due to poisoning because (1) there was fine oozing froth from nose and mouth, (2) C

internal all organs were congested, (3) stomach containing black granules which suggested that it was unknown poison with h

kerosene as solvent. He has further stated that in addition to that, ig

he did not detect any other reason which would draw a different conclusion than that of poisoning. As regards the negative C.A. H

report, he has stated that probability cannot be ruled out that because of less quantity of poison, C.A. report must not have y

been detected.

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19. During cross examination, he has admitted that he did not preserve her fine froth for sending it for analysis. He has om

further stated that routinely they do not preserve the froth. He has further stated that in case of head injury and convulsion, there would be froth and blood even from nose and mouth. He has B

also stated that there is no such poison which cannot be detected by analysis. A suggestion was given to him, that by consumption of kerosene, there cannot be death, but the same was denied by him. It was also suggested to him, that he gave false opinion ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (18)

regarding cause of death, but the same was denied by him. However, he has stated that he did not find that the body was rt

smelling of kerosene. A suggestion was also given to him, that ou

findings on column No.20, so far stomach and its contents are concerned, are false, but the same was denied by him. C

20. On the background of the aforesaid evidence, Mr. S.G. Chapalgaonkar, learned Counsel for the appellant canvassed that h

prosecution has not examined any independent witness in respect ig

of unlawful demand of money and harassment due to non- fulfillment thereof. As regards testimony of Nandu Kale (PW 5) H

who is allegedly independent witness, does not state about the alleged unlawful demand of money from victim Surekha by the y

accused persons and harassment to her due to non-fulfillment thereof. Moreover, said witness Nandu Kale (PW 5) does not ba

state regarding assault on victim by hunter. It is also canvassed that there is no close proximity regarding matrimonial cruelty om

and the death of victim in suspicious manner by way of suicide and in fact, there is two months gap therein, and it is submitted that the prosecution has failed to establish the nexus between B

suicide by victim Surekha and the matrimonial cruelty at the hands of the accused to her. Accordingly, it is submitted that there is no matrimonial cruelty proved before the death, leading suspicious death of victim Surekha and hence it is urged that ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (19)

prosecution has failed to prove the offence under Section 306 against accused no.1 beyond reasonable doubt in respect of rt

abetment to suicide by victim Surekha. Besides as regards the ou

alleged offence under Section 306 of IPC, it is submitted by the learned Counsel for the appellant, that for the proof of offence under Section 306, suicide has to be proved beyond reasonable C

doubt, but C.A. report dated 4-6-1998, Exhibit 20, categorically discloses that “general and specific chemical testing does not h

reveal any poison in exhibit Nos.1 and 2 i.e. viscera of victim ig

Surekha”. Hence, it is submitted that no poison was detected in the viscera which was sent to Chemical Analyser for examination H

purpose and hence the very aspect of suicide allegedly committed by victim Surekha is under doldrums and hence prosecution has y

failed to bring guilt at home against accused no.1 in respect of offence under Section 306 of IPC. ba

21. As regards offence under Section 498A of IPC, om

learned Counsel for the appellant submitted that evidence of Laxman (PW 2) and Raju Dhonde (PW 3) are contrary to each other in respect of the demand of the amount and there is B

variance in the allegedly demanded amount by the accused from victim Surekha since Laxman (PW 2) has stated in his deposition that amount of Rs. 25,000/- was allegedly demanded from victim Surekha, whereas Raju Dhonde (PW 3) has stated that amount of ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (20)

Rs. 10,000/- was allegedly demanded from victim Surekha. Moreover, it is also canvassed that it has come in evidence that rt

the accused persons already owned 25 Acres of Bagayat land, but ou

the complainant had no money even to meet with the marriage expenses which were incurred by his maternal uncle of victim and even it has come in evidence that Society attached land of the C

complainant and complainant was surviving by selling vegetables. Hence, it is canvassed that on the said background, h

when the accused already owned 25 Acres of Bagayat land it is ig

not digestible that accused would demand alleged amount from the victim for purchase of plot and would harass and illtreat the H

victim due to non-fulfillment thereof. Hence, it is submitted that the evidence regarding alleged demand and harassment is not y

probable and not acceptable.

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22. Moreover, as regards the evidence of Nandu Kale (PW 5), allegedly independent witness, it is submitted by the learned om

Counsel for the appellant, that the said witness has criminal background. Moreover, evidence of Nandu Kale (PW 5) does not whisper regarding alleged demand and harassment of victim due B

to non-fulfillment thereof and, therefore, it is submitted that testimony of Nandu Kale (PW 5) does not support the prosecution case. Moreover, it is also canvassed that the version of Nandu Kale (PW 5) and Laxman (PW 2), complainant, differ ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (21)

from each other and there is no corroboration to the said versions of any independent witness. Accordingly, it is urged that the rt

prosecution has failed to prove the charge levelled against the ou

appellant under Section 498A of IPC beyond reasonable doubt.

23. According to the learned Counsel for the appellant, C

evidence adduced and produced by the prosecution is inconsistent and there are discrepancies and deformities. h

Accused no.1 has been implicated in this case falsely and hence, ig

presumption under Section 113A of Evidence Act cannot be raised against accused no.1 since there is no basic foundation of H

evidence in that respect.

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24. In the context of alleged offence under Section 323 of IPC, learned Counsel for the appellant submitted that there is big ba

question mark, whether any such incident occurred at all and there is no independent witness to substantiate the charge against om

the accused under Section 323 of IPC and, therefore, the bald statements made by the interested witnesses in respect of the said alleged offences cannot be accepted and cannot be believed. B

25. Learned Counsel for the appellant has placed reliance on the following reported cases : ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:19 ::: (22)

(a) Judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Anand Kumar Vs. State of M.P., reported at AIR 2009 SC 2155, wherein the rt

Apex Court has observed thus :

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” A comparative reading of the two provisions (particularly the underlined portions) C

would highlight that under Section 113-A the Court ‘may presume’, having regard to all the other circumstances of the case, an abetment of suicide as visualized by Section 306 of the IPC h

but in Section 113-B which is relatable to Section 304-B the word ‘may’ has been substituted by ig

‘shall’ and there is no reference to the circumstances of the case. Admittedly, the H

conviction of the appellant has been recorded under Section 306 which is relatable to Section 113-A and though the presumption against an accused has to be raised therein as well, the onus y

is not as heavy as in the case of a dowry death. In this background, Ms. Makhija’s arguments that ba

the onus shifts exclusively and heavily on an accused in such cases is not entirely correct and in the background of sketchy ocular evidence and om

the additional fact that the dying declaration recorded by the Naib Tehsildar completely exonerates all the accused of any misconduct, clearly dispels any suspicion with regard to their B

involvement in this unfortunate incident. ” (b) Judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Gopal Vs. State of Rajasthan, reported at AIR 2009 SC 1928, wherein Apex Court has observed thus :

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” Section 498A IPC has two limbs. The first rt

limb of Section 498A provides that whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband ou

of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished. ‘Cruelty’ has been defined in clause (a) of the Explanation to the said Section as any willful conduct which is of such a nature C

as is likely to drive to a woman to commit suicide. When there is demand of dowry, the case comes under clause (b) of the Explanation h

to Section 498A. Clause (a) of the Explanation has definite application to the facts of the present ig

case. Additionally, effect of Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act cannot be lost sight of. H

Further as per Section 113A of the Evidence Act when the question as to whether commission of suicide by a woman had been y

abetted by her husband or any relative of her husband and it is shown that she had committed ba

suicide within a period of seven years from the date of her marriage and that her husband or such relative of her husband had subjected her to om

cruelty, the court may presume that such suicide had been abetted by her husband or by such relative of her husband. This has not been rebutted by the appellants.

B

For bringing in application of Section 306 IPC, suicide has to be established. In the instant case, the trial Court and the High Court have categorically held that no suicide has been established.

::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:20 ::: (24)

So far as Section 498-A(b) is concerned, there must be an evidence of demand of dowry. There is no evidence in that regard adduced by rt

the prosecution. That being so, as rightly contended by learned counsel for the appellant, ou

Section 498-A(b) has no application. ” (c) Judgment of the Apex Court in the case of Kishangiri C

Mangalgiri Goswami Vs. State of Gujarat, reported at AIR 2009 SC 1808, wherein Apex Court has observed thus : h

” Section 107, IPC defines abetment of a ig

thing. The offence of abetment is a separate and distinct offence provided in the Act as an H

offence. A person, abets the doing of a thing when (1) he instigates any person to do that thing; or (2) engages with one or more other persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that y

thing; or (3) intentionally aids, by act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing. These things ba

are essential to complete abetment as a crime. The word “instigate” literally means to provoke, incite, urge on or bring about by persuasion to do om

any thing. The abetment may be by instigation, conspiracy or intentional aid, as provided in the three clauses of Section 107. Section 109 provides that if the act abetted is committed in B

consequence of abetment and there is no provision for the punishment of such abetment, then the offender is to be punished with the punishment provided for the original offence. ‘Abetted’ in Section 109 means the specific offence abetted. Therefore, the offence for the ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:20 ::: (25)

abetment of which a person is charged with the abetment is normally linked with the proved offence.

rt

In cases of alleged abetment of suicide ou

there must be proof of direct or indirect acts of incitement to the commission of suicide. The mere fact that the husband treated the deceased C

wife with cruelty is not enough [See Mahinder Singh v. State of M.P. (1995 AIR SCW 4570)]. ” (d) Judgment of learned Single Judge of this Court, in the case h

of Ganesh Y. Bhutekar Vs. State of Maharashtra, reported at ig

2005 CRI. L.J. 1221, wherein this Court has observed thus : H

” Any kind of ill treatment caused to her by the accused and his partners must have been noticed by the neighbours or at least she would y

have disclosed to them, more particularly to women residing in the neighbourhood. Absence ba

of this evidence coupled with the fact that evidence on demand was totally inconsistent and the evidence on cruelty was vague, the evidence om

of these witnesses lacks necessary assurance which is required in criminal trial to bring home the guilt essentially in respect of the offences of the present nature. For raising presumption B

under S. 113-A of the Evidence Act it is imperative for the prosecution to establish that a married woman was subjected to cruelty and harassment. It is also imperative for the prosecution to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the cruelty was on account of non-fulfillment ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:20 ::: (26)

of illegal demands. This necessarily means that the factum of demand is also to be established independently. The harassment on account of rt

non-fulfillment of demand must also be proximate to the time of death. In the instant ou

case on the basis of critical analysis of the evidence the factum of either ill treatment or demand is not at all established beyond C

reasonable doubt. In the result the prosecution has utterly failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had subjected his wife to ill treatment and harassment on account of non- h

fulfillment of demand and that wife committed suicide in connection therewith. ” ig

(e) In the case of Bhagwan Das Vs. Kartar Singh & others, H

reported at AIR 2007 SCW 3107, the Apex Court has held that harassment of wife by husband or inlaws due to differences y

would not per se attract section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. ba

(f) In the case of Ravindra Pyarelal Bidlan and others Vs. State of Maharashtra, reported at 1993 Cri.L.J. 3019, a Single om

Bench of this Court has held that mere harassment or mere demand for property would not amount to matrimonial cruelty. It is further held that there must be reasonable nexus between the B

cruelty and suicide. Mere proof of cruelty or suicide by itself would not be enough to prove the charges for an offences under section 498-A and 306 of the Indian Penal Code. ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:20 ::: (27)

(g) The Apex Court in the case of Rajbabu & another Vs. State of M.P., reported at 2008 All. M.R. (Cri.) 2894 (S.C.), has rt

observed thus :

ou

” The mere fact that a woman committed suicide within seven years of her marriage and C

that she had been subjected to cruelty by her husband or any relative of her husband, does not automatically give rise to the presumption that the suicide had been abetted by her husband or h

any relative of her husband. The Court is required to look into all the other circumstances ig

of the case. One of the circumstances which has to be considered by the Court is whether the H

alleged cruelty was of such nature as was likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health of the woman. “

y

(h) This Court in the case of Sitabai @ Sevantabai w/o. Honaji ba

Wanje and another Vs. State of Maharashtra, reported at 2008(1) Bom.C.R.(Cri.) 953, has held that mere allegations of harassment om

made by the deceased would not be sufficient to constitute the offence of cruelty. It is further held that unless ingredients of offence within section 107 of the Indian Penal Code are made B

out, the accused cannot be convicted for offence punishable under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.

26. In the circumstances, learned Counsel for the ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:20 ::: (28)

appellant urged that the present appeal be allowed and conviction and sentence inflicted upon accused no.1 be quashed and set rt

aside, and accused no.1 be acquitted thereof. ou

27. Mr. B.V. Wagh, learned Additional Public Prosecutor for the respondent, countered the said arguments and opposed the C

present appeal vehemently and submitted that death of deceased Surekha took place within three years from the marriage and h

considering the said very aspect and also considering all other ig

circumstances of the case, presumption under Section 113A of the Evidence Act is required to be raised against accused no.1, H

since accused no.1 failed to give plausible and convincing explanation in respect of custodial death of victim in the custody y

of accused no.1 in suspicious manner. It is also canvassed by learned APP, that Dr. Ramesh Khobare (PW 1) clarified in his ba

testimony that the death of victim Surekha was suicidal death and the prosecution has established nexus between the suicide om

committed by victim Surekha and the matrimonial cruelty to which she was subjected through the testimonies of Laxman (PW 2), Raju Dhonde (PW 3), brother of victim, and Nandu Kale (PW B

5) i.e. independent witness. It is further submitted that it is pertinent to note that no suggestion was given to Nandu Kale (PW 5), independent witness, that whether was there enmity between accused no.1 and him and since there was no enmity ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:20 ::: (29)

between Nandu Kale (PW 5) and accused no.1, the evidence of Nandu Kale (PW 5), independent witness, against accused no.1, rt

is required to be accepted. He has further submitted assault by ou

accused no.1 to victim by hunter has been proved and established by the prosecution and there is close proximity between the matrimonial cruelty and the suicide committed by victim Surekha C

and accused has failed to give any explanation why victim Surekha committed suicide. Accordingly, learned Additional h

Public Prosecutor supported the judgment of the trial court and ig

submitted that the learned trial court has rightly convicted and sentenced accused no.1 and no interference therein is called for in H

appellate jurisdiction and consequently urged that present appeal be dismissed confirming the conviction and sentence awarded to y

accused no.1.

ba

28. Perused the oral, documentary and medical evidence adduced and produced by the prosecution, as well as, heard the om

submissions advanced by the learned Counsel for parties, and considered the judicial pronouncements cited by the learned Counsel for the appellant.

B

29. At the outset, the prosecution has not examined any independent witness in respect of unlawful demand of money and harassment due to non-fulfillment thereof. True it is, that the ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:20 ::: (30)

prosecution has examined Nandu Kale (PW 5) who is alleged to be independent witness, but he does not state about alleged rt

unlawful demand of money from deceased Surekha by accused ou

persons and harassment to her due to non-fulfillment thereof. Moreover, the said witness Nandu Kale (PW 5) also does not whisper about the alleged assault on victim by hunter. C

30. Moreover, Laxman (PW 2) has stated in his deposition h

that his daughter Surekha had come to her parental house for ig

Panchami i.e. in the month of August and she allegedly told that accused were making demand of Rs. 25,000/- for the purchase of H

agricultural land. He has also stated that thereafter in the month of Bhadrapad i.e. August end or September, his cousin brother y

Rameshwar had expired and his daughter had come for his funeral and at that time, she stayed for about two days and ba

disclosed that her husband and other inlaws were making demand of cash, but he did not give her any amount and sent her back. om

However, he has further stated that the appellant assaulted her by hunter and, therefore, she returned back on the same day and she disclosed that appellant assaulted her by hunter and showed weal B

marks on her back. On the next day, Laxman (PW 2) went to Grampanchayat office and took Nandu Kale (PW 5) and Rakhmaji. Accused nos.1 and 2 were also called and a meeting was held, wherein Laxman (PW 2) assured that he would pay the ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:20 ::: (31)

amount after sale of sugarcane and accordingly Surekha was sent along with accused nos.1 and 2. He has further stated that rt

thereafter his daughter did not return back and he got the message ou

on 12-10-1997, that his daughter was ill and accordingly went to the hospital and found that she was already expired. C

31. Thus, from Bhadrapad i.e. August end or September till 12-10-1997, no matrimonial cruelty at the hands of accused h

upon the victim Surekha was reported and hence it is amply clear ig

that there is no close proximity regarding matrimonial cruelty and death of victim in suspicious manner by way of suicide since H

there is long gap of almost one and half month to two months, and hence prosecution has failed to establish the nexus between y

suicide by victim Surekha and matrimonial cruelty at the hands of the accused to her. Moreover, there are no specific instances of ba

matrimonial cruelty established by the prosecution leading to suspicious death of victim Surekha and hence, there is no cogent om

and convincing evidence to prove and establish beyond reasonable doubt that offence under Section 306 of IPC against the appellant herein, in respect of abetment to suicide by victim B

Surekha. Moreover, other aspect also cannot be overlooked that the C.A. report dated 4-6-1998, Exhibit 20, disclosed that general and specific chemical testing of the viscera of the victim does not reveal poison and accordingly, no poison was detected in viscera ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:20 ::: (32)

of the victim which was sent to C.A. for examination purpose and, therefore, the very aspect of suicide allegedly committed by rt

victim Surekha comes under suspicion although Dr. Ramesh ou

Khobare (PW 1) has opined that death was due to poisoning because there was fine oozing froth from nose and mouth, internal all organs were congested, and stomach contained black C

granules which suggested that it was unknown poison with kerosene as solvent, and hence, considering the said C.A. report h

Exhibit 20, appellant herein is entitled for benefit of doubt in ig

respect of offence under Section 306 of IPC. H

32. As regards offence under Section 498A of IPC, evidences of Laxman (PW 2) and Raju Dhonde (PW 3) are y

contrary to each other in respect of very aspect of demand of amount and there is variance in the alleged demanded amount by ba

the accused from victim Surekha since Laxman (PW 2) has stated that amount of Rs. 25,000/- was demanded from victim Surekha, om

whereas Raju Dhonde (PW 3) has stated that amount of Rs. 10,000/- was allegedly demanded from victim Surekha. Moreover, it has also come in evidence that accused persons B

already owned 25 Acres Bagayat land, whereas the complainant had no money even to bear the marriage expenses which were incurred by maternal uncle of the victim and even Society had attached land of the complainant and he was surviving on selling ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:20 ::: (33)

of vegetables and, therefore, on the aforesaid scenario, alleged unlawful demand by the accused from victim Surekha for the rt

purchase of agricultural land, does not appear to be probable. ou

33. Moreover, the testimony of Nandu Kale (PW 5), who is posed to be independent witness, loses its weightage since C

there is criminal background to the said witness which has been revealed in his cross examination. Moreover, even so called h

independent witness Nandu Kale (PW 5) nowhere spells out ig

about alleged demand and harassment by the accused to victim Surekha due to non-fulfillment thereof and hence, his testimony H

cannot be of any aid and assistance to the case of the prosecution in respect of the said charge. Besides, there is variance between y

version of the said independent witness Nandu Kale (PW 5) and Laxman (PW 2), the complainant, regarding the said charge ba

under Section 498A of IPC. Thus, the evidence adduced and produced by the prosecution is inconsistent and there are om

infirmities and discrepancies in the evidence adduced and produced by the prosecution and hence, considering the said deformities and also considering the other circumstances of the B

case, presumption under Section 113A of the Evidence Act cannot be raised against accused no.1 i.e. appellant herein, and conviction inflicted upon the appellant herein under Section 498A of IPC shall not sustasin since there is no basis and foundation of ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:20 ::: (34)

legal evidence therefor.

rt

34. Pertinently, as regards charge under Section 323 of ou

IPC, there is no independent witness to substantiate the same against the appellant herein and conviction cannot be based against the appellant (accused no.1) merely on the basis of bald C

statements made by interested witnesses. h

35. In the circumstances, having comprehensive view of ig

the matter and also taking stock of the entire evidence, I am of the view that the prosecution case does not inspire confidence H

and the prosecution has failed to bring the guilt at home against accused no.1 in respect of charges levelled against him for the y

offences punishable under Sections 498A, 306 and 323 of IPC, beyond reasonable doubt and the appellant herein (accused no.1) ba

is entitled for benefit of doubt and hence, consequently, the conviction and sentence in respect of the said charges, imposed om

upon the appellant (accused no.1), being erroneous and unsustainable, and hence, same is required to be quashed and set aside and the accused no.1 deserves to be acquitted therefrom by B

allowing the present appeal.

36. In the result, present appeal is allowed, and the conviction and sentence inflicted upon accused no.1 i.e. appellant ::: Downloaded on – 09/06/2013 17:22:20 ::: (35)

herein, for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A, 306 and 323 of IPC, by way of judgment and order dated 7-12-2000, rt

rendered by the learned IVth Additional Sessions Judge, ou

Aurangabad, in Sessions Case No. 16 of 1998, stands quashed and set aside, and the accused no.1 i.e. appellant herein is acquitted thereof. Fine amount, if any, paid by the appellant, be C

refunded to him. His bail bond stands cancelled. h

( SHRIHARI P. DAVARE )

ig JUDGE

…………………….

H

bgp/kapp4

y

ba

om

B

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