HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE FOR RAJASTHAN AT
S.B. Criminal Revision No. 326 / 2017
Dharam Chand S/o Shri Ishwar Ram, By Caste Soni, Resident of
Village Sinjguru, Tehsil Nokha, District Bikaner.
State of Rajasthan
For Petitioner(s) : Mr.Chandraveer Singh.
For Respondent(s) : Mr.R.K.Bohra, P.P.
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANDEEP MEHTA
Judgment / Order
Date of Pronouncement : 27/07/2017
By way of the instant revision petition, the petitioner
Dharamchand has approached this Court in order to assail the
order dated 2.12.2016 passed by the learned Additional Sessions
Judge (Women Atrocities Cases), Bikaner in Sessions Case
No.25/2016 directing framing of charges against the petitioner for
the offences under Section 498A and 304B I.P.C.
The petitioner was married to the deceased Smt.Nirma in
August 2013 with the relationship being in the nature of a love
marriage. Smt.Nirma committed suicide by hanging herself in the
matrimonial home on 2.12.2016. Her father, Bhagirath lodged a
written report at the Police Station Nokha on the very same day
alleging inter-alia that the petitioner had lured the deceased into
marrying him against the family’s desire. However, after the
marriage, the deceased was being harassed and humiliated on
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account of demand of dowry. Lately, she was being threatened
that in case her father did not meet the dowry demand, she would
be turned out of the matrimonial home and the petitioner would
remarry. Owing to this harassment, the deceased ended her own
life by hanging herself. On the basis of this report, F.I.R.
No.80/2016 was registered at the Police Station Nokha and
investigation commenced. During the course of investigation, the
Investigating Officer recorded statements of numerous witnesses
and concluded that the relationship between the petitioner and
deceased Smt.Nirma his wife, was the outcome of a love affair.
The matrimonial relatives of the deceased became annoyed
because of the elopement of the deceased and her marriage with
the petitioner without their consent and consequently, they broke
off the relations and did not interact with her. Dharamchand took
his wife the deceased to Ambasar village and started living there
in a rented house. It was further concluded that Nirma used to
secretly talk to one Pawan Brahman who used to live in the
neighbourhood. Dharamchand came to know of this fact on which
he shifted to the village Sindhguru. He had gone to a temple to
attend a Jagaran. Nirma talked to some boy during the night and
a small girl Suman who was sleeping with her complained about
this to Dharamchand on which he assaulted Nirma, who became
perturbed and ended her own life by hanging herself. With this
conclusion, the Investigating Officer proceeded to charge-sheet
the accused for the offences under Section 498A and 304B I.P.C.
The accused contested the charges before the trial court raising a
plea that ex-facie, the charge under Section 304B I.P.C. was not
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made out because there was no occasion for the accused to have
demanded dowry from the matrimonial relatives of the deceased
as there was no contact whatsoever of the deceased with her
parents after her love marriage with the petitioner. The trial court
however repelled the arguments advanced on behalf of the
accused and proceeded to pass the order impugned dated
2.12.2016 to the effect that the accused should be charged and
tried for the above offences. Being aggrieved, the instant revision
has been preferred before this Court.
Learned counsel for the petitioner accused contended that
ex-facie, the charge under Section 304B I.P.C. is not made out
because there was no occasion for the petitioner to have
demanded dowry from the matrimonial relatives of the deceased
as admittedly there was no contact whatsoever of the deceased
with her parents after her love marriage with the petitioner. He
thus, urged that ex-facie, the impugned order is bad in the eye of
law and should be set aside.
Per contra, the learned Public Prosecutor urged that there is
ample material available on record to show that right from the
date of her marriage with the petitioner, the deceased Smt.Nirma
was being harassed and humiliated in the matrimonial home. As
per him, even if the defence evidence is seen, evidently, the
deceased was assaulted by the petitioner simply because she had
talked to Pawan Brahman on phone. He urged that there was no
occasion for the petitioner to have assaulted his wife simply
because she talked to someone on phone against his wishes. The
petitioner could have simply request to her to stop calling Pawan
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Brahman rather than straight off assaulting her. As per learned
Public Prosecutor, the fact regarding the petitioner having
assaulted the deceased just before her death being admitted, no
error was committed by the trial court by framing charges against
the accused petitioner for the above offences. He thus craved
rejection of the revision.
I have given my thoughtful consideration to the arguments
advanced by the learned counsel for the parties and have gone
through the material available on record.
It is an admitted position from record that the deceased
Nirma had eloped with the petitioner and had married him against
her parents’ desire. As a result, her parents became annoyed and
were not maintaining relations with her. Of course, Bhagirath the
father of the deceased, has mentioned in the F.I.R. as well as in
his statement recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. that the accused
used to demand a sum of Rs.2 lacs from Nirma and used to harass
and humiliate her on that account but this Court cannot loose
sight of the fact that Bhagirath also admitted in his statement that
after the marriage, Nirma and his son in law Dharamchand never
talked to him or any of his family members and that the family
had severed relations with Nirma. In this background, apparently,
the allegation levelled by the first informant regarding the
deceased having been harassed and humiliated by the accused for
bringing less dowry is nothing but a conjecture and a cooked up
story. On the contrary, the Investigating Officer collected evidence
in the form of statements of witnesses viz. Sunil, Deepak, Suman
etc. who clearly stated that on the fateful night, the petitioner had
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gone to attend Jagaran and in his absence, the deceased
contacted Pawan Brahman on phone. A tussle was already going
on between the petitioner and the deceased owing to this conduct
of herself. The petitioner had even shifted to another village so
that the deceased could be prevented from contacting Pawan
Kumar. Be that as it may. When the petitioner returned from the
Jagaran, the girl Suman, who was sleeping with the deceased
Smt.Nirma, told him that his wife had contacted Pawan Brahman
and immediately thereupon, the petitioner assaulted Smt.Nirma
who became perturbed and ended her own life. Smt.Pushpa,
mother of the deceased, was also examined during investigation.
In her statement, she alleged that the deceased used to talk to
her on phone and told her that her Jethani used to harass and
humiliate her on account of demand of dowry. Thus apparently,
the theory projected by the first informant Bhagirath father of the
deceased that the petitioner used to harass and humiliate Nirma
on account of bringing less dowry is per-se unacceptable and
accordingly, there is no material so as to prosecute the petitioner
for the offence under Section 304B I.P.C. However, there is ample
evidence available on record to conclude that the petitioner
unnecessarily assaulted the deceased soon before her death
because he came to know that she was talking to Pawan Brahman.
Even if this was true, there was no occasion for the petitioner to
assault his own wife. The petitioner rather could have reasoned
with her and should have made an attempt by mutual discussion
to persuade her to discontinue her contact with the said Pawan.
Instead, the deceased was assaulted and immediately thereafter,
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she ended her life by hanging herself leaving behind a small child.
In this background, this Court is of the firm opinion that
rather than the charge under Section 304B I.P.C., the petitioner
should be charged and tried for the offences under Sections 306
and 498A I.P.C.
The revision thus deserves to be and is hereby accepted in
part. The order impugned dated 2.12.2016 passed by the learned
Additional Sessions Judge (Women Atrocities Cases), Bikaner is
set aside to the extent, charge was framed against the petitioner
for the offence under Section 304B and instead, the trial court is
directed to frame charge against the petitioner and try him for the
offences under Sections 498A and 306 I.P.C.
It is made clear that none of the observations made in this
order shall prejudice the case of either of the parties at the tiral.
The revision is partly allowed in these terms.