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Kantilal vs The State Of Gujarat on 4 October, 2019

Non-Reportable

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

Criminal Appeal No. 1519 of 2019
(Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 1959 of 2019)

Kantilal …. Appellant(s)
Versus

The State of Gujarat ….Respondent (s)

JUDGMENT

L. NAGESWARA RAO, J.

1. On 02.10.2013, Maheshwari committed suicide by

jumping from Jamalpur Bridge into Sabarmati River.

FIR was registered on a complaint filed by her father

(PW-1) that Maheshwari was being harassed by her

husband – Suhag Kantibhai Parmar and his family

members for not complying their demand of dowry.

He further alleged that Suhag Kantibhai Parmar had

an illicit relationship with another lady. Appellant-

Kantilal Laxman Parmar, father-in-law of the deceased,

was also accused of physically assaulting Maheshwari.

Allegations of physical and mental cruelty were made

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against Pratik @ Pintoo Kantibhai Parmar – brother-in-

law, Bhavnaben Kantibhai Parmar -sister-in-law and

Manoramaben Kantibhai Parmar – mother-in-law of

Maheshwari. According to the FIR, the informant

came to know about the suicide committed by his

daughter. He reached the hospital and found her body

lying on a stretcher. FIR was registered under

Sections 498A, Section306, Section323 and Section149 of the Indian Penal

Code, 1860 (for short, “the SectionIPC”) and Sections 3 and Section7

of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

2. On completion of the investigation, charges were

framed against all the accused. After conducting trial,

the City Sessions Court, Ahmedabad convicted all the

accused under Sections 498A and Section114 IPC. Accused

No.2-Suhag Kantibhai Parmar was further convicted

under Section 306 IPC read with Sections 3 and Section7 of

the Dowry Prohibition Act. Accused No.1- the

Appellant and Accused No.3 – Pratik @ Pintoo

Kantibhai Parmar were also convicted under Section

323 IPC. Accused No.2- Suhag Kantibhai Parmar was

sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for five

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years and a fine of Rs.2000/- for the offence

punishable under Section 306 IPC. He was further

sentenced to five years for the offences punishable

under Sections 3 and Section7 of the Dowry Prohibition Act

and three years for the offence punishable under

Section 498A IPC. The Appellant and Accused No.3

Pratik @ Pintoo Kantibhai Parmar were sentenced to

undergo three years imprisonment for the offences

punishable under Sections 498A and Section114 IPC and six

months for the offence punishable under Section 323

IPC. Accused No.4- Bhavnaben Kantibhai Parmar and

Accused No.5- Manoramaben Kantibhai Parmar were

sentenced to undergo one year rigorous imprisonment

for the offence punishable under Section 498A.

3. On appreciation of the evidence, the trial court was

convinced that deceased-Maheshwari committed

suicide due to the harassment that she suffered at the

hands of the accused for not satisfying the demand of

dowry. The evidence of PW- 1 and PW-4, who are the

father and mother of the deceased, was found to be

reliable. The trial court was convinced that the

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charges against the accused were proved on the basis

of the evidence available on record. In the Appeal

filed by the accused, the High Court acquitted

Accused Nos.3, 4 and 5, but upheld the conviction of

the Appellant for committing offences under Sections

498A, Section114 and Section323 IPC. The conviction and sentence

of Accused No.2-Suhag Kantibhai Parmar-husband of

the deceased, was also confirmed by the High Court.

We are informed that Accused No.2- Suhag Kantibhai

Parmar has undergone the sentence. We are only

concerned with the Appeal filed by Accused No.1. The

High Court upheld the conviction and sentence of

Accused No.1- Kantilal Laxmanbhai Parmar on the

basis of the evidence of PW-1, that he was informed

by the deceased that she was beaten up twice by the

Appellant. Ms. Jaikriti S. Jadeja, learned counsel

appearing on behalf of the Appellant submitted that

the evidence of PW-1 could not have been relied upon

by the trial court and the High Court to hold the

Appellant guilty of the charges. PW-1 deposed that

the deceased-Maheshwari as well as his wife (PW-4)

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informed him that the Appellant had beaten the

deceased-Maheshwari twice. Whereas, PW-4 was

silent about the Appellant causing any physical

violence on her daughter.

4. Ms. Aastha Mehta, learned counsel appearing on

behalf of the State submitted that the suicide

committed by the deceased was due to harassment

by the Accused and his son Suhag Kantibhai Parmar.

The medical evidence disclosed that the deceased

was pregnant at the time of her death. The extreme

step had been taken by the deceased due to

unbearable torture at the hands of the Accused. She

submitted that the evidence of PW1 is sufficient to

uphold the conviction of the Appellant who was also

responsible for driving the deceased to commit

suicide.

5. As stated earlier, Accused No.2 who is the husband of

the deceased accepted the conviction and served out

the sentence imposed upon him and the conviction

and sentence of Accused Nos. 3 and 5 were set aside.

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Apart from the allegation that the entire family

harassed the deceased, the overt act attributed to the

Appellant is that he had physically assaulted the

deceased on two occasions. This allegation finds

place in the FIR. PW-1 deposed in court about the

Appellant beating the deceased on two occasions.

PW1 stated that he was informed by PW4 about the

incident of Appellant beating his deceased daughter.

However, PW 4 did not speak of any such incident of

the Appellant beating the deceased on two occasions.

Reliance cannot be placed on the sole testimony of

PW1, on the basis of which the Appellant was

convicted under Sections 498A, Section114 and Section323 as there

is no corroboration by PW4 who is alleged to have

given the information to him. Other than the above

allegation, the Appellant stands on the same footing

as of Accused Nos. 3, 4 and 5 who have been

acquitted by the High Court. As the accusation of the

physical assault by the appellant on the deceased is

not proved, he is entitled to be acquitted.

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6. In view of the aforesaid, the Appeal is allowed and the

Appellant is acquitted of the charges under Sections

498A, Section114 and Section323 of the IPC. The Appellant is

directed to be released forthwith if he is not required

in any other case.

..……………………………..J.

[L. NAGESWARA RAO]

..……………………………..J.
[HEMANT GUPTA]

New Delhi,
October 04, 2019.

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