IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA
Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction
THE HON’BLE JUSTICE RAJASEKHAR MANTHA
C.R.A. 806 of 2008
KIRAN ADAK ORS.
THE STATE OF WEST BENGAL
For the Appellant : Mr. Soumik Pramanik, Advocate
Pradyut Kr. Das, Advocate
For the State : Mr. Bidyut Kumar Roy, Advocate
Ms. Rita Dutta, Advocate
Hearing Concluded On : 27.09.2019
Judgment On : 30.09.2019
Rajasekhar Mantha, J.:-
The instant appeal is directed against a judgment and order of
conviction dated 19th December, 2008 passed by the Additional
District Sessions Judge, Fast Track Court, Hooghly, in Sessions
Trial Case No. 22 of 2007 arising out of Sessions Case NO. 126 of
2007 convicting the appellants under Section 498A Section306 of the
Indian Penal Code and under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
2. The prosecution case in short is that one Tushi Adak (nee Polley),
student of Class-X, eloped from her house and got married in a local
temple, to the appellant No. 1, aged about 22yrs, on 29th December,
2005 without the knowledge of the respective families. 15 days after
marriage, Tushi Adak was found dead at nearby railway track,
between Janai Road Railway Station and Begumpur Railway Station.
The victim and the appellants were both residents of village
Panchghara Bazar (Janai), P.S. Chanditala, District- Hooghly.
3. It is alleged in the complaint that 11 days after marriage the victim,
came back to her grandfather’s house complaining that the appellant
No. 1, the husband, and the appellant No. 2, the mother-in-law,
demanded money particularly a sum of Rs. 20, 000/- kept in form of a
joint fixed deposit account in the names of victim her father and the
same was in the custody of her grandfather, Rabin Das (PW 1). The
victim is stated to have been threatened and tortured both physically
and mentally, by the appellant No. 2 with the connivance of the
appellant No. 1.
4. The mother of the victim had died during the birth of another child,
when the victim was around 5 years old. The father of the victim got
married thereafter and hence has been living separately, with his new
family. The victim was been brought up by her grandmother Kamala
Das (PW 6) and grandfather Rabin Das (PW 1). Two persons known to
the family of the side of the appellant were stated to be present during
the marriage ceremony.
5. The body of the victim was found without any clothes, as per the
depositions of the P.W. 1 and P.W. 7. The non-family witnesses
deposed otherwise. There were severe injuries on the face, head,
fractured ribs, hands and feet. No serious external injuries were
found on the rest of the body. The incident is stated to have occurred
around 23:15 hrs. on Thursday, 12th January, 2006. The complaint
was received by the police on the 13th of January, 2006 at 10.55 hrs.
The incident occurred between railway gate post No. 21/7 to 21/11
between Janai Road Railway Station and Begumpur Railway Station.
6. The complaint was lodged by PW 1 Rabin Das, the grandfather of the
victim, and the informant was a railway gang man who alerted the
Station Master about the presence of a dead body on the railway
track. The complaint was lodged against the appellant No. 2, mother-
in-law, and the appellant No. 1, husband and one Barun Adak, the
brother-in-law of the deceased. FIR was lodged on 13.01.2006. The
charges were framed on 8th August, 2007 against the appellants and
one Barun Adak.
7. The prosecution examined about 22 witnesses.
PW 1 – Rabin Das, maternal grandfather of the deceased.
PW 2 – Bijoy Kumar, Railway employee.
PW 3 – Biswanath Nandi, ‘meso’, husband of maternal aunt.
PW 4 – Biswajit Das, maternal uncle.
PW 5 – Swapan Dey, husband of another maternal aunt.
PW 6 – Kamala Das, maternal grandmother of the deceased
and the wife of PW 1.
PW 7 – Mousumi Das, maternal aunt.
PW 8 – Kashinath Adak, father-in-law of the deceased.
PW 9 – Ajit Patra, seizure witness, scribe of the seizure list
(seized articles- conch shell bangle and vermilion bangle).
PW 10 – Kalipada Bag, villager.
PW 11 – ASI Kartik Kundu, seizure witness.
PW 12 – Constable Subhas Chandra Ghosh, seizure witness
of the dead body.
PW 13 – Constable Sushil Kumar Dey, seizure witness of the
PW 14 – ASI Tapas Bhuinya, seizure witness.
PW 15 – Amalesh Paul, Station Master of Janai Road Railway
PW 16 – Bhabataran Dhara, Gram Panchayat Pradhan.
PW 17 – Prasanta Ghosh, bother of daughter-in-law of PW 1,
seizure witness of another seizure list.
PW 18 – Debashis Nath Chatterjee, Officer-in-Charge,
Kamarkundu GRPS who registered the UD case.
PW 19 – Budhhadeb Polley, father of the deceased.
PW 20 – Narendranath Kar, S.I. of police who conducted the
inquest along with the Executive Magistratae.
PW 21 – Dr. S. Mukherjee, Medical Officer and Post-mortem
PW 22 – S.I. Nitai Chandra Ghosh, Investigating Officer.
8. Evidence of PW 1:The marriage of the deceased was held at a nearby
temple on the 29th of December, 2005. The father of the appellant No.
1, Kashinath Adak, came to inform PW 1 about such marriage with
his younger son Kiran Adak on the night of the marriage. After 11
days of such marriage, the victim came back to the house of PW 1 and
refused to go back to her in-laws’s house. The deceased informed PW
6 and 7 that the appellant No.1, appellant No. 2 and her elder
brother-in-law assaulted her. He also deposed that appellant No. 2
demanded money from the victim that was lying in form of a joint
fixed deposit account, with the PW 1. The PW 1 is stated to have
convinced the deceased to go back to her in-laws with his son-in-law
(PW 5) and son-in-law of his brother (P.W. 3) with a sum of Rs.500/-
and some of victim’s own garments. Upon reaching the house of the
appellants, the appellant No. 2 is stated to have demanded the sum of
20, 000/- as dowry else refused to allow the victim into the house and
further assaulted the PW 3 with a broomstick and threatened. That
day later at about 11:00 pm the appellant No. 1 and his brother and
one Gobordhon came to the house of the PW 1 to enquire of the
whereabouts of the deceased. PW 1 joined the said persons to search
out the deceased. PW 1 later on came to know from one of the three
persons that a dead body was found between Begumpur and Janai
Road Railway Station.
9. PW 1 went to the place. He stated that the body of the victim was
found without clothes and her sari, blouse and shawl were found lying
elsewhere. This was contradicted by the Inquest Officer and the other
witnesses who removed the body of the victim from the place of
occurrence. PW 1 along with PW 5 and one Naru went to Chanditala
Police Station and informed the Chanditala P.S. of the incident. The
PW 1 along with the police came to the place of occurrence. The
examination in inquest repost was conducted by the Kamarkundu
GRP and PW 1 witnessed the inquest report. He identified the written
complaint that was written by one Ajit Patra (not examined) on the
instruction of PW 1 and signed by PW 1.
10. In cross examination PW 1 stated that he was an employee of the
Railways. The house of the appellants and PW 1 was separated by
only one house. The house of the appellant is owned by one Late
Shaila Adak. PW 1 has two sons and two daughters. The mother of
the deceased died while giving birth to a child. The deceased was 5
years old then and had a sister. PW 1 admitted to have filed a
complaint against the father of the deceased for maintenance of the
victim after he left them, and re-married. The victim and the
appellant No.1 did not obtain his consent nor did inform him of their
marriage. The marriages of his two daughters including the victim’s
mother were held as per Hindu rites when he gave away customary
11. The victim is stated to have left the house on the day of marriage on
the pretext of going for private tuition. The appellant no. 1 did not
inform the appellant of the marriage. The victim was preparing for
Class-X Board Examination during the year of marriage. The
accused did not demand any money directly from him. They also did
not send any letter demanding money to him. PW 1 did not invite the
deceased and her husband after being informed the marriage. He
admitted that he was interrogated by the police in connection with the
case. He was not present on the day when the deceased came to his
house after marriage complaining of harassment by the appellants.
The deceased is stated to have visited his house at 12 noon and for
the second time in the afternoon. PW 1 was not present at either of
those times. He came back home at 7:30 pm when he heard from his
wife that the accused persons demanded money from the deceased.
12. He did not visit the accused persons after coming to know of the
alleged demand for money. He did not meet the deceased also after
coming to know of the assault of his son-in-law Swapan Dey. He was
not even present when son-in-law took back the deceased to her in-
laws house. He has also admitted that he had not told anybody before
the deposition in Court that the deceased’s dead body was found
naked and the clothes found in a separate place. He deposed that the
deceased died out of accident and because of torture of the deceased
by accused. He deposed that there was no fog in the night in that
13. A large number of accidents occurred where the deceased was found.
The railway line took a curve at the place where the deceased was
found and a large number of accidental deaths had also occurred
earlier at the same place. The railway track was used by the villagers
as a place of relieve themselves as a majority of houses in the village
did not have toilet. The appellant No. 1 was an apprentice at a gold
shop in Barabazar. The PW 1 and their family were not happy with
the marriage of the deceased with the appellant No. 1. The deceased
was very good looking and it was the desire of PW 1’s family that she
gets married to a well-established boy with a good family background.
14. PW 2 Bijoy Kumar is a Railway employee who found the dead body
on the railway track.
15. PW 3 is Biswanath Nandi, husband of the maternal aunt of the
deceased. He deposed that the deceased was assaulted by the in-laws
for being unable to perform household chores and was being tortured
for dowry. The appellants are stated to have demanded that the
victim brings the fixed deposit account money, jointly held in her and
her father’s name, lying with PW 1. The victim is stated to have been
assaulted by the appellants. The victim is stated to have come to the
house of PW 1 on 11th January, 2006 and informed her grandmother
of the torture for demand of dowry by the appellants. He came to
know the above from the grandmother of the deceased after such
grandmother called him and another son-in-law Swapan Dey.
16. Two sons-in-law, PW 3, PW 5 and PW 4 (the maternal uncle of the
deceased) consulted with each other and took the deceased back to
her matrimonial house alongwith a sum of Rs.500/- and some of her
garments. The father-in-law of the deceased is stated to have told PW
3 and PW 5 to keep the victim in her own house. Appellant No. 2 is
stated to have taken the money and had asked for a further sum of of
Rs.20, 000/- on the ground that “a marriage cannot be solemnized
without money”. The appellant No.2 thereafter is stated to have
beaten PW 5 with a broomstick and abused him filthily and drove
them out of their house.
17. In cross-examination PW 3 stated that he kept track of the status of
affairs of the deceased yet he did not know how long the deceased was
having a love affair with the appellant No. 1. He could not name the
friends of the deceased. He denied that PW 1 instituted any
proceeding against the father of the deceased. He asserted that
grandmother of the deceased lodged a case against the father of the
deceased for recovering money for maintenance of the deceased and
her younger sister. He admitted that he was interrogated by the
police. He did not invite the deceased and her husband to his house
after marriage. He admitted that he had visited the house of the
appellants on the 11th of January, 2006. He deposed that he did not
inform the local panchayat or police as regards the demand of money.
He further stated that he informed the police of the demand for dowry
by the appellant No. 2 from the deceased only after her death. He
further claims to have informed the police of having consulted with
PW 5. He could not recollect having told the police of the assault on
PW 5 by the appellant No. 2. He also admitted that he did not inform
the police that they had assured the accused persons of fulfilling the
dowry demand subsequently. He admitted that there was fog during
winter season in the area of the railway line which was used as toilet
by most of the persons in the village. There was admittedly a toilet in
the house of the PW 1. He further stated that his marriage and other
marriage ceremonies were held at in-laws house not at temple.
18. PW 4, Biswajit Das is the maternal uncle of the deceased. He
deposed that the marriage of the deceased was solemnized on 13th day
of Poush at a temple and after her marriage she resided in the
appellants’ house. He deposed that the accused persons demanded
money from the deceased and threatened to assault her if she fails to
bring money from the maternal uncle’s house. He stated that on the
day before the death of the deceased, the deceased came complaining
of the torture and the dowry demand to her grandmother. On the
next day he along with PW 3 and 5 took the deceased back to her
matrimonial house along with Rs.500/- and some garments, when
appellant No. 2 assaulted PW 5 with broom and abused them with
19. The deceases stayed in her matrimonial house and they came back.
Next day at about 11:00 pm appellant No. 1, his brother along with
Gobordhon and Kelo came to their house and informed that deceased
was missing. All of them went to railway gate No. 16 and found the
deceased’s body lying there. They went to the Chanditala P.S. to lodge
an FIR. The police came to the spot. He deposed that the deceased
died due to tortured being caused upon her by the appellants.
20. He deposed that on 11.01.2006 they remained half an hour in the
house of the appellant, some of the villagers were present thereat but
he could not name any of them. He deposed that they did not file any
FIR against the incident of assault of PW 5. He further deposed that
the deceased have been living at his residence for 10 long years yet he
does not know the names of any of her friends. He came to know
about the marriage on 29.12.2005 at about 9.00 pm and on that day
itself he learnt about their love affair. He deposed that on 11.01.2006
the deceased herself confessed about the torture to him but he did not
inquire the reason for such torture.
21. In cross-examination PW 4 deposed that he is illiterate. He was
interrogated by the police, Kamarkundu GRP Office on the day after
her death. He stated that he specifically mentioned to the police the
fact that appellant No. 1, his brother along with Gobordhon and Kelo
came to their house on the date of the death of the deceased but he
did not mention that those persons took him to the place of
22. PW 5, Swapan Dey is the husband of the maternal aunt of the
deceased. He stated that on 11th January, 2006 the deceased ran
away to her maternal uncle’s house and told her grandmother that her
husband and mother-in-law are torturing her and that she would not
go back to her matrimonial house. He further deposed that she told
her grandmother that if she was forced to go back to her in-laws
house, she would commit suicide. On the same day in the afternoon
he along with PW 3 and the maternal uncle of the deceased Biswajit
Das and one Sujata Nandi, maternal aunt of the deceased, went to the
house of the appellant. As soon as they reached there, appellant No.
2 abused them in filthy language and assaulted him with a
broomstick. That on the 12th of January, 2006, Biswajit Das (PW 4)
informed him that the victim died and was found on the railway line.
He then came along with Biswanath Nandi and Biswajit Das to the
house of PW 1 and they went to Chanditala Police Station and
informed of the complaint of the incident.
23. In cross-examination he deposed that he was interrogated by the
Kamarkundu GRPS along with PW 3, PW 4 and PW 1. They were all
examined separately on the same day by the police. PW 6 Kamala Das
was not present at that point of time. His wife’s name is Pratima Dey.
He deposed that PW 1 had two other full brothers. He had good
relations and access to the house of PW 1. He claimed to be as
affectionate towards the deceased as her two other maternal uncles
and aunts were. He made no enquiries as to the circumstances under
which deceased got married nor received any information prior
thereto. He came to know of the marriage on the 13th Day of Poush
while on a visit to in-laws house. He admitted that he did not visit the
matrimonial house of the deceased before 11th January, 2006. He is a
carpenter by profession.
24. He stated that a large number of other persons also went along with
him, PW 3 and PW 4 to the house of the appellants on the 11th of
January, 2006. He remembers some names but does not remember
the others. The deceased was in the house of the PW 1 on the 11th of
January, 2006. He came to know from the deceased directly that she
was being tortured and would commit suicide if she was sent back to
the house of the appellant. He took her to reside with her in-laws
despite such statement from the deceased. He did not inform any
other villagers of the incident. He is stated to have convinced the
appellants not to harass the deceased.
25. He also stated that he was hit with a broomstick by the appellant No.2
but did not take any steps towards lodging a written complaint to the
Police. He did not notice other villagers who came to their house. He
could not recollect as to whether he informed the police that the victim
threatened to commit suicide if she is taken back to her in-laws house
and not given money. He further deposed that he informed the police
that the deceased told her grandmother that if she is sent back to her
matrimonial house she would kill herself. The appellants and the
brother of the appellant No. 1 were torturing her. He could not again
recollect whether the deceased told him about any money demand by
the appellants. He denied that the family of the deceased did not
accept her marriage with the appellant No. 1.
26. PW 6 Kamala Das, grandmother of the deceased, deposed that the
mother of the deceased is her elder daughter. She deposed that the
father of the deceased is one Budhhadeb Polley. She deposed that
the marriage of the deceased with the appellant No. 1 took place in a
local temple. She deposed that marriage was a result of a love affair.
She said that the in-laws and husband of the deceased assaulted and
tortured her. She stated 14 days after marriage the deceased came to
her house and refused to go back to her matrimonial house for she
was being tortured for demand for Rs.20,000/- kept in a fixed deposit
account. She also said that the deceased was abused and teased in
filthy languages by the appellants. She informed PW 3 and PW 5 of
the above and consulted with each other and took the deceased back
to the house of the appellants alongwith Rs.500/- and garments to
the deceased . She said that the deceased left the house of the
appellant on the said date and that deceased died on the next day by
27. In cross-examination she deposed that the deceased has a sister
called “Tumpa” who was around 9 years younger to her. She said that
the deceased was beautiful. She also admitted that her family wanted
the deceased to get married to a well-established boy with a good
family background. She stated that they were informed of the
marriage of the deceased with the appellant No. 1 by the father of the
appellant No. 1 at about 9:00 pm.
28. She admitted that she would have given the customary gifts in the
event if marriage was held by way of negotiation and that wedding
gifts were given to the daughters who were married of from her family.
She admitted that the deceased and her husband were not invited to
their home even after being informed of marriage. She had no
knowledge of the love affair of the accused persons nor went to their
house before marriage. The wife of the older brother of the appellant
No. 1 was living in her paternal house during the time of incident.
She also admitted that the accused never demanded any sum of
money when they visited their house nor did she enquire if the
appellants had any monetary demands. She claimed that the
appellant No. 1 was a student at the time of marriage.
29. She stated that they have toilet in their house similar to all other local
houses. This contradicted by all defense and independent witnesses.
She also stated that the accused had toilet in their house. This is a
false statement. She claimed that she does not go outside of the
house. She stated that during marriage or even thereafter there was
no interaction between the house of the appellants and her house and
their respective family members. This Court finds a large number of
contradictions in the evidence of this witness.
30. PW 7 Mousumi Das is maternal aunt of the deceased, wife of PW 4.
She came to know of the marriage of the deceased and that the
deceased later resided at her matrimonial house thereafter. On 11th
January, 2006 the deceased came to the house of the PW 1. PW 7 was
present along with her mother-in-law when the deceased came around
in the noon. She stated that deceased told her that the appellant No.
2 caught hold of her by hair on the previous night and the husband
coerced her to bring a sums of money kept in the fixed deposit
account. She further stated that at the relevant time her husband
tried to grab the deceased by the neck while insisting on the sums of
31. She also stated that her mother-in-law of the deceased often teased
and demanded money lying in the fixed deposit account and insisted
that she die. She claimed that the mother-in-law assaulted the
deceased and that if the deceased failed to bring the said sum of
money lying in the fixed deposit, she would get her son remarried.
These could not have been to the personal knowledge of the PW 7. No
other witness deposed as such.
32. She thereafter informed her husband and the PW 1 and other sisters-
in-law and their husbands of the incident narrated by the deceased.
She also said that after consulting with each other PW 3, 4 5 visited
the house of the deceased with a sum of Rs.500/- and some clothes of
the deceased. The appellant No. 2 is stated to have assaulted PW 5 on
that day and had used abusive languages against the persons who
visited their house. On the next day the appellant No. 1, his brother
and two other persons namely Gobordhon and Kelo asked of the
whereabouts of the deceased from her husband and her family
members were informed that the deceased did not come to their house
on the said day. She thereafter came to know from her husband that
the body of the deceased was found in a naked condition near the
railway line. She could not have personal knowledge of the incident
as she did not visit the place of occurrence. She narrated the incident
thereafter she came to know as stated by the PW 1.
33. In cross-examination she stated that she does not remember the date
of her marriage or the date of birth of her sons. She stated that she
had no ill-will towards the father of the deceased. She claimed to have
loved the deceased like her own daughter and similarly deceased loved
her back like her own mother. How come then, did the deceased not
tell her of her love affair or the alleged dowry demand of the accused.
However, the deceased did not inform of any affair with anybody or
about the appellant No. 1.
34. She claimed that the deceased used to go for private tuitions at 9:00
am in the morning and 4:00 pm in the afternoon and other working
days at 6:00 am. She stated that the deceased went to Begumpur to
another private tuition. The deceased had a lady tutor in the morning
and in the afternoon. PW 7 was not aware as to whether the deceased
went to appellant No. 1 to learn English.
35. She did not go to meet the deceased at her in-laws house. She was
not aware of the days when the other members of the P.W. 1’s family
got married. There was no social relations between the family of the
accused and her own neither was there any enmity. She stated that
some members of her family went to the house of the accused for the
first time on the 11th of January, 2006.
36. She could not recollect whether she was examined by the police in
connection with the above case or whether she stated anything to the
police as regards the date of marriage. She did not ask the PW 1 to
send any gifts to the house of the accused. She did not invite the
deceased or her husband to her house. She claimed that the
economic status of her family and particularly PW 1 was higher than
that of accused persons.
37. She claimed to have informed the police that the deceased came to
their house crying on the 11th of January and informed them of the
demand of dowry of a sum of Rs.20,000/-, by the appellants. She also
stated that the deceased told her and PW 6 that she was assaulted by
the appellant No. 1 and 2. She stated that her husband was
acquainted with the said Kelo and Gobordhon who came to their
house on the 12th of January to enquire the whereabouts of the
38. She recalled having told the police as to how her husband and other
in-laws found the deceased on the railway line. She denied that her
caste and economic status changed after her marriage. She claimed
that the family of the deceased was not inclined to send a sum of
Rs.20,000/-. The credibility of this witness is found to be suspicious.
39. PW 8 Kashinath Adak, father-in-law of the deceased. He deposed
that after the death of the victim the police came to search the house
of the appellants but did not find anything. He claimed to have put a
signature on a seizure list. He claimed that he thought and knew that
the victim had died due to an accident. He could not recollect as to
whether the relatives of deceased came to his house on the 11th of
January, 2006. He was not present in the house at the time when the
PW 2, 3 5 came to his house on the 11th, of January, 2006.
40. PW 9, Ajit Patra, is a villager and scribe of the complaint. He is also
a seizure witness of the articles seized by the police at the place of
occurrence. He is also seizure witness to the search conducted by the
police at the house of the accused.
41. PW 10, Kalipada Bag, is a villager and a seizure witness of the article
seized at the place of occurrence. He has stated in his deposition that
he lived opposite of the house of the accused persons. He stated that
98% of the houses in that area do not have a toilet. He contradicted
the evidence of the police that he had signed on the seizure list at the
place of occurrence as he stated that he was ill and was on bed rest at
home on the advice of doctor on the 13th of January, 2006.
42. PW 11, ASI Kartik Kundu, another seizure witness at the place of
43. PW 12, Subhas Chandra Ghosh, a seizure witness of the dead body
and one of the persons who carried the dead body from place of
occurrence to Chanditala S.D. Hospital for post-mortem. He collected
the wearing apparels of the deceased after the post-mortem and
handed over to PW 20 S.I. of Police against a proper seizure list. He
identified his signature on such seizure list being Exbt. 8.
44. PW 13, Constable Sushil Kumar Dey who took seized wearing
apparels from PW 12. The above contradicts the evidence of PW 12
that he gave such apparels to PW 20.
45. PW 14, Tapas Bhuinya, another seizure witness who stated that PW
12 handed over the wearing apparel of deceased to PW 20.
46. PW 15, Amalesh Paul, Station Master of Janai Road Railway Station.
He claimed that during night duty on the 12/13th January, 2006, he
was informed by the onduty gateman that a dead body was found on
the rail line between Janai Road and Begumpur Railway Station
between rail level crossing gates Nos. 16 and 17. He stated that since
1994 he was posted in the same Railway Station and may have
reported about 6-7 cases of death by accident on the railway line near
the said Railway Station. He stated that Investigating Officer did not
seize any copies of such seize. He also deposed that he was not
informed that the dead body was without clothes.
47. PW 16, Bhabataran Dhara, is the pradhan of Panchghara Gram
Panchayet. He gave a certificate to Swapan Dey that Tushi Adak
(Victim) had committed suicide. He had issued certificate as per the
request of Swapan Dey without holding any enquiry.
48. PW 17, Prasanta Ghosh, brother of PW 7, visited the house of PW 1
on 13th January, 2006. He informed the Court that a copy of the FD
receipt and the reading material of the deceased were seized from the
house of the deceased 7 months after the incident. He was a
signatory to such seizure list marked as exbt. 10. A photograph of
appellant No. 1 was affixed in a book kept by the deceased.
49. PW 18, Debasis Nath Chatterjee, Officer-in-Charge, Kamarkundu
GRPS, who registered and started the UD Case No. 3 of 2006 dated
13th January, 2006.
50. PW 19, Budhhadeb Polley, is the father of the deceased. The
evidence indicates that he neither cared for the deceased nor made
enquiries about her welfare. He admittedly lived in a separate house
away from the village with his second wife and family.
51. He had deposed evidence only based on what he heard. He deposed
that a FD account of Rs.20,000/- was jointly held in the name of his
wife (mother of the deceased) and himself, later post demise of his wife
the FD was currently held in the name of the deceased and himself.
52. PW 20, Narendranath Kar, S.I. of Police, who conducted the inquest
along with the Executive Magistrate, one Sanjukta Chakraborty. She
did not depose evidence in the trial. He sent the dead body after
inquest and examination for post-mortem through PW 12. He said
that many people had assembled by the time he reached the place of
occurrence. He deposed that he had noted down the wearing apparel
of the deceased while holding the inquest examination.
53. PW 21 is Dr. S. Mukherjee who conducted the post-mortem
examination. He noted the inquiries. He identified the post-mortem
report. He claimed to have seen fractures, sharp cutting injuries,
bruises and lacerated injuries on the dead body. He did not note the
exact measurement of the injuries in his report. He indicated that
the injuries may have been caused either by light sharp cutting
instrument or heavy sharp cutting instrument. He did not note the
type of the lacerated injuries. He did not mention the shape of the
lacerated injuries. He admits that non-mentioning of such shape
would prevent any conclusion as regards such injuries. He did not
mention the type of fracture sustained. Although he noted the
condition of brain but only stated in his report that there was a
haemorrhage. No further details of the head injury were mentioned in
the report. The nature of the bruises on the body of the deceased was
also not noted. He found liquid in the stomach of the deceased. He
found injury on the liver but did not note the nature of the injury.
The nose of the deceased was also injured. He found lung injury and
noted it in his report but did not mention the nature or type of injury.
54. He admitted that his report indicates that the injuries were sustained
for being hit by a running train and they could either be suicidal or
accidental or homicidal. He stated that decapitation occurs whenever
a person lying down on a railway line to kill himself in all cases.
There was no decapitation found in the case of the deceased. He
stated that if anybody commits suicide by lying down on the railway
line then the grease and other dirt from the engine are to be found in
the garments of the deceased. No such dirt was found on the
garments of the deceased or her person.
55. PW 22 is Nitai Chandra Ghosh, S.I. of Police and the Investigating
Officer of Kamarkundu GRPS. He deposed that he visited the place of
occurrence and drew a sketch map and prepared index. He examined
the de facto complainant under Section 161 of the Cr.P.C. He
consulted with the police officer who held the inquest report. He
examined the available witnesses under Section 161 of the Cr.P.C. .
He admitted that he searched the house of the accused persons but
did not find anything. He received seized articles from the S.I. of
Police PW 20 who held the inquest along with wearing apparels. He
examined EO and recorded his statement under Section 161 of the
Cr.P.C. He exhibited the seizure list of the body, wearing apparels and
the broken conch shell bangle and vermilion bangle. He also
exhibited the seizure list of the copy of the FD account and the
dictionary from the house of the victim. He collected the post-mortem
report and submitted the chargesheet.
56. In cross-examination he deposed that he did not resume and
commence investigation on the basis that it was a case of suicide. He
denied that there was an agreement recorded in the FIR as regards
any account of money to be exchanged between the family of PW 1
and the appellants. He admitted that he did not collect information as
to whether the deceased and her husband went on a honeymoon. He
did not enquire as to who the deceased visited for private tuitions and
who her friends were. He did not enquire as to the place of work of
PW 1. He did not make enquiries of the nature and character of
deceased or whether any customary gifts were given during the
marriages of the boys and girls of the family of the PW 1.
57. He did not find any other positive evidence that the accused
demanded money from the deceased other than from the oral
statement of the witnesses. He also did not find any positive evidence
that there was an agreement between the families of PW 1 and the
appellants of any gifts before or after marriage. He did not find any
demand or letter from the accused persons to the PW 1 demanding
any money. He also did not find any statement of any witnesses that
the deceased was depressed after marriage in the house of the
accused. There was no written document from the accused persons
showing any demand of money. There was no suicide note either in
the place of occurrence or in the house of the deceased. He found
that the deposit cash certificate was originally in the name of PW 19
and mother of the deceased. Thereafter, in place of the deceased’s
mother, the name of the deceased was entered. Only a Xerox copy of
the deposit account was seized the veracity of the Xerox copy was not
verified with the bank. There was no evidence that the deceased was
treated by any doctor for torture caused by the accused. None of the
witnesses had stated that the victim to commit suicide.
58. He claimed to have found material to the effect that the appellants
sent a proposal to the house of the PW 1 for asking dowry; particulars
of such material have not been brought on record. He further stated
that the accused did not directly propose or demand dowry from the
PW 1 by going to his house. He claims not to have found that it is on
account of the failure of the unlawful demand of the accused which
provoked the deceased to commit suicide.
59. He did not make a prayer for police custody of the appellant or
recovery the seized articles and other articles. The distance between
the houses of the appellant and that of the PW 1 is about 5-6 houses
but the same was not recorded in the CD. He could not state the
names of the owners of those houses in between. He did not seize the
garments and clothes of the deceased from the house of the accused
60. He did not seize blood stained stones and blood stained earth where
the dead body of the deceased was found lying. The same was not
noted in the CD. He did not also inquire or also ascertain the time
period during which the love affair between the deceased and the
husband went on. He did not collect any certificate from the local
gram panchayat as stated by the PW 16. He did not send the wearing
apparels for forensic examination. Hence it could not be ascertained
by the injuries caused by the wheel of the rail or from other parts of a
rail compartment. The dead body of the deceased was already taken
away from the place of occurrence before he reached. He examined
witnesses at different places.
61. The prosecution did not produce charge sheet named witnesses
namely Aurobindo Adak, Surajit Adak and Rupali Adak. He did not
find any evidence as to whom among the local villagers saw the
deceased go to her grandfather’s house or who saw the maternal
uncles and others visiting the house of the accused on the 11th of
62. He did not question Swapan Dey as to whether he was beaten up by
the appellant No. 2 with broomstick. Swapan Dey could not show any
injury nor was a GD being lodged by him in that regards. He is not
sure where the dead body was removed from. He did not ascertain the
actual distance between the railway track and the dead body was
found. He denied that PW 3 told him that the deceased told her
grandmother of any demand of money by the accused persons.
63. He also denied that the PW 4 told him that Gorbardhan and Kelo
visited the house of PW 1. He also denied that PW 5 told him that after
11:00 pm on 12th January, 2006 that PW 3 and PW 4 found the
deceased on the railway line. He further denied that PW 6 told him or
recorded a statement that the deceased told that that if she would be
sent back to her matrimonial house again, she would commit suicide
or that the appellants and the brother of the Appellant No. 1 caused
torture on her. He further denied that PW 7 told him that on 11th
January 2006 the deceased came to the house of the PW 1 crying that
the accused persons demanded Rs.20,000/- or that the Appellant No.
2 assaulted the deceased with a broomstick. He also denied that PW 7
told him that on 11th January 2006 the appellant No. 1 caught the
neck of the deceased demanding Rs.20,000/-. He also denied that PW
7 told him that her husband had taken to her railway line where the
dead body of the deceased was found and that they went to
Chanditala P.S. thereafter.
64. The prosecution witnesses were examined under 313 SectionCr.P.C. The
appellant No. 1 denied that dowry was not given to him as the
marriage occurred due to love affair as deposed by PW 6. He also
denied that PW 6 ever went to her house after marriage as deposed by
PW 1, 3, 4 7. He also denied that the dead body was not found
without clothes. He also denied that the victim committed suicide and
that the prosecution case was instituted as the marriage occurred due
to love affair between himself and the deceased. Appellant No. 2 also
denied that the deceased ever went to her house after marriage as
deposed by PW 1, 3, 4 7. She also denied that the body was found
in naked condition.
65. The defence examined as many as 10 witnesses.
DW 1 – Surajit Adak, cousin brother of Kiran Adak
DW 2 – Rita Adak, wife of Barun Adak and sister-in-law of
appellant No. 1.
DW 3 -Rupali Adak, villager.
DW 4 – PradipKoley, villager.
DW 5 -Jyotiprakash Adak, villager.
DW 6 – Sambhu Malik, friend and classmate of appellant
DW 7 – SanjitKarmakar, another villager.
DW 8 – HaripadaAdak, another villager.
DW 9 – Madan Das, villager and son-in-law of the Adak
DW 10 – Kiran Adak, the appellant No. 1.
66. During the examination-in-chief of DW 1 Surajit Adak admitted that
he frequented the house of appellants. He visited the house of the
appellants event after marriage of the appellant No. 1. He deposed
that the family of deceased never accepted the marriage and was
economically higher in status than the family of the appellants. He
visited the house of the maternal uncle of the deceased and had social
relations with them. The Astamangala ceremony (usually performed
in the bride’s parental house) in the instant case was performed in the
house of the groom i.e. appellant No. 1. The bride’s house refused to
perform the said ceremony in their house. There was no demand for
dowry or torture upon the deceased by the appellants in the presence
of the DW 1. He was friendly with the deceased prior to marriage.
The deceased never told him that appellants caused any form of
torture or demanded dowry from her. He denied that the deceased
ever went crying to her paternal house complaining against the
67. There was no latrine in 98 per cent of the families residing in the
village Panchghara such people went to the railway line for answering
the nature’s call as did the family members of the appellants. None of
the family members of the appellants visited the maternal house of the
deceased prior to or after her death.
68. In cross-examination he said that he worked as a jewellery setter in a
jewellery shop in Barabazar, Kolkata. He denied that there was any
toilet or latrine facility in the house of the appellants. He admitted
that he was a charge-sheet witness No. 11 but was not asked to
deposed evidence by the police.
69. DW 2 is Rita Adak, wife of Barun Adak and sister-in- law of the
appellant No. 1. She deposed that during her marriage there was no
demand for any dowry made by the appellants. She deposed that the
family members of the deceased did not accept her marriage with the
appellant No. 1. She stated that at the time of marriage appellant No.
1 also worked as a jewellery setter in a shop of Barabazar, Kolkata.
She denied that there was any demand for dowry made by the
appellants against the deceased or her family members. She deposed
that there was no toilet facility in her matrimonial house and that of
the deceased. She said her mother-in-law always accompanied her to
the railway line for the purpose of relieving herself. She deposed that
on the date of death, deceased went to the railway line on three or four
occasions to relieve herself.
70. In cross examination she deposed that she had younger brother-in-
law called Arun Adak who is not married. She was at her matrimonial
house on the day the deceased passed away. She also denied that she
lived in the house of her father seven days prior to the date of
incident. She admitted that despite going to relieve herself three to
four times to the rail line, the deceased did not see any doctor or take
71. DW 3 is Rupali Adak, villager and deposed that all families in the
village knew each other very well and visited their respective houses
on social ceremonies. She also said that she visited the house of the
deceased on a regular basis. She deposed that the grandfather and
family of the deceased did not accept her marriage with the appellant
No. 1. She frequented the house of the appellants as well as the PW 1
before and after marriage. She said that she also deposed that the
Astamangala ceremony of the deceased was performed at the house of
the appellants contrary to normal practice, as the family of the
deceased did not invite her or the appellant No. 1 to perform such the
ritual. She denied that the family of the accused ever caused torture
on the deceased or demanded money from her. She denied that the
uncle of the deceased was assaulted and hit with the broom when he
came to visit the deceased and her family. She denied that there was
any latrine facility in her matrimonial house. She deposed that her
family members in the matrimonial house visited the local railway line
to ease themselves or answer nature’s call. She admitted that her
statement was recorded under Section 161 of the Cr.P.C.
72. DW 4 is Pradip Koley, villager. He runs a printing press in the
village. He knows the de facto complainant Rabin Das and had access
to his house as also that of appellant Kiran Adak. He deposed that
the Astamangala ceremony was held in the house of the accused
persons. He was not aware of any torture or demand for dowry being
made by the accused on the family of the deceased or on the
deceased. He reiterated that there was no latrine or lavatory or urinal
in the house of the accused persons and that they use the railway line
for such purpose. He reiterated that the family of the deceased did
not accept her marriage with the appellant No.1. He admitted that he
saw the deceased lying dead on the railway line and also saw many
people assembled thereat. He said that many of the local residents
accidentally died on that spot of the railway lines while easing
73. DW 5 is Jyotiprakash Adak, a villager, who knew the appellant and
his family very well as also the family of the deceased. He frequented
the house of the PW 1 and the appellants. He reiterated that the
family of the deceased did not accept her marriage with the appellant
No.1. He reiterated that Astamangala ceremony was held in the house
of the appellants. He denied that there was any torture, physical or
mental, caused upon the deceased by the appellants. He also denied
that the deceased ever told him about any torture on her. He
reiterated that many persons of the village died due to railway
accidents while easing themselves at the same spot that the deceased
had died. He vehemently denied that the deceased committed suicide
as a result of any torture by the accused persons.
74. PW 6 is Sambhu Malik was a friend and classmate of the appellant
No. 1. He was very friendly with the appellant No. 1. He also said
that the family of the deceased did not accept the marriage of the
deceased with the appellant No. 1. He denied that the accused ever
caused any torture on the victim or that there was any demand of
Rs.20,000/- which was lying in form of a fixed deposit in the name of
the deceased. He was not told by the deceased that the appellant
demanded the said sum of money from her towards dowry or torture
the deceased. He also said that the PW 1 and his family never told
him about any torture of the deceased by the appellants. He
reiterated that similar to other villagers the family of the appellants
used the railway line for easing themselves. He named at least three
persons who died on the railway track during easing themselves. He
visited the house of the accused during Astamangala ceremony.
75. DW 7 is Sanjit Karmakar who saw the Astamangala ceremony in the
house of the appellants. He deposed that the PW 1 and his family did
not accept the marriage of the deceased with the appellant No. 1 and
that he had good relations and access to the house of the appellant
No. 1. He did not see or hear of any torture on the deceased by the
appellants, neither had the deceased ever told him about any such
torture. He particularly denied that the family of the deceased i.e. PW
1 and others never informed him of any torture on the deceased. He
said that he was a cited witness in the charge-sheet but was not called
upon to depose. He was personally invited by the appellant No. 2 for
the Astamangala ceremony which he attended.
76. DW 8 is Haripada Adak. He was well acquainted and in talking terms
with PW 1, grandfather of the deceased. PW 1 Rabin Das never told
him about any torture or dowry demand from the appellants. He is a
cousin of appellant No. 1.
77. DW 9 is Madan Das who was a brother-in-law of the appellant No. 1.
He was named as charge-sheet witness but not asked to depose in
evidence. He had access to the house of both the PW 1 as well as the
appellants’. The PW 1 never told him about any torture upon the
deceased by the appellant nor did the deceased ever tell him about
any such torture as such.
78. DW 10 is the appellant No.1 who admitted that he was in a love with
the deceased for about 3 years prior to the marriage. He deposed
that the deceased left her maternal uncle’s house for the marriage on
the pretext of going for a private tuition to one Shyam Guin. He
deposed that the deceased had left two exercise books for English and
History in her matrimonial house that were written in her own
handwriting. The said books were marked as Exbt. A and B but the
same did not find place in the Lower Court Record. He deposed that
the deceased did not go to her maternal uncle’s house or grandfather’s
house after marriage as she had forbidden him from informing people
at her grandfather’s house that she was married. He denied that
there was any demand of dowry upon the deceased or that she was
ever assaulted. He also deposed that the deceased wrote a diary
presented by him to her that was marked as Exbt. C. The said diary
did not find place in the Lower Court Record. He denied that anybody
from the in-laws house ever visited his house.
79. In cross examination he denied that the police seized the exercise
books or the diary despite being told of the same. He identified the
signature and handwriting in the exercise books and diary as that of
the deceased. He denied having written the exercise books and diaries
himself. He also denied that the exercise books and diary were
manufactured by him. He denied that anybody in the family of the
deceased accepted their marriage.
80. The accused No. 1 and 2 being appellant No. 1 and 2 were convicted
under Section 498A and Section306 of the Penal Code and under Section 4 of
the Dowry Prohibition Act. The third accused was acquitted.
81. Let us take the evidence that has come on record under Section 498A
and Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The only evidence
showing alleged claims of dowry emanate from the victim and the
family members of the victim. They are found in the depositions of the
prosecution witnesses; viz., PW 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 (deceased’s
maternal grandfather, maternal uncles, maternal grandmother and
maternal-aunt @ Mami respectively).
82. Evidence of other prosecution witnesses are merely hearsay evidence
of dowry demand made upon the deceased. The incident of the
deceased coming for rescue to PW 6 and 7; running and crying, was a
mere piece of narrative that the PW 1, 3, 4 and 5 heard from the PW 6
83. The evidence of alleged dowry demand being made upon the relatives
of the deceased is particularly found in the deposition of PW 3 and 5
(deceased’s maternal-uncles @ Meshos), who claim to have visited the
appellant’s home, in the context of taking their niece (deceased) back
to her matrimonial house along with some of her wearable garments
and a sum of Rs. 500/-, but even this fact remains uncorroborated as
no independent neighbour has been called upon, by the prosecution
as an ocular witness to depose that they have witnessed the incident
in toto, as narrated or deposed by the PW 3 and 5. The first thing
strikes the mind of this Court is the statement of the Investigating
Officer that the PW 3, 4, 6 and 7 have not made any statement under
Section 161 of the Cr.P.C. pertaining to the fact that the victim was
harassed and tortured for dowry. Coupled with the above fact is the
evidence of the independent witnesses, as also on behalf of the
defence that there was no demand for dowry ever or torture as
deposed by PW 1 to PW 3, 5, 6 7.
84. DW 1 to 9, who had access and social relations and were in talking
terms with the PW 1 wholly denied that the PW 1 had ever informed
them of any dowry demand or any torture in that respect caused upon
the deceased of her family by the appellant. The accused No. 1 and
the deceased were admittedly in love for three years. It is, therefore,
unlikely that within 4 days of marriage a dowry demand could
possibly emerge. Thus, the story of being tortured by the appellants is
also difficult to believe. One must also give due regard to the fact that
the Astamangala ceremony (blessing of the newly married couple)
which ought to have been performed in the matrimonial house of the
deceased was in fact performed at the house of the appellants, when
friends and neighbours were hosted by the appellant and his family.
A demand for dowry or torture is inconsistent with the above chain of
events. The chances of a concocted story of dowry demand and
suicide appear more plausible in view of the fact that the economic
status of the victim’s family was much higher than the appellants.
There is overwhelming evidence that family of the deceased did not
accept the marriage between the appellant No. 1 and the deceased.
Admittedly the deceased was very good looking and the PW 1
grandfather was a railway servant.
85. There is also no clear evidence except that of PW 1, 7 when compared
with that of PW 15 and PW 19 that the body of the victim was found
naked. The chances of a person taking off her clothes to ease herself
or even to commit suicide are quite unlikely, unusual and unheard of.
The grandmother of the deceased, Kamala Das (PW 6) and PW 7
ascertaining that there was a toilet of the house of the appellants is
clearly contradicted by each of the evidence of the 10 defence
witnesses (DW) including some prosecution witnesses. On the
contrary PW 10 and DW 1 had stated that 98 per cent of the residents
of the village did not have toilet in their house and used the railway
line for answering the call of nature appears more credible. PW 6
grandmother of the deceased who admittedly does not leave the house
and has not visited the house of the appellants could not have,
therefore, known whether there was a toilet in the house of the
86. Further the evidence of PW 7, aunt of the deceased, that she treated
the deceased as her own daughter is also not believable since she was
not even aware for three years love affair that the deceased had with
appellant No. 1. If the family of the deceased had indeed accepted the
marriage they would have performed Astamangala ceremony in their
own house or would have visited the house of the appellants to
ascertain her welfare and enquired of the alleged torture and demand
for dowry. There is yet another fact that is relevant here PW 1
deposed that there was no fog in the night of 11th January, 2006
which is most unlikely. The area is a part of semi-rural of the Bengal
and a village having fog and smog in the late hours of the night is
common knowledge. On the contrary PW 1 3 specifically deposed
that there was fog in the night of the date of incident.
87. The above contradictions in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses,
particularly the family members of the deceased, throw serious
suspicious on the veracity and the weight of their evidence. There is
no other contemporaneous evidence or corroboration from any
independent witness of the occurrence of any demand for dowry or
any chances of any torture, hence the same cannot be conclusively
arrived at. It is also relevant to note that the deceased went to ease
herself to the railway line three or four times that night. This fact
coupled with irrefutable evidence of the defence witnesses that many
people past have died on the said railway line while easing themselves
lends more credence to the defence of the appellants, that the
deceased died accidentally while relieving herself.
88. The aforesaid analysis with regard to the death of many people in the
past on the said railway line while easing themselves is also relevant
for the purpose of a decision of conviction on the ground of Section
306 of the Penal Code. The prosecution could not establish any bad
blood between the appellant and the victim. On the contrary there is
evidence to suggest that the victim was not comfortable and use to
relieve herself on a railway track appears more plausible. The
absence of 161 statements in the Lower Court Records and diary of
the victim throw serious suspicious in the mind of the Court as to the
manner of conduct of the investigation and the transmission of the
record to this Court. There is no evidence that handwriting of the
victim in the diary was sent for expert examination or compared with
any other handwriting of the victim. The victim’s handwriting was
available in a dictionary recovered from her house albeit seven months
after the incident.
89. The post-mortem report was also not conclusive and to seizure list
has been rather casual and inconclusive. What is but relevant from
such post-mortem report is that in case of a personal desire to commit
suicide a person would normally lay herself in front on a railway track
as that would lead to certain decapitation as a normal consequence.
No such decapitation has been found. The post-mortem report further
indicates that if the victim fell underneath the running train in
between the tracks her clothes would have revealed dirt, dust and
other materials from underneath the railway engine or the
compartments. Even if the victim jumped in front of running train,
injuries would have sustained on both sides of the body, one from the
impact from the train and second upon being flung away and with the
fall on the railway track nearby. There is no evidence in the post-
mortem report to this effect. Injuries have only been found on one
side on the victim’s body. The clothes of the victim were not even sent
for Forensic Laboratory report.
90. For the reasons stated hereinabove, there is no clear evidence that the
victim had committed suicide, the question of any abetment to suicide
hence doesn’t arise as the suicide itself has not been proved beyond
reasonable doubts by the prosecution. The appellants ought not to
have been convicted under Section 306 of the Penal code and should
have been given the benefit of doubt.
91. The Counsel for the appellant have cited the following judgments:
i. SectionTakhaji Hiraji v. Thakore Kubersing Chamansing reported
in (2001) 6 SCC 145
ii. SectionState of U.P. v. Wasif Haider reorted in (2019) 2 SCC 303
iii. SectionGanga Singh v. State of M.P. reorted in (2013) 7 SCC 278
iv. SectionPawan Singh vs. State Ors. Criminal Appeal 929/2011
v. S.S. Chheena v. Vijay Kumar Mahajan reorted in (2010) 12
vi. SectionAmalendu Pal v. State of W.B. reorted in (2010) 1 SCC 707
vii. SectionMangat Ram v. State of Haryana reorted in (2014) 12 SCC
viii. SectionHans Raj vs. State of Haryana. Appeal (Crl.) 609 of 1997
92. The ratio held in Amalendu Pal (supra) has been followed and
applied in the instant case. The relevant Paragraphs has been set out
“12. Thus, this Court has consistently taken the view that
before holding an accused guilty of an offence under Section
306 IPC, the court must scrupulously examine the facts and
circumstances of the case and also assess the evidence
adduced before it in order to find out whether the cruelty and
harassment meted out to the victim had left the victim with no
other alternative but to put an end to her life. It is also to be
borne in mind that in cases of alleged abetment of suicide there
must be proof of direct or indirect acts of incitement to the
commission of suicide. Merely on the allegation of harassment
without there being any positive action proximate to the time of
occurrence on the part of the accused which led or compelled
the person to commit suicide, conviction in terms of Section
306 IPC is not sustainable.
13. In order to bring a case within the purview of Section 306
IPC there must be a case of suicide and in the commission of
the said offence, the person who is said to have abetted the
commission of suicide must have played an active role by an
act of instigation or by doing certain act to facilitate the
commission of suicide. Therefore, the act of abetment by the
person charged with the said offence must be proved and
established by the prosecution before he could be convicted
under Section 306 IPC.”
93. For the reasons stated hereinabove the appeal must succeed. The
impugned judgement and the order of conviction is liable to be set
aside and is hereby set aside. The appellants are given the benefit of
doubt and acquitted.
94. The bail bonds are discharged.
95. There shall be no order as to costs.
96. Urgent Photostat Certified server copy of this judgment, if applied for,
be supplied to the parties on urgent basis.
(Rajasekhar Mantha, J.)