IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA
Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Joymalya Bagchi
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj
C.R.A. 44 of 1996
Mira Rani Biswas
The State of West Bengal
C.R.A. 72 of 1996
The State of West Bengal
For the Appellants : Mr. A. Auddy, Advocate.
For the State : Mr. Saswata Gopal Mukherjee, P.P.,
Mr. P. P. Das, Advocate.
For the Amicus : Mr. S. Dutta, Advocate.
Heard On : 16/01/2018.
Judgement On : 04/05/2018
Rajarshi Bharadwaj, J.:
Mr. A. Auddy, learned Counsel appears for the appellants in
Criminal Appeal No. 44 of 1996 and Criminal Appeal No. 72 of 1996.
Both the appeals are taken up together for hearing analogously as
they relate to the self-same judgement and order of conviction dated
24th January, 1996 passed by learned Additional Sessions Judge, 2nd
Court, Birbhum in connection with Sessions Trial No. 1st May of 1994
arising out of Sessions Case No. 38 of 1992 convicting the appellant
Goutam Roy for commission of offence punishable under sections
306 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code and appellant Mira Rani
Biswas for commission of offence punishable under section 306 of the
Indian Penal Code.
Prosecution case as levelled against the appellants is that on 1st
April, 1991 at around 9 P.M. there was a quarrel amongst the victim
Smt. Nibedita Roy, the accused Sri Goutam Roy and his mother i.e.
the mother-in-law of Nibedita Roy. After such occurrences Goutam
Roy went to perform his night duty. Smt. Nibedita Roy went inside
the room and hang herself by neck. Police intervened and started U.
D. Case being No. 85/91 dated 1st April, 1991.
On 2nd April, 1991 at about 16:30 hours one Benimadhab
Mukherjee appeared at Suri Police Station and submitted a written
complaint to the effect that his sister Nivedita was given in marriage
to one Goutam Roy of Suri Seherapara locality. Sometimes after
marriage it was disclosed that the said Goutam Roy had illicit relation
with one Mira Biswas, a neighbour to them. Even after marriage with
Nivedita, Goutam continued to keep illicit relation with Mira Biswas
and when Nivedita raised objection accused Goutam physically
assaulted her on several occasion and began to inflict mental torture
upon her. Even after the intervention of neighbours and relatives,
they failed to bring the said Goutam back. The complainant
complained that Nivedita was murdered by her husband and hanged
by her husband, mother in law and the paramour Mira Biswas. Both
the U. D. Case being No. 85/91 dated 1st April, 1991 and the
complaint case was taken up for investigation. During investigation,
the involvement of all the accused persons was fully disclosed and
finally police submitted charge sheet against the three accused
persons under sections 306 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code. The
case being a Sessions triable one was committed to the court of
Sessions and transferred to the court of Additional Sessions Judge for
trial and disposal. The charges were framed under sections 498A and
306 of the Indian Penal Code against all the three accused persons.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty and claimed for trial.
In the course of trial, the prosecution examined 19 witnesses to
establish its case and exhibited a number of documents.
The defence of the accused were one of innocence and false
In conclusion of trial, the trial judge by judgment and order
dated 24th January, 1996 convicted and sentenced the appellants, as
aforesaid. Co-accused Parul Bala i.e. mother of Goutam Roy was
acquitted of the charges levelled against her.
Mr. A. Auddy, learned Counsel for the appellants argued that
the evidence of the prosecution witnesses does not establish cruelty
on the victim-housewife. Furthermore, the accused Goutam Roy was
not present at the place of occurrence and there is no direct evidence
that the appellant had ever assaulted the victim forcing her to commit
suicide. Accused Mira Rani Biswas had no relation with the victim
and during examination under section 313 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure, she was not even questioned that she abetted the
commission of suicide. He accordingly prayed for acquittal of the
Mr. S. Dutta, learned Counsel appearing as amicus curiae,
supported the contentions of Mr. A. Auddy.
On the other hand, learned public prosecutor submitted that
the evidence on record clearly established that the victim housewife
committed suicide within two years of her marriage at the
matrimonial home. The appellants were unable to give any plausible
explanation leading to her untimely death. It was also submitted that
there is ample evidence on record that the victim was subjected to
torture including physical assault at her matrimonial home forcing
her to commit suicide clearly establishing the ingredients of the
offences punishable under sections 498A and 306 of the Indian Penal
Code. Accordingly, he prayed for dismissal of both the appeals.
Let me now examine the evidence of witnesses to ascertain
whether the prosecution has been able to prove its case beyond
P.W. 1 Anandinath Mondal deposed that he is a residence of
Seherapara under Suri town and identified all the accused persons as
neighbours. In the month of February, 1991 nearly at about 12
O’clock night, he heard a hue and cry from the house of the accused
Goutam Roy and rushed to his house but could not find anything
there. He heard that on that night Goutam was in the house of
Anath Biswas their neighbour. P.W. 1 deposed that the relationship
between the accused Goutam and Nivedita had deteriorated as he
used to behave very badly with his wife. On the fateful night, he saw
the dead body of Nivedita and he witnessed to the inquest made by
Investigating Officer as he was present at that time. This witness
proved his signature in the inquest report marked as exhibit 1. He
identified the body of Nivedita with police. In cross-examination, this
witness stated that Mira lived with her husband and she has two
sons and one daughter.
P.W.2 Jayanta Kr. Das also identified the accused persons as
his neighbours. He deposed that he never witnessed any bad relation
between the parties since marriage. He is residing at Rampurhat and
time to time he used to visit his home at Suri. He wrote a letter to
Benimadhab alias Madhab. He proved this letter dated 17th February,
1991 marked as exhibit 2. On 1st April, 1991 at about 9.00 p.m. the
mother of accused Goutam rushed to his house and stated that
Nivedita has closed the door from inside her room and was not
answering her calls. This witness rushed to the house of accused,
climbed on a stool and found Nivedita was hanging from the ceiling
by a rope. He informed the local Chiarman, Jaharlal Mishra and
other para people. Police was also informed. This witness never found
any physical or mental torture by the husband and other accused on
victim Nivedita. This witness was declared hostile and was cross-
examined by the prosecution. He denied that he has stated before
the investigating officer that Nivedita had to commit suicide for
physical or mental torture upon her by the accused persons. He
admitted that Nivedita was a very hot tempered lady. She always
suspected that Goutam had illicit connection with Mira Rani Biswas
in the same para at Suri. He admitted that he wrote the letter of such
suspicion in connection with illicit relation between accused Goutam
and Mira hampered family peace. He admitted that house of Mira
intervened by four houses from the house of Goutam.
P.W. 3 Sanjoy Das turned hostile as he did not support
P.W. 4 5 were tendered by prosecution.
P.W. 6 Asis Majumdar is a resident of Seherapara, Suri and
deposed that Nivedita was married with Goutam. He admitted that he
himself and one Raju Das went to Dakshinkhanda under P.S. Andhal
to inform the parents of Nivedita that she had committed suicide. He
also admitted that Goutam had illicit relation with accused Mira
Biswas and he seen such illicit association with his own eyes. One
day, two years from the date of his deposition, at night while this
witness went to the house of accused Goutam, he saw accused Mira
Rani Biswas and accused Goutam Roy in half naked condition at the
house of Anath Biswas. At that time, Anath Biswas husband of Mira
was not present. He saw accused Goutam and Mira in half naked
position in one room and also saw son of accused Mira in another
room. Thereafter several para people assembled in the house of Mira
and searched for husband of accused Mira. In cross-examination, he
stated that he was not examined by investigating officer. He had not
stated to investigating officer that on that date at night he saw
accused Goutam and accused Mira in half naked position in one
room. Hearing the halla of para people as ‘chor’, ‘chor’ he came out
from his house and saw many people assembled near the house of
Anath Biswas. He did not know if any information was lodged at Suri
P.S. as to the theft nor had any discussion with the people assembled
at that night in front of the house of Mira. At about 1 a.m. the main
door was opened, and they entered through that door crossing the
courtyard. He stayed for 20 minutes in the house of Mira. When he
entered into the room of Mira, he saw both Mira and accused Goutam
were standing in the said room in half naked condition. Bhuban
Singh, Raju Das, Khokan Bhattacharya, elder brother of Khokan
Bhattacharya, the son and wife of Bhuban Singh also saw accused
Goutam and Mira in half naked condition. He resides after 15
minutes distance from the house of Mira. This witness was specially
cross-examined by the lawyer of Mira Biswas. He stated that Mira
used to reside with her husband, sons and daughter. Bhuban Singh
used to live in the same apartment just beside the house of accused
Mira but there is a common courtyard. When he went to the house of
Mira, he saw her sons and daughter were present. He admitted that
a dispute is going on between para people and Mira about her illicit
relation with accused Goutam and almost 50 people assembled in the
house of Mira on that date.
P.W. 7 Raju Das is a resident of Seherapara under Suri town.
He knew Nivedita committed suicide, informed the matter to the
parents of the victim. He had no bad relation with victim and he had
no knowledge of Mira having illicit relation with accused Goutam. He
was declared hostile and cross-examined by the Iearned Additional
Public Prosecutor with regard to his previous statement to the police.
P.W. 8 Maya Das was not examined and tendered only.
P.W.13 Benimadhab Mukherjee is the de facto complainant in
this case. He is a relation of deceased Nivedita. According to him,
sometimes on or after 7th May 1990, after the marriage, Nivedita
started residing at her matrimonial home. She used to visit their
residence at Dakshinkhanda. For two months of the marriage there
was a good relation between the husband and wife as reported by his
sister. Thereafter his sister Nivedita disclosed that her husband
Goutam was involved in an illicit relation with accused Mira. Before
marriage of his sister it was not disclosed that Goutam had any illicit
relation with accused Mira Rani Biswas. After marriage, Nivedita
opposed over such relationship and Goutam assaulted his sister and
inflicted mental torture upon her. She reported the matter to this
prosecution witnessed and others orally and also by writing letters.
There was a hue and cry in the locality over such illicit relation
between Mira and Goutam and local people also raised protest. For
that, Goutam was furious and further assaulted his sister on several
occasions. Nivedita informed the matter by writing a complaint before
the employer of Goutam and narrated all the fact and copies of such
letter were sent to Mahila Samity also. He identified the signature of
his sister (exhibit 3). After such incident his sister was taken to
Dakshinkhanda for residing with them. Sometimes thereafter
Goutam visited them at Dakshinkhanda and confessed his guilt and
vowed to rectify himself and thereafter they sent back their sister with
her husband so that she can live peacefully in her matrimonial
house. Thereafter on 2nd April 1991 at about 7 a.m. Raju Das a
residence of Suri informed them that Goutam and her mother
Parulbala murdered his sister on 1st April 1991. On 2nd April 1991
this witness along with others went to Suri at 10-30 a.m. They came
to learn from police that the dead body of his sister was at Suri
morgue for post mortem examination. Thereafter this witness
submitted written complaint before the police station which is
marked as exhibit 4 under his signature (exhibit 4/1). Muktipada
Roy is his brother-in-law and resides at Saradapally Durgapur. His
sister Dali resides at Durgapur. He proved the handwriting of his
sister Nivedita who wrote a letter to Dali marked exhibit 5. Nivedita
wrote another letter marked exhibit 5/1. This witness also identified
the signature of his sister marked exhibit 5/2. Accused Goutam also
wrote a letter to him dated 9th December, 1991. He proved the
handwriting of Goutam and his signature. This letter is marked
exhibit 6. Invitation card is marked exhibit 7. Photograph of the
marriage is marked ‘Y’ for identification, Lagnapatra is marked
exhibit 8 and all the documents have been seized under seizure list.
In cross-examination, the witness admitted that he is working in
the E.C.L. and got six sisters by second marriage of his father.
During negotiation of marriage, he visited the house of Goutam on
several occasions. Nivedita used to write several letters to her mother
and sister at Dakshinkhanda after marriage. Nivedita was 4th
daughter of his father. He had no knowledge before marriage that
accused was night guard at T.C.D.C. department. He enquired about
Goutam before marriage from several inhabitants of Seherapara. He
denied that his sister used to reside at Dakshinkhanda for major time
after her marriage. He denied that his sister was too much
sentimental but admits that his sister always suspected her husband
Goutam having illicit relation with other woman. He knew about
several altercation and dissatisfaction of his sister against her
husband for his illicit relation with another woman. His sister
Nivedita never lost his mental balance. He lodged the F.I.R. after a
detailed enquiry about the immediate cause of death of his sister as
none of local people lodged any written complaint before Suri Police
P.W. 13 narrated the entire incident of illicit relation and torture
upon his sister. His sister Nivedita used to meet her friends namely
Champa, Bani, Saraswati etc. He collected some letters from his
sister Dali 5/6 days after the incident and handed over them to
police. He stated in his complaint that her sister had stated that she
was physically and mentally tortured by the accused. They did not
take any step for the divorce of his sister Nivedita when they heard
that accused Goutam had illicit relation with Mira Rani Biswas.
Amiya Banerjee, Nityananda Mukherjee, Dharmadas Ganguly, his
father’s friends, were all present when accused Goutam took back his
sister from their house with an undertaking that he would not torture
her any longer. His sister attended the marriage ceremony of his elder
brother Kalidas but Goutam did not attend. Goutam is a night guard
and he used to guard his office at night. His sister had to stay alone
in the night because of Goutam’s official duty. He denied that his
sister was suffering from any mental disease.
P.W. 14 is mother of victim Nivedita. After the marriage,
Nivedita used to visit her and complained her that the accused
Goutam was a drunk and used to torture upon her daughter off and
on when she came to know about the illicit relation of her husband
with accused Mira Rani. Her daughter stated to her that she all
along protested about such illicit relation but accused Goutam never
cease is amend.
P.W. 15 is Dali Roy who is sister of victim Nivedita. She lives at
Durgapur. Her sister Nivedita stated to her before death, whenever
they meet each other at their father’s place, that accused Goutam is a
drunkard and he has illicit relation with accused Mira.
P.W. 16 proved written complaint exhibit 4. He is a staff of
Eastern Coalfields Limited. He wrote the same at the attestation of
P.W. 17 received the formal F.I.R., exhibit 11. He also proved
his endorsement exhibit 4/3.
P.W. 18 is the Medical Officer who proved the post mortem
report exhibit 12. He opined that the death is caused due to hanging
ante-mortem and suicidal in nature.
P.W. 19 is investigating officer of this case.
These are all the oral evidence adduced by the prosecution
Needless to say that the primary allegations against the accused
persons are physical and mental cruelty upon the victim lady forcing
her to commit suicide. It was further alleged that accused Mira added
and abetted accused Goutam, husband of the victim to commit acts
of cruelty upon the victim lady.
P.W. 13, Benimadhab is elder brother of the deceased Nivedita.
He disclosed that the deceased Nivedita was born in a lower middle
class family. Their father got two marriages and in all they are seven
brothers and six sisters out of said two marriage of their father. P.W.
13 works at C.C.L. The deceased Nivedita read upto class VIII. There
another brother Kalidas was married after marriage of Nivedita. Mukti
Roy is husband of another sister Doly and working at Durgapur Steel
Plant. His another sister Sarbani was married to one Chittaranjan
Banerjee who is a contractor. His third sister Sova was married with
one Kartik Roy who also works at a private company at Santoshpur.
P.W. 6 Asis Majumdar is also residence of Seherapara but
admitted his knowledge about the illicit relation between Mira and
Goutam. He saw them together in half naked condition in the house
of Mira and at that time several para people also assembled there.
P.W. 14 Niharbala Mukherjee, mother of the deceased Nivedita
disclosed that her daughter told her about the drunkenness of
accused Goutam and his illicit relation with accused Mira. She is a
helpless lady. Her husband is ailing. One of her daughter Nivedita
was not pulling on well in her in laws house. Such illicit relation of
her son-in-law with some other lady is a social stigma to her which
she could not tell to other persons out of shame.
P.W. 15 Doli Roy elder sister of deceased Nivedita complained of
the drunkenness of the accused Goutam’s amorous relation with
accused Mira and all are narrated to her by her sister Nivedita since
deceased. Nivedita was never happy in her matrimonial relations
which Nivedita herself disclosed to her.
We have also considered the evidence of the neighbours of the
victim namely P.W. 1, P.W. 2 P.W. 6 in details. I find the evidence
of the said witnesses is corroborated by the other prosecution
witnesses who stated that there was regular quarrel between the
victim and her husband over his illicit relation and drunkenness.
The exhibit 5 and 6 clearly shows that the victim was mentally and
physically tortured by her husband, Goutam. Motive of the crime has
also been proved by P.W. 14 P.W. 15 who deposed that the
appellant Goutam Roy and the victim had bad relationship as the
victim accused her husband over drunkenness and illicit
In Pinakin Mahipatray Rawal Vs. State of Gujarat, (2013)
10 SCC 48, the Apex Court held that extramarital relationship
between husband and another woman must be of such nature that it
is likely to drive the spouse to commit suicide. In the said report,
there was no evidence that the victim housewife had been subjected
to physical or mental torture on the score of such extramarital
relationship. In fact, in the suicide note the wife had exonerated her
husband. In the present case, there is overwhelming evidence that
the wife had been subjected to torture both physical and mental by
Goutam over the illicit relation between himself and Mira and the
victim had repeatedly complained of such torture both to her parents
and the neighbours of her husband.
In Ghusabhai Raisangbhai Chorasiya Ors. Vs. State of
Gujarat, (2015) 11 SCC 753, the Apex Court had acquitted the
husband albeit an extramarital affair as there was no proof of
physical torture. Evidence on record indicate repeated physical
assaults on the victim housewife by her husband, Goutam and,
therefore, the reported decision is of no assistance to the appellant
In K.V. Prakash Babu Vs. State of Karnataka, (2017) 11
SCC 176, there was no complaint of cruelty meted out to the
deceased housewife and owing to vague suspicion on her part that
her husband was having an affair with another lady, she committed
suicide. In the present case, there is ample evidence particularly that
of P.W. 6 that the appellants were found in a compromising position
and accused Goutam had subjected his wife to physical assault when
she had protested to such indiscretion on his part.
On the other hand, in Laxman Ram Mane Vs. State of
Maharashtra, (2010) 13 SCC 125, the Apex Court held that an
illicit relation between appellant and another woman would amount
to cruelty upon a housewife. More so, in the present case there is
ample evidence of torture including physical assault on the deceased
by her husband over the issue of illicit relationship between himself
and Mira. Hence, in the backdrop of the evidence on record, I am of
the opinion that the prosecution has been able to prove its case
against the husband of the deceased, beyond reasonable doubt.
But other than having an illicit relation I find no evidence of
abetment against appellant Mira Rani Biswas and in the light of the
aforesaid ratios I am inclined to extend benefit of doubt to her and
acquit her of the charges levelled against her.
In view of the aforesaid discussion, I uphold the conviction
imposed on the appellant Goutam Roy but conviction and sentence of
the appellant Mira Rani Biswas is set aside.
Coming to the issue of sentence of Goutam Roy, I find that the
incident occurred in 1991 and the appellant is in bail since 9th May,
1996. Under such circumstances, sentence imposed upon the
appellant is modified. The accused is sentenced to suffer rigorous
imprisonment for 2 (two) years for the offence punishable under
section 498A of the Indian Penal Code and to pay a fine of Rs. 2000/-
(rupees two thousand) in default to suffer rigorous imprisonment for
one year. The appellant is also found guilty for the offence under
section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. His sentence on such score is
reduced from rigorous imprisonment for 10 years to 7 years and he is
further directed to pay a fine of Rs. 3000/- (rupees three thousand) in
default to suffer further rigorous imprisonment for one year more.
Both the sentences to run concurrently.
Period of detention suffered by the appellant Goutam Roy during
investigation, enquiry and trial shall be set off from the substantive
sentence imposed upon him in terms of section 428 of the Code of
Bail bonds of the appellant Goutam Roy are cancelled and he is
directed to surrender forthwith before the trial court to serve out the
sentence in accordance with law. If he fails to do so, the trial court
shall resort to appropriate measures to execute the sentence in
accordance with law.
The appellant Mira Rani Biswas shall be discharged from her
bail bonds after six months in terms of section 437A of the Code of
The appeal is partly allowed.
Copy of the judgment along with Lower Court Records be sent
down to the trial court at once for necessary compliance.
Urgent Photostat Certified copy of this order, if applied for, be
supplied expeditiously after complying with all necessary legal
Rajarshi Bharadwaj, J.
Joymalya Bagchi, J.