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Partha Pal vs State Of West Bengal on 31 July, 2018

IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA
Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction

BEFORE:

The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj

C.R.A. 139 of 2010

Partha Pal
Vs.

State of West Bengal

Amicus Curiae : Ms. Rituparna Dey (Ghosh), Adv.

For the State : Mr. Saswatagopal Mukherjee, P.P.,
Ms. Faria Hossain, Adv.

Heard On : 17th July, 2018.

Judgement On : 31st July, 2018.

Rajarshi Bharadwaj, J.:

The appellant was convicted against the judgment and order
dated 10th February, 2010 15th February, 2010 passed by
learned Additional Sessions Judge, Fast Track Court No. 4,
Paschim Medinipur, in connection with Sessions Trial Case No.
27 of 2008, convicting the appellant for commission of offence
punishable under sections 498A 306 of the Indian Penal Code
and sentencing him to suffer rigorous imprisonment for seven
years and to pay fine of Rs. 1,000/-, in default to suffer rigorous
imprisonment for six months.

The crux of the allegations against the appellant is that on
14th August, 1999 one Badal Chandra Pal of village Banshda
Paschim Medinipur gave her daughter Pushpa Pal in marriage
with one Partha Pal of village Nigpapan, Paschim Medinipur.
After marriage his daughter went to her matrimonial house and a
son was born out of the wedlock. After the child birth, Partha Pal,
the husband started doubting the character of his wife and used
to assault her on regular basis. On 8th June, 2006 at 3 P.M.
Badal Chandra Pal came to know that her daughter had died
after consuming poison.

Ms. Rituparna Dey (Ghosh), learned Counsel argued that
the evidence of prosecution witnesses does not establish cruelty
on the victim housewife. Furthermore, the accused Partha Pal
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. The victim committed suicide as she had
an amorous relation with the cousin of the appellant and was
caught red handed by the para people in a compromising
situation. Accordingly, she prayed for acquittal of the appellant.

On the other hand, Ms. Faria Hossain appearing on behalf
of the state argued that the evidence on record clearly established
that the victim housewife committed suicide within six years of
her marriage at her matrimonial home. The appellant was
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, she prayed for dismissal of appeal.

I have considered the rival submissions in the light of
evidence on record.

PW-1, Goutam Datta being the brother-in-law (jamai babu)
deposed in his evidence that the victim Pushpa got married to
accused Partha Pal as per Hindu Rites and customs on 14th
August, 2000 and they were blessed with a male child. Since
birth of her son dispute cropped up in between the victim and the
accused and the witness heard about the dispute in between the
husband and wife from Pushpa the witness subsequently came to
know that the accused suspected that Pushpa had some illicit
connection with another person and for that reason he used to
assault her off and on. He went out for his duty by keeping the
victim under lock and key in his residence. The witness further
told that the matter of torture was informed both by para people
of accused as well as the victim and on several occasions they
held a meeting to minimise the differences in between the victim
and her husband/accused. The witness further stated that
subsequently he heard that it was settled in that meeting that the
victim will stay in her father’s house for three months along with
her baby and during that period the accused will be going on
making payment of Rs. 300/- per month for their maintenance.
Thereafter, again on the day of jamaisasthi another meeting was
held and the victim along with her baby went back to her
matrimonial home with her husband. Thereafter, in the month of
June, 2000, the witness received a telephone call that victim
committed suicide by taking poison and subsequently his father-
in-law, the de-facto complainant lodged the FIR at the local police
station. The witness identifies the accused on dock and he was
examined by police. In his cross-examination the witness
admitted that he used to reside in his working place at Calcutta
and admitted that he did not know whether anything was
reduced in writing in those meetings or not. He admitted one
Biplab Das being the maternal cousin brother of the accused was
known to him and he did not hear anything wrong about the
victim and the accused prior to birth of their child and he
deposed that he told the victim to make adjustment with her
husband.

P.W. – 2, One Sachindra Nath Bose is the co-villager of the
de facto complainant. He deposed that the victim Pushpa was
known to him. She is the daughter of the de facto complainant.
He identify the accused on dock and deposed that the marriage of
the accused and the victim was solemnised on 14th June, 2000
as per Hindu Rites and customs and since marriage Pushpa used
to reside in her matrimonial home with the accused as husband
and wife and within their wedlock they have blessed with a male
child. The witness further deposed that since birth of her son,
the victim was subjected to torture of her husband both
physically and mentally as the appellant suspected about the
character of the victim. Off and on, he used to assault the victim
which compelled her to take shelter in her father’s house. This
witness deposed that for once or twice they held meeting with the
para people of both the accused and the victim to solve the
dispute in between them. In those meetings the accused assured
them that no sort of torture would be inflicted to the victim in
future and they will lead a happy marital life. But on 8th October,
2006 the accused severally assaulted Pushpa and due to such
unbearable torture Pushpa was compelled to commit suicide by
taking poison in her matrimonial house. She was taken to the
hospital by the accused and ultimately she expired there.
Thereafter, the father of the victim lodged the FIR. In his cross-
examination the witness admitted that he did not know the name
of the co-villagers of the accused but Sushil Chandra Majumdar,
Pulak Achariya and the accused himself were present in the
meeting. The witness failed to say the exact date on which the
meeting was held. But he put his signature in the resolution in
the meeting. He admitted that during investigation he did not
hand over the copy of the resolution to the police and he had
been in the village of the accused only for once on the date of
salish. The witness also failed to say the exact date on which the
accused started to inflict torture upon her but it started after
birth of her son.

P.W. – 3, Adwaitya Mandal, this witness also identified the
accused on dock and he deposed that the victim was known to
her and she was subjected to torture by the accused/husband
during her stay in her matrimonial home. The accused off and
on used to assault her and Pushpa under compelling
circumstances took shelter of her father’s house four years prior
to the day of death.

P.W. – 4, the de facto complainant Badal Chandra Pal is the
father of the victim. He deposed that the victim got married to
appelant Partha as per Hindu Rites and customs. He identified
the accused on dock. Their marriage was solemnised on 14th
August, 2000. He deposed that the dispute started in between
the victim and the accused since birth of their son and the
accused started to inflict torture upon the victim both physically
and mentally out of suspicion on his mind as he suspected an
amorous relation between his maternal uncles son i.e. his cousin
Badal and his wife and whenever his maternal cousin brother
used to visit his house and also used to talk with the victim, the
accused used to create scene and ultimately he ousted his cousin
from his house. Even if the victim protests, in this regard the
accused used to assault her and abuse her with filthy languages.
The witness further deposed that the sister of the accused also
tried to restrain him during her visit in his house and the
accused became furious with her and abused her and ousted his
sister from his house. The witness further deposed that the
village salish was held thrice in order to solve the dispute in
between the accused and the victim. In those salish the accused
assured that no further torture would be inflicted by him upon
the victim but after some days again he started his torture. The
witness deposed that his daughter told him during her visit in
his house of such torture and ultimately due to such unbearable
torture she committed suicide by taking poison. The witness
lodged the FIR at the local police station which has been brought
into evidence as exhibit – 1. The witness also put his signature
in the inquest report which was held and prepared by the
Executive Magistrate and his signature in the inquest report has
been brought into evidence as exhibit – 2/1. It is the allegation
in his evidence that the accused off and on instigated the victim
to commit suicide and used to say that after her death he will
marry again. In his cross-examination the witness admitted that
he mentioned in his FIR that the marriage of the victim was
solemnised on 14th August, 1999 with the accused. In his cross-
examination the witness deposed that during her visit in his
house the victim had shown him the mark of injury received by
her assault of the accused on her person. But he did not render
any sort of medical aid to his daughter and he denied that one
Biplab Das had some illicit connection with daughter. It is also
denied by him that just on the day before the occurrence, the
victim and Biplab were caught red handed in the house of the
accused in compromising position and it was spread out in the
village. The victim committed suicide by taking poison for that
reason.

One Gopal Manna has been examined as P.W. – 5. He
deposed that he was the barber in the marriage of the victim and
the accused and subsequently he came to know that the victim
committed suicide by taking poison. The defence declined to
cross-examine this witness.

P.W. – 6, Ambikesh Adhikari deposed that both the de facto
complainant and the victim are known to him. He identified the
accused on dock. His elder brother was the priest in the
marriage of the victim and the accused. The witness
corroborated the evidence of the P.W. – 4 that the dispute
cropped up in between Pushpa and Partha as Partha suspected
that Pushpa had some illicit connection with the maternal cousin
brother of the Partha namely Biplab and the accused used to
inflict torture upon the victim as a result she commit suicide by
taking poison. The witness further deposed that he was present
in the salish. In his cross-examination he admitted that he put
his signature in the salish nama. He was examined by police and
he denied that Pushpa had any illicit connection with Biplab.

P.W. – 7 Sital Nayek identified the accused on dock. He
deposed that the victim committed suicide but he did not know
why she committed suicide. In his cross-examination, the
witness deposed that the relevant point of time he was one of the
elected member of the local gram panchayat.

P.W. – 8 is the brother of the accused. This witness has
been declared hostile by the prosecution.

P.W. – 9 is one of the co-villagers of the accused and he
deposed that the accused had good relation with the victim
during her stay in her matrimonial home.

P.W. – 10 is the constable and presently posted at Pingla P.S.
as constable. On 11th June, 2006 he was posted at Debra P.S. on
that date the wearing apparels of the victim were handed over to
him by the autopsy surgeon after post mortem held over the dead
body of the victim. Accordingly he handed over the same to the
Investigating Officer. The witness identified the wearing apparels
of the victim on dock which has been brought into evidence as
Mat. Exhibit – 1 series. He further deposed that the investigating
officer seized those wearing apparels under proper seizure list in
his presence and he put his signature in the seizure list as one of
the witness his signature in the seizure list has been brought into
evidence as exhibit – 3/1. Thereafter the witness also carried the
dead body of the victim to Medinipur Medical College and
Hospital for post mortem examination under proper dead body
challan as per direction of the investigating officer and he put his
signature in dead body challan as witness which has been
brought into evidence as exhibit – 4/1. This witness identified
the dead body of the victim to the autopsy surgeon. In his cross-
examination this witness deposed that he put his signature the
inquest report.

P.W. – 11 is the A.S.I. of police. On 11th June, 2006 he was
attached to Debra Police Station as S.I. On that date the
investigating officer of this case seized the wearing apparels of the
deceased in presence of the witnesses under proper seizure list.
This witness put his signature in the seizure list as seizure
witness. His signature in the seizure list has been brought into
evidence as exhibit – 3/2. The witness also identified the wearing
apparels of the deceased on dock which have already been
brought into evidence admitted that the seizure list of the
wearing apparels of the deceased was made at the police station
and he never visited the place of occurrence.

P.W. – 12 the Head Constable and presently posted at Pingal
Police Station as Head Constable. He deposed that on 11th June,
2006 the investigating officer seized the wearing apparels of the
victim under proper seizure list in his presence and he put his
signature in the seizure list which has been brought into
evidence as exhibit – 3/3.

P.W. – 13 is Doctor Dipak Kumar Mridha who held the post
mortem over the dead body of the victim. In his examination in
chief he deposed that the dead body of the victim was brought
and identified to him by C/83 Nandalal Duari of Debra P.S.
During examination no external injuries was found. Stomach
contains blakish fluid about 4000 ml. including the black granule
and pungent smell mucosa haemorrhagic and all viscera are
congested and on completion of examination he opined that the
death of the victim was caused by effect of poison and is anti-
mortem in nature. He deposed that he preserved the viscera for
Forensic Laboratory Examination. The post mortem report
prepared and signed by him has been brought into evidence as
exhibit – 5. He deposed that the symptoms which he got during
autopsy examination are findings of poison. In his cross
examination the witness deposed that there was no external
injuries like abrasion etc.

P.W. – 14 is the Executive Magistrate who held the inquest
over the dead body of the victim on 8th June, 2006 as B.D.O.
Debra in connection with Debra P.S. U.D case no. 44 of 2006
dated 8th June, 2006. He held the inquest in presence of the
relatives of deceased. The inquest report prepared and signed by
him has been brought into evidence as exhibit – 2. This witness
further stated that the father of the deceased who identified the
dead body to him made allegation before him at the time of
holding inquest that her daughter was subjected to cruelty by her
husband. The defence declined to cross examine this witness.

P.W. 15 is the Investigating Officer of this case, presently
attached to Salbani Police Station as Sub-Inspector. He deposed
that on 8th June, 2006 he was attached to Debra Police Station
as Sub-Inspector. On that date the then Officer-in-Charge, Debra
Police Station entrusted him for investigation of Debra P.S. U.D.
Case No. 44/06, dated 8th June, 2006 as per requisition of the
doctor. He went to Debra Rural Hospital and held inquest over
the dead body of the victim in presence of the witnesses. The de-
facto complainant and his other relatives/witnesses identified the
dead body of the victim. He prepared and signed the inquest
report which has been brought into evidence as exhibit – 5. The
Executive Magistrate also held a parallel inquest and the
Investigating Officer (P.W.-15) collected the inquest report and
that of the Executive Magistrate which has already been brought
into evidence as exhibit – 2. Thereafter he sent the dead body of
the victim to Medinipur Medical College and Hospital for P.M.
examination under proper challan through C/83 Nandalal Duary.
The concerned dead body challan has been brought into evidence
as exhibit 4. On receipt of the written complaint from de-facto
complainant Badal Chandra Pal, Debra P.S. case no. 69 of 2006,
dated 8th June, 2006, under section 498A/306 of the Indian
Penal Code was started by the then Officer-in-Charge, Debra
Police Station. His endorsement on the written complainant has
been brought into evidence as exhibit 1/1. The formal FIR written
and signed by Officer-in-Charge, Sanjib Chakroborty has been
brought into evidence as exhibit – 6. The witness further deposed
that being entrusted for investigation he perused the written
complaint, visited the place of occurrence prepared the rough
sketch map along with index which has been brought into
evidence as exhibit – 7. He also examined the available witnesses
and recorded their statement under section 161 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure. During investigation he collected the inquest
report held by the Executive Magistrate and the post mortem
report of the deceased. He also seized the wearing apparels of the
deceased in presence of the witnesses under proper seizure lists
prepared and signed by him which has been brought into
evidence as exhibit 3. Thereafter on completion of investigation
pending FSL he submitted charge-sheet against the accused
person under sections 498A/306 of the Indian Penal Code. This
witness also deposed that P.W. 8, Subrata Pal during
investigation told him that there was matrimonial dispute in
between the accused and the victim. The witness further deposed
that the P.W. -1 did not tell him in his statement under section
161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that the accused went out
from his house after keeping the victim under lock and key. This
witness also did not tell him during investigation that a meeting
was held in between two Gram Panchayat wherein it was settled
that the victim will stay in her father’s house along with her baby
for three months and the accused will pay Rs. 300/- per month
during that period. P.W. -1 did not tell the investigating officer
that on the date of ‘Jamaisasthi’ the accused came to the father’s
house of Pushpa and Pushpa returned to her matrimonial home
along with her child. P.W. – 3 did not tell the investigating officer
that during visit in her father’s house she displayed the mark of
assault on her person to him. He also admitted that during
investigation he did not examine the shop owner wherein Partha
was a worker.

These are all the oral evidence adduced by the prosecution
witnesses. Needless to say, the primary allegation against the
accused person is physical and mental cruelty upon the victim
lady forcing her to commit suicide. From the aforesaid evidence it
appears the victim was married to the appellant soon after the
marriage and she was gifted with a son. After the birth, the
husband Partha Pal started accusing the victim of immoral
character and on being physically assaulted she left her
matrimonial home to her father’s residence. Only after a salish,
she returned to her matrimonial house along with her son. Four
years after her return, on that fateful day as stated in the
examination of Partha Pal in his own words “one day at around
8:00 p.m. in the night I saw Pushpa in an indecent condition with
Biplab inside the room. On being asked Pushpa admitted
everything before me. She told me to send her to her father’s
house. So, I took her and kept her in her father’s house. After
three months the day before when Pushpa consumed poison,
para people caught Pushpa and Biplab red handed. I also
scolded her. On the next day she consumed poison and
committed suicide. She died on her own. I never tortured her.
Police never visited my house for investigation.”

From the evidences, I find that till conviction the child was
with the father/appellant and there was no physical torture by
the appellant from the day victim returned to her matrimonial
home i.e. for four years from the day when the victim committed
suicide. On the other hand, the amorous relationship between
the victim lady and the cousin of the appellant was evident from
the depositions of P.W. 1, P.W. 2 P.W. 4.

In view of the aforesaid discussion, I set aside the conviction
and sentence imposed on the appellant.

The appellant shall be released from custody, if not served
out, upon executing a bond to the learned Chief Judicial
Magistrate for a period of six months in terms of section 437A of
the Code of the Criminal Procedure if he was not wanted in any
other case.

I record my appreciation for the able assistance rendered by
Ms. Rituparna Dey (Ghosh) as amicus Curiae in disposing the
appeal.

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
formalities.

(Rajarshi Bharadwaj, J.)

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