Calcutta High Court Pradip Kr. Adak And Anr.-vs-State Of West Bengal on 28 June, 2004
Equivalent citations:2004 (3) CHN 656
Author: G De
Bench: G De, S P Mitra
G.C. De, J.
1. This appeal by the convict Pradip Kumar Adak and Jaydeb Adak is directed against the judgment and order of conviction dated 31.3.98 and sentence imposed on 1.4.98 by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Hooghly in Sessions Trial No. 191 of 1995 arising out of G. R. Case No. 643 of 1993 (T. R. 117A/95) in connection with Chanditala P.S. Case No. 71/93 dated 23.7.93. By the said judgment the learned Additional Sessions Judge found both the convicts guilty under Sections 498A/34 and 304B/34 of IPC, convicted them thereunder and sentenced each of them to R.I. for ten years under Section 304B read with Section 34 IPC and to pay a fine of Rs. 10,000/- i.d. to further R.I. for six months. However, no separate sentence was imposed under Section 498A/34 IPC.
2. The prosecution case in brief is that one Raj Kumar Das filed a written complaint before the Officer-in-Charge of Chanditala P.S. alleging that his daughter Bandana aged about 17 years had fallen in love with the appellant Pradip Kumar Adak and about one year ago she fled with Pradip Kumar Adak. After sometime Pradip Kumar Adak married Bandana and took her to his house, but in the matrimonial home regular torture was inflicted on her by Pradip Kumar Adak and his father Jaydeb Adak and mother Tarulata Adak (since deceased) for extorting money from her. The victim Bandana conveyed this practice by sending letter to parents and ultimately through intervention of local people the matter was settled and Rs. 15,000/- in cash, gold ornaments weighing about four Bharis and one ring were given. But they again started torturing the victim and as a result of which she committed suicide by taking poison.
3. On the basis of the written complaint formal FIR was drawn up and the case was taken up for investigation. In course of investigation three letters written by the victim Bandana to her parents were seized and the witnesses were examined. Post-mortem was also done and after collection of the materials a chargesheet was submitted on 23.5.94 against Pradip Kumar Adak and his parents i.e. Jaydeb Adak and Tarulata Adak. The case was subsequently committed to the Court of Sessions on 18.8.95.
4. The Additional Sessions Judge on 18.6.97 framed separate charges under Sections 498A/34 and 304B/34 against two accused persons, namely, Pradip Kumar Adak and his father Jaydeb Adak. Be it mentioned here that the accused No. 3 Tarulata Adak died on 26.7.96 i.e. before framing of charge for which no charge was framed against her. Both the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges and prosecution examined as many as 22 witnesses. The details of the witnesses are as below :
1. Rajkumar Das (PW 1) Father of the victim girl Bandana
2. Smt. Monika Adak (PW 2) Relative of the appellants
3. Sri Khagesh Adak (PW 3) Relative of the appellants
4. Nemai Pal (PW 4) Neighbour of PW 1
5. Rohit Das (PW 5) Neighbour of PW 1
6. Probir Das (PW 6) Brother of PW 1
7. Smt. Angurbala Das (PW 7) Wife of PW 1
8. Pasupati Das (PW 8) Neighbour of PW 1
9. Gurudas Chakraborty (PW 9) Priest
10. Smt. Saraswati Mal (PW 10) Sister of PW 1
11. Madhu Bag (PW 11) Neighbour of the appellants
12. Smt. Saraswati Bag (PW 12) Neighbour of appellants
13. Dr. Gopal Das (PW 13) Owner of Nursing Home
14. Promode Sarkar (PW 14) Police Constable
15. Smt. Sabitri Das (PW 15) Employee of Nursing Home
16. Sahadeb Bag (PW 16) Member of Gram Panchayat
17. Basudeb Mondal (PW 17) S.I. of Police
18. Shewji Giri (PW 18) Police Constable
19. Amalesh Chatterjee (PW 19) A.S.I, of Police
20. R. K. Saha (PW 20) S.I. of Police
21. Dr. P. G. Bhattacharya (PW 21) Autopsy Surgeon
22. Sri J. Das (PW 22) I.0. of this case.
5. It is to be mentioned here that no defence witness was examined in this case and the defence case as can be ascertained from the reply given while examined under Section 313 Cr. PC and from the trend of cross-examination is that marriage between the victim Bandana and the appellant Pradip Kumar Adak did not take place and the story of torture for non-payment of dowry is false.
6. The learned Additional Sessions Judge after analysing the evidence on record and the circumstances and other materials on record placed reliance on the three letters written by the victim to her parents (Ext. 3 series) and came to the conclusion that charges against both the accused persons were proved beyond any reasonable doubt. Accordingly, he found both the appellants guilty convicted them thereunder and sentenced them in the manner indicated hereinabove.
7. In course of hearing of this appeal Mr. Sekhar Basu, learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellants, after scanning the evidence on record tried to point out that the alleged marriage between the victim and the accused Pradip Kumar Adak having not been established the question of torture for dowry cannot arise. It is also clarified that the victim opted to leave her father’s place with certain design in mind and ultimately when it was not fulfilled she committed suicide on her own for which neither Pradip Kumar Adak nor his father Jaydeb Adak can be blamed. Accordingly, Mr. Basu, learned Counsel for the appellants submitted that the judgment of the Trial Court is to be set aside and both the accused persons are to be found not guilty.
8. On the other hand, Mr. Pachhal, learned Counsel appearing for the State, supported the judgment passed by the Trial Court and made a forceful argument for confirmation of the sentence passed by the Trial Court.
9. After hearing the learned Counsel of both sides and on perusal of the materials on record it appears that the victim Bandana left the house of her father with Pradip Kumar Adak for the purpose of marrying each other. It is on record that father of Bandana i.e. Raj Kumar Das (PW 1) did not inform the police about this fact. It is also on record that subsequently they gave the marriage of Bandana with Pradip Kumar Adak in the house of Gopal Mal of Garalgacha where Smt. Angurbala Das (PW 7) i.e. the mother of the victim Bandana was present and performed Sampradan, and Gurudas Chakraborty (PW 9) was the priest. According to these witnesses the marriage was solemnised on 20th Ashar, 1399 B. S. (corresponding to first part of July 1992 A. D.)
10. It is also clarified by the witnesses including the I.O. (PW 22) that Pradip Kumar Adak and Bandana after marriage started occupying a room of the joint house of his father Joydeb Adak and other relatives. It is also in evidence, as also admitted by the appellant Pradip Kumar Adak, that he was unemployed. The case is to be viewed from this standpoint. It is to be noted that unemployed youth opted to bring the victim Bandana in the house of his father alleging that he married the girl. There is no evidence that parents of Pradip Kumar Adak ever accepted the alleged marriage. On the other hand, it is sufficiently clear that Pradip Kumar Adak against the wishes of his parents started residing in a room of their joint house with Bandana.
11. From the seized three letters (Ext. 3 series) written by the victim Bandana to her parents it appears that she was giving pressure to her parents to help them i.e. Bandana and Pradip Kumar Adak financially for their settlement in life. In the said letters the victim Bandana also clarified that if her parents did not take adequate steps in this regard she would have no other alternative than to kill herself. Close scrutiny of these letters (Ext. 3 series) will indicate that none of the parents of Pradip Kumar Adak ever tortured the victim Bandana for bringing money from her parents. On the other hand, the evidence on record revealed that the victim Bandana understood the situation properly that she was residing with Pradip who had no contribution in the family of his parents. Practically this mental suffering of Bandana for not getting help from her parents to lead a normal life ultimately prompted her to take the decision to end her life by taking poison.
12. Be it mentioned here that the death of Bandana was considered to be suicide by the Autopsy Surgeon, Dr. P. G. Bhattacharya (PW 21). It is also to be noted from the medical papers that immediately after taking of poison by Bandana on 22.7.93 she was removed to local nursing home and in the admission register the appellant Jaydeb Adak put his signature describing the victim Bandana as wife of Pradip Kumar Adak. It also appears that the appellant Pradip Kumar Adak took delivery of the deadbody of the victim Bandana from the morgue after putting his signature in the relevant register. In that register he described himself as the husband of Bandana.
13. So from the materials on record it is sufficiently clear that the marriage between Pradip Kumar Adak with Bandana has been established. It is also to be mentioned that before or after the marriage the parents of Pradip Kumar Adak practically had no occasion to inflict torture on Bandana for money. On the other hand, it is sufficiently clear from the materials on record that the claim of money, if any, was made by the appellant Pradip Kumar Adak since he was an unemployed youth and he was using Bandana to extort money from her parents. So after a due consideration we come to the conclusion that the torture or cruelty or harassment perpetrated on Bandana was by her husband Pradip Kumar Adak and practically within seven years of her marriage with Pradip Kumar Adak she died after taking of poison. So it is sufficiently established that before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband Pradip Kumar Adak in connection with demand for dowry and accordingly we come to the conclusion that death was undoubtedly a dowry death within the definition of Section 304B of IPC. In the circumstances, we are convinced that the Trial Court rightly found the appellant Pradip Kumar Adak guilty under Section 304B of IPC. In this connection, it is also to be mentioned that the Trial Court did not take into consideration the real state of affair and came to an erroneous finding that the father-in-law Jaydeb Adak also subjected the victim Bandana to cruelty for dowry. At the risk of repetition it is to be concluded that the appellant Jaydeb Adak had no hand either for the claim of money or in the suicide of Bandana and there is nothing on record on the basis of which he can be found guilty either under Section 498A or under Section 304B IPC. Accordingly, we come to the conclusion that the conviction and sentence passed by the Trial Court against appellant Jaydeb Adak is to be set aside and he is to be acquitted having found not guilty to the charge levelled against him. So at the close, we come to the conclusion that the appeal is allowed in part. The judgment and order of conviction and sentence passed against the appellant Jaydeb Adak is hereby set aside. The appellant Jaydeb Adak is found not guilty to the charge framed against him and he is acquitted. He be released forthwith.
14. But as regards the appellant Pradip Kumar Adak, we come to the conclusion that the conviction passed against him by the Trial Court is to be upheld. As regards the imposition of sentence it is to be noted that the Trial Court did not take into consideration the exact situation for which the demand for dowry was made by Pradip. It is already clarified that Pradip Kumar Adak being an unemployed youth practically wanted financial support from his father-in-law and with a view to gaining something he used the victim Bandana as bait. It is proved that both Bandana and Pradip Kumar Adak were in love and decided to live merrily but, after marriage unemployment of Pradip Kumar Adak and want of money practically stood as obstacles against their desire and ultimately that ruined their life. If this aspect is taken into consideration it is to be construed as sufficient mental punishment of Pradip Kumar Adak due to untimely death of his beloved Bandana. It appears that Pradip Kumar Adak is in custody since 31.3.98, i.e. from the date of conviction, and prior to that he was in custody for 74 days in course of investigation in this case. Under Section 304B of IPC imprisonment cannot be inflicted less than seven years. So it would be proper to reduce the sentence imposed on Pradip Kumar Adak to R.I. for 7 years in place of R.I. for ten years. Since there is no provision of imposition of fine under Section 304B of IPC we also set aside the imposition of fine against the appellant Pradip Kumar Adak. Thus, the conviction of Pradip Kumar Adak under Section 304B of IPC is confirmed and the sentence imposed upon him is reduced to R.I. for seven years, and the order of realisation of fine, in default, to suffer further R.I. is hereby set aside. The period of detention undergone already by the appellant Pradip Kumar Adak be set off under Section 428 Cr. PC.
15. Let the operative portion of this judgment be sent to the concerned Superintendent of Correctional Home, where both the appellants, namely, Pradip Kumar Adak and Jaydeb Adak are kept.
16. Let a copy of this judgment be also sent to the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Hooghly for information and taking necessary action.
17. Let xerox certified copy of this judgment be handed over to the learned Counsel for the parties, if applied for.
Sankar Prosad Mitra, J.
18. I agree.