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Rohit Gupta vs State on 21 October, 2019

IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

% Judgment delivered on: 21.10.2018

+ CRL.A. 616/2016 Crl. M. (Bail) No.689/2018

ROHIT GUPTA ….. Petitioner
versus

STATE ….. Respondent

Advocates who appeared in this case:
For the Petitioner : Mr. H. S. Sharma, Advocate.
For the Respondent : Mr. Amit Gupta, APP with
: SI Ashish Sharma, P.S. Burari.

CORAM
HON’BLE MR JUSTICE VIBHU BAKHRU

JUDGMENT

VIBHU BAKHRU, J

1. The appellant (hereafter also referred to as the accused) has
challenged the judgment dated 03.05.2016 passed by the ASJ-03
(Central), Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi whereby he has been convicted of
the offences punishable under Section 498-A and Section 306 of the
Indian Penal Code, 1860 (SectionIPC). He also impugns an order dated
11.05.2016, whereby he has been sentenced to serve rigorous
imprisonment for a period of two years and to pay a fine of ₹10,000/-
for the offence punishable under Section 498A of the IPC and to serve
a period of six years of rigorous imprisonment and pay a fine of
₹20,000/- of the offence under Section 306 of the IPC. In the event of

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 1 of 15
default in payment of fine imposed, the accused is required to serve a
further sentence of simple imprisonment of three months for the
offence punishable under Section 498-A of the IPC and for a further
period of six months for the offence punishable under Section 306 of
the IPC. In terms of the order dated 11.05.2016, benefit of Section 428
of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (SectionCrPC) has been accorded to
the appellant and both the sentences are to run concurrently. It is
relevant to note that although the accused was also charged with
commission of an offence under Section 304 of the IPC, he has been
acquitted of the said charge.

2. The accused has assailed the impugned judgment on several
grounds, including the ground that he could not be held guilty of
commission of an offence under Section 498-A IPC as the Court has
found that there was no material to establish that the accused or his
family members had demanded any dowry. The accused also claims
that the facts, as brought out do not indicate that he had abetted the
commission of suicide by his deceased wife.

Factual Background

3. On 25.03.2015, at around 01:20 A.M., information was received
via a telephonic call that one Moni Gupta, wife of one Rohit Gupta
was declared brought dead on having consumed thinner. The aforesaid
information was recorded vide DD No. 17A (Ex.PW 14/A) and
assigned to ASI Balraj Singh, who along with Ct. Arun, reached Babu
Jagjivan Ram Hospital and MLC No.93848/15 (Ex.PW7/A) was
prepared. Vide the seizure memo, four pairs of silver toe rings, one

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 2 of 15
gold nose pin and one copper ring were seized from the body of
deceased. Later, the dead body was sent to the mortuary of the
abovementioned hospital where Ct. Arun was deputed to take care of
the body. On coming to know that the deceased was married in 2010,
he informed the SHO of the concerned police station. The SDM was
also informed. Executive Magistrate/SDM, Amrinder Kumar Singh,
came to B-57, Gali No.2, Satya Vihar, Burari, Delhi and he had
inspected the spot. Crime Team was also called to the scene and
photographs were taken of the crime scene. The Executive Magistrate
had taken the bottle of thinner in his possession with the help of cotton
and also seized one notebook written by deceased from her possession
vide memo Ex.PW11/B, C D On 26.03.2015, Executive Magistrate
recorded the statement of the parents of the deceased, Sh. Prakash
Gupta (Ex.PW 1/A) and Smt. Dev Wati (Ex.PW2/A) respectively and
the same was given to the SHO of the police station.

4. The statement of Sh Prakash Gupta (Ex. PW 1/A) recorded by
the Executive Magistrate/SDM led to the registration of FIR
No.373/15 under Sections 304-B/Section498-A of the IPC at P.S. Burari.
Inquest proceedings were conducted in the presence of the Executive
Magistrate and he seized the exhibits from the doctor who conducted
the investigation vide seizure memo Ex.PW15/B and the accused was,
thereafter, arrested. On 08.06.2015, the Investigating Officer collected
the account opening form of the deceased from Bank of Baroda vide
seizure memo Ex.PW16/A, bearing her signature at point ‘B’. He sent
the disputed note (Ex.PW11/D) to the handwriting division of FSL

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 3 of 15
and got it examined. After completion of investigation, the
chargesheet was filed. Vide order dated 23.07.2015, charges were
framed for the offences punishable under Sections 498A/Section304-B of the
IPC.

Evidence

5. Sh Prakash Gupta (PW-1), father of the deceased, deposed that
a neighbor of the deceased informed him that his daughter was
brutally beaten by the appellant on 25.03.2015 and had consumed
some chemical and she was being taken to hospital. He, along with his
wife reached Delhi and thereafter, got to know that his daughter had
expired.

6. PW-1 has deposed that he got his daughter married to the
accused in 2010 and gave the customary stridhan (bed, utensils, etc) at
the time of marriage and everything appeared to be normal during the
first six months of his daughter’s marriage. He further deposed that a
demand of ₹50,000 was made by the accused (PW-1’s son-in law)
after marriage at the time of birth of the deceased’s elder daughter,
though no such demand was made at the time of marriage. PW-1 did
not accede to this demand. It was also deposed that the deceased and
her husband demanded ₹10,000 from his wife, Dev Wati (PW-2). He
also stated that he witnessed the accused beating up his daughter at his
own residence and he and his neighbor intervened to resolve the
dispute. The main reason behind the dispute, as stated by PW-1, was
the consumption of ganja by the accused which the wife objected to.

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 4 of 15

7. Smt. Dev Wati (PW-2), mother of the deceased, stated that after
six months of the marriage of her deceased daughter with the accused,
the deceased would tell her that the accused would beat her on petty
issues (though the real cause is unknown) and after the birth of
deceased’s elder daughter, the accused would beat her more. The
accused was habituated to ganja and after consuming the same, he
would beat the deceased and the deceased was troubled by the fact that
no food was left at home as the accused spent money on ganja. PW-2
corroborates the testimony of her husband, PW- 1 while recounting
the incident that happened at their house and had further stated that
when her husband (PW-1) and their neighbor tried to intervene, the
accused fought with them also and left for Delhi, leaving their
deceased daughter behind. The deceased Moni Gupta left for her
matrimonial home on the insistence of her parents and the accused
demanded a sum of ₹50,000 from her parents to purchase a rickshaw.
She further states that the accused broke three mobile phones given by
PW-1 and her to the deceased, on becoming aware of the fact that the
deceased would talk to her parents through those mobile phones. After
another year, the second daughter was born to the deceased, however
accused continued with his ways. For a period of two months, the
deceased remained in her parent’s home and the accused came
thereafter to her house feeling remorseful. However, PW-2 deposed
that there was absolutely no change in the behavior of the accused and
further one of the deceased’s neighbor informed her that the accused
had mercilessly beaten up her daughter on 25.03.2015 at about 12
noon. PW-2 further deposed that the brother in law of the deceased

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 5 of 15
informed her that the deceased had consumed a chemical and was
being taken to the hospital. She, along with her husband reached
Delhi thereafter and got to know that her daughter had expired.

8. Sunil Gupta (PW-4/A), brother of deceased, has corroborated
the version of his parents in toto. He has further shed light on the
aspect that his deceased sister did not tell anything but said she was
perturbed over small/petty issues that cropped between her and her
husband and in so far as in his knowledge and his parents, the main
reason for their fights was the accused’s consumption of ganja. The
demand made by accused of ₹50,000 and ₹10,000 respectively from
the parents of the deceased have also been stated by PW-4A, though
no such demand was made in his presence. He corroborates his
father’s version that such demand was not acceded to by his father. He
only met his sister once or twice owing to the nature of his work after
marriage but was in touch with her via telephone.

9. Dr. Jatin Bodwal (PW-10), Specialist, Department of Forensic
Medicine was posted as senior resident doctor at BJRM Hospital on
26.03.2015 and he conducted postmortem (Ex.PW10/A) on the dead
body of the deceased Moni Gupta and observed one external injury,
contused lacerated wound 0.8cm×0.25cm×0.25cm present on the inner
side of lower lip and on internal examination, found that the
deceased’s stomach contained 20ml of fluid. Further he has observed
that walls of the deceased’s stomach were congested and the organs
were appearing leathered and thickened. The external injury was fresh
and could be possible by striking any stationary or moving object. The

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 6 of 15
remaining organs were congested. The final opinion with respect to
the cause of death were kept pending till the receipt of the FSL report
of viscera analysis (Ex.PW22/D). On perusal of both the reports, PW-
10 observed that in his opinion, cause of the death was phenol
poisoning and the possibility of homicide could not be ruled out (due
to the external injury). In his cross examination, the doctor has
explained that though medical science does not have a method to find
out whether the liquid was consumed voluntarily or forced upon,
however the autopsy surgeon depending upon his years of experience
can tell the manner of consumption of substance. Also, he stated that if
a person is forced to take a substance, external injuries can happen as
is present in the current case but it is not always necessary.

10. PW-9, Karamavir, landlord of PW-1 has certified the factum of
marriage and the time of marriage. Marriage of the accused was
conducted with the deceased in his house on 18.07.2010, proving that
death occurred within seven years of marriage. PW-8 (Shishpal)
PW-13 (Anil Gupta) also attended the marriage ceremony of the
accused and deceased.

11. Suresh Gupta (PW-21), maternal uncle of the deceased Moni
Gupta facilitated communication as a mediator between the accused
and deceased and got their marriage solemnized in the year 2010. He
further states that their relationship turned sour after six months to
such an extent that on one occasion, when he visited their house, he
found their bodies smeared with oil however it is not clear who poured

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 7 of 15
kerosene oil on whom. On inquiry about the oil, the deceased stated
that she would burn herself.

12. The accused in his defence under Section 313 of the CrPC has
stated that he did not demand any money from the family of the
deceased and in fact helped them financially at the time of marriage.
He did not prefer to examine any witness in his defence.

Submissions

13. Mr H.S. Sharma, learned counsel appearing for the appellant
has assailed the impugned judgment on several fronts. First, he
submits that the conviction is based solely on the testimony of police
and interested witnesses and no independent witness testified in Court.
He submits that the evidence of such witnesses is not sufficient for
establishing commission of any offence on the part of the appellant.
Second, he contended that the appellant could not be held guilty of the
offences under Section 498-A of the IPC, as there is no material to
establish that the appellant had demanded dowry at any time. He
further submitted that the trial court had erred in ignoring the
statement of the appellant recorded under Section 313 of the CrPC
wherein he had unequivocally stated that he had never made any
dowry demand but had financially supported the family of the
deceased after their marriage. Third, he submitted that no injury had
been found on the body of the deceased which would establish that the
accused had not beaten the deceased. Lastly, it is stated that the trial
court had ignored the testimony of PW-21 (Suresh Gupta), wherein he

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 8 of 15
had deposed that the deceased was not in a right state of mind. On one
of the occasions, he had found that the accused and the deceased were
smeared with kerosene oil and the deceased had threatened that she
would burn herself.

Discussions and Reasons

14. It is clear from the facts as obtaining in the present case that no
demand of dowry made by either accused or his family members. PW-
21, who is the maternal uncle of the deceased clearly stated in his
evidence that both the parties had divided the expenditure of marriage.
This testimony remained unrebutted. This fact clearly militates against
any allegation that dowry was demanded by the accused or his family
members. None of the witnesses have stated that any dowry had been
demanded by the accused or his family members at the time of the
marriage. PW-1 (father of the deceased) had, in his testimony,
mentioned that a sum of ₹50,000/- was demanded by the accused for
purchasing a Rickshaw. PW-2 (mother of the deceased) also had
stated that a demand of ₹10,000/- had been made after marriage.
However, both the witnesses accepted that the said demand had not
been made at the time of the marriage. It also appears from the
testimony that the said demand of ₹50,000/- was stated to have been
made after accused and deceased were married for almost five years.
The accused, on the other hand, had claimed that he had financially
assisted the family of the deceased after solemnization of the
marriage. Admittedly, no dowry had been paid and a sum of ₹50,000/-

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 9 of 15

or ₹10,000/-, stated to have been demanded by the accused much after
marriage, was also not paid.

15. The principal piece of evidence on the basis of which the
petitioner has been convicted is a note stated to have been written by
the deceased in a notebook. The same has been treated as a suicide
note. The said note also does not mention regarding any demand of
dowry. In view of the aforesaid facts, the learned Trial Court
concluded that the prosecution had failed to establish that the accused
or his family members had made any demand for dowry. In view of
the above, the accused also been acquitted of the offence under
Section 304-B IPC.

16. The accused, however, has been held guilty of the offence under
Section 498-A of IPC.

17. There is sufficient evidence on record to indicate that the
accused used to beat the deceased. PW-1 had deposed that his
daughter (the deceased) had informed him that the appellant had used
to beat her on petty issues. He had further deposed that on an
occasion, the appellant had come to his house and had beaten his
daughter with a broom. He stated that after the birth of the second
child of the deceased and the appellant, the deceased had come to his
house (the deceased’s maternal home) and remained there for about
two months.

18. The mother of the deceased (PW2) had also testified that the
appellant used to beat her daughter. She further stated that one of the

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 10 of 15
neighbors of the deceased daughter had told her that the accused had
beaten her brutally on 25.03.2015 at about 12:00 noon. She also
testified – consistent with the testimony of PW-1 – that on one
occasion, the appellant had beaten her daughter with the broom in her
presence.

19. The brother of the deceased (PW4/A) had also deposed that the
appellant used to beat the deceased. In his cross-examination, he stated
that his deceased sister had visited his house about two or three times
within a period of six months after her marriage but she did not inform
him about anything. However, she did say that appellant used to beat
her over small/petty issues.

20. PW1, PW2 and PW4/A also stated that the disputes between the
deceased and the appellant were regarding his consumption of ganja.

21. The maternal uncle of the deceased (Mausa) had testified that
he had arranged for the solemnization of the marriage of the deceased
and the appellant and he had played as the mediator (the go between
the two families) for arranging the same. He deposed that the
marriage between the appellant and the deceased was peaceful for the
first three years. He further deposed that on one occasion, he had
found that both the deceased and the appellant were smeared with
kerosene oil. In his cross-examination, he stated that on his inquiry,
both the appellant and the deceased had blamed each-other for pouring
the oil. He had also stated that the deceased had told him that both the
appellant and she would get burnt on that date. He had also stated that

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 11 of 15
the deceased had told him that she would burn herself. In his cross-
examination, he has stated that the deceased was hot tempered by
nature.

22. The specialist from DDU Hospital (PW-10) had testified that
there was no external injury apart from an injury mark on the inner
side of her lower lip. He specifically stated that there was no fracture
in bones, abrasion, bruises on the body of the deceased.

23. The testimony of PW-21 is material. He had testified that the
deceased was hot-tempered by nature. He had also testified that on
one occasion, he found both the appellant and the deceased doused
with kerosene oil. Although it is not clear as to who was responsible
for pouring of kerosene, but it is clear that the deceased had threatened
to burn herself. The appellant had admitted that he had used to
consume ganja sometimes. The testimony of PW1, PW2 and PW4/A
also indicates that this habit of the appellant had led to quarrels
between the deceased and the appellant. Clearly, the deceased was
disturbed and the matrimonial relationship between the deceased and
the appellant was not good to say the least. However, the principal
question to be addressed is whether the appellant had subjected the
deceased to cruelty as contemplated under Section 498-A(a) of the
IPC, that is, a conduct of such nature as is likely to drive a woman to
commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or
health of the woman. Both, PW1 and PW2, had deposed that on one
occasion, the appellant had beaten the deceased with the broomstick at
their house.

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 12 of 15

24. The principal piece of evidence which has been relied upon by
the Trial Court to convict the appellant is a note (referred to as a
suicide note – Ex.PW 11/B). A plain reading of the said note indicates
that the deceased was not happy in her marriage with the appellant.
However, it is important to note that she had also expressed that she
feared for her and her daughters’ life. It is clear from the same that the
appellant was not happy on the deceased giving birth to a daughter and
had given grief to the deceased after the birth of his first daughter. The
deceased had also written that her condition again became bad after
the birth of the second girl child and she had to go to her parent’s
house because she had feared for her life and that of her children. The
statement of PW2 recorded on 26.03.2015 (Ex.PW2/A) also indicates
that the incidence of physical assault (maar-pitaai) increased after the
birth of the female child.

25. In view of the above testimony, there is no doubt that the
appellant had been ill-treating the deceased. Admittedly, he was given
to consuming ganja and that had led the quarrels between the
appellant and the deceased. It was also evident that the appellant used
to beat the deceased.

26. In view of the above, this Court finds no infirmity with the
decision of the Trial Court in finding the appellant guilty of cruelty
under Section 498A(a) of the IPC.

27. The contention that the appellant could not be convicted under
Section 498A(a) of the IPC as the Trial Court had not accepted the

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 13 of 15
allegation of demand of dowry, is unsustainable. Clause (a) of Section
498A of the IPC refers to offensive conduct of a nature so as to drive a
woman to commit suicide. It is not necessary that such offensive
conduct be in connection with the demand of dowry. The note written
by the deceased clearly indicates that the conduct of the appellant had
led her to fear for her life and that of her girl child. She had eventually
taken her own life.

28. It is relevant to note that the appellant did not lead any evidence
to the contrary. He did not examine any witnesses in defense which
could disprove the allegations or raise any doubt on the testimony of
PW1, PW2 and PW4/A.

29. The contention that the appellant could not be held guilty under
Section 306 of the IPC, is also unmerited. It is necessary to refer to
Section 113A of the Evidence Act, 1872 which reads as under:-

“113A. Presumption as to abetment of suicide by a married
woman. – When the question is whether the commission of
suicide by a woman had been abetted by her husband or any
relative of her husband and it is shown that she had committed
suicide within a period of seven years from the date of her
marriage and that her husband or such relative of her husband
had subjected her to cruelty, the court may presume, having
regard to all the other circumstances of the case, that such
suicide had been abetted by her husband or by such relative of
her husband.

Explanation. – For the purposes of this section, “cruelty” shall
have the same meaning as in Sectionsection 498A of the Indian Penal
Code (45 of 1860).”

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 14 of 15

30. There is a statutory presumption that if an accused is found
guilty of the offence of cruelty under Section 498A of the IPC and the
wife of the appellant has committed suicide within seven years of her
marriage, it would be presumed that the appellant was guilty of
abetting commission of suicide. This presumption is a rebuttable
presumption and it was open for the appellant to lead evidence to rebut
the same. However, the appellant has failed to do so. The appellant led
no evidence to dispel the said presumption.

31. In view of the above, the appeal is unmerited and is,
accordingly, dismissed. The pending application is also disposed of.

VIBHU BAKHRU, J
OCTOBER 21, 2019
pkv

CRL.A. 616/2016 Page 15 of 15

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