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Sahebrao Anandrao Pohare And Ors.-vs-State Of Maharashtra Through on 12 April, 2007

Bombay High Court Sahebrao Anandrao Pohare And Ors.-vs-State Of Maharashtra Through on 12 April, 2007
Author: C Pangarkar
Bench: C Pangarkar

JUDGMENT

C.L. Pangarkar, J.

1. All accused-appellants question their conviction under Section 498A and 306 of Indian Penal Code by the 3rd Adhoc Additional Sessions Judge Washim. They have been sentenced to undergo R.S.I. Vishnu I. For a period of 5 years for having committed offence under Section 306 and one year for having committed offence under Section 498A Indian Penal Code.

2. Facts giving rise to the prosecution are as follows:

Jyoti daughter of complainant Chandrabhan was married to the accused No. 1. A few months prior to her death after the marriage she went to live with the accused at Risod. She was brought by her father after a month to his house. It is alleged that at that time deceased Jyoti told her father that the accused were demanding Rs. 10,000/- for purchase of Motorcycle and if she failed to bring the amount she would be killed and for this reason she was being illtreated. She was assured that the amount would be paid after it is collected. She was then reached to her matrimonial home. After 8 days father received an information that Jyoti has jumped into the well and has died. The dead body of Jyoti was removed from the well and inquest panchanama was held, postmortem was also conducted. It was found that deceased had died due to asphyxia due to drowning. Father of the deceased then lodged report with the police. After the investigation charge sheet came to be filed against all the accused persons. Judicial Magistrate, First Class, committed the case to the Court of Sessions and after recording the evidence Sessions Judge found the accused guilty and sentenced them. It is against this order of conviction and sentence that this appeal has been preferred.

3. I have heard the learned Counsel for the appellants and the State-respondent.

4. The prosecution examined 7 witnesses. P.Ws. 1 to 3 and 5 are parents and relatives of the deceased. P.W. 4 is the owner of the well while P.Ws. 6 and 7 are the police officers.

5. P.W. 4 Sheikh Usman states that at 8 a.m. his son went to the well to fetch water and found one dead body in the well. He states that he then went to the well, found dead body and informed the police accordingly about it. P.W. 7 P.S.I. Vishnu Bhosle states that he went to the spot and with the help of the people took out the dead body of Jyoti and had drawn inquest panchanama Ex. 42. Postmortem Note Ex. 59 shows that death of deceased had occurred due to asphyxia due to drowning. Deceased died an unnatural death is a fact, but it cannot for certain be said that death is suicidal, accidental or homicidal. Nobody claims to have seen the deceased either accidentlly falling into well or jumping in the well or being pushed in the well.

6. If the death is accidental then whatever the deceased told to the parents did not relate to the cause of her death and if it did not relate to cause of death all that she told, becomes inadmissible. The facts and evidence beneficial to the accused have to be accepted. If there is no positive evidence at all there is no reason why it should not be accepted that she fell accidentally into the well.

7. Assuming for the sake of arguments that the death is suicidal, let us see if there is enough evidence to conclude that the deceased was treated in such a manner that it left no alternative for her but to end her life. It is held by the Supreme Court in ;

…That abatement involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding the person in doing of a thing. More active role which can be described as instigating or aiding the doing of a thing is required….

If the evidence on record is seen on the above touch stone it certainly falls short. It is stated by the father of the deceased that P.W. 1 Chandrabhan had gone to the house of the accused to bring his daughter home after one month of the marriage. He states that she was brought to his house and she informed that she was being asked to bring Rs. 10,000/- for purchase of a Motorcycle and if she failed she would be killed and she was illtreated. The F.I.R. Ex. 40 however does not disclose any threat that she would be killed if the amount is not brought. Obviously this is an improvement. If this is ignored as an improvement, what remains is mere statement about the harassment. Merely saying that the deceased was harassed is not enough. It must be shown what was the kind of harassment without which we cannot arrive at a conclusion if it could force any person to commit suicide. It is not clear whether the harassment was mental or physical. Further more it is also difficult to accept the version that for purchasing a Motorcycle the accused would demand only Rs. 10,000/ when even the complainant knew that the cost of the Motorcycle was Rs. 30,000/-. If the accused wanted to purchase the Motorcycle he could have asked for Rs. 30,000/-. For this reason the theory does not seem to be acceptable. P.W. 1 Chandrabhan admits that financial condition of the accused is better than that of theirs. If it is so, it is still difficult to accept that the accused would make a demand of Rs. 10,000/-.

8. All other witnesses speak in the same terms. They too do not throw any light on the nature of the harassment. In the absence of such evidence it must be said that the prosecution evidence fall short of abatement. Learned Sessions Judge did not appreciated the evidence properly and came to a wrong conclusion. Appeal therefore, must succeed. The appeal is allowed. The conviction of the accused under Section 306 and 498A is set aside. Sentence imposed on them is also set aside. They are acquitted of offences under Sections 498A and 306 of Indian Penal Code. All of them be released forthwith if not required in any other case.

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