IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS
THE HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE M.V.MURALIDARAN
Criminal Appeal No.190 of 2009
2.Angammal … Appellants
The Inspector of Police,
All Women Police Station,
Coimbatore District. … Respondent
(Crime No.3 of 2006)
Prayer: Criminal Appeal filed under Section 374(2) of Cr.P.C., against
the judgment passed in S.C.No.367 of 2006 on the file of the Sessions
Judge, Magalir Neethimandram, Coimbatore, dated 26.03.2009.
For Appellants : Mr.B.Kumarasamy
For Respondent : Mrs.T.P.Savitha
Government Advocate (Crl.Side)
This appeal is directed against the Judgment of conviction dated
26.03.2009 made by the Learned Sessions Judge (Magalir
2.The appellants herein/accused are son and mother
respectively, who faced charges in the above Session Case for offences
of treating the 1st appellant’s wife Veeraselvi cruelly and abetting her
to commit suicide.
3.It is the prosecution case that the marriage between the 1st
appellant/1st accused Senthil Kumar and one Veeraselvi had taken
place in the year 2005. The 1st appellant herein and his mother
namely Angammal, the 2nd appellant demanded pongal seervarisai and
gold ring and gold chain from Veeraselvi. The appellants ill-treated
Veeraselvi making above demands and thereby due to cruelty faced at
the hands of appellants, Veeraselvi committed suicide by hanging on
19.02.2006 at 5.00 P.M. Thus the appellants being root cause for the
death of Veeraselvi such that treating her cruelly, caused her to
commit suicide. Hence FIR was registered against the appellants in
Crime No.3 of 2006.
4.Thereafter final report was laid before the Learned Judicial
Magistrate No.I, Udumalpet in PRC.No.18 of 2006. As the offences
being exclusively triable by the Court of Sessions, the case was
committed to the learned Principal District and Sessions Judge,
Coimbatore and the same was made over for Trial and disposal before
the Trial Court namely the learned Sessions Judge, (Magalir
Neethimandram), Coimbatore and was taken on file in SC.No.367 of
5.The Trial Court framed charges under Sections 498-A and 304-
B of IPC and the prosecution in order to substantiate their case, totally
examined 12 witnesses and marked 18 Exhibits and produced one
material object namely Violet Colour Saree.
6.PW-1 Kandhasamy is the father of the deceased Veeraselvi. He
is the first informant in the above case. PW-4 namely Senthil Kumar is
the brother of the deceased. PWs-5, 6 and 7 namely Mylsamy,
Subramaniyan and Kittusamy are brothers of PW-1. PW-8 is the wife of
PW-6 Subramaniyan. PW-9 Chitra is Police Constable. PW-10
Venkatesan is the Sub-Collector who did inquest and furnished enquiry
report. PW-11 Umamaheshwari is Sub-Inspector of Police who
registered FIR and PW-12 Gopal is Deputy Superintendant of Police
conducted investigation and filed charge sheet. PWs-2 and 3 namely
Mariyammal and Krishnan are doctors who made postmortem of the
7.The Trial Court on appraisal of the oral and documentary
evidence found the appellants are guilty of said offences and thereby
convicted and sentenced both the appellants to undergo 3 years
Rigorous Imprisonment and Rs.2,000/- fine for the offence under
Section 498-A of IPC, each in default to undergo Simple Imprisonment
of 6 months and 10 years Rigorous Imprisonment and fine of
Rs.5,000/- under section 304-B of IPC, each in default to undergo
Simple Imprisonment of 6 months.
8.Aggrieved over the said conviction and sentence the appellants
are before this Court by way of this criminal appeal challenging the
conviction as baseless contending them to be innocent and have not
committed any offences. It is their specific contention that the above
conviction against them is unsound, illegal and unsustainable and the
same is made against the Criminal Jurisprudence where the
prosecution has absolutely failed to establish their case.
9.It is the case of appellants that the deceased Veeraselvi
suffered out acute stomach pain and because of it she committed
suicide by hanging. In actual on seeing the deceased hanging, the 1 st
appellant and his father rushed to save her life she was taken to the
hospital by car. Whereas contrarily prosecution has created a story as
if Veeraselvi faced cruelty and ill treatment at the hands of appellants
and as though there was dowry demand. They also plead not
responsible for the death of deceased contending that they did not
harass or committed cruelty to the deceased demanding dowry or any
10.Per contra, the Learned Government Advocate (Criminal Side)
would submit that only on due apprisel of oral and documentary
evidence adduced by prosecution and that the prosecution has
established chain of events and proven their version through PW-1 to
PW-12 and vide Exhibits PW-1 to PW-18 has established their case
beyond reasonable doubt the conviction was made by the Trial Court.
11.It is his further contention that the deceased Veeraselvi faced
harassment and dowry demand at the hands of appellants. Only due to
said harassment and cruelty, Veeraselvi was driven to commit suicide.
Thus he prays for dismissal of criminal appeal by contending that the
conviction and sentence passed against the appellants are just and
12.I heard Mr.B.Kumarasamy, learned counsel for the appellants
and Mrs.T.P.Savitha, learned Government Advocate (Criminal Side) for
the respondent and perused the entire materials available on record.
13.it is seen that the reason projected by the prosecution as to
cause of Veeraselvi’s suicide is that there was demand of Pongal
seervarisai and demand for gold chain and ring. According to the
prosecution as the deceased was not in a position to fulfill said
demand, she was put to harassment by the appellants.
14.Therefore this Court finds deem fit to scrutinize the impugned
order and the deposition made by the prosecution witness in this
regard and hence it would be useful to firstly look into the complaint
given by PW1, the father of the deceased Veeraselvi.
15.In Exhibit-P1 there is no averment found denoting any dowry
demand. Further in Exhibits-P2 to P4 the Medical and Forensic
certificate denotes that a rope mark is seen in right ear and opinioned
that the deceased would have died due to hanging.
16.Exhibit-P5, is the statement made before P-10 by
Panchayathar who appeared to be the inmates of street. It is their
version that they heard some issue developed in appellant’s family
with regard to demand of household articles. They also opined that the
deceased Veeraselvi might have committed suicide out of ill treatment
which might have been committed by the appellants. Thus their
statement according to this Court is unsafe to be relied upon as it is
nothing but hear say statement.
17.On further perusal of documents from Exs-P6 to P8 though
certain allegations were made against the 2nd appellant, the mother-
in-law, in as much the 1st appellant concerned there is no allegation
made against him that he demanded household articles or dowry. The
sole allegation leveled against the 1st appellant that he failed to defend
the deceased from his mother’s ill-treatment.
18.Whereas it is seen that the conviction over appellants is made
by the Trial Court relying upon evidence of PW-1, PW-4 and PW-6 to
PW-8 and also holding that the accused has not suggested with the
medical officer as to alleged stomach pain. The Trial Court further held
that if at all Veeraselvi had stomach pain, symptoms would have
revealed during autopsy. The Trial Court while convicting the
appellants also relied upon decisions reported in 2008 (2) LW Crl 988
and CDJ 2008 SC 767 wherein it is observed that even when position
of evidence is found to be deficient the remainder is sufficient to prove
guilty of accused not withstanding acquittal of other accused.
19.The Trial Court further by adopting the formula of chaff can
be separated from grain scrutinized evidence PW-1, PW-4 and PW-6 to
PW-8 holding that the legal maxim “falsus in uno in omni bus” has no
application in India and witnesses cannot be branded as liars.
20.On careful perusal of records, it is seen that PW-12 namely
Gopal the Deputy Superintendent of Police who investigated the
offence and filed charge sheet has deposed that PW-1 and PW-4 during
his enquiry they have not stated any alleged dowry demand made by
the appellants. It is equally importance to state that he had not taken
into account of R.D.O.’s Report during his investigation.
21.In as much as the enquiry conducted by PW-10 R.D.O., it is
seen that from Ex-P5 the joint statements of Panchayatharas made
ready by R.D.O. It has no evidentiary value, since being a hear say
evidence and uncertain statements.
22.In the case on hand not even single neighbour to the accused
has examined as prosecution witnesses to establish that there was a
quarrel between the 1st appellant, his wife and that deceased
Veeraselvi faced perhaps harassment as projected by the prosecution.
23.In fact all the witnesses namely PW-1, PW-4 to PW-8 are the
family members of the deceased Veeraselvi and no independence
witnesses are examined in the case of hand. No doubt that evidence of
witnesses since being a relative of victim cannot be ignorant, at the
same time the Court has to see that the evidence is tuned or
exaggerated. In this context it would be useful to say that PW-1, PW-4
to PW-8 have deposed that the appellants have strangulated the
deceased causing her death. Thus their version is nothing but
improved and exaggerated intended to cause the appellants punished.
24.Thus it is pertinent to note that when the medical evidence
discloses that it was suicide by hanging but PW-1 and PW-4 had
deposed that the accused/appellants strangulated the deceased and
thereby she died.
25.Further with regard to PW-4’s version, it is found that there
are contradicting statements such that in one occasion PW-4 says that
his sister Veeraselvi’s hair was cut down and she was humiliated for
dowry. However, there is no such say by him during investigation and
statement. In yet another aspect the PW-4’s evidence fails for the
reason that the statements made by him that he received knowledge
of his sister death from nurse who met him in road while PW-4’s bike
break-down while his way following his sister who was taken to the
hospital. Whereas PW-12 the investigation officer made clear that PW-
4 has not stated any alleged cut down of hair of deceased Veeraselvi
or as such during bike break down he received the death news of his
sister and he also further made clear that PW-4 had not stated
anything about the bike break down to him.
26.At this juncture, it is equally important to state that PW-1,
PW-4 and PW-6 to PW-8 made clear that some jewels and other
Seervarisai were provided to deceased only as part of customary
27.In as much as PW-8’s evidence is concerned, her statement
under 161(3) of Cr.P.C. and deposition contradicts as to demand and
alleged manner of the occurrence. At the same time PW-7 namely
Kittusamy younger brother of PW-1 Kandasamy is found to be hearsay
28.Though according to Ex-P1 complaint, it was usual for PW-1
to PW-4 to meet deceased Veeraselvi every week from her marriage,
absolutely there is no whisper about alleged dispute regarding Pongal
seervarisai in the complaint. The introduction of such allegation at later
point of time, while giving statement during investigation is an
afterthought, introducing new prosecution theory.
29.In so for as Pw-6 evidence is concern, PW-6 Subaramaniyan
who happened to be elder brother of PW-1 and PW-5 deposed that
deceased Veeraselvi was happy in her matrimonial house, he further
deposed that he has not given any statements to the investigation
officer as to alleged money dispute and cruelty.
30.It is evident that during cross examination PW-1, PW-4 and
PW-5 have stated that the deceased Veeraselvi lead happy life with the
1st appellant. However, it is their case that 2nd appellant has harassed
the deceased Veeraselvi.
31.Yet another contention of appellants that the PW-1’s family
suffered out of tendency to commit suicide. Projecting as such, the
appellants contented that PW-1’s wife i.e., deceased Veeraselvi’s
mother had also committed suicide in deceased Veeraselvi family.
Though the fact was disputed by PW-1 stating that his wife died out of
an accidental slip into well while drawing water, the same remains
contradicted by PW-6 conforming that PW-1’s 1st wife i.e., deceased
Veeraselvi mother committed suicide by falling into well.
32.It is noteworthy that PW-1 has admitted that as per their
caste custom Pongal Seervarisai was done. Hence there will be no
harassment with regard to one another reason projected behind
harassment of deceased Veeraselvi that there was dispute with regard
to separate living isolating from A2. In this regard it is relevant to note
that PW-1 during his cross examination has accepted to send the 1st
appellant and deceased Veeraselvi to live separately from 2nd
appellant. In as much as the medical evidence concerned the doctors
PW-2 and PW-3 who have conducted postmortem has opinion that the
death was due to hanging.
33.Though the Trial Court has taken aid of few Judgments in its
support holding that Chaff can be removed from grain, the same
cannot be done in a piece meal manner such that drawing adverse
statements and deposition alone. Though minor discrepancy can be
disregarded, the evidence at the same time should be credit worthy.
More so, here it is not the case of deficient evidence, but a case of
contradicting evidence, therefore the Judgments relied by the Trial
Court will have no application on appellant’s case.
34.As seen above, version of PW1, PW4 to PW8 is found to be
exaggerated and improved from that of their statements by
introducing a new case as though it is not a suicide but a murder by
strangulation. Though the evidence of interested witness cannot be
ignored for being relative, but if their version stands improved,
contradicting and untrustworthy and an interest is established over
them to see the accused be convicted. Their evidence is unsafe to rely.
But the prosecution though endeavored to cite interested witness but
had not taken step to examine a neighbor of the appellants. Whereas
in this regard it is seen that the finding of the Trial Court is that a
neighbor need not be examined as it would be an unnecessary
harassment in letting evidence. Absolutely such approach is erroneous
and unacceptable. Based on the facts and circumstances the best
evidence has to be produced by the prosecution.
35.As seen above, there are major contradictions in prosecution
story and corresponding evidence adduced before the Trial Court and
thereby the prosecution has failed to establish their version beyond
reasonable doubt. Hence by giving the benefit of doubt to the accused,
they are acquitted from all the charges.
36.In the result:
(a) this Criminal Appeal stands allowed by setting aside the
judgment of conviction and sentence imposed in S.C.No.367 of
2006 dated 26.03.2009 on the file of the learned Sessions
Judge, Magalir Neethimandram, Coimbatore;
(b) the appellants/accused are acquitted from all the charges
punishable under Sections 498A and 304 B of I.P.C.
(c) Fine amount if any paid by the appellants/accused shall be
The Sessions Judge,
Pre-delivery order made in
Crl.A.No.190 of 2009