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Sirajpasha Chandpasha Buwaji And … vs The State Of Maharashtra on 13 August, 2018

1 APEAL 487-14 Judgment.doc

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.487 OF 2014

1. Sirajpasha Chandpasha Buwaji, ]
Age – 32 years, Occ. : Service, ]

2. Fatima Chandpasha Buwaji, ]
Age – 60 years, Occu. : Housewife, ]
Both R/o. House No.11, Mumtaz Nagar, ]
Kumtha Naka, Solapur. ] … Appellants
] Orig.Accd.Nos.1 2
Versus

The State of Maharashtra. ] … Respondent

Mr. Niteen Pradhan i/b Shubhada D. Khot for Appellants.
Mrs. M. M. Deshmukh, APP for State.

CORAM :- B. R. GAVAI
SARANG V. KOTWAL, JJ.

DATE :- 13 AUGUST, 2018

JUDGMENT (PER SARANG V. KOTWAL, J.) :-

1. This is an Appeal preferred by the original accused nos.1

and 2 in Sessions Case No.256 of 2009 on the file of the learned

Additional Sessions Judge-2, Solapur, challenging the Judgment and

Order dated 21/05/2014. By the impugned Judgment and Order, the

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Appellants were convicted for commission of offence punishable under

Section 498A read with Section 34 of the IPC and were sentenced to

suffer rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine of

Rs.500/- each and in default of payment of fine, to undergo further

rigorous imprisonment for one month each. Both the Appellants were

further convicted for commission of offence punishable under Section

304-B read with 34 of the IPC and were sentenced to suffer

imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of Rs.500/- each and in default

of payment of fine, to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for one

month each. Both the substantive sentences were directed to run

concurrently and the Appellants were given benefit of set off under

Section 428 of the Cr.P.C.

2. In addition to the charge for commission of the offences

punishable under Sections 498-A and 304-B read with 34 of the IPC,

an additional charge was framed under Section 302 of the IPC against

both the Appellants on 15/03/2012. Both the Appellants were

acquitted of the said charge at the conclusion of the trial.

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3. The prosecution case, in brief, is as follows :

The Appellant No.1 got married to one Raesa Begum in

November 2008 at Solapur. It is alleged that Raesa was treated

properly for about two months after the marriage but after that, both

the Appellants started harassing and ill-treating Raesa for demand of

Rs.2 Lakhs which they required to purchase a new house. It is alleged

that Raesa was mentally and physically harassed for non-fulfillment of

the said demand. Raesa became pregnant but she was not sent to her

parental house. On 01/07/2009, Raesa’s father requested the

Appellants to send her with him to his house. It is alleged that the

Appellants sent Raesa with him with a condition that she should be

sent back only on payment of Rs.2 Lakhs. According to the

prosecution case, on 02/07/2009, Raesa hanged herself in her father’s

house. She was taken to the hospital where during treatment, she

breathed her last. A suicide note was found in her purse. Raesa’s

father lodged his FIR vide C.R.No.69 of 2009 at MIDC Police Station,

Solapur, on 03/07/2009 at 120.00 p.m. under Sections 498A read

with 304-B read with 34 of the IPC against both the Appellants. The

investigation was conducted. Natural handwriting of the deceased

was collected. The suicide note and the natural handwriting were

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sent for handwriting expert’s opinion. Various panchanamas,

including the spot panchanama, etc. were conducted. Statements of

various witnesses were recorded. The handwriting expert’s opinion

showed that the suicide note was in Raesa’s own handwriting. After

conclusion of the investigation, charge-sheet was filed. As the case

was exclusively triable by the Court of Sessions, it was committed to

the Court of Sessions for trial.

4. During trial, the prosecution examined 15 witnesses. The

case of the Appellants was of total denial. After recording the

evidence and hearing both the sides, the learned Judge passed his

Judgment and Order convicting and sentencing the Appellants.

5. We have heard Mr. Niteen Pradhan, learned Counsel for

the Appellants and Mrs. M. M. Deshmukh, learned APP for the State of

Maharashtra. With their assistance, we have read the evidence and

perused the impugned Judgment.

6. Mr. Pradhan submitted that though the Appellants, in

their statements recorded under Section 313 of the Cr.P.C., have

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denied that the suicide note was in the handwriting of the deceased,

there was not much dispute that the suicide note was in the

handwriting of the deceased. Mr. Pradhan submitted that if the

suicide note is read as it is, it only makes out a case against the

Appellant No.2 to some extent and the deceased had not blamed the

Appellant No.1 for the extreme step she had taken. Mr. Pradhan

further submitted that the evidence shows that even the Appellant

No.1 was shocked because of the suicide of the deceased and he had

to be treated for 10 days in the hospital. Mr. Pradhan submitted that

in any case, the conviction under Section 304-B of the IPC was not

proper as the demand was not relatable to ‘dowry’.

7. As against the above submissions Mrs. Deshmukh

submitted that the prosecution has proved its case beyond all

reasonable doubts. The suicide note and the evidence of the father of

the deceased sufficiently establish that the deceased was harassed for

dowry and therefore, she committed suicide. She, therefore, submits

that there was no scope for interference with the impugned Judgment

and Order of conviction and sentence.

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8. Looking at the nature of the evidence led by the

prosecution, there can hardly be any dispute that the deceased had

committed suicide when she was present in her father’s house. PW 15

Vazir Shaikh was a peon in a primary school at Adarsh Nagar,

Solapur. The first informant’s house is situated adjacent to the school.

PW 15 has deposed that on 02/07/2009 when he was standing near

the gate of the school at about 5.00 p.m., he heard commotion from

the first informant’s house. PW 15 rushed there. He was informed by

the first informant’s wife that the doors of the house were locked. PW

15 and the first informant’s wife broke open the door of the house and

found that Raesa was hanging from the ceiling fan. PW 15 and

Raesa’s mother removed Raesa from the fan. PW 15 brought a Maruti

car belonging to the Headmaster of the school. The first informant

also came to his house. Thereafter, Raesa was removed to the

hospital.

9. When Raesa was brought to Markandeya Hospital,

Solapur, PW 7 Dr. Suhas Pujar examined her and he found her to be

in extremely serious condition. Raesa did not respond to the

measures taken and ultimately died at 6.40 p.m. The post-mortem

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was conducted by PW 14 Dr. Suryakant Kamble who had observed a

ligature mark encircling the neck of the dimension 10″ X 1.½”. The

cause of death was mentioned as ‘death due to hanging’. There is not

much dispute about this fact and therefore, it can safely be concluded

that on 02/07/2009 in the evening, Raesa committed suicide in the

house of her father.

10. PW 6 Hussain Birajdar was a panch for spot panchanama

which was carried out between 12.30 p.m. to 1.15 p.m. on

03/07/2009. The spot panchanama shows that Raesa had committed

suicide by tying a saree to the ceiling fan and hanging herself. PW 1

Moulasaheb Bagwan was a panch in whose presence the first

informant had produced a suicide note. The panchanama is produced

at Exh.57. The police seized the suicide note in presence of the

panchas. The panchanama shows that the suicide note was found in

Raesa’s purse. The suicide note itself is produced on record at

Exh.100.

11. PW 2 Vishnu Shinde was a panch in whose presence a

notebook containing natural handwriting of deceased Raesa was

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seized. The said notebook was produced by Headmistress Mrs. Potur.

The deceased was serving in the same school and even PW 2 was

serving in the same school. PW 4 was Ambubai Potur, the

Headmistress. She has deposed that the handwriting in the said

notebook was that of the deceased Raesa. The Investigating Officer

sent the encircled portion marked Q1 to Q3 on the suicide note along

with her natural handwriting in the said notebook marked N1 to N20

to the handwriting expert. PW 10 Deepak Pandit was working as the

Assistant State Examiner of Documents. He compared the questioned

handwriting Q1 to Q3 with the natural handwriting N1 to N20 and

came to the conclusion that both these handwritings were of the same

person. The opinion dated 23/08/2010 is produced on record at

Exh.98. Through his evidence, the suicide note was marked as

Exh.100. The notebook containing natural handwriting was marked

as Exh.101. Mr. Pradhan did not much dispute the opinion of this

witness, though both these Appellants, in their statements recorded

under Section 313 of the Cr.P.C., had denied that the suicide note was

in the handwriting of the deceased. Going through the evidence of

the handwriting expert, the cross-examination does not bring out

anything in favour of the defence to doubt his opinion. Thus, the

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prosecution has proved that the suicide note was found in the purse of

the deceased. The natural handwriting in her notebook was produced

by her Headmistress. Both these documents were sent for obtaining

handwriting expert’s opinion which showed that the suicide note was

written by Raesa herself. Thus, the prosecution has proved that

before committing suicide, Raesa had written a suicide note found in

her purse.

12. The suicide note at Exh.100 is written by Raesa in Hindi.

She has written that she was an educated girl and she could live on

her own by doing some job. She wrote that she was sad that the

Appellant No.1 was not loving her as earlier and that she still

continued to love him. She has specifically mentioned that she had no

complaints against the Appellant No.1 and she was clearly blaming

the Appellant No.2 for the extreme step she was about to take. She

has further written that, in spite of her efforts to behave according to

the Appellant No.2’s wishes, it was getting difficult for her to bear the

torture. Raesa has further written that the Appellant No.2 was

constantly telling her that she never liked Raesa and the Appellant

No.2 had even pushed and humiliated Raesa. Raesa felt sad that the

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Appellant No.1 ignored that. According to Raesa, the Appellant No.2

was causing friction between the couple by telling lies. Raesa has

further written that her parents had spent according to their capacity

and that it was not possible for them to pay more. She has further

written that in spite of the fact that Raesa was pregnant, the Appellant

No.2 continued to torture her and that she was fed up with the

Appellant No.2’s ill-treatment. The tenor of her suicide note shows

that she was squarely blaming the Appellant No.2 and had no

complaints against the Appellant No.1. In this connection,

Mr.Pradhan emphasized on the evidence of PW 7 Dr. Pujar. In his

cross-examination, he has admitted that the Appellant No.1 was

treated in the hospital from 02/07/2009 to 12/07/2009. The

Appellant No.1 was under the treatment of Dr. Khatavkar who was a

Psychiatrist. The medical report shows that the Appellant No.1 was in

depression and therefore, he was treated. Mr. Pradhan, therefore,

submitted that the evidence shows that the Appellant No.1 cared for

Raesa and even Raesa had no complaints against him and therefore,

the prosecution has not proved its case at least against the Appellant

No.1.

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13. In this background, it is necessary to refer to the evidence

of the father of the deceased i.e. PW 9 Akbar Jamadar. He has

deposed that Raesa got married to the Appellant No.1 on 23/11/2008.

PW 9 had given 10 tolas gold and household articles worth Rs.2 Lakhs

to the Appellants and borne the expenses for both the sides at the time

of marriage. He has further deposed that after two moths of

marriage, both the Appellants started harassing Raesa for demand of

Rs.2 Lakhs for purchasing a house. PW 9 told this to one Zakir

Jahagirdar who was a mediator who had brought about the marriage.

According to PW 9, Zakir Jahagirdar tried to convince the Appellants

but they did not listen to him. PW 9 further deposed that Raesa used

to tell him about the harassment by calling him on his mobile phone.

Pw 9 has further deposed that he had even told the Appellant No.1

that if Raesa was not treated properly, he would be compelled to call

the meeting of their community. According to PW 9, the Appellant

No.1 then threatened Raesa and therefore, PW 9 did not call for any

meeting. PW 9 has further deposed that the Appellants used to tell

Raesa that if Rs.2 Lakhs were not paid, the Appellant No.1 would get

remarried to someone else. He has further deposed that Raesa was

pregnant. He has further deposed that he used to provide tiffin to his

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daughter through one Ganesh Anbhule. The said Ganesh Anbhule is

examined by the prosecution as PW 3 to corroborate his version. PW

9 has further deposed that on 31/05/2009, the Appellant No.1

entered into an agreement with one Noorjahan in respect of her house

for consideration of Rs.7 Lakhs. The Appellant No.1 paid ernest

money of Rs.5,000/-. On 15/06/2009, the agreement of sale was

notarized and on the said day, the Appellant No.1 paid Rs.4,10,000/-

to the said Noorjahan. PW 9 has further deposed that the Appellant

No.1 had applied for loan from ICICI Bank, Hotagi Road, Solapur but

the bank did not sanction the loan. PW 9 had specifically deposed

that the Appellants started harassing his daughter on the ground of

demand of Rs.2 Lakhs to enable them to perform their part of the

agreement with Noorjahan. PW 9 has further deposed that Raesa had

informed him on mobile phone that the Appellant No.2 had assaulted

her. PW 9 went to the house of the Appellants on 21/06/2009 and

expressed his inability to pay the amount. He was told by the

Appellants that unless that amount was paid, his daughter would not

be treated properly. They even refused to send Raesa with PW 9 for

the delivery. On 01/07/2009, PW 1 again went to the house of the

Appellants. At that time, the Appellant No.2 told him that he should

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take Raesa with him for four days and demanded Rs.2 Lakhs on

Raesa’s return. Raesa then came to her father’s house. Raesa was

disturbed. On the next day i.e. on 02/07/2009 at about 4.30 p.m.,

PW 9 was in his hosiery shop. Raesa’s brother and sister were

attending their jobs. At that time, Raesa committed suicide by

hanging herself with a saree tied to a ceiling fan. She was removed to

the hospital as mentioned earlier.

In his cross-examination, PW 9 has admitted that even the

Appellants had incurred expenses on their part in the marriage. He

has admitted that the Appellants had offered gold necklace of 2.¼

tolas, 2 gold rings of 3 gms each and 15 tola silver strips to Raesa.

They had also given two expensive sarees to Raesa. In his cross-

examination, he has admitted that in his FIR, he has not stated that

the Appellants had refused to sent his daughter for her first delivery

on the ground of demand of Rs.2 Lakhs.

14. The evidence of PW 9, father of the deceased, has to be

read in the context of the suicide note written by Raesa. Though PW

9 has clearly blamed both the Appellants and has deposed that they

were harassing the deceased on the ground of demand of Rs.2 Lakhs,

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the suicide note itself does not make reference to such demand. In

fact, the suicide note completely exonerates the Appellant No.1. The

evidence of PW 9 also shows that the Appellants had entered into an

agreement with one Noorjahan on 31/05/2009. The Appellant No.1

had paid Rs.4,10,000/- and was short of amount of around 2 Lakhs.

Mr. Pradhan submitted that this demand cannot be termed as dowry.

Mr. Pradhan relied on the Judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in

the case of Satvir Singh and Others Vs. State of Punjab and

Another1 wherein Mr. Pradhan particularly relied on paragraphs 20

and 21 of the said Judgment which read thus :-

“20. Prosecution, in a case of offence under Section 304-B
IPC cannot escape from the burden of proof that the
harassment or cruelty was related to the demand for
dowry and also that such cruelty or harassment was
caused “soon before her death”. The word “dowry”
in Section 304-B has to be understood as it is defined
in Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
That definition reds thus :

2. In this Act, ‘dowry’ means any property or valuable
security given or agreed to be given either directly or
indirectly—

(a) by one party to a marriage to the other party to
the marriage; or

(b) by the parents of either party to a marriage or by
any other parson, to the marriage or to any other
person;

1 (2001) 8 Supreme Court Cases 633

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at or before or any time after the marriage, in connection
with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include
dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim
personal law (Shariat) applies.”

“21. Thus, there are three occasions related to dowry.

One is before the marriage, second is at the time of
marriage and the third is “at any time” after the
marriage. The third occasion may appear to be an
unending period. But the crucial words are “in
connection with the marriage of the said parties”.
This means that giving or agreeing to give any
property or valuable security on any of the above
three stages should have been in connection with the
marriage of the parties. There can be many other
instances for payment of money or giving property as
between the spouses. For example, some customary
payments in connection with birth of a child or other
ceremonies are prevalent in different societies. Such
payments are not enveloped within the ambit or
“dowry”. Hence the dowry mentioned in Section
304-B should be any property or valuable security
given or agreed to be given in connection with the
marriage.”

15. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has dealt with the

interpretation of Section 304-B of IPC in many cases. One such case is

Appasaheb and Another Vs. State of Maharashtra2. Paragraph 11 of

the said Judgment reads thus :

“11. In view of the aforesaid definition of the word
“dowry” any property or valuable security should be given
or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly at or

2 (2007) 9 Supreme Court Cases 721

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before or any time after the marriage and in connection
with the marriage of the said parties. Therefore, the giving
or taking of property or valuable security must have some
connection with the marriage of the parties and a
correlation between the giving or taking of property or
valuable security with the marriage of the parties is
essential. Being a penal provision it has to be strictly
construed. Dowry is a fairly well known social custom or
practice in India. It is well settled principle of
interpretation of Statute that if the Act is passed with
reference to a particular trade, business or transaction
and words are used which everybody conversant with that
trade, business or transaction knows or understands to
have a particular meaning in it, then the words are to be
construed as having that particular meaning. (See Union
of India v. Garware Nylons Ltd.3 and Chemicals and
Fibres of India Ltd. v. Union of India4).

A demand for money on account of some financial
stringency or for meeting some urgent domestic expenses
or for purchasing manure cannot be termed as a demand
for dowry as the said word is normally understood. The
evidence adduced by the prosecution does not, therefore,
show that any demand for “dowry” as defined in Section 2
of the Dowry Prohibition Act was made by the appellants
as what was allegedly asked for was some money for
meeting domestic expenses and for purchasing manure.
Since an essential ingredient of Section 304-B IPC viz.
demand for dowry is not established, the conviction of the
appellants cannot be sustained.”

The said Judgment of Appasaheb (supra) was followed by the Hon’ble

Supreme Court in the case of Modinsab Kasimsab Kanchagar Vs.

State of Karnataka and Another5. Paragraphs 11 and 12 of the said
3 (1996) 10 SCC 413 : AIR 1996 SC 3509
4 (1997) 2 SCC 664 : AIR 1997 558
5 (2013) 4 Supreme Court Cases 551

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Judgment read thus :

“11. Thus the demand of Rs.10,000/- was not a dowry
demand but was in connection with a society loan of
Rs.10,000/- of the Appellant. This Court in Appasaheb’s
case (supra) has referred to the provisions of Section 304-B
IPC and in particular the explanation appended to sub-
section (1) thereof which says that the word “dowry” under
Section 304-B will have the same meaning as in Section 2
of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 and has held that the
word “dowry” in Section 304-B of the IPC would, therefore,
mean
‘any property or valuable security should given or
agreed to be given either directly or indirectly at or
before or any time after the marriage and in
connection with the marriage of the said parties’. (SCC
p. 726, para 11)
In this case, the amount of Rs.10,000/- demanded by the
Appellant through the deceased was for repayment of a
society loan of the Appellant and it had no connection with
the marriage of the Appellant and the deceased. Hence, even
if, there was demand of Rs.10,000/- by the Appellant, it
was not a demand in connection with the dowry and the
offence under Section 304-B was not attracted.

12. We are, however, of the view that the Appellant was
liable for the offence under Section 498-A IPC. Section 498-

A read with Explanation (b) thereto provides that if a
husband of a woman subjects the woman to harassment
with a view to coerce her or any person related to her to
meet any unlawful demand for property or valuable security
he shall be liable with punishment for a term which may
extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. The
demand of Rs.10,000/- towards the society loan made by
the Appellant, thus, may not be a demand in connection
with dowry but is certainly an unlawful demand for a
property or valuable security and there is clear evidence of

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the prosecution to show that the deceased was subjected to
harassment by the Appellant on account of her failure to
meet the aforesaid demand of Rs.10,000/-.”

16. The Hon’ble Supreme Court considered the observations in

the case of Appasaheb (supra) in the case of Bachni Devi and Others

Vs. State of Haryana, through Home Department6. The Hon’ble

Supreme Court, in that case, held that the observations made in the

case of Appasaheb must be understood in the context of the case.

That was a case wherein the prosecution evidence did no show any

demand for dowry as defined in Section 2 of the 1961 Act. The

allegations to the effect that the deceased was asked to bring money

for domestic expenses and for purchasing manure, in the facts of the

case, was not found sufficient to be covered by the demand for dowry.

It was further held in Bachni Devi’s case (supra)that Appasaheb’s case

(supra) cannot be read to be laying down an absolute proposition that

the demand for money or some property or valuable security on

account of some business or financial requirement could not be

termed as demand for dowry. It was in the facts of the case that it

was held so. If a demand for property or valuable security directly or

indirectly has a nexus with the marriage, such demand would
6 (2011) 4 SCC 427

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constitute demand for dowry. The cause or reason for such demand

was immaterial.

17. A three Judge Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in the

case of Rajinder Singh Vs. State of Punjab 7, has, in paragraph 20,

held thus :

“20. Given that the statute with which we are dealing
must be given a fair, pragmatic and common sense
interpretation so as to fulfil the object sought to be achieved
by Parliament, we feel that the judgment in Appasaheb case
followed by the judgment of Vipin Jaiswal 8 do not state the
law correctly. We, therefore, declare that any money or
property or valuable security demanded by any of the
persons mentioned in Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition
Act, at or before or at any time after the marriage which is
reasonably connected to the death of a married woman,
would necessarily be in connection with or in relation to the
marriage unless, the facts of a given case clearly and
unequivocally point otherwise.”

18. Thus, considering the law laid down by the Hon’ble

Supreme Court in this behalf, it is necessary to see whether the

prosecution, in the present case, has proved that there was a demand

for dowry. PW 9 has deposed that Rs.2 Lakhs were demanded by the

accused for completing the sale transaction for their house. However,

7 (2015) 6 Supreme Court Cases 477
8 (2013) 3 SCC 684 : (2013) 2 SCC (Cri) 15

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the suicide note does not make a reference to the amount of Rs.2

Lakhs or transaction of purchase of house. PW 9 has involved both

the Appellants whereas the suicide note written elaborately has clearly

blamed the Appellant No.2 alone. Thus, we find that the version of

PW 9 is exaggerated and therefore, his evidence cannot be relied on

completely to hold that the Appellants had demanded Rs.2 Lakhs.

There is some reference in the suicide note of demand of money but it

is not elaborated further. Therefore, based on the suicide note, it

cannot be held that the demand mentioned in the suicide note fell

within the definition of ‘dowry’ under the Dowry Prohibition Act,

1961.

19. The evidence of PW 9 shows that there was no demand of

Rs.2 Lakhs at the time of marriage. In fact, his evidence shows

that the Appellants had borne some expenses of the marriage and

had gifted gold and silver articles as well as expensive sarees to the

deceased. The evidence of PW 5 Karim Mulla is also significant in this

connection. PW 5 Karim Mulla is complainant PW 9’s close friend.

He has deposed that after marriage, Raesa lived happily for a

few days. PW 5 has deposed that Raesa told him that the Appellant

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No.1 started demanding Rs.2 Lakhs for purchasing a house and on

that ground, both the Appellants subjected Raesa to mental and

physical harassment. In his cross-examination, he has admitted that

he did not tell the police in his statement that Raesa had told him that

the Appellant No.1 had demanded Rs.2 Lakhs for purchasing a house.

This shows that the demand of Rs.2 Lakhs is not proved by the

prosecution through cogent evidence. Therefore, even the evidence of

PW 9 in respect of demand of Rs.2 Lakhs is not supported by the

suicide note. In the suicide note, there is no reference to the amount

of Rs.2 Lakhs or any other amount which was required for purchasing

a house. Therefore, the prosecution has not proved beyond

reasonable doubt that there was a demand of Rs.2 Lakhs by any of the

Appellants.

20. Thus, in the present case, the case of the prosecution

brought on record through the evidence of PW 9 is not exactly

corroborated by the suicide note in respect of demand of Rs.2 Lakhs.

We are inclined to place reliance on the suicide note rather than on

the evidence of PW 9. The prosecution has proved beyond reasonable

doubt that the said suicide note Exh.100 was written by Raesa herself.

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Therefore, placing reliance on the contents of the suicide note, we find

that the deceased had no complaints whatsoever against the Appellant

No.1. Coupled with this aspect, it is necessary to take into

consideration the subsequent conduct of the Appellant No.1. After

Raesa's suicide, he went in a shock and had to be admitted in the

hospital. Therefore, it cannot be said that he had committed any act

which had driven Raesa to commit suicide.

21. However, the case of the Appellant No.2 is different. In

the suicide note at Exh.100, the deceased Raesa has squarely blamed

the Appellant No.2 for compelling her to take this extreme step of

committing suicide. Raesa has elaborated that the ill-treatment at the

hands of the Appellant No.2 had become unbearable and she was left

with no option but to commit suicide. Raesa had also made a

reference to demand of money. But the suicide note shows that Raesa

was ill-treated by the Appellant No.2 because she never liked Raesa

from the beginning. Section 498A of the IPC reads thus :

"498A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman
subjecting her to cruelty - Whosoever, being the husband
or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such
woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for
a term which may extend to three yeas and shall also be

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liable to fine.

Explanation.-- For the purpose of this section, "cruelty"
means--

(a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as
is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or
to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or
health (whether mental or physical) of the
woman; or

(b) harassment of the woman where such
harassment is with a view to coercing her or any
person related to her to meet any unlawful
demand for any property or valuable security or
is on account of failure by her or any person
related to her to meet such demand."

The act of the Appellant No.2 falls within the definition of 'cruelty'

under Section 498A of the IPC. As mentioned earlier, the prosecution

has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Raesa had committed

suicide. Therefore, the prosecution has proved that the Appellant

No.2 had subjected Raesa to cruelty within the meaning of Section

498A of the IPC and has also committed an offence of abetment of

suicide under Section 306 of the IPC. Therefore, the Appellant No.2 is

liable to be convicted for commission of offence punishable under

Sections 498A and 306 of the IPC.

22. On the point of sentence, Mr. Pradhan submitted that the

Appellant No.2 is an old lady and has lost sight of her both eyes,
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therefore, lenient view should be taken. Considering his submission,

we are of the view that the ends of justice will be met if the Appellant

No.2 is sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for seven years.

23. Hence, the following order :

ORDER

I) Criminal Appeal No.487 of 2014 is partly allowed.

II) The conviction of Accused No.1 - Sirajpasha Chandpasha

Buwaji for the offence punishable under Section 304-B

and 498-A of IPC is quashed and set aside.

III) The Accused No.1 - Sirajpasha Chandpasha Buwaji is

acquitted of the charges, charged with.

IV) The Accused No.1 - Sirajpasha Chandpasha Buwaji is on

bail, his bail bonds shall stand discharged.

V) The conviction of Accused No.2 - Fatima Chandpasha

Buwaji for the offence punishable under Section 304-B of

IPC is quashed and set aside.

VI) Since the Accused No.1 - Sirajpasha Chandpasha Buwaji is

acquitted of the offence punishable under Section 498-A

r/w 34 of IPC, conviction of Accused No.2 - Fatima

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Chandpasha Buwaji for the offence punishable under

Section 498A r/w 34 of IPC is set aside and she is

convicted for the offence punishable under Section 306 of

IPC and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for

seven years.

VII) Needless to state that Accused No.2 - Fatima Chandpasha

Buwaji is entitled for set off for the period undergone.

(SARANG V. KOTWAL, J.)                                                                      (B. R. GAVAI, J.)

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