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Srinivasa Gowda vs State Of Karnataka on 28 February, 2018

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IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BENGALURU

DATED THIS THE 28TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2018

BEFORE

THE HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE K.SOMASHEKAR

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.355 OF 2010

BETWEEN

SRINIVASA GOWDA,
S/O LATE THIMMEGOWDA,
AGED ABOUT 39 YEARS,
R/AT HALENAHALLI VILLAGE,
MUDURE HOBLI,
DODDABALLAPURA TALUK,
BENGALURU RURAL DISTRICT.
… APPELLANT

(BY SRI. KEMPARAJU, ADVOCATE FOR M/S
A. LAWMEN’S CHAMBER)

AND

STATE OF KARNATAKA BY
DODDABELAVANGALA POLICE
REP. BY STATE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR.
… RESPONDENT

(BY SRI. CHETAN DESAI, HCGP)

THIS CRL.A. IS FILED UNDER SECTION 374(2)
CR.P.C PRAYING TO SET ASIDE THE JUDGMENT OF
CONVICTION AND SENTENCE DATED 11.03.2010
PASSED BY THE PRESIDING OFFICER, FAST TRACK
COURT-III, BENGALURU RURAL DISTRICT,
BENGALURU, IN S.C.NO. 232/2007 – CONVICTING THE
APPELLANT/ACCUSED NO.1 FOR THE OFFENCE
PUNISHABLE UNDER SECTION 498-A OF IPC. THE
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APPELLANT/ACCUSED NO.1 SENTENCED TO UNDERGO
SIMPLE IMPRISONMENT FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS
AND FINE OF RS. 5,000/- IN DEFAULT, FURTHER HE
SHALL UNDERGO SIMPLE IMPRISONMENT FOR A
PERIOD OF THREE MONTHS, FOR THE OFFENCE
PUNISHABLE UNDER SECTION 498-A OF IPC. THE
DEFAULT SENTENCE SHALL RUN SEPARATELY AFTER
THE EXPIRY OF MAIN SENTENCE OF IMPRISONMENT
OF TWO YEARS.

THIS CRL.A. COMING ON FOR HEARING, THIS
DAY, THE COURT DELIVERED THE FOLLOWING:

JUDGMENT

This appeal is filed by accused No.1 in S.C. No.

232/2007, challenging the judgment of conviction and

order of sentence dated 11.03.2010, passed by the

Presiding Officer, Fast Track Court – III, Bangalore Rural

District, convicting the accused No.1-appellant herein for

the offence punishable under Section-498-A of IPC and

sentencing him to undergo simple imprisonment for a

period of two years and to pay fine of Rs. 5,000/- and in

default, to undergo simple imprisonment for a further

period of three months. The default sentence was ordered

to run separately.

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2. The case of the prosecution, in brief, is as

follows:-

The deceased Annapoornamma was given in

marriage to accused No.1 on 03.06.1994. Subsequent to

her marriage, she was blessed with three children. It

transpires that the accused No.1 along with his mother

accused No.2 were not allowing Annapoornamma to visit

her parental house and they used to subject her to both

mental and physical harassment. On 08.09.2005, during

night hours the accused No.1 is said to have picked up a

quarrel with her under the guise that the shed of the

poultry farm which they had established by obtaining loan

had collapsed as a result of which he had incurred loss.

Hence, angrily, he had told her to go somewhere and die.

Being unable to bear the said torture and on account of

abetment by her husband, deceased Annapoornamma

committed suicide on 09.09.2005 at 8.00 p.m. by

consuming pesticide. On the basis of the complaint

lodged by Bettaswamaiah, the father of the deceased, a

case was registered in Crime No. 75/2005 of

Doddabelavangala police. After completion of
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investigation, a charge sheet was filed against the accused

for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A and 306

read with Section 34 of IPC, wherein the accused pleaded

not guilty to the charge framed and claimed to be tried.

In order to prove its case, the prosecution in all examined

11 witnesses and got marked 8 documents as at Ex.P.1 to

P.8. On behalf of the accused, accused No.1 was

examined as DW-1, elder sister of the deceased namely

Pushpalatha was examined as DW-2 and son of the

deceased and accused, namely Mithun Gowda was

examined as DW-3 and 07 documents were got marked as

at Ex.D.1 to D.7.

On appreciation of the oral and documentary

evidence let in by the prosecution, by the impugned

judgment of conviction and order of sentence, the Trial

Court acquitted accused No.2, the mother-in-law of the

deceased for all the charges levelled against her. The

accused No.1 also has been acquitted for the offence

punishable under Section 306 of IPC. However, the

accused No.1, the husband of the deceased has been

convicted for the offence punishable under Section 498-A
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of IPC and has been imposed sentence as stated supra.

Being aggrieved by the same, the present appeal is

preferred by accused No.1.

3. Heard Shri Kemparaju, learned counsel for the

appellant and Shri Chetan Desai, learned Government

Pleader for the State.

4. Shri. Kemparaju, learned counsel appearing

for the appellant vehemently contended that the deceased

had a boundless love towards her husband’s family and

she was very much depressed due to the loss caused by

the collapse of their poultry farm which they had

established by obtaining a bank loan. Added to it, her

husband also incurred huge loss due to the fact that their

lorry had met with an accident recently. These losses had

tormented her very much and she had gone to depression

and hence she had committed suicide by consuming

pesticides. He further contended that except the evidence

of P.W-1, the father of the deceased, there was no

corroborative evidence to prove the guilt of the accused

that he was the one who had instigated her to commit
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suicide. Smt. Pushpalatha, the elder sister of the

deceased who has been cited as witness for the

prosecution (C.W.6) has been examined as witness on

behalf of the accused as DW-2. She has stated that there

was no physical or mental harassment given to her

younger sister (deceased) by the accused. After collapse of

the poultry farm which they owned, her sister died and

that she was suffering from stomach ache from the

beginning. Apart from this, DW-3 – Mithun Gowda, who

is none other than the 16 year old son of the deceased

also has not deposed against the accused. The deceased

Annapoornamma died after a long lapse of 11 years from

the date of her marriage. Hence, there was no cogent

evidence adduced by the prosecution to establish the guilt

of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. When the Trial

Court, based on the evidence let in by the prosecution has

acquitted the accused for the offence punishable under

Section 306 of IPC, the Trial Court ought to have

acquitted the accused for the offence punishable under

Section 498-A IPC as well by extending benefit of doubt.

Therefore, the trial Court has failed to appreciate the
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evidence on record in a proper perspective and has

misdirected itself in convicting the accused. Hence, he

pleads that the appeal be allowed and the accused be

acquitted for the offences alleged against him.

5. On the other hand, Shri Chetan Desai, learned

Government Pleader for the State submits that though the

counsel for the appellant has contended that the deceased

had a boundless love for the family of the accused and

hence as a result of depression due to the fact that her

husband had incurred huge losses that she committed

suicide, it is evidenced from the deposition of PW-1, father

of the deceased that when he went and saw the dead body

of his daughter in the hospital, none of the family

members of the accused were present. Even till the next

day when the body was handed over, the family members

of the accused were not present in the hospital. The

accused had run away from the spot leaving behind the

dead body of his wife and he had not even bothered to give

a complaint and it was the father of the deceased who had

lodged a complaint. This conduct of the accused
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establishes his guilt of his abetment. Moreover, the

harassment meted out to the deceased was inside the four

corners of the wall and it cannot be said that the accused

had not abetted her to commit suicide. Hence, he submits

that the Trial Court, on appreciation of the evidence on

record in a proper perspective, has rightly convicted the

accused for the offence alleged against him and hence, he

prays for dismissal of the appeal.

6. On hearing the counsel for the parties, the point

that arises for consideration in this appeal is,

“Whether the court below was justified
in convicting the accused for the offence
punishable under Section 498-A IPC?

On hearing the contentions advanced by the learned

counsel for the parties and on an evaluation of the

material on record, it is to be seen that PW-1, the father of

the deceased is the complainant in the case who lodged

complaint against the accused as per Ex.P.1. PW-2 is the

relative of the deceased and witness for inquest mahazar

Ex.P.3. PW-3 is the mother of the deceased. PW-4 was a
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resident of Vadegatta, who informed about the death of

deceased to complainant PW-1 and he is also a witness for

inquest mahazar Ex.P.3. PW-5 is also witness for inquest

mahazar Ex.P.3. PW-6 is the brother of deceased. PW-7

was the person who was present at the time of marriage

talk and he was examined to prove that the cash and gold

ornaments were given to accused at the time of marriage.

PW-8 is the Medical Officer who conducted autopsy over

dead body of the deceased Annapoornamma as per Ex.P.4.

PW-9 is the constable who carried FIR to the Court. PW-

10 is the Assistant Director of Forensic Science

Laboratory, who examined the pesticide and submitted his

report as per Ex.P.6. PW-11 is the PSI who registered the

complaint and submitted FIR and conducted investigation

in the case.

7. Indisputably, as per the evidence of PW-1, the

marriage of his daughter Annapoornamma – the deceased

was performed with the accused and the marriage of his

another daughter Pushpalatha was performed with the

brother of the accused. Both the marriages were
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performed on the same date and place and both his

daughters were leading a happy marital life. It is to be

noticed that DW-2, Pushpalatha, the sister of the

deceased who is said to have been examined on behalf of

the accused has spelt out in her evidence that the accused

and the deceased had led a happy married life and she

has not stated anything regarding physical and mental

cruelty meted out by the accused to her sister

Annapoornamma. If there was harassment of any sort,

her sister who was married in the very family would have

very well known about the same. But however, she has

not even uttered anything about any sort of physical or

mental harassment meted out to her by the accused.

Added to this, her brother PW-6 had specifically stated in

his cross-examination that the deceased did not suffer

from stomach ache but had stated that they had provided

treatment for her stomach ache. Moreover, the son of the

deceased Mithun Gowda aged 16 years had deposed to the

effect that the relationship of his parents was cordial. But

however, his mother the deceased was very much worried

that their shed had collapsed and their lorry had met with
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an accident as a result of which they had suffered losses.

He has specifically stated that her worry was the cause for

her committing suicide. Hence, it becomes very difficult

for this court to believe the evidence of PW-1 and PW-3,

the parents of the deceased that the accused had meted

out mental as well as physical harassment to the deceased

and had abetted her to commit suicide.

PW-1, PW-3 and PW-6 are the vital witnesses

examined for the prosecution to prove the guilt of the

accused. However, the evidence of DW-2, the sister of the

deceased is contrary to the evidence of these material

witnesses PW-1, PW-3 and PW-6. Hence, at a cursory

glance of these witnesses, it is found that the same is full

of inconsistencies and are contradictory to each other

relating to physical as well as mental harassment given by

the accused to the deceased. Hence, the same does not

constitute an offence under Section 498-A IPC. However,

the Trial Court, on appreciating the evidence on record

had come to the conclusion that the prosecution has

established the offence under Section 498-A of IPC.
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On a careful scrutiny of the complaint (Ex.P.1 lodged

by PW-1, the father of the deceased), it is seen that there

is no whisper about any quarrel having occurred either on

the date of incident or on the previous day. Except the

evidence of PWs.1, 3 and 6 who are the father, mother and

brother respectively of the deceased, there was no other

corroborative evidence to prove the guilt of the accused

and the other witnesses are only hearsay witnesses. As

such, there was no corroborative evidence put forth by the

prosecution. The Trial Court, in paragraph 28 of the

impugned judgment has recorded a categorical finding to

the effect that ‘absolutely there is no evidence on the side

of the prosecution to establish that there was instigation

by the accused to commit suicide by the deceased

immediately before her death and there is any willful

conduct on the part of the accused to drive the deceased

to commit suicide’. Marriage of the deceased with the

accused was performed on 03.06.1994 and deceased led a

happy marital life with the accused for a long duration of

11 years prior to her death on 09.09.2005. Under such

circumstances, an inference can be drawn that deceased
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committing suicide by consuming pesticides was not on

account of ill-treatment or cruelty given by the accused.

The Trial Court based conviction of the accused for the

offence punishable under Section 498-A of IPC solely on

the ground that the accused did not allow the deceased to

go to her parental house and the same would amount to

cruelty. Mere non-sending of the deceased to her parental

house, does not amount to cruelty. In the absence of any

material evidence on record, the Trial Court was not at all

justified in coming to such a conclusion.

Section 498-A IPC was introduced in the Indian

Penal Code in order to curb the harassment meted by the

husband to the wife and also in order to protect the

weaker spouse. The life of a woman in the family of the

husband is sometimes intolerable and so also miserable

that it drags the woman to commit suicide. In such cases,

Section 498A IPC has been lugged into the issue against

the husband. In the instant case, the deceased

Annapoornamma had committed suicide by consuming

pesticides after 11 years from the date of her marriage. It
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is revealed from the case projected by the prosecution who

had examined several witnesses. Among those witnesses,

PW-1, PW-3 and PW-6 are material witnesses for the

prosecution. There are inconsistencies and contradictions

in these three material witnesses examined for the

prosecution relating to the harassment meted out to the

deceased by the accused. It is seen from the entire

material available on record that the deceased had given

birth to three children and among them, her elder son

examined as DW-3 Mithun Gowda has not spelt out

anything about the allegation of accused having given

physical as well as mental harassment to his mother

Annapoornamma. Moreover, the prosecution has not

established the guilt of the accused relating to the offences

under Section 498-A IPC for her to commit suicide due to

the harassment meted out by her husband. The Trial

Court has not appreciated the evidence on record in

respect of these material witnesses in a proper perspective

which is clear from their respective evidences itself.

On re-appreciation of the entire material on record,

this Court is of the considered view that the trial Court
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has committed an error in appreciating the evidence on

record in a proper perspective and the learned Judge of

the Trial Court was not justified in convicting the accused

for the offences alleged against him.

8. For the foregoing reasons, the point framed by

this court is answered in the negative and the appeal is

hereby allowed. The judgment of conviction and order of

sentence dated 11.03.2010 passed by the Presiding

Officer, Fast Track Court-III, Bangalore Rural District in

S.C.No.232/2007, convicting the accused-appellant herein

for the offence punishable under Section 498-A IPC is

hereby set aside. The accused-appellant is acquitted of

the charges levelled against him.

The bail bond shall stand cancelled.

Sd/-

JUDGE

KS

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