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State By Ulsoor Police Station vs Sri Govindaraju on 3 July, 2019

1

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BENGALURU

ON THE 3RD DAY OF JULY, 2019

BEFORE

THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE RAVI MALIMATH

AND

THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE H.P.SANDESH

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.637 OF 2013

BETWEEN:

STATE BY
ULSOOR POLICE STATION
BANGALORE. … APPELLANT

(BY SRI. I.S. PRAMOD CHANDRA, STATE PUBLIC
PROSECUTOR 2)

AND:

SRI. GOVINDARAJU
SON OF LATE PANCHALAYYA
AGED ABOUT 33 YEARS
RESIDING AT NO.267
14TH CROSS, DOMMALUR LAYOUT
BANGALORE. … RESPONDENT

(BY SRI. B. RAMACHANDRA RAO, ADVOCATE)

THIS CRIMINAL APPEAL IS FILED UNDER SECTION
378(1) AND (3) OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE PRAYING
TO GRANT LEAVE TO FILE AN APPEAL AGAINST THE
JUDGMENT AND ORDER OF ACQUITTAL DATED 22.11.2012
PASSED BY THE ADDITIONAL SESSIONS JUDGE AND
2

PRESIDING OFFICER, FAST TRACK COURT-III, MAYO HALL
UNIT, BANGALORE IN SESSIONS CASE NO.142 OF 2011 –
ACQUITTING THE RESPONDENT-ACCUSED FOR THE
OFFENCES PUNISHABLE UNDER SECTIONS 498A, 304B OF
INDIAN PENAL CODE AND UNDER SECTIONS 3 AND 4 OF
DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT.

THIS APPEAL HAVING BEEN HEARD AND RESERVED
FOR JUDGMENT ON 21.06.2019 COMING ON THIS DAY,
H.P. SANDESH J., PRONOUNCED THE FOLLOWING:-

JUDGMENT

This appeal is filed by the State challenging the

judgment of acquittal dated 22.11.2012 passed in Sessions

Case No.142 of 2011 on the file of Fast Track Court-III and

Additional Session Judge, Mayohall Unit, Bangalore.

2. The factual matrix of the case is that, the

prosecution filed the charge sheet against the accused for

the offences punishable under Sections 498-A, Section304-B of

Indian Penal Code and under Sections 3 and Section4 of Dowry

Prohibition Act. The case of the prosecution is that the

marriage of the accused was performed with the deceased

Pushpa about 4 years back and at the time of marriage

talks, the accused demanded Rs.2,50,000/- and the same

was settled for Rs.1,50,000/- and the said amount was
3

given along with gold jewels of 10 savaren. After the

marriage, the accused and his wife resided at House

No.277, 4th Cross, Domlur Extension, Bangalore and

thereafter, the accused started ill-treating his wife by

demanding further dowry and alleging that she did not

bear any child. As such, due to the ill-treatment meted

out by his husband, she committed suicide by hanging on

25.09.2010 at about 8.00 a.m. in the house of the

accused. The death has occurred within seven years of the

marriage and hence, Section 304-B of Indian Penal Code

and other offences are invoked.

3. The charges are framed against the accused

initially for the offences punishable under Section 304-B of

Indian Penal Code and thereafter, additional charges under

Section 498-A of Indian Penal Code and under Sections 3

and Section4 of Dowry Prohibition Act are framed. The accused

did not plead guilty and claims for trial. Hence, the

prosecution examined 18 witnesses and got marked Exs.P1

to P54 and also M.O.Nos.1 to 26. The statement of the
4

accused under Section 313 of Criminal Procedure Code was

recorded and thereafter, the accused examined himself as

D.W.1 and got marked Exs.D1 to D11. The Court below

after closure of the evidence, heard the arguments of

prosecution and also learned counsel for accused and

acquitted the accused for the charges leveled against him.

Being aggrieved by the judgment of acquittal, the State

has filed the present appeal.

4. Sri I.S.Pramod Chandra, learned Additional

State Public Prosecutor would contend that the learned

trial Judge has failed to consider the evidence of P.Ws.1 to

6, who are the brother, sister, father and relatives of the

deceased. The material witnesses have clearly deposed

before the Court about the ill-treatment meted out by the

accused to the deceased and also about receiving dowry

by the accused. The learned trial Judge without

appreciating the evidence of the above witnesses has

passed the impugned judgment of acquittal giving benefit

of doubt in favour of the accused and the same is
5

erroneous. The Court below also failed to take note of the

fact that the deceased committed suicide within four years

of her marriage. There is no reason for her to commit

suicide at the matrimonial home, except for the

harassment given by the accused in connection with the

dowry and also for the reason that she did not beget the

child even after four years of marriage. The circumstances

of committing suicide has not been properly evaluated by

the learned Sessions Judge. The other contention that the

complaint lodged by P.W.1, brother of the deceased which

is marked as Ex.P1 and also his evidence corroborates the

same and there is no reason to disbelieve the evidence of

P.W.1, P.Ws.3 to 6 and P.W.11, who have supported the

case of the prosecution. He would further contend that on

the previous day of committing suicide, the deceased went

to the house of her parents and demanded Rs.15,000/-

from them to meet the medical expenses. The parents

have given the reply that her father was admitted to

hospital due to heart ailment one week prior to that date

and she was sent with an assurance that the amount
6

would be adjusted and given shortly. On the very next

date, she committed suicide. There is a proximity with

taking steps to commit the suicide. These aspects have not

been considered by the learned trial Judge. Without

considering the evidence on record, the learned trial Judge

acquitted the accused. Hence, he prayed the Court to

convict the accused.

5. Per contra, learned counsel appearing for the

appellant-accused would contend that the learned trial

Judge after considering both oral and documentary

evidence has meticulously appreciated the same in right

perspective and nothing remains to be considered to

reverse the findings of the trial Court and hence, prayed

this Court to dismiss the appeal.

6. Having heard the arguments of the learned

counsels and also on perusal of the material available on

record, the point that arises for our consideration is:

“Whether the Court below has committed
an error in acquitting the accused for the
7

charges leveled against him and the same
requires interference of this Court”.

7. Having heard the arguments of both the

counsels and on perusal of the records, there is no dispute

with regard to the fact that the deceased committed

suicide and the cause of death is due to asphyxia and

hanging and the same is evident from the evidence of

P.W.14, who conducted the post mortem examination. In

Ex.P46, the post mortem report, the cause of death is

mentioned as asphyxia, as a result of hanging. The same

is also not in dispute. Hence, it is clear that the death is

due to hanging.

8. Now the question before us for consideration is

whether the accused has committed the offences alleged

against him beyond reasonable doubt, since it is alleged

that accused demanded his wife to bring additional dowry

by ill-treating her and also he received the dowry prior to

the marriage and during the course of marriage.
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9. P.Ws.1 to 3 in their evidence say that when the

marriage settlement talks were held in the house of the

parents of the deceased, it was settled for Rs.1,50,000/-

and to give gold jewels of 10 savaren. P.W.1, who is the

brother of the deceased in his evidence says talks were

held prior to two months of the marriage. On behalf of the

accused, the accused and his brother-in-law Thirupathaiah

and his sister Ramadevi were present. On their behalf, he

himself, his father and C.Ws.5 and 9 were present i.e.,

P.Ws.3 and 9. In his evidence, he says accused and his

brother-in-law demanded Rs.2,50,000/- and 15 savaren

gold and it was settled for Rs.1,50,000/- and 10 savaren

gold. He further says that at the time of engagement,

they gave Rs.50,000/- to Thirupathaiah and gave 10

grams gold ring and prior to marriage, Rs.1,00,000/- was

given through cheque. After the marriage, his sister joined

the matrimonial home. Accused continued the harassment

insisting her to bring additional dowry and this demand

has taken place for a period of one year. He also says his

sister was working after the marriage and continued the
9

job for 1½ year. Whenever she used to come late, he was

abusing her. Since the father of the deceased took

treatment at Jayadeva Hospital for heart aliment, it is also

his evidence that when his sister went to house, the

accused insisted for money. She called and told to adjust

the same. On the very next day, he received the

information of committing the suicide.

10. P.W.1 was subjected to cross-examination. In

the cross-examination, he admits that in the presence of

accused, marriage talks were not held. He also admits that

TV was purchased by accused himself, but Rs.30,000/-

was given to accused after one year of marriage. In the

cross-examination, he admits that the cheque was not

given in the name of the accused and further, he admits

that Ex.P.14 – cheque is a self-cheque which is counter

signed by his father. He further admits that his sister has

not written any letter for having subjected her for

harassment. But, he claims orally that she was telling the

same. He further claims that when the accused demanded
10

additional money in the house of the accused, a

panchayath was held and they did not give any complaint.

It is suggested that his sister was not having interest to

marry the accused and she was forced to marry him and

the said suggestion was denied.

11. P.W.2 is the colleague of P.W.5 and he claims

that he was informed by the father of the deceased that

accused subjected her for harassment. It is his further

evidence that once the deceased came near office and told

that she did not begotten child and hence, accused is

subjecting harassment and at that time, he advised to take

treatment with Dr.Kamini Rao. In the cross-examination,

he admits that he told that he would talk to the accused at

the appropriate time. It was suggested that no such

statement was made either by the father of the deceased

or by the deceased and the same was denied. P.W.2 is

hearsay witness. On the say of P.W.5, he deposed about

harassment.

11

12. P.W.3 is the relative of the deceased. He

claims that he was also present at the time of marriage

talks. He demanded Rs.2,00,000/- and it was settled for

Rs.1,50,000/-. At the time of engagement, they gave an

amount of Rs.50,000/-. He claimed that he himself gave

money to Thirupathaiah and remaining amount was given

through cheque. The accused started harassment after

two to three months of marriage. He himself and C.Ws.1

and 2 went to the house of the accused and advised. She

did not beget child and hence, accused was harassing her.

In the cross-examination, he admits that in his presence,

marriage talks were not held. He further admits that at

the time of engagement, except money, nothing is given.

After the engagement, he did not go to the house of P.W.1

and even after the marriage also.

13. P.W.4 is the sister of the deceased. In her

evidence, she claimed that she was also present when the

marriage talks were held. The accused, his sister and

brother-in-law were present at the time of marriage talks
12

and they demanded Rs.2,50,000/- and 10 savaren gold. It

was settled at Rs.1,50,000/- and 8 savaren gold. At the

time of engagement, they gave Rs.50,000/- and the same

was given to brother-in-law of the accused through the

P.W.3, remaining amount of Rs.1,00,000/- was given

through cheque. It is her evidence that after one month,

again he demanded additional dowry and gold and the

same was told to her by her sister. They have provided

treatment to both accused and her sister since they did not

beget a child. The accused was subjecting her for

harassment by consuming alcohol and he also sold the

gold ornaments, which were given to him. On 24.09.2010,

her sister came and demanded Rs.15,000/- for her

treatment. At that time, she was also present. On the

very next day, she received the information of committing

suicide. In the cross-examination, she admits that they

have purchased jewels from Khajana Jewelers, but they

are not having any receipt. She also admits that they are

not having any receipts for having purchased other gold

ornaments and she admits that they have not given any
13

complaint during the life time of her sister regarding the

harassment by the accused. She cannot tell on which date,

her sister told about the harassment. Further, she admits

that panchayath was also held and she cannot produce any

documents. It is suggested that no dowry was given and

accused did not demand any additional dowry or gold

ornaments and the same was denied.

14. P.W.5 is the father of the deceased. He

deposed that accused, his sister and brother-in-law came

to the marriage talks. He himself, his family members and

his son-in-law and P.W.3 were present. They demanded

Rs.2,50,000/- and 15 savaren gold. It was settled for

Rs.1,50,000/- and 10 savaren gold and the amount was

given to his brother-in-law Thirupathaiah. He also gave a

ring. His daughter was cordial with her husband for one

month and thereafter, accused was demanding additional

dowry and golden ornaments. He also claimed that he

gave Rs.30,000/- to purchase TV since accused demanded

the same. He further says that since his daughter did not
14

beget child, he took her to Dr. Kamini Rao. Six months

treatment was provided. On the previous day of

committing suicide, she came and demanded Rs.15,000/-.

At that time, he expressed difficulty to pay the same. In

the cross-examination, it is suggested that an amount of

Rs.50,000/- was not given at the time of engagement and

the same was denied. It is suggested that for treatment,

he has spent only Rs.400/- and the same was denied.

But, he admits that he is having receipt only for Rs.400/-.

Ex.P.14 is his bank cheque. He claims that he paid

Rs.30,000/- for purchasing TV by availing loan from KGID.

He admits that Police seized all the jewels in the house of

the accused and mahazar was drawn. It is suggested that

his daughter was not having any interest to lead her life

with the accused, hence, she committed suicide and the

same is denied.

15. P.W.6 is the brother-in-law of the deceased. He

says that he was also present at the time of marriage

talks. At the time of engagement, Rs.50,000/- was given
15

to Thirupathaiah and ring was given to the accused. The

remaining amount of Rs.1,00,000/- was paid through

cheque. The accused was demanding additional dowry and

the deceased was telling the same. The accused was

harassing the deceased on the ground that she did not

beget child and treatment was provided to her. He further

claimed that since accused had sold the gold ornaments

which were given at the time of marriage, there was

misunderstanding. In the cross-examination, he claimed

that ring was given at the time of engagement and

bracelet was given at the time of marriage. The amount

was given to Thirupataiah by P.W.3, who was present. In

the cross-examination, he says that his father-in-law did

not pay Rs.15,000/- when the amount was demanded.

16. The other witness is P.W.9 who is the tenant of

the accused. He was doing business in the premises

attached to the house of the accused. In his evidence he

says that the accused came and enquired whether his wife

gave the key of the house and he gave the reply that no
16

key was given. Accused thereafter called him near the

house and door was locked. When peeped through the

window, it was found that the deceased was in hanging

position. Immediately, he shifted his wife to hospital. He

does not know the reason for suicide.

17. P.W.11 is another witness, who is son of

P.W.3. He also claims that an amount of Rs.1,00,000/-

was given at the time of marriage and Rs.50,000/- was

given at the time of engagement and 10 savaren gold was

also given. He came to know that the accused was

insisting her to bring the additional dowry and also

harassing her since she did not beget child.

18. P.Ws.7 and 8 are mahazar witnesses to

seizure of articles in the house of accused. P.W.10 is the

spot mahazar witness. P.W.12 is another witness to

inquest. P.W.13 is the doctor, who examined the deceased

when she was taken to hospital. P.W.14 conducted

autopsy. P.W.15 is the Tahsildar, in whose presence

inquest was conducted and statement of witnesses were
17

recorded. P.W.16 is the mahazar witness. P.Ws.17 and 18

registered the case and conducted the investigation. In

respect of Ex.P42 i.e., Mahazar, all these witnesses are

formal witnesses.

19. The accused also examined himself as DW.1

and denied the allegations made in the charge sheet. He

produced the documents at Exs.D1 to D11 in support of his

contentions.

20. Having considered the evidence of prosecution

witnesses and also the charges leveled against the

accused, this Court has to examine whether the Court

below has committed an error in acquitting the accused.

Let us consider the evidence of PWs.1 to 6, 9, 11 and 13

who have supported the case of the prosecution. The

charges leveled against the accused is that he demanded

and accepted the dowry of Rs.1,50,000/-. P.W.1, who is

the brother of the deceased says that he himself, his

father and his senior uncle, who are examined as P.Ws.3,

5, 6 and 7 were present at the time of marriage talks and
18

have also spoke about giving money of Rs.50,000/- at the

time of engagement and Rs.1,00,000/- prior to marriage.

In the cross examination of P.W.1, he categorically admits

that, at the time of marriage talks the accused was not

present. Though in the chief evidence, he claims that he

was present in the cross examination, he categorically

admits that he was not present. It is further important to

note that though it is the case of the prosecution that the

accused demanded money to purchase TV and accordingly

Rs.30,000/- was paid, P.W.1 admits that accused himself

has purchased the same, but they have made payment of

Rs.30,000/- i.e., after one year of the marriage. Accused

in his evidence produced Ex.D4 to show that he only

purchased TV and the prosecution did not place any

material for having paid Rs.30,000/- to accused to

purchase the TV.

21. The other case of the prosecution is that an

amount of Rs.1,00,000/- was paid at the time of marriage.

In the cross examination, P.W.1 admits that cheque was
19

not given in the name of accused and the father of the

deceased only has counter signed on the overleaf of the

cheque. P.W.1 also admits that when the accused was

harassing his sister, she did not write any letter and also

they have not given any complaint. He claims that

panchayath was held and the same is not substantiated by

examining any of the witnesses. P.W.2 though spoke that

the father of the deceased and also the deceased herself

had informed about the harassment, it is only hearsay

evidence. P.W.3, who is the relative of the deceased

though claims that in his presence marriage talks were

held and he only gave money to brother-in-law of accused,

in the cross examination, he categorically admits that in

his presence, no marriage talks were held. Hence, it is

clear that his evidence cannot be believed when he did not

participate in the marriage talks. In the further cross-

examination, he admits that he did not go to the house of

P.W.1 after the engagement and even after the marriage

also. The other witness P.W.4 is the sister of the deceased.

No doubt P.W.1 says that P.W.4 was also present when the
20

amount was given to Thirupathaiah and remaining amount

was given through cheque. In the cross-examination, she

had categorically admitted that they are not having any

receipt for having purchased the gold articles. She also

claims in her chief evidence that accused was consuming

alcohol and beating the deceased. He sold the gold

ornaments which they have given at the time of marriage

and her evidence has not been substantiated. The

significant portion in the evidence of P.W.4 is regarding

selling of gold ornaments and the same is not

substantiated. Instead the accused has produced a receipt

for having purchased the gold more than the value of the

gold returned.

22. P.W.5 is the father of the deceased. In the

cross examination, he claims that he gave the amount of

Rs.30,000/- by availing KGID loan and as against his

evidence, the accused has relied on Ex.D.4, the receipt for

having purchased the TV by himself. No document is

produced for having availed loan from KGID and the same
21

is given to the accused. The TV is purchased within six

months of the marriage and P.W.1 says his father gave

money after one year. The prosecution relied on the other

evidence of P.W.9, who is the tenant of the accused. His

evidence is only with regard to he locating the dead body

through the window in a hanging position and

immediately, went inside the house. He categorically says

that he does not know the reason for committing the

suicide. His evidence is not at all helpful to the

prosecution since, he did not speak anything about the

harassment.

23. The other witness is P.W.3. It is not the case of

P.W.1 that he was present at the time of marriage talks.

Though he deposed with regard to the payment of

50,000/- and Rs.1,00,000/- through cheque, in his cross

examination, he admits that he was not present at the

time of marriage talks.

24. Having considered the evidence available on

record, P.W.1 categorically admits that accused was not
22

present at the time of marriage talks. Though prosecution

claims that P.W.3 was present, in the cross examination,

he admits that he was not present at the time of marriage

talks. Hence, it is clear that in their presence, marriage

talks were not held. With regard to demand and

acceptance of dowry amount, no material is placed. It is

the case of the prosecution witnesses that amount was

given to the brother-in-law of the accused-Thirupathaiah

and he has not been cited as a witness. According to the

prosecution, he has received the dowry amount and he has

not been examined before the Court. He has also not been

arraigned as accused. The other contention was that the

amount was paid through cheque and it is admitted in the

cross examination that cheque was not given in the name

of accused and the same is a self cheque of the father of

the deceased. The father has counter signed on the

overleaf of Ex.P.14. Hence, there is no material before the

Court for having paid the amount of Rs.50,000/- and also

the amount of Rs.1,00,000/- as dowry.

23

25. The other allegation with regard to subjecting

the deceased for harassment, there is no dispute with

regard to the fact that the deceased was not having

children after the marriage which was solemnized four

years ago. It is the admitted fact that the deceased as well

as her husband i.e., accused were subjected to medical

examination. In the cross-examination, the father of the

deceased admits that he is having receipt of Rs.400/- for

having provided treatment to his daughter. Though he

claims that he paid the medical expenses, they have not

produced any proof before the Court for having spent more

money for proving treatment to both the accused and his

daughter. It is further important to note that the

prosecution witnesses claim that panchayath was held

regarding harassment. None of the witnesses were

examined, in order to prove the fact that panchayath was

held. Further, it is elicited that no complaint was given

and only claims that they advised the accused.
24

26. No doubt, the death has taken place within

seven years of marriage and the suicide was committed in

the house of the accused. In order to substantiate the

harassment and additional dowry, none of the witnesses

have spoken that in their presence, additional dowry and

additional gold ornaments were demanded. P.W.4 and her

husband claims that accused has sold the ornaments given

at the time of marriage. Nothing is produced before the

Court that the accused himself exchanged the old gold

ornaments worth Rs.33,534/ and obtained the new items

worth Rs.44,534/-. Hence, the very evidence of sister of

the deceased and her husband did not support the case of

the prosecution. The selling of gold ornaments after the

marriage by the accused is nothing but an improvement in

the evidence of P.W.4 and her husband. P.Ws.1 and 5

have not spoken anything about the same. The other

aspect regarding proximity to cause of death, there is no

evidence that both of them quarreled on the previous night

and P.W.9-Tenant, who is running business in the attached
25

shop premises also says, he does not know the reason for

committing the suicide.

27. Upon evaluation of the evidence of the

witnesses, particularly the evidence of PWs.1 to 6, 11 and

13 and after meticulously considering the admissions

elicited in the cross-examination, we do not find any

material to form other opinion and the learned trial Judge

has acquitted the accused by giving reasons. Hence, it is

not a fit case to reverse the findings of the trial Court to

convict the accused. In view of the discussions made

above, the appeal being devoid of merit, stands dismissed.

Sd/- Sd/-
JUDGE JUDGE

AKC/ST/NBM

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