Karnataka High Court State Of Town Police vs Venkatesh on 20 December, 2013Author: K.Bhakthavatsala And D.Waingankar
IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BANGALORE DATED THIS THE 20TH DAY OF DECEMBER 2013 PRESENT
THE HON’BLE DR. JUSTICE K. BHAKTHAVATSALA AND
THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE PRADEEP D WAINGANKAR CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.20/2010
State of Town Police,
Chintamani Town Police Station,
Chintamani. Appellant (By Sri K R Keshava Murthy, Addl. SPP)
Aghe: 29 years.
2. Smt. Kempamma,
W/o Sonnappa @
Age: 52 years,
Residing at Agrahara Village,
Both accused Nos.1 and 2 are
r/at Agrahara village,
Kolar Distrcit. Respondents (By Sri K A Pasha & Sri A C Nagaraj, Advs., for R-1 and 2)
This Criminal Appeal is filed under Section 378(1) & (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, praying to grant leave to file an Appeal against the judgment and order dated 15.4.2009 passed in SC No.20/2007 on the file of District and Sessions Judge, Chikkaballapur acquitting the respondents/accused for the offence punishable under Sections 498A, 302 and 304-B of IPC and under Sections 3,4 and 6 of Dowry Prohibition Act. This Appeal coming on for hearing this day, Dr. Bhakthavatsala, J., delivered the following: JUDGMENT
This is an Appeal filed by the State under Section 378(1) and (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, challenging the judgment dated 15.4.2009 made in SC No.20/2007 on the file of Sessions Judge at Chikkaballapur, acquitting the respondents/accused for the charges levelled against them.
2. Respondent Nos.1 and 2 are accused Nos.1 and 2 Crl.A. No.20/2010
before the trial Court and they are hereinafter referred to as ‘accused Nos.1 and 2’, respectively.
3. Brief facts of the case leading to the filing of the Appeal may be stated as under:
Accused No.1 is the son of accused No.2. The deceased- Sudha is the wife of accused No.1. Their marriage was performed on 16.6.2006. It is the case of prosecution that at the time of marriage, cash of `1,00,000/-, gold chain and a ring were given to accused No.1; whereas a pair of bangles, gold chain, a pair of vole with hangings and a mati were given to the bride/the deceased. After the marriage, Sudha went to the marital home. She lived happily with her husband for a month. Thereafter, accused Nos.1 and 2 coerced Sudha to get Hero Honda Motor Cycle from her parents and started harassing her physically and mentally. The deceased Sudha told the same to her father-P.W6/Narasimhappa. It is stated that P.W-6 paid some amount to console the accused. But, the accused continued to illtreat and harass her and on 16.10.2006, after Crl.A. No.20/2010
the accused left home as usual in the morning for their work at about 3.30 p m, accused No.1 quarrelled with Sudha. This was witnessed by P.W-23/Suvarna @ Shivi. It is stated that accused No.1 strangulated his wife with a saree and hanged her dead body and left home and he did not respond to the call of P.W- 25/Mahesh. It is the case of prosecution that accused No.2 returned home and knocked the door, but none responded. Thereafter, accused No.2, with the help of C.W- 15/Narasimhappa, broke open the window panes and found the dead body of Sudha hanging and after the Police came to the spot, the main door was broke open. It is alleged that accused No.1 confessed stating that he killed his wife-Sudha. P.W- 6/Narasimhappa (father of the deceased Sudha) lodged a complaint with the Police. It was registered in Crime No.136/2006 of Chintamani Town Police Station. The accused was arrested on 17.10.2006. After the investigation was over, charge sheet came to be laid against the accused for the offences punishable under Sections 498A, 302 and 304-B r/w Section 34 of IPC and under Sections 3,4 and 6 of Dowry Prohibition Act. The case was committed to Sessions Court. It Crl.A. No.20/2010
was registered in SC No.20/2007. The Presiding Officer of the Fast Track Court framed charge against the accused for the offences punishable under Sections 498A, 302 and 304-B r/w Section 34 of IPC and Sections 3,4 and 6 of Dowry Prohibition Act. The accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried. In support of the case of prosecution, it has got examined as many as 29 witnesses, got marked 43 documents and got exhibited 12 Material Objects. During the course of cross examination of P.Ws-6,8 and 10, a portion of their statement was marked as Exs.D1 to D9. After the evidence on the side of prosecution was closed, statement of the accused under Section 313 of Cr.P C was recorded. The accused have denied all the incriminating circumstances appearing in the case of prosecution. The accused have not adduced any defence evidence. The trial Court, after hearing arguments, perusing the oral and documentary evidence on record, came to a conclusion that the prosecution failed to bring home the guilt to the accused for the charges levelled against them and recorded an order of acquittal in favour of the accused. This is impugned in this Crl.A. No.20/2010
4. Learned Addl. SPP submits that the trial Court has not properly appreciated the evidence on record and erred in observing that as per Exs.P25 and 26/photographs of the door of the house of accused was said to be broke open, but there was no damage and that death of Sudha was not an homicidal death. It is submitted that accused No.1 being husband and accused No.2 being mother-in-law of deceased have not explained the circumstances under which Sudha died. He further submits that the trial Court erred in rejecting the evidence of P.W-6 with regard to sale of land one year prior to marriage of the deceased with accused No.1 to make payment of dowry to the accused and since the deceased died within 7 years of marriage, the accused should have been convicted for the offence punishable under Section 304B of IPC and under Sections 3,4 and 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
5. Learned Counsel for the respondents submits that the trial Court, on proper appreciation of evidence placed on record, Crl.A. No.20/2010
held that the prosecution failed to prove the charges levelled against the accused and the impugned order of acquittal does not call for interference by this Court.
6. In view of the arguments addressed by the learned Counsel for the parties, the only point that arises for our consideration is:
Whether the impugned judgment calls
for our interference ?
7. Our answer to the point is in the negative for the following reasons:
Admittedly, all the neighbours of the accused have not supported the prosecution to connect the accused for the charges levelled against them. There is no dispute that accused No.1 married to the deceased Sudha on 16.6.2006 and she died an unnatural death on 16.10.2006. As there is no cogent and satisfactory evidence corroborating the testimony of P.Ws-6 and 8/parents of the deceased and their relatives with regard to Crl.A. No.20/2010
taking dowry or ill-treatment and harassment for further dowry. P.W-6/father of the deceased has deposed that he paid `1,00,000/- by way cash and gave gold ornaments as dowry to accused No.1. P.W-11/Krishnappa (younger brother of P.W-6) has deposed that he had been to the house of the deceased after one month after the marriage and at that time the deceased told him that she was happily living in her matrimonial home. He did not go to the house of accused thereafter. The trial Court has observed that there is inconsistency in the evidence of P.W-6 and P.W-11 with regard to giving dowry. The defence has got elicited in cross examination of P.W-6 that he made a statement before the Police as per Exs.D1,D2, D3 and D4. Likewise, the defence has got a portion of statement of P.W-8 made before the Police marked as per Exs.D5 and D6. In the case of of P.W-10, the defence has got marked his statement made before the Police as per Exs.D7, D8 and D9. P.W-6 has deposed that he has sold 1 ½ acres of land in Sy. No.153 for 2,70,000/- on 28.3.2005 so as to meet dowry demand of accused No.1. It is elicited in his cross-examination (P.W-6) that he did not go to the house of accused after the Crl.A. No.20/2010
marriage talks. P.W-6 has denied having made statement before the Police as per Ex.P2. According to Ex.P2, P.W-6 has stated before the Police that he has gone to the house of the accused 8 days prior to the marriage and paid `50,000/-. It is stated that as per the marriage talks, P.W-6 wanted the marriage to be performed at Anekal, whereas accused No.1 wanted that his marriage has to be performed at Chintamani and the accused would meet the marriage expenses. P.W-8 (mother of the deceased Sudha) has given an admission in her cross-examination that the marriage hall was booked by the accused. In view of the above reasons, the trial Court held that the prosecution failed to prove that there was any dowry demand either before or after the marriage and the alleged illtreatment and harassment and therefore recorded an order of acquittal for the offences punishable under Sections 3,4 and 6 of Dowry Prohibition Act and under Section 498A of IPC. Accused No.1 is a mason by profession. It is on record that Accused No.2 is a vegetable vendor and she used to leave home in the early hours in the morning and as such as on the date of Crl.A. No.20/2010
alleged incident, Sudha was alone in the house. It is the case of prosecution that P.W-10/Rajappa is husband of P.W-9/Manjula (elder sister of the deceased). It is the contention of the accused that P.W-10/Rajappa often used to visit the accused’s place in the absence of accused and trying to be friendly with the deceased, for which the accused took an objection. Even on 16.10.2006, P.W10/Rajappa had visited the house of the accused on hearing that some untoward incident of Sudha committing suicide. It is contended by the defence that P.W- 10/Rajappa alone was responsible for her death, but foisted a false case against the accused with the help of P.W-6. In the cross examination of P.W-6, he has given an admission that he was aware of P.W-10 visiting the house of the accused prior to the death of Sudha. It is also on record that even 10 or 15 days prior to the death of Sudha, P.W-10 had visited the house of the deceased-Sudha. P.W-6 has further deposed that accused No.1 used to go to adjoining village for mason work and to leave the house in the morning and return late in the evening and the accused was complaining to P.W-6 about the visit of P.W-10/Rajappa. The case was registered on 17.10.2006 Crl.A. No.20/2010
at about 1.00 p m. P.W-6 has deposed that immediately after he received the information, they went in a Tata Sumo to the house of the accused. The trial Court has highlighted that though P.W-6/father of the deceased went to the Hospital on 17.10.2006 at about 8.00 am, he did not chose to see the dead body till 1.00 pm and he has observed that the conduct of P.W-6 was unnatural. P.W-6 has given an admission that he visited the Hospital, but he did not inform the incident to Police. Subsequently, complaint came to be lodged by P.W-6 with due consultation with P.W-10/Rajappa on his arrival. P.W-6 has lodged a complaint as per Ex.P5, which consists of 3 pages. It is not a complaint recorded by the Police. It is a complaint drafted elsewhere and lodged with the Police. The FIR and complaint reached the learned Magistrate on 17.10.2006 at about 3.00 pm. Ex.P8 is the post mortem report. According to post mortem report, the cause of death was due to asphyxia due to strangulation. There is no cogent and satisfactory evidence on record to hold that the deceased Sudha died an homicidal death. It is the case of prosecution that the main door of the house of the accused was broke open, but the Crl.A. No.20/2010
photographs of the main door at Exs.P25 and 26 do not reveal any damage to the door. In view of the above, the trial Court is justified in acquitting the accused for the charges levelled against them. We see no good ground to interfere with the impugned judgment.
8. In the result, we pass the following order: Appeal fails and the same is hereby dismissed. Sd/-