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The State Of Karnataka vs R Rangaraju @ R Babu on 28 March, 2024

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Karnataka High Court

The State Of Karnataka vs R Rangaraju @ R Babu on 28 March, 2024

Author: H.B.Prabhakara Sastry

Bench: H.B.Prabhakara Sastry

1 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BENGALURU

DATED THIS THE 28TH DAY OF MARCH, 2024

PRESENT
THE HON’BLE DR. JUSTICE H.B.PRABHAKARA SASTRY
AND
THE HON’BLE MR JUSTICE VENKATESH NAIK T
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1228 OF 2017
BETWEEN:

STATE OF KARNATAKA BY
KADUR POLICE STATION
MAGADI TALUK
RAMANAGARA DISTRICT
REPRESENTED BY THE
STATE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR
HIGH COURT BUILDING
BENGALURU-560 001.

…APPELLANT
[SMT. SOWMYA R., H.C.G.P.]
AND:

1. R. RANGARAJU @ R. BABU
S/O LATE M. RANGANNA
AGED ABOUT 38 YEARS

2. PUTTAMMA
W/O LATE RANGANNA
AGED ABOUT 65 YEARS

3. MANJULA
W/O LATE M.N. NANJAPPA
AGED ABOUT 45 YEARS
2 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

THE RESPONDENT NOS.1 TO 3 ARE
R/AT MUDDAHANUME GOWDANA PALYA
HULIKAL DHAKLE
KUDUR HOBLI, MAGADI TALUK
RAMANAGARA DISTRICT-562 120.

…RESPONDENTS
[BY SRI GOPALA KRISHNA B.N., ADVOCATE FOR R-1 TO R-3]

***

THIS CRIMINAL APPEAL IS FILED UNDER SECTION 378(1)
AND (3) OF CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE PRAYING TO SET
ASIDE THE JUDGMENT AND ORDER OF ACQUITTAL DATED
25.03.2017 PASSED BY THE PRINCIPAL DISTRICT AND
SESSIONS JUDGE, RAMANAGARA IN S.C.NO.97/2012-
ACQUITTING THE RESPONDENTS/ACCUSED NOS.1 TO 3 FOR
THE OFFENCEs PUNISHABLE UNDER SECTIONS 498-A, 302, 109,
114 READ WITH 34 OF
IPC.

THIS CRIMINAL APPEAL HAVING BEEN HEARD AND
RESERVED ON 29.02.2024, COMING ON FOR PRONOUNCEMENT,
THIS DAY, VENKATESH NAIK T. J., PRONOUNCED THE
FOLLOWING:

JUDGMENT

The State has filed this appeal under Section 378(1)

and (3) of Cr.P.C., 1973 challenging the judgment and
3 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

order of acquittal dated 25.03.2017 passed by the learned

Principal District and Sessions Judge, Ramanagara in

S.C.No.97/2012, acquitting accused Nos.1 to 3 of the

offences punishable under Sections 498A, 302, 109, 114

read with 34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter for

brevity referred to as ‘IPC’).

2. The summary of the case of the prosecution is that

accused No.1 and deceased – Vimala are the husband and

wife, and their marriage was solemnized on 31.05.2001 at

Sri Vasavi Kalyana Mantapa, Tyamagondlu, Nelamangala

Taluk. Out of their wedlock, two female children were born

by name Harshitha(PW.2), aged about 8 years and

Sushmitha, aged about 4 years. Accused No.2 is the mother

and accused No.3 is the sister of accused No.1. Prior to the

year 2011, accused Nos.1 to 3 were residing in a joint

family. Since two years prior to the year 2011, accused

No.1 was demanding deceased to bring amount from her

father-PW.1 for his business purpose and as PW.1 refused
4 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

to pay the amount, accused No.1 subjected the deceased to

cruelty both physically and mentally by demanding her to

get additional share in the property of her father-PW.1.

They also demanded deceased to bring additional dowry

from her parents. On 02.03.2011, since one of the pigeons

reared in the house of accused No.1 died due to dog bite

and in that connection, accused No.1 took up a quarrel with

the deceased and assaulted her at 10.00 a.m., accused

Nos.2 and 3 who were present at that time also quarreled

with her. When deceased left the house and went towards

the pump house of accused No.3 by carrying the ash,

accused No.1 followed her with an intent to eliminate her

and at the instigation of accused Nos.2 and 3, he dragged

the deceased to the nearby trench in the land of accused

No.3 and committed her murder by strangulating her with a

plastic rope on her neck and thereafter, dumped her dead

body near the pump house and left the place and thereby

all the accused persons committed the offence of murder.
5 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

Later PW.9 Govindaraju informed PW.1- the father of

deceased, stating that the dead body of his daughter is

found in the trench of land of accused No.3 and later PW.1

came to the spot i.e., land of accused No.3 and saw the

dead body of his daughter. In this regard, PW-1 lodged the

complaint with the complainant police as per Ex-P1. Having

registered the same in their station Crime No.49/2011

against the accused persons for the offences punishable

under sections 498A and 302 r/w 34 IPC, on 02.03.2011 at

6.00 p.m., the complainant police submitted FIR Ex-P13 to

the Court and proceeded to conduct investigation. After

investigation, the Investigating Officer filed the charge

sheet against accused Nos.1 to 3 for the offences

punishable under sections 498A, 302, 114 r/w 34 IPC.

3. After perusing the materials placed before it and

hearing both side, the Sessions Court framed charges

against accused Nos.1 to 3 for the offences punishable

under sections 498A, 302, 109, read with section 114 and
6 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

34 IPC. Since accused Nos.1 to 3 pleaded not guilty, the

trial was held, wherein in order to prove the alleged guilt

against accused Nos.1 to 3, the prosecution got examined

in all 14 witnesses as PWs-1 to 14 and got marked 13

documents from Exs.P-1 to P-13 and four material objects

as per MOs.1 to 4. For the defence, Ex-D1 the portion of

statement of PW-10 is marked in Ex-P6.

4. After hearing both the side, learned Sessions

Judge by its impugned judgment dated 25.03.2017

acquitted accused Nos.1 to 3 of the offences punishable

under Sections 498A, 302, 109, 114 r/w 34 IPC.

Challenging the same, the State has filed this appeal.

5. The appellant-State is represented by learned High

Court Government Pleader and respondents/accused Nos.1

to 3 is represented by their counsel. Learned HCGP and

learned counsel for the accused are physically present.
7 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

6. The Sessions Judge’s Court Records were called for

and the same are placed before this Court.

7. Heard the arguments from both side. Perused the

material placed before this Court, including the

memorandum of appeal, impugned judgment and the

Sessions Judge’s Court records.

8. For the sake of convenience, the parties would be

henceforth referred to as per their ranking before the

learned Sessions Judge’s Court.

9. Learned High Court Government Pleader for the

appellant-State in her argument submitted that the

relationship between the parties and the nature of death of

deceased as homicidal is not in dispute. The case is based

on eyewitness account and PW.2 Harshitha, a child witness

has categorically stated as to the manner of assault made

by accused No.1, who strangulated the deceased with a

plastic rope and dragged the body of the deceased near a
8 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

trench and accused Nos.2 and 3 abetted accused No.1 to

commit the murder of the deceased. PW.2 has clearly

stated about the murder committed by accused Nos.1 to 3

in her presence. Her testimony is clear, corroborative and

consistent with other circumstances. Her testimony inspires

the confidence of the Court.

10. It is contended that father of deceased-PW.1,

sisters of deceased-PWs.3 and 4 and mother of deceased-

PW.10 have categorically stated about the motive behind

the commission of murder, the cruelty and harassment

made by accused persons and soon before death of

deceased, she was assaulted by the accused persons.

11. It is contended that the oral testimonies of PWs.1

to 4 and 10 is corroborated by the medical evidence of

PW12-Dr. Jnanaprakash.

12. The Investigating Officer recovered MO.1-plastic

rope and MO.3-pieces of bangle at the instance of accused
9 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

No.1 and the spot mahazar(Ex.P5) witnesses PWs.5 and 6

have categorically stated about seizure of MOs.1 and 3 in

their presence, this aspect also corroborates the case of the

prosecution.

13. It is contended that at the time of marriage,

PW.1-father of deceased gave 120 grams of gold and cash

of Rs.75,000/- to accused No.1 as dowry and after five

years of the marriage, again accused No.1 demanded

Rs.3,00,000/- for opening a CD shop. Accordingly, PW1

gave Rs.3,00,000/- to accused No.1 and after two years of

receipt of the said amount, again accused No.1 demanded

and received a sum of Rs.1,50,000/- from PW.1 and again

after two years of receiving said amount, accused No.1

further demanded Rs.5,00,000/- for his business, for which,

PW.1 suggested to sell the land measuring 1 acre 20 guntas

which was given to the share of deceased earlier and to

make use of the consideration amount. Hence, accused

No.1 entered into an agreement in respect of the land
10 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

which was given to deceased, with one Krishnappa for a

sum of Rs.16,00,000/- and received a sum of Rs.3,00,000/-

as advance consideration.

14. It is contended that PW.2 further stated that she

witnessed the incident of accused No.1 strangulating the

neck of the deceased with the help of a plastic rope and

dragging her to the trench and committing her murder.

PW.3-Vijayalakshmi and PW.4-Kavitha, the sisters of

deceased have stated about the incident and the earlier

demand made by accused No.1 and harassment made to

deceased by the accused persons. They have stated that

they came to the spot soon after receipt of the information

and saw PW.2 and deceased at the scene of offence. It is

contended that the evidence of PWs.1 to 4 and PW.10 is

clear, cogent and consistent, more particularly PW.2 being

the child witness, her testimony plays a very prominent

role. It is contended that PWs.7 and 8 are the inquest

mahazar witnesses who have clearly stated about the dead
11 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

body of deceased found at the land of accused No.3 and

visible marks on the neck of deceased. The oral evidence of

PWs.1 to 4, 7, 8 and 10 corroborates with the medical

evidence. PW.12-Dr.Jnanaprakash who conducted autopsy

on the dead body of deceased opined that the cause of

death was due to mechanical asphyxia as a result of

hanging. It is contended that, the prosecution is able to

prove the ingredient of Section 498A IPC regarding demand

and PWs.1 to 4 have stated that whenever the deceased

visited the parental house, she used to narrate the demand

of money made by accused No.1. Further, all the official

witnesses have stated about the manner of investigation

conducted by them. Hence, the prosecution witnesses have

categorically stated about the involvement of accused Nos.1

to 3.

15. It is contended that the oral testimonies of PWs.1

to 4 and 10 is strengthened by the medical evidence, post-

mortem examination and FSL report. It is contended that,
12 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

the father of deceased did not have any documents to show

that he paid additional amount to accused No.1, but

accused No.1 was frequently demanding amount from the

parents of deceased. The oral testimonies of PWs.1 to 4 and

10 clearly establish that PW.1 paid the amounts as

demanded by accused No.1. It is further contended that

PW.2 is an eyewitness to the incident and her testimony

stands on a different footing. But, the trial Court wrongly

acquitted accused Nos.1 to 3 of the offences charged.

Therefore, learned High Court Government Pleader prayed

to convict accused Nos.1 to 3 for the aforesaid offences.

16. Per Contra, learned counsel for the

respondents/accused Nos.1 to 3, in his argument submitted

that the relationship between the parties and the death of

deceased is not in dispute, however, the accused have

disputed the cause of death of deceased. As per the

evidence of PW.1 and contents of Ex.P1, the presence of PW.2

at the scene of offence has not been stated. He submitted
13 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

that, PW.2-Harshitha was not an eyewitness, but she was

planted witness and her testimony cannot be believed on

account of she being tutored by PWs.1, 3, 4 and 10. In the

absence of the testimony of PW.2, the entire case of

prosecution appears to be based on circumstantial

evidence. In this case, all links in the chain of

circumstances have not been established. The prosecution

has failed to establish the motive, last seen theory, conduct

of accused persons and recovery of incriminating articles.

Thus, the Sessions Judge’s Court has rightly given the

benefit of doubt to the accused persons and acquitted them

of the alleged offences, which does not warrant any

interference at the hands of this Court.

17. After hearing the learned counsels from both side,

the points that arise for our consideration in this appeal

are:

1. Whether the prosecution proved beyond reasonable

doubt that accused Nos.1 to 3 willfully subjected
14 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

deceased – Vimala, the wife of accused No.1 to

cruelty both physically and mentally by demanding

her to get her share in the immovable property of

her parents with a willful conduct of such a nature

as is likely to drive her to commit suicide or to

harass with a view to coercing her parents to meet

their unlawful demand of property or dowry and

thereby committed an offence punishable under

Section 498A read with 34 of I.P.C.?

2. Whether the prosecution further proved that on

02.03.2011 at around 10:15 a.m., accused No.1 at

the instigation of accused Nos.2 and 3 committed

murder of deceased – Vimala by strangulating her

neck with a plastic rope in the land of accused No.3

at Muddehanumegowdanapalya Village and thereby

committed an offence under Section 302 read with

34 of I.P.C.?

3. Whether the prosecution further proved beyond

reasonable doubt that accused Nos.2 and 3 on or
15 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

prior to 02.03.2011 at Muddehanumegowdanapalya

Village in the house of accused No.1 and in land of

accused No.3 abetted accused No.1 by intentionally

aiding or instigating him in commission of offence

of cruelty and murder punishable Under Sections

498-A and 302 of I.P.C., and as to whether accused

Nos. 2 and 3 were present during the occurrence of

the incident on the aforesaid date, place and time,

and thereby committed an offence under Section

109 read with 114 of I.P.C.?

4. Whether the impugned judgment warrants

interference at the hands of this Court?

18. Before proceeding further in analysing the

evidence led in the matter, it is to be borne in mind that it

is an appeal against the judgment of acquittal of accused

persons for the alleged offences punishable under Sections

498A, 302, 109, 114 read with 34 of IPC. Therefore,

accused Nos.1 to 3 have primarily the double benefit.
16 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

Firstly, the presumption under law that unless the guilt is

proved, the accused has to be treated as innocent in the

alleged crime. Secondly, accused Nos.1 to 3 are already

enjoying the benefit of judgment of acquittal passed under

impugned judgment. As such, bearing the same in mind,

the evidence placed by the prosecution in the matter is

required to be analysed.

(a) Our Hon’ble Apex Court, in its judgment in the

case of Chandrappa and others -vs- State of

Karnataka, reported in (2007) 4 Supreme Court Cases

415, while laying down the general principles regarding

powers of the Appellate Court while dealing in an appeal

against an order of acquittal, was pleased to observe at

paragraph 42(4) and paragraph 42(5) as below:

” 42(4) An appellate Court, however, must bear

in mind that in case of acquittal, there is double
presumption in favour of the accused. Firstly, the
presumption of innocence is available to him under the
fundamental principle of criminal jurisprudence that
17 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

every person shall be presumed to be innocent unless
he is proved guilty by a competent Court of law.
Secondly, the accused having secured his acquittal, the
presumption of his innocence is further reinforced,
reaffirmed and strengthened by the trial Court.

42(5) If two reasonable conclusions are possible
on the basis of the evidence on record, the appellate
Court should not disturb the finding of acquittal
recorded by the trial Court.”

(b) In the case of Sudershan Kumar -vs- State of

Himachal Pradesh reported in (2014) 15 Supreme

Court Cases 666, while referring to Chandrappa’s case

(supra), the Hon’ble Apex Court at Paragraph 31 of its

Judgment was pleased to hold that, it is the cardinal

principle in criminal jurisprudence that presumption of

innocence of the accused is reinforced by an order of

acquittal. The Appellate Court, in such a case, would

interfere only for very substantial and compelling reasons.
18 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

(c) In the case of Jafarudheen and others -vs-

State of Kerala, reported in (2022) 8 Supreme Court

Cases 440, at Paragraph 25 of its judgment, the Hon’ble

Apex Court was pleased to observe as below:

” 25. While dealing with an appeal against
acquittal by invoking
Section 378 Cr.P.C, the appellate
Court has to consider whether the trial Court’s view
can be termed as a possible one, particularly when
evidence on record has been analysed. The reason is
that an order of acquittal adds up to the presumption
of innocence in favour of the accused. Thus, the
appellate Court has to be relatively slow in reversing
the order of the trial Court rendering acquittal.
Therefore, the presumption in favour of the accused
does not get weakened but only strengthened. Such a
double presumption that enures in favour of the
accused has to be disturbed only by thorough scrutiny
on the accepted legal parameters.”

The above principle laid down by it in its previous case

was reaffirmed by the Hon’ble Apex Court, in the case of

Ravi Sharma -vs- State (Government of NCT of Delhi)

and another reported in (2022) 8 Supreme Court
19 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

Cases 536 and also in the case of Roopwanti -vs- State of

Haryana and others reported in AIR 2023 SC 1199.

19. It is keeping in mind the above principles laid

down by the Hon’ble Apex Court, we proceed to analyse the

evidence placed by the prosecution in this matter.

20. The relationship between deceased Vimala and

accused No.1 as wife and husband and deceased Vimala

residing with accused No.1 at Muddehanumegowdanapalya,

Magadi Taluk, Ramanagara District within the limits of

Kuduru Police Station, is not in dispute. Majority of the

prosecution witnesses examined in the matter, including

PW.1-Chikkanna, PW.2-Kumari Harshitha, PW.3-

Vijayalakshmi, PW.4-Kavitha and PW.10-Putta Narasamma,

are none other than father, daughter, sisters and mother of

deceased Vimala, respectively. In their evidence, the

witnesses have clearly stated the relationship between

deceased Vimala and accused persons, particularly,
20 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

deceased and accused No.1 as husband and wife and

residing of deceased in the matrimonial house of accused

No.1 at Muddahanumegowdanapalya, Ramanagar. The

evidence of all these witnesses on the said point has not

been denied by the accused persons in their cross-

examination. Hence, the relationship between the deceased

and accused Nos.1 to 3 that accused No.1 is the wife of the

deceased, accused Nos.2 and 3 are mother and sister of

accused No.1 stands established.

21. All the above witnesses who have stated about

relationship between the deceased and accused No.1 have

also stated that deceased Vimala died in the land of

accused No.3. The said evidence also remained undenied

and undisputed.

22. In order to prove the homicidal death of deceased

Vimala, the prosecution relied upon the evidence of PW.1-

Chikkanna, the father of deceased who has stated that on

02.03.2011 at 11.00 a.m., he received a phone call from
21 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

accused No.1, wherein he informed PW.1 that deceased

expired and thus accused No.1 requested PW.1 to come

alone without informing anybody. Thereafter, PW.1 also

received a phone call from one Govinda Raju-PW.7 of

Muddegowdana Palya, who informed saying that the dead

body of his daughter was lying near the bund of land of

accused No.3. So PW.1 and his family members came to

the land of accused No.3 in between 1.30 p.m. to 2.00 p.m.

and noticed that the dead body of his daughter Vimala was

lying at the bund in the Areca garden land of accused No.3,

and nobody was there, except PW.2-Harshitha, who was

crying sitting by the side of her deceased mother.

However, the evidence of PW10-Puttanarasamma, the

mother of deceased is contrary to the evidence of PW.1,

who has stated that, by the time, they went to the spot,

there were already ten to twenty persons. So the version of

PW.1 that PW.2-Harshitha, the daughter of deceased and
22 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

accused No.1 was sitting alone crying by the side of her

deceased mother is in variance with the evidence of PW.10.

23. The prosecution relied upon the evidence of PW.2-

Harshitha-the child witness and the only eyewitness to the

incident. She has stated that, on 02.03.2011, she was

under the care and custody of her parents- accused and

deceased. She has further stated that at the time of death

of her mother, she was studying in 3rd standard and her

father accused No.1 was working as an Attender at

Government Hospital, Honnenahalli, Sira Taluk, Tumukuru

District. She has further stated that accused No.1 used to

come home once in a week and during his visit, he used to

quarrel with deceased Vimala and accused Nos.2 and 3

used to complain to accused No.1 against deceased Vimala

and they used to abuse the deceased. It is her further

evidence that, on 02.03.2011, when PW.2 was in the

house, a quarrel took place between her deceased mother

and accused No.1 in the back drop of two pigeons which
23 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

were reared by accused No.1-her father, one of the pigeons

died due to dog bite. Hence, accused No.1 abused deceased

saying that she could neither look after the pigeons nor

bring money or property from her parents. Thereafter, her

mother Vimala left the house saying that she would dispose

off the ash in the garden land and bring flowers.

Immediately, accused No.1 followed her, accused Nos.2

and 3 also followed accused No.1.

24. PW.2 further stated that she also followed accused

Nos.1, 2 and 3 and she noticed her deceased mother

plucking flowers in the garden. At that time, she noticed

her father- accused No.1, who brought a plastic rope from

the pump house and tied around her mother’s neck. At

that time, accused Nos.2 and 3, who were present there

instigated accused No.1 not to leave deceased and finish

her. The witness further states that she intervened and

requested her father-accused No.1 not to kill her mother,

however, accused No.1 slapped on her face and pushed her
24 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

aside, killed her mother and put her dead body near a

Kanagale tree. Her further evidence is that accused No.1

gave a phone call to PW.1 and asked him to come to the

spot. The witness further states that she asked her

grandparents not to send accused No.1 to the jail. Soon

after the incident, accused No.1 left the place and

thereafter, accused Nos.2 and 3 also left the place. In the

afternoon, her maternal grand parents visited the spot.

From the perusal of the evidence of PW.2, it appears that

though she has prevented accused No.1-her father and

accused Nos.2 and 3 from committing the murder of

deceased Vimala, however, she has not raised hue and cry

at the time of strangulating her mother with a plastic rope

by the accused persons. Therefore, as per the oral

testimony of PW.2, she was not an eye witness, but she

was the first person to see the dead body of deceased

Vimala.

25 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

25. From the perusal of the oral testimony of PW.10,

the presence of PW.2 at the scene of offence appears to be

doubtful, which is not supported by PW.10. Further, from

the perusal of Ex.P6-inquest panchanama at column No.3,

it clearly discloses that it was PW-7 Govindaraju, son of

Ramakrishnaiah, who first saw the dead body of deceased

Vimala. As per evidence of PW.9-Govindaraju, son of

Sanjeevaiah, neighbouring land owner of accused No.3 has

stated that about four years ago at about 9.30 a.m. to

10.00 a.m., himself and one Sarojamma were grazing

cattles near their land and at that time, deceased Vimala

was moving towards the land of 3rd accused in a hurriedly

manner and Sarojamma asked him to enquire as to why

deceased Vimala is moving hurriedly. So PW.9 went near

the pump house of accused No.3 and noticed that Vimala

was going inside the pump house. Sarojomma also went

there. Five minutes later they knocked the door of the

pump house, however, deceased Vimala did not open the
26 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

door and hence, Sarojamma screamed. Immediately one

Hucchegowda who was going on the path came

immediately. They together peeped through the window of

pump house. They noticed that Vimala had hanged herself

to the iron pipe of roof of the pump house. Immediately,

Hucchegowda climbed the roof, removed the junk sheet put

on the roofing and got down in the pump house and opened

the door of the pump house. Thereafter, PW9-Govindaraju

and Sarojamma entered the pump house and they all

together cut the rope which was used by the deceased to

hang herself and brought down her body. They tried to

make her drink water, but she could not drink the water.

Therefore, the entire prosecution story that accused No.1

all along used to harass and quarrel with the deceased and

on the ill-fated day, followed her to the garden land of

accused No.3 and killed her by strangulating with a plastic

rope and accused Nos.2 and 3 abetted in commission of the

murder appears to be imaginary. The oral testimony of
27 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

PW.9 that, he saw deceased in the land of accused No.3,

who was hurriedly went towards the pump house, where

she was hanged to the roof, hence, one Sarojamma and

PW.9 went to the pump house and knocked the door, in the

mean-while one Hucchegowda came, removed the roof

sheet, he entered the pump house, opened the lock of the

door and cut the plastic rope and laid the body of deceased

on the floor. This part of oral testimony of PW.9 is not

denied by the prosecution, by suggesting to him in his

cross examination.

26. If really PW.2-Kum. Harshitha had followed her

father- accused No.1 and her mother-deceased to the

garden land of accused No.3 on the ill-fated day and saw

her father killing her mother Vimala by using a plastic rope

by way of strangulation, then PW.1-Sri Chikkanna-father of

Vimala would not have certainly missed the said fact to

mention it in Ex.P1-Complaint and so also PW.10-

Puttanarasamma- mother of Vimala who also accompanied
28 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

him to the spot and heard PW.2, who narrated the incident

to them and as deposed by PW.2, they would have

mentioned the same at the earlier point of time. But PW.10

does not support the version of PW.2 or the evidence of

PW.1. So the evidence of child witness PW.2 to the fact

that it was accused No.1, who committed murder of Vimala

at the instigation of accused Nos.2 and 3, appears to be

doubtful and her evidence does not corroborate with the

testimonies of PW.1 and PW.10. More importantly soon

after the death of her mother, PW.2 has been residing with

PW.1 and PW.10 and her evidence was recorded before the

Court on 08.06.2015.

27. At the outset, we must note the perspective from

which the evidence of PW.2 child witness is to be

considered. The corroboration of the oral testimony of a

child witness is not a rule, but a measure of caution and

prudence. We have to consider the evidence of PW.2 with

the evidence of the other witnesses. PW.2, who at the time
29 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

of occurrence was aged about 8 years, was the only solitary

eye witness.

28. The time and place of occurrence and the

attending circumstances of the case suggest no possibility

of there being any other person as an eye witness. The

evidence of a child witness cannot be rejected per-se. But,

as a rule of prudence, we have to consider such evidence

with scrutiny and only on being convinced about the quality

of the statement and its reliability, we have to base

conviction by accepting the statement of the child witness.

The evidence of PW.2 can be discarded on the ground of

her tender age. The fact of PW.2 being the child witness

would require the Court to scrutinize her evidence with care

and caution. She was shown to have stood the test of

cross examination and there were several infirmities in her

evidence. Therefore, the prosecution cannot claim a

conviction based upon her testimony alone. While

appreciating the evidence of a child witness, we have to
30 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

ascertain whether the child was tutored by PW.1 and

PW.10, the father and mother of the deceased and PW.3

and PW.4 the sisters of the deceased. From the perusal of

evidence of PW.2, she has given her evidence in an

exaggerated manner. In the presence of such allegation

regarding exaggeration, we cannot rely upon the testimony

of PW.2 and her testimony does not inspire the confidence

of the court for the purpose of holding accused

Nos.1 to 3 guilty of the offences alleged.

29. The evidence of PW.2, being an eye witness to the

incident, remains impeachable and has been disbelieved by

the trial Court. Her evidence was discarded only for the

reason that she allegedly did not raise any alarm or did not

try to intervene when her mother was being strangulated

with a plastic rope by her father. The incident occurred in a

village. Therefore, one cannot expect that every child has

to raise hue and cry if untoward incident had occurred. In

this case, PW.2 had requested her father not to kill her
31 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

mother. Hence, there is nothing unnatural in this regard.

From the oral evidence of PW.2, it establishes that accused

No.1 tied rope on the neck of deceased and committed

murder. But, the manner in which her mother was done to

death by her father-accused No.1 is not corroborated by

medical evidence on record. The location of the dead body,

as mentioned by the Investigating Officer, is not

corroborated by the sketch, inquest mahazar, and other

materials.

30. In the circumstances, we cannot safely rely on the

version given by the child witness in the instant case, who

was about ‘8’ years of age when the incident had occurred.

There is other feature of evidence touching upon the

involvement or non involvement of accused persons. In the

absence of any material by the prosecution, the trial Court

considered that there are full of omissions and

contradictions in the prosecution evidence. Thus the

version given by the child witness being not worthy to be
32 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

relied upon, we have also considered the evidence of PW.2

that she had spotted accused Nos.1 to 3 at the time of

incident, is doubtful.

31. As per the case of the prosecution, accused No.1

strangulated the deceased with a plastic rope and accused

Nos.2 and 3 abetted accused No.1 to commit the murder of

deceased in presence of child witness PW.2 and it casts a

serious doubt of shadow in respect of the presence of PW.2

eyewitness on the spot at the time of occurrence. Moreover,

the facts stated by PWs.1 and 10 in this regard, as already

discussed above, have not been corroborated by PWs.3 and

4. The facts discussed hereinabove make the presence of

eyewitness at the place of occurrence all the more doubtful

and highly improbable. Since there are serious doubtful

aspects in the conduct of PW.2 and her conduct does not

appear to be natural, it would not be safe to accept her

evidence without any corroboration, more particularly,

when PW.1 failed to mention the very presence of PW.2 at
33 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

the spot and he came to know about the incident through

PW.2 child eye witness. Similar ratio is laid down in the

case of AMAR SINGH v. STATE (NCT OF DELHI)

reported in (2020) 19 SCC 165.

32. The Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of SHAHAJA

ALIAS SHAHAJAN ISMAIL MOHD. SHAIKH v. STATE

OF MAHARASHTRA reported in 2022 SCC OnLine SC

883 has held at paragraph No.28 as under:

“28. In assessing the value of the evidence of the
eyewitnesses, two principal considerations are
whether, in the circumstances of the case, it is possible
to believe their presence at the scene of occurrence or
in such situations as would make it possible for them to
witness the facts deposed to by them and secondly,
whether there is anything inherently improbable or
unreliable in their evidence. In respect of both these
considerations, the circumstances either elicited from
those witnesses themselves or established by other
evidence tending to improbabilise their presence or to
discredit the veracity of their statements, will have a
bearing upon the value which a Court would attach to
their evidence”.

33. Now we shall first deal with the contention

regarding interestedness of the witnesses for the
34 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

prosecution version. Relationship is not a factor to affect

credibility of a witness. It is more often than not that a

relation would not conceal the actual culprit and make

allegations against an innocent person. Foundation has to

be laid, if plea of false implication is made. In such cases,

the court has to adopt a careful approach and analyse

evidence to find out whether it is cogent and credible.

34. The case can be examined with reference to

nature of injuries suffered by the deceased. PW12-

Dr.Jnanaprakash, Specialist, Magadi Government Hospital,

has stated that on 03.03.2011, he conducted post-mortem

examination on the dead body of Vimala and found the

following external and internal injuries:-

External Injuries:-

1. A well defined obliquely running ligature mark
measuring about 10 x 1/2 inch, running across
the front of the neck, extending from below and
behind left ear, between chin and larynx.

Ligature mark is not clearly seen in nape of the
neck region. Floor of the ligature mark is dry,
35 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

white and parchment like with minor abrasions
around the upper part of ligature in front.

2. Multiple, Blackish discoloured areas noted in
right side of face, right upper abdomen, right
foot, right upper arm with no signs of
inflammation.

Internal injuries:-

1. Congestion of laryngeal tissue and upper
trachea.

Brain tissue was congested. Both the lungs
congested. All four chambers of heart filled with blood.
Liver, spleen, kidneys were congested. Stomach
contains small amount of semi solid food particles
which were indistinguishable. Small intestine
distended with gas and semi solid partially digested
food particles present. Large intestine distended with
gas and fecal matter.

Uterus and genital organs were normal for age.
Uterus shows no signs of pregnancy.

Following viscera samples are taken and sent for
FSL analysis, Bangalore:

1. Saline solution.

2. Stomach with contents and piece of small

intestine.

36 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

3. Pieces of brain, lungs, heart, liver, spleen and

kidneys.

Final opinion regarding cause of death kept
pending for want of FSL report and Time since death is
about 24 hours.

As per the opinion of the Doctor, on the basis of the

FSL report, death is due to mechanical asphyxia as a result

of hanging. Hence, he issued post-mortem report as per

Ex.P12. As per the opinion of PW.12, external injury No.1

as stated above is likely to be caused, if a person is

dragged after tightening a plastic rope like MO.1 around

his/her neck. Analysis of medical evidence helps to draw

inference that whole case clearly establishes that it was not

homicidal death, but it was a suicidal death and PW.12-

Doctor clearly admitted in his cross-examination that

whatever the ligature mark he has noted in Ex.P12 are

more likely found in a suicidal case. If there were to be

any resistance by the victim in case of strangulation by

somebody else, there would be more likely of causing
37 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

injuries such as abrasions, clots, bleeding, contusions and

bruises etc., at the same time, there is also likelihood of

causing bleeding injuries, if the strangulated person is

dragged to certain distance on a rough surface. The Doctor-

PW.12 admits that in case of resistance, the assailant is

also likely to sustain certain injuries such as abrasions,

bruises etc., but he did not notice any injuries showing

strangulation by some other person and also he did not

notice any injuries that are likely to be caused when the

strangulated person is dragged on rough surface. The

doctor-PW.12 categorically admitted that the features

noted by him in Ex.P12 post-mortem report are suggestive

of suicidal death. From the perusal of medical evidence, it

appears that the death of deceased Vimala was not

homicidal one, but it was suicidal death. Therefore, the

testimony of PW.2-Harshitha a child witness creates a

doubt as to her presence at the scene of offence. Further,

as per the evidence of PW.2, the place of incident is the
38 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

trench in the land of accused No.3. As per the prosecution

case, the place of incident is near the pump house and as

per the evidence of PW.9 also, the place of incident is near

the pump house. It shows that the evidence of prosecution

witness is not certain about the scene of occurrence.

35. The prosecution is relying upon the eye witness

account-PW.2, which requires careful independent

assessment and evaluation for its credibility, which would

not be adversely prejudged, making medical or any other

evidence as sole touch stone for test of such credibility.

Therefore, the evidence of PW.2 must be tested in the light

of other evidence and her own earlier version to the police.

Further, reliability of the evidence of an eye witness

depends upon the accuracy of witness, original observation

of the events which she describes, its correctness and to

the extent of what she remembers and her grasping.
39 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

36. From the perusal of the prosecution witnesses, more

particularly, the oral testimonies of PWs.1 to 4 and PW.10,

they have clearly stated that accused No.1 strangulated and

committed murder of deceased Vimala by strangulation

with the help of a plastic rope. But on the contrary, as per

the medical evidence, PW12-Dr Jnanaprakash has

categorically stated that it was not strangulation but it was

hanging. PW9-Govindaraju has categorically stated, that on

the day of incident, he and Sarojamma saw going deceased

Vimala to the pump house where she committed suicide by

hanging in the pump house.

37. PW.5 N. Gangaraju, S/o. Nanjappa, witness to

seizure mahazar Ex-P5 and friend of PW.1 has stated that

on 03.03.2011, the police conducted mahazar in the land of

accused No.3. Accused No.1 was in the custody of police,

he showed a plastic rope- M.O.1 and pieces of black colour

bangles M.O.3 from the bushes near scene of occurrence,

where the police drew panchanama as per Ex-P5. In the
40 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

cross examination, he admits that his native place is

situated at a distance of 35 to 40 kms from the scene of

occurrence. At the time of conducting the mahazar, the

dead body was not lying in the spot. 10 to 15 persons

hailing from Muddehanumegowdana palya were present at

the spot. He does not know who prepared the contents of

Ex-P5 and he cannot say the schedule of scene of

occurrence.

38. PW.6 K. Narayanamurthy, witness to seizure

panchanama Ex-P5 who reiterates the testimony of PW.5.

He admits that his native place is situated at a distance of

30 kms from the scene of occurrence. Police never issued

any notice to him to stand as pancha. He does not know the

name of police officer, who drafted the panchanama and

where it was drafted. He does not know the contents of Ex-

P5 and police have not read the contents of Ex-P5 to him.

He has not seen the bangle pieces at the spot. He does not

know the schedule of panchanama. From the perusal of oral
41 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

testimonies of PW.5 and 6, it appears that PW.5 and 6 are

not local panchas, they do not know the contents of Ex-P5

and they appear to be friends and relatives of PW.1.

39. PW-7 Govindaraju, S/o. Ramakrishnaiah, witness

to inquest mahazar Ex-P6 has stated that on 02.03.2011,

the police conducted inquest panchanama in the land of

accused No.3, where the dead body was lying on the

ground. He saw visible injuries on neck, ear and left fore

hand of deceased. Hence, the police drew inquest

panchanama as per Ex-P6. In the cross examination, he

admits that he does not know the name of the police

officer, who drafted inquest panchanama. He saw bangles

in both hands. He admits that he hails from the village of

PW.1. At the time of mahazar, accused Nos.1 to 3 were

present.

40. PW.8 Gangaraju, S/o. Hanumanthaiah, a witness

to inquest mahazar, who reiterates the testimony of PW.7.
42 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

In the cross examination, he admits that PW.1 is his uncle.

He does not know the schedule of scene of occurrence.

From the perusal of oral testimonies of PWs.7 and 8, it

appears that they are also relatives of deceased and they

described visible injuries on the neck, ear and hand.

41. PW.13 G. Ramakrishnaiah, Asst. Sub Inspector of

Police, Kudur police station, who received the complaint and

registered the FIR in Cr.No.49/2011.

42. PW.14 N.B. Ramachandrappa, the Investigating

Officer, who conducted the inquest panchanama as per Ex-

P6, arrested accused, recorded his voluntary statement,

visited the scene of occurrence, drew seizure panchanama,

seized M.O.1 and 3 from the spot, recorded statement of

the witnesses. He completed the investigation and filed the

charge sheet. It appears that PW.13 and 14 are official and

formal witnesses.

43 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

43. At this juncture, it is just and necessary to

distinguish between ‘strangulation’ and ‘hanging’.

44. In Javed Abdul Rajjaq Shaikh v. State of

Maharashtra, reported in (2019) 10 SCC 778, wherein

the Hon’ble Apex Court at para 29 has observed as under:-

“Definition-Strangulation is defined as the
compression of the neck by a force other
than hanging. Weight of the body has
nothing to do with strangulation.

Ligature strangulation is a violent form of
death, which results from constricting the
neck by means of a ligature or by any other
means without suspending the body.

When constriction is produced by the
pressure of fingers and palms upon the
throat, it is called as throttling. When
strangulation is brought about by
compressing the throat with a foot, knee,
bend of elbow, or some other solid
substances, it known as Mugging (strangle
hold).

A form of strangulation, known as Bansdola,
is sometimes practised in northern India. In
the form, a strong bamboo or lathi(wooden
club) is placed across the throat and another
across the back of the neck. These are
strongly fastened to one end. A rope is
44 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

passed around the other end, which is bound
together, and the unfortunate victim is
squeezed to death. The throat is also
pressed by the placing the lathi or bamboo
across the front of the neck and standing
with a foot on each of lathi or bamboo.

45. Whereas in this case, from the perusal of the

evidence of PW.12 and post-mortem report Ex.P12, it

appears that, in the light of differences between hanging

and strangulation, in a case of hanging, saliva will dribble

down the mouth down on the chin and the chest, whereas

in a case of strangulation, there will be no such dribbling.

PW.12-Medical Officer has specifically stated that the nature

of injury found on the person of deceased-Vimala is hanging

and not strangulation one.

46. Having regard to the said evidence, which has

been also appreciated by the Sessions Court, there remains

no shadow of doubt that the deceased has committed

suicide by hanging and the prosecution had failed to prove

the fact that accused No.1 committed murder of deceased
45 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

Vimala by strangulation and accused Nos.2 and 3 abetted

accused No.1 in commission of the offence. Therefore, the

prosecution has failed to prove the ingredient of Sections

302, 109, 114 read with 34 IPC.

47. The next question that falls for our consideration

before this Court is “whether the prosecution has proved

beyond reasonable doubt the charges levelled against

accused Nos.1 to 3 with regard to offence punishable under

Section 306 read with Section 34 IPC?”.

48. At this juncture, it would be beneficial to

reproduce relevant provision contained in Section 306 IPC

pertaining to abetment of suicide.

”306. Abetment of suicide. — If any person
commits suicide, whoever abets the commission
of such suicide, shall be punished with
imprisonment of either description for a term
which may extend to ten years, and shall also be
liable to fine.”
46 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

What is abetment of a thing has been described in

Section 107 which reads as under:

Section 107:- Abetment of a thing.- A person
abets the doing of a thing, who –

First.- Instigates any person to do that thing;
or

Secondly.- Engages with one or more other
person or persons in any conspiracy for the
doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission
takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy,
and in order to the doing of that thing; or

Thirdly.- Intentionally aids, by any act or
illegal omission, the doing of that thing.

49. From the bare reading of the said provision, it

clearly transpires that in order to convict a person for the

offence punishable under Section 306 IPC, the basic

requirement of the offence namely whether the death was

suicidal and whether there was abetment on the part of the

accused as contemplated under Section 107 of IPC is to be

established.

47 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

50. In the case of M. Mohan -vs- State

Represented By The Deputy Superintendent Of Police

reported in 2011 Part 3 SCC 626, the Hon’ble Apex Court

has elaborately dealt with the provisions contained in

Section 306 read with Section 107 IPC.

51. In view of the above, it is quite clear that in order

to bring the case within the perview of abetment under

Section 107 IPC, there has to be evidence with regard to

the instigation, conspiracy or intention on the part of the

accused to drive the deceased to commit suicide. For the

purpose of proving the charge under Section 306 IPC also,

there has to be evidence with regard to the positive act on

the part of the accused to instigate or aid to drive a person

to commit suicide.

52. So far as facts of the present case are concerned,

the prosecution had sought to lead the evidence by

examining the witnesses to prove that the deceased was
48 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

murdered by accused No.1 by strangulation. But none of

the witnesses have stated that the deceased committed

suicide because of the mental and physical harassment of

accused Nos.1 to 3. PW12-Dr. Jnanaprakash, who

conducted autopsy on the body of deceased Vimala had

narrated in his evidence that the injuries found on the neck

of the deceased are mentioned in the post mortem report

Ex.P12. As per his final opinion, the cause of death was

due to mechanical asphyxia as a result of hanging. In short,

none of the witnesses examined by the prosecution had any

knowledge as to whether the deceased had hanged to the

roof of the pump house or was she strangulated by accused

No.1 with a plastic rope. PW.12 though had opined that

the death of deceased was due to mechanical asphyxia as a

result of hanging, there was no opinion given by him nor

any opinion was sought from him as to whether it was

suicide committed by the deceased or it was an accident by

which she was done to death. Even if it is presumed that
49 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

deceased Vimala had committed suicide, there was no

evidence whatsoever adduced by the prosecution to show

that there was abetment on the part of any of the accused

which had driven her to commit suicide. Further, there is

no worth evidence to show that any of the accused persons

had either instigated, intentionally aided or abetted the

deceased to commit suicide or had caused any abetment as

contemplated under Section 107 of IPC.

53. Under these circumstances, it would be unsafe to

rely on the evidence of PWs.1 to 4 and PW.10 to convict the

accused persons either for the offences punishable under

Section 302 or under Section 306 of IPC.

54. So far as offence under section 498A of IPC is

concerned, the prosecution has to prove that soon before

death of deceased, she was subjected to cruelty by her

husband-accused No.1, her mother-in-law-accused No.2

and sister-in-law-accused No.3 and they were harassing the
50 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

deceased to bring amount from her father-PW.1 for the

business purpose of accused No.1 and as PW.1 refused to

pay the amount, accused No.1 subjected the deceased to

cruelty both physically and mentally by demanding her to

get additional share in the property of her father-PW.1.

Accused Nos.1 to 3 also demanded deceased to bring

additional dowry from her parents. On 02.03.2011, since

one of the pigeons reared in the house of accused No.1

died due to dog bite and in that connection, accused No.1

took up a quarrel with the deceased and assaulted her at

10.00 a.m., accused Nos.2 and 3 who were present at that

time also quarreled with her.

55. In this regard, the prosecution relied upon the

oral evidence of PW.1-father of the deceased. He has stated

that at the time of marriage, he gave 120gm of gold and

cash of Rs.75,000/-, a gold chain and a gold finger ring as

dowry to accused No.1. PW.1 further stated that accused

No.1 again demanded deceased to bring cash of Rs.3.00
51 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

lakh for opening of a CD shop and in this regard, the

deceased requested PW.1 to fulfill the demand made by

accused No.1, hence, PW.1 paid a cash of Rs.3.00 lakh to

accused No.1. Thereafter, accused No.1 again demanded

cash of Rs.1,50,000/-, hence, PW.1 paid said sum to

accused No.1 and finally, accused No.1 demanded a cash of

Rs.5.00 lakh and as PW.1 did not have such huge amount,

accused No.1 entered an agreement with one Krishnappa in

respect of land given to deceased as her share and received

a sum of Rs.3.00 lakh as advance sale consideration out of

total consideration of Rs.16.00 lakh.

56. It is the evidence of PW.1 that finally on

02.02.2011 at about 8.00 a.m., deceased Vimala called him

over phone and informed that accused No.1 is again

demanding amount or to get the sale deed registered in his

name in respect of land allotted to deceased as her share.

Hence, deceased requested her father to come and solve

the problem. PW.1 has further stated that once deceased
52 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

had come to his house and at that time, she narrated that

accused Nos.1 to 3 together demanded her to bring amount

from him and to get the sale deed registered in the name of

accused No.1 and in this regard, they assaulted deceased

and abused her. One month prior to the death of deceased,

deceased had come back to the house of PW.1 and told

that she could not tolerate the harassment given by

accused persons and hence, she stayed in the house of

PW.1 for 15 days and thereafter, PW.1 consoled her and

brought her back to the matrimonial house of accused

No.1. Deceased was frequently informing PW.1 about the

assault made by accused Nos.1 and 3 and harassment

given by them over telephone.

57. Further, the prosecution relied upon the oral

testimony of child witness PW.2. In her evidence, she has

stated that accused No.1 used to come home once in a

week and during his visit, he used to quarrel with deceased

Vimala and he also abused her that she did not bring the
53 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

properties and does not do any household work, thus,

abused her and also assaulted her, accused Nos.2 and 3

also abused deceased and abetted accused No.1 to assault

her.

58. The prosecution further relied upon the evidence

of PW.3 Vijayalakshmi, sister of deceased, PW.4 Kavitha,

sister of deceased and PW.10 Putta Narasamma-mother of

deceased. PW.3, 4 and 10 have reiterated the oral

testimony of PW.1 and 2 with regard to demand of cash

amount and transfer of land in favour of accused No.1,

physical and mental harassment made by accused Nos.1 to

3 to the deceased during her life time. Hence, their oral

testimonies corroborates with each other in respect of

harassment given by accused Nos.1 to 3.

59. Hence, let us examine whether the ingredient of

section 498A IPC would attract or not.

54 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

Section 498A IPC reads as under:-

“498A. – Husband or relative of
husband of a woman subjecting her to
cruelty.- Whoever, 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 years and shall also be
liable to fine.

Explanation- For the purpose of this
Section “cruelty” means –

(a) any willful 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 a 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.”

60. From the perusal of the aforesaid proposition of

law and the oral evidence of PW.1 to 4 and 10, it appears

that accused Nos.1 to 3 were harassing the deceased on

account of bringing more amount from her parents and also

demanded her to get the sale deed registered in the name
55 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

of accused No.1. Prior to death of deceased, accused were

demanding cash and property, they were harassing the

deceased physically and mentally and thereby ill-treating

her with a view to coercing her parents to give cash and

property. This amounts to a willful conduct of cruelty

towards the deceased. Hence, the ingredient of section

498A IPC gets attracted.

61. The learned counsel for the accused contended

that in order to attract section 498A IPC, there is no piece

of documentary evidence to prove the fact that accused

No.1 was given lakhs of rupees on different occasions as

demanded by him and there is no mention about any

particulars of the amount in the complaint. In this case, the

demand was made by accused Nos.1 to 3 with deceased in

order to bring cash and get property in the name of

accused No.1. Hence, nobody would maintain books of

accounts in respect of any cash paid to his daughter and

son-in-law or inlaws of daughter, as this transaction would
56 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

be held orally within the families and one cannot expect

that he must produce documentary proof regarding the

demand made by son-in-law and the desires fulfilled by the

father-in-law.

62. The learned counsel for the accused contended

that accused No.1 was an Attender in Government Hospital,

Honnenahalli, Sira Taluk, Tumukuru District and therefore,

there was no necessity for him to demand a sum of Rs.5.00

lakh for opening of CD shop. Merely because accused No.1

was an attender in a hospital, it can be held that financially

he was self sufficient and could not have demanded for the

money for opening a particular business of his choice. In

the instant case, the oral testimony of PW.1 to 4 and 10

inspires confidence to believe that accused Nos.1 to 3 made

demand of cash on several occasions. Further, soon before

the death of deceased, they also harassed the deceased

mentally and physically.

57 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

63. Inspite of there being satisfactory evidence in

respect of section 498A IPC, in our opinion, the Sessions

Court had committed a grave error in not convicting

accused Nos.1 to 3 for the offence under Section 498A IPC.

Hence, interference of this Court is called for in respect of

offence under Section 498A IPC.

Accordingly, we proceed to pass the following:

ORDER

The Appeal is allowed in part.

The judgment of acquittal dated 25.03.2017, passed

by the learned Prl. District and Sessions Judge,

Ramanagara in S.C.No.97/2012 acquitting accused Nos.1 to

3 of the offences punishable under sections 302, 109 and

114 r/w 34 IPC stands confirmed.

58 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

So far as, an offence under section 498A IPC is

concerned, accused Nos.1 to 3 are convicted for the

aforesaid offence.

Call to hear on Quantum of sentence.

Sd/-

JUDGE

Sd/-

JUDGE

*MN/-

59 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

Dr.HBPSJ VNTJ:-

28.03.2024
HEARING ON SENTENCE

Heard the learned counsel from both side on sentence

part.

The learned counsel for the appellant/State submitted

that the matter pertains to the year 2011 and accused

Nos.1 to 3 have committed grave offence and hence he

prayed for awarding maximum sentence for the offence for

which the respondents/accused Nos.1 to 3 are convicted.

The learned counsel for the respondents/accused

Nos.1 to 3 submitted that accused No.1 is a Government ‘D’

group employee and he has to look after his parents and

daughters viz., PW.2 Harshitha and Kum. Sushmitha. The

accused hails from a respectable family and hence prays for

taking a lenient view.

It is the sentencing policy that the sentence ordered

should not be either exorbitant nor for name sake for the
60 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

proven guilt. It must be proportionate to the guilt for which the

accused are found guilty of.

ORDER ON SENTENCE

[1] Accused No.1 – R. Rangaraju @ R. Babu,

accused No.2- Puttamma and accused No.3- Manjula,

residents of Muddahanume Gowdana Palya, Hulikal

Dhakle, Kudur Hobli, Magadi Taluk, Ramanagara

District-562 120 are sentenced to undergo simple

imprisonment for a period of two years and to pay a

fine of `20,000/- Rupees Twenty Thousand only)

each, in case of default of payment of fine, to under

simple imprisonment for a further period of six

months, for the offence punishable under Section

498A of The Indian Penal Code, 1860.

[2] Accused Nos.1 to 3 shall surrender before

the learned Sessions Judge’s Court within forty five

(45) days from today and serve the sentence as

ordered above by this Court.

61 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

[3] Accused Nos.1 to 3 are entitled for set of

under section 428 Cr.P.C. for the period of judicial

custody already undergone by them.

[4] Out of the total fine amount to be

deposited by accused Nos.1 to 3, a sum of

`25,000/- each be paid to PW.2 Harshitha and

Kum. Sushmitha(the daughters of deceased and

accused No.1), as compensation under Section

357 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

[5] PW.2 Kum. Harshitha and

Kum. Sushmitha are also entitled for

compensation under section 357A of

Cr.P.C.(Victim Compensation Scheme).

[6] The remaining sum of `10,000/- shall go

to the State.

62 Crl.A. NO.1228/2017

[7] A free copy of this judgment be
furnished to accused Nos.1 to 3 immediately by
the Registry.

Registry to transmit a copy of this judgment along

with Sessions Judge’s Court records to the concerned

Sessions Judge’s Court immediately, for doing needful in

the matter.

Sd/-

JUDGE

Sd/-

JUDGE

*MN/-

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