Limbraj vs state of maharashtra…

  1. Excerpt:
    CRIMINAL  APPEAL NO.  36 OF 2001
    01. Limbraj s/i Vishnu Dhakane,
    age 41 years, occup. Agriculture,
    r/o Sarul, Tq. Kaij, District Beed.
    02. Bysakhu w/o Vishnu Dhakne,
    age 66 years, occupation : Agril.
    r/of Sarul, Tq. Kaij, District Beed.
    03. Vishnu s/o Baburao Dhakne,
    age 71 years, occup. agriculture,
    r/of Sarul, Tq. and District Beed.
    04. Youvraj s/o Vishnu Dhakne,
    age 36 years, occup. agriculture,
    r/o Sarul, Tq. Kaij, District Beed.
    05. Dhanraj s/o Vishnu Dhakne,
    age 20 years, occup. agriculture,    Appellants/
    r/o Sarul, Tq. Kaij, District Beed.    orig. accused.
    The State of Maharashtra,
    through Police Station Officer,    Respondent/
    Police Station, Kaij, Dist.Beed.    orig. complainant
  3. Shri S.P. Katneshwarkar, Advocate, for appellants.
    Shri V.G. Shelke, A.P.P. for the  RespondentState.
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    Coram :      Shrihari  P.  Davare,   J.
    Judgment   reserved   on : 23.3.2011
    Judgment pronounced on:  06.4.2011
    Judgment (Per : Shrihari P. Davare, J.)
    01. Heard learned counsel for the parties.
  4. 02.This is an appeal, preferred by original accused Nos. 1 to 5,challenging the conviction and sentence inflicted upon them, byway of judgment and order dated 29.1.2000, renderd d by learnedII Additional Sessions Judge, Ambajogai, in Sessions Case No.59 of 1999, thereby convicting them for offence punishable under Section498A,   read   with Section   34,   of   the   Indian   Penal   Code,and sentencing them to suffer rigorous imprisonment for one year, each and to pay fine of Rs.500/, each, in default, to undergo furtherrigorous imprisonment for three months, each, and also convictingthem for offence under Section 306, read with Section 34, of  IPC,and sentencing them to suffer rigorous imprisonment for three
    years, each and to pay fine of Rs.1000/ each, in default to suffer further rigorous imprisonment for six months, and also directing
    the aforesaid substantive sentences to run concurrently.
  5. 03. Briefly stated, the facts of the case, which gave rise to thepresent appeal, are that the victim Chandrabhagabai, who was thedaughter of PW11 Maroti Kisan Choure, resident of village JivachiWadi, married to accused No.1, namely, Limbraj, resident of villageSarul, Taluka Kaij, District Beed, about 8 to 9 years back, andaccused Nos. 2 Bysakhu and accused No. 3 Vishnu are her motherinlawand fatherinlaw respectively, whereas accused No.4 Youvrajand accused No.5 Dhanraj are her brothersinlaw, who all were residing  jointly.    Out  of  the   wedlock  ofChandrabhagabai withaccused No.1 Limbraj, two sons and one daughter were begotten.
  6. 04. It is alleged that the victim Chandrabahagabai was found to
    have consumed some poisonous substance and lying in unconscious
    condition in front of the cattleshed of the accused at his  field, on
    26.2.1999, which was noticed by PW10 Shrimant Dhakne, firstly,
    and hence, he called her and tried to make her sit, but she did not
    respond, and vomited. He smelled poison from her mouth, and
    therefore,  he informed one Nilkanth and thereafter, she was taken
    to Primary Health Centre, Neknoor, firstly, in the bullockcart, and
    thereafter to Civil Hospital, Beed, where she was declared dead.
    Thereafter, inquest panchanama of the dead body was conducted in
    the Civil Hospital, Beed.   Moreover, PW6 Dr. Kailash Hiraman
    Dudhal   conducted   post   mortem   on   the   dead   body   of
    Chandrabhagabai, on 26.2.1999, whereafter   her dead body was
    brought to village Sarul.   Accordingly,   A.D. No.16 of 1999 was
    registered with Police Station, Kaij,  and then CR No.48 of 1999
    was registered,  on 1.3.1999 for offences punishable under Sections
    498A and 306 read with Section 34 of the IPC, by Police Head
    Constable   Shri   Dnyaneshwar   Tukaram   Pawar   (PW5).     Head
    Constable H.Y. Munjal was assigned enquiry of the said A.D. case,
    and accordingly,   he visited the spot of the incident in front of the
    cattle shed belonging to accused No.3 Vishnu and collected samples
    of soil of vomit and plain soil from the said spot and drew spot
    panchanama dated 27.2.1999 (Exh.19) in presence of   Suryabhan
    Laxman Dhakne (PW1) and one Babasaheb Dadarao Jadhav.
    05. It is also the case of the prosecution that on 28.2.1999, Police
    Head Constable Babu Sidram Mhaske (PW12)  was the in charge
    of police out post, Nandurghat and on that day, at about 5.00 p.m.,
    Suryakant Maroti Chaure (PW8), the brother of the victim, lodged
    complaint, which   was recorded by PW12 Babu Mhaske, as per
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    narration   of   Suryakant..     Thereafter,   PW12   Babu   Mhaske
    prepared occurrence report, which is produced at Exh. 26, and
    investigation papers were handed over to him.   Accordingly, on
    1.3.1999,   he recorded statements of witnesses, namely, Janabai
    Maroti Chaure (mother of the victim Chandrabhagabai), Maroti
    Kishan Chaure  (PW11 and  father  of the  victim),  Ramchandra
    Maroti Chaure (PW4) and Chanderrao Dnyanoba Dhakne (PW9).
    On   2.3.1999,  he   recorded   statements   of   the   witnesses,  namely,
    Gorakh   Yedba   Chaure   (PW7),     who   is   cousin   of   the   victim,
    Ambadas,   Sajjanbai   (PW2),   Nilkanth,   and   Shrimant   Dhakne
    (PW10)   and   others.     Earlier,   on   27.2.1999,   he   had   recorded
    statement of PW10 Shankar Dhakne,  in connection with A.D. case
    No.16 of 1999, as aforesaid.   Moreover, PW12 Babu Mhaske also
    arrested the accused persons on 1.3.1999.
    06. During the course of investigation, the sample of vomit soil
    and plain soil were sent to the Chemical Analyzer for analysis, vide
    forwarding letter dated 20.8.1999, which is produced at Exh. 41.
    Moreover, one letter was issued to the Civil Surgeon, Beed, on
    19.4.1999, requesting him to hand over   the viscera to   Police
    Constable Bk. No.180 who was deputed for the said purpose,  for
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    being forwarded to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Aurangabad,
    and the copy of the said letter is produced at Exhibit 42.   It is
    alleged by the complainant Suryakant Chaure (PW8)   that the
    accused persons subjected the deceased Chandrabhagabai to cruelty
    to meet their unlawful demand of money and she was tortured and
    thereby they abetted Chandrabhagabai to commit suicide.
    07. After   receipt   of   post   mortem   report   and   the   advanced
    certificate of cause of death, and on completion of investigation,
    chargesheet was filed before the learned Judicial Magistrate, First
    Class,   Kaij,   on   13.4.1999,   and   thereafter   the   said   case   was
    committed to the Court of Sessions, Ambajogai, by the learned
    J.M.F.C.,   Kaij,   on   21.6.1999.     Accordingly,   charge   was   framed
    againstaccused persons (Exh.10C), on 18.8.2000 and their pleas
    were recorded, and they pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled
    against them and claimed to be tried.  The defence of the accused is
    of total denial and they stated that they have been implicated in
    present case, falsely, and accordingly, they claimed to be innocent.
    08. To substantiate its case, inasmuch as 12 witnesses have been
    examined by the prosecution, as mentioned below.
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    PW1  Suryabhan Laxman Dhakne  Panch to spot panchanama
    (Ex.19),regarding collection
    of soil samples. He turned
    PW2  Sajjanbai Ramchandra Chaure  Sister of the victim.
    PW3  Kesharbai Ambadas Kendre      Sister of the victim.
    PW4  Ramchandra Maroti Chaure     Brother of the victim.
    PW5  Dnyaneshwar Tukaram Pawar  Police Head Constable, who
    registered   offence  against
    the accused persons.
    PW6 Dr.Kailash Hiraman Dudhal     Medical Officer,who carried
    pm on the deceased.
    PW7  Gorakh Yedba Chaure          Cousin of the victim.
    PW8  Suryakant Maroti Chaure       Complainant and brother
    of the victim.
    PW9 Chanderrao Dnyanoba Dhakne  Cousin of the victim.
    PW10  Shrimant Shankar Dhakne   He noticed the victim lying
    in  the field, in unconscious
    condition, firstly.
    PW11 Maroti Kishan Choure          Father of the victim.
    PW12 Babu Sidram Mhaske           Police Head Constable and
    Investigating Officer.
    09. On the  background  of  aforesaid  oral evidence  led  by the
    prosecution,   accused   neither   examined   themselves   on   oath,   nor
    examined any witness in defence. Accordingly, after assessing and
    analyzing   oral   and   documentary   evidence,   and   considering   the
    submissions advanced by the learned counsel for the parties, the
    learned Sessions Judge,   Ambajogai, convicted and sentenced the
    accused   persons,     as   mentioned   hereinabove,   by   the   impugned
    judgment   and   order   dated   29.12.2000.     Being   aggrieved   and
    dissatisfied   by   the   said   judgment   and   order   of   conviction   and
    sentence,   original   accused   have   preferred   present   appeal,   and
    prayed for quashment thereof.
    10. Before adverting to the submissions advanced by the learned
    counsel for the parties, it is necessary to scrutinize and  analyzing
    the evidence adduced and produced by the parties, and in the said
    context, coming to the deposition of PW8 Suryakant Chaure, who
    is the complainant and brother of the victim, he stated that he,
    along with his parents and   brother Ramchandra reside together
    and Kesharbai and deceased Chandrabhagabai are her sisters. He
    stated that Chandrabhagabai married with accused No.1.  Limbraj
    about nine years prior to the incident and she gave birth to two
    sons and one daughter out of the wedlock with accused No.1.  He
    further stated that since her marriage, deceased Chandrabhagabaii
    was illtreated and even food was not provided to her and she used
    to be assaulted, and also compelled to do work in the field only.  He
    further   stated   that   her   husband   i.e.   accused   No.1,   as   well   as
    parentsinlaw  and  brothers  in  law,    i.e. accused  Nos.  2  to  5,
    illtreated her, and she had disclosed the same to her parents when
    she had visited to her parental house, at the time of festivals.  He
    stated that he himself, his parents, and his brother used to go to
    matrimonial home of his sister Chandrabhagabai, and request her
    inlaws to treat her well, however, illtreatment to the victim at the
    hands of her  inlaws, continued. PW8 Surykanat also stated that
    the   victim   Chandrakalabai   disclosed   him   that   her   inlaws
    demanded   Rs.25,000/=   to   purchase   a   flour   mill,   but   he   had
    expressed inability therefor.
    11. PW8 Suryakant further stated that the incident occurred on
    26.2.1999, when he was at Bhaurao Cooperative Sugar factory,
    Biloli. On 27.2.1999, PW10 Shrimant Dhakne and PW7 Gorakh
    Choure   came   to   him   and   informed   him   about   the   death   of
    Chandrabhagabai due to consumption of poisonous substance, and
    hence, PW8 Suryakant, PW4 Ramchandra and PW2 Sajjanbai
    rushed   and   collected   his   father   PW11   Maroti,   who   was   at
    Shripatroi Wadi, and then all of them proceeded to village Sarola,
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    to see the victim Chandrabhagabai.  However, they found that last
    rites  of  Chandrbhagabai were already performed  prior to their
    arrival.     PW8   Suryakant   further   stated   that   his   mother   was
    weeping and asked him whether he had brought the amount of Rs.
    25,000/= for which victim was harassed on the previous day and
    she committed suicide due to harassment at the hands of her inlaws
    to meet the demand of said money, and thereafter, they all
    returned back to village Jivachi Wadi.  He further stated that on
    next day, he went to Police Station, Kaij,  and his complaint was
    recorded at 4.00 p.m. at Nandurghat police out post, as per his
    narration, which is marked as Exh.32.
    12. During the course of cross examination, PW8 stated that the
    inlaws of Chandrabhagabai,  started giving her illtreatment after
    about 1 to 11/2 months after the marriage and she was being illtreated
    on   the   ground   that   she   was   unable   to   cook   the   food,
    properly.  He   visited   matrimonial   home   of   Chandrabhagabai   for
    about 8 to 9 times since her marriage until her death, and the ill treatment
    by in laws was  tolerated by her with the hope that they
    would improve their behaviour and would treat her, properly.  PW8
    Suryakant further stated that the amount of Rs.25,000/= for flour
    mill,     was   demanded   about   one   year   prior   to   the   suicide   by
    Chandrabhagabai, and he had assured her inlaws  that he would
    meet   their   demand   of   money,   after   completion   of   season   of
    sugarcane. Moreover, the defence of the accused was put to PW8
    Suryakant   that the victim Chandrabhagabai was suffering from
    kidney disease since about 23 years prior to the incident, and she
    was also weak and since she could not bear sufferings, she resorted
    to end her life, but same was denied by him. As regards flour mill
    of inlaws of victim Chandrabhagabai, he stated that he does not
    know for how much period it was run, and he was unable to state
    the period till when the accused ran the flour mill  after marriage
    of Chandrabhagabai, and hence, it was suggested to him that there
    was no illtreatment or harassment to deceased Chandrabhagabai
    with intend to meet the demand of Rs.25,000/= for flour mill, at
    any time, but he denied the same.    He was suggested that the
    death of the victim was not caused on account of illtreatment or
    harassment to her, but he denied the same.
    13. Thus,  it is evident from the deposition of PW8 Suryakant
    that although the victim Chandrabhagabai was illtreated since her
    marriage for about 8 to9 years, and even if the alleged incident of
    suicide by her took place on 26.2.1999, yet there appears to be no
    immediate prior incident, having close proximity which could be
    said to have led to committal of suicide by her.   Moreover, the
    alleged demand of Rs. 25,000/= for flour mill by the inlaws of the
    victim   Chandrabhagabai   does   not   appear   to   have   coerced
    Chandrakalabai or her relatives to fulfill the said alleged unlawful
    demand.  In fact, it appears from the testimony of PW8 Suryakant
    that victim Chandrabhagabai was illtreated for the reason that
    she was not able to cook the food, properly, and it is apparent from
    his testimony  that the amount of flour mill was demanded about
    one year prior to the incident, as stated earlier, and as such,  there
    is no close proximity in the alleged unlawful demand of money and
    the suicide by victim Chandrabhagabai.
    14. The   defence  put   up  its   case   to  witness   Suryakant    that
    Chandrabhagabai was suffering from kidney disease since 23 years
    prior to the incident and had become weak and was unable to bear
    suffering, and hence, she decided to end her life,  by committing
    suicide, but same was denied by him.

    15. That   takes   me   to   the   deposition   of   PW9   Chanderrao
    Dnyanoba Dhakne, cousin of the victim Chandrabhagabai.   He
    stated that the marriage of Chandrabhagabai took place about 8 to
    9 years prior to the incident, with accused No.1 Limbraj,  and two
    sons and two daughters were begotten out of the said wedlock. He
    further stated that the inlaws of Chandrbhagabai used to beat her
    and did not provide food to her, properly and Chandrabhagabai had
    disclosed the same to him, and in turn, he disclosed the same to
    her   parents.     He   stated   that   he   also   persuaded   inlaws   of
    Chandrabhagabai to treat her well, however, they continued to give
    illtreatment to her.  He further stated that Chandrabhagabai had
    disclosed him about 12 months prior to the incident that she was
    harassed to meet the demand of Rs.25,000/= required for  purchase
    of flour mill, but her parents were unable to meet the said demand,
    and hence, she was further harassed by her in laws.  He further
    stated that on 26.2.1999, he learnt that victim committed suicide
    by consuming poison on account of illtreatment and harassment by
    her inlaws.
    16. In   the   cross   examination,   PW9   Chanderrao   stated   that
    Chandrabhagabai was illtreated and harassed for about 2 to 4
    years before the incident, to meet the unlawful demand of money
    for flour mill which was run by her inlaws 4 to 5 years prior to the
    incident.   He further stated that the police did not record his
    statement, nor he stated before the police, regarding illtreatment
    and   harassment   to   victim   Chandrabhagabai.     However,
    subsequently, he stated that police had interrogated with him and
    he   had   stated   to   the   police   that   prior   to   demise   of
    Chandrabhagabai, her   in laws   started illtreating her for non
    fulfillment of demand of Rs.25,000/= required for flour mill, but
    same was not mentioned in his statement, amounting to omission.
    Hence, suggestion was given to this witness that inlaws of the
    victim   Chandrabhagabai   never   illtreated   or   harassed   her   on
    account of nonfulfillment of demand of Rs.25,000/=, but he denied
    the same.  He was also suggested that being the relative of victim
    Chandrabhagabai, he was deposing falsely, but he denied the same.
    17. It is apparent from the evidence of PW9 Chanderrao Dhakne
    that victim Chandrabhagabai was being harassed and illtreated
    for about 4 to 5 years prior to the incident,  to meet the alleged
    unlawful demand of money for flour mill and she disclosed the
    same to him about 12 months back from the incident, which, in
    turn,  was informed by him to her parents.  Initially,  he stated
    that   the   police   did   not   record   his   statement,   but   later   on   he
    improved his version and stated that the police had interrogated
    with   him,   but   the   very   version   of   alleged   illtreatment   to
    Chandrabhagabai by her inlaws to meet the demand of Rs.25,000/
    for   flour   mill   since   12   months   prior   to   he   demise,   is   under
    omission, and hence,  same diminishes credibility of his testimony.
    18. Coming to the deposition of PW11 Maroti Kishan Choure,
    father   of   the   victim,   who   stated   that   his   daughter
    Chandrabhagabai married to accused No.1 Limbraj,  about 7 to 8
    years prior to the incident and  she was illtreated at the hands of
    her husband and in laws,  on the ground that she was not cooking
    the food, properly, and hence, she was subjected to starvation and
    also   compelled   to   work   in   the   field.     He   further   stated   that
    Chandrabhagabai   used   to   tell   him   about   illtreatment   to   her,
    whenever  she visited to his house, on account of festivals.  At that
    time, he and other relatives,  used to persuade her  husband and in
    laws to treat her well, and accordingly, she used to be treated well
    for   some   period,   but   again     illtreatment     to   her,   used   to   be
    continued.  He stated that the inlaws and brotherinlaws of the
    victim were demanding   Rs.25,000/ from him,   about one year
    prior to the incident, but he was unable to meet the said demand
    and her inlaws iltreated her, since then.   He also stated that
    Chandrabhagabai was fade up with the illtreatment meted out to
    her,  and hence, resorted to end her life,  by committing suicide.
    19. In   cross   examination,   PW11   Maroti   stated   that
    Chandrabhagabai was harassed for about two years prior to her
    death,   on   the   ground   that   she   was   unable   to   cook   the   food,
    properly,  and do the domestic work.  He further  stated that he
    used to visit matrimonial house of her daughter Chandrabhagabai
    once or twice in a year.  He also stated that the accused had a flour
    mill which was run by them for two years after the marriage of
    Chandrabhagabai,  however,  thereafter it was not functioning.
    20. Pertinently, it is evident from the testimony of PW11 Maroti,
    that his daughter  Chandrabhagabai,  was illtreated  at the hands
    of her husband and in laws, since she was unable to cook the food,
    properly.   As regards unlawful demand of Rs.25,000/=, he stated
    that   it   was   made   by   parentsinlaw   and   brothersinlaw   of
    Chandrabhagabai, about one year prior to the incident, for the
    purpose of flour mill.   Accordingly, there is no close proximity
    between the said demand of money and occurrence of the incident
    of alleged suicide by the victim, and there is huge gap of about one
    year   between   the   same.     Moreover,   he   stated   in   the   cross
    examination   that   he   used   to   visit   matrimonial   house   of   his
    daughter once or twice a year, and therefore, it is apparent that he
    was not in close contacts, personally; with Chandrabhagabai and
    her husband and inlaws, to receive the first hand information
    about the alleged treatment to her.
    21. Moreover,   PW11   Maroti   ambiguously   stated   that   victim
    Chandrabhagabai was illtreated by her husband, parents in law
    and brothers in law, but  he did not give specific name of any of the
    accused, attributing any specific role to each of them in the alleged
    illtreatment   and   harassment  to  his   daughter   Chandrabhagabai,
    and therefore, it is not clear as to which of the accused played
    which role in such illtreatment and harassment on account of
    alleged demand of Rs.25,000/= for flour mill.
    22. That takes me to the testimony of PW3 Kesharbai Ambadas
    Kendre, sister of the victim Chandrabhagabai, who deposed that
    Chandrabhagabai used to meet her whenever they both used to
    visit   their   parental   house   at   Jivachi   Wadi,   and   she   used   to
    complain  about her starvation and subjecting her to do hard work,
    such as, removal of cow dunk from the cattleshed, as well as about
    her inlaws offering stale food to her.  Kesharbai further stated that
    the victim was harassed at the hands of her inlaws,  with intend
    to meet their unlawful demand of Rs.25,000/= required for flour
    mill. Kesharbai further stated that harassment being intolerable,
    Chandrabhagabai consumed poison and committed suicide, and she
    identified the accused persons before the court.
    23. In   cross   examination,   Kesharbai   stated   that   inlaws   of
    Chandrabhagabai started illtreating her since birth of the first
    child, a female child,  and thereafter two male children were born.
    She also stated that police had interrogated with her, but then
    changed her version, saying that police did not interrogate with
    her.  Hence, suggestion was given to her that she deposed falsely
    that Chandrabhagabai was subjected to cruelty with intent to meet
    the demand of Rs.25,000/= for flour mill, but she denied the same.

    24. It appears from the testimony of witness Kesharbai that inlaws
    of Chandrabhagabai were illtreating her, since birth of the
    first   child,   which   was   a   female   child,   i.e.   2   to   3   years   since
    marriage,   and   therefore,   a   possibility   of   subjecting   her   to   illtreatment
    by husband and inlaws on that count, cannot be ruled
    out.  As regards alleged demand of Rs.25,000/= and illtreatement
    and harassment to victim Chandrabhagabai, at the hands of her inlaws,
    due   to   nonfulfillment   of   the   same,     PW3   Kesharbai
    nowhere   stated   in   her   deposition   as   to   which   of   the   accused
    harassed deceased Chandrabhagabai and in what manner, and  a
    bare statement in respect thereof without assigning any specific
    role to each of the accused therein, would create suspicion about
    the alleged illtreatment and harassment to the victim, at the
    hands of her husband and inlaws.
    25. Coming   to   the   deposition   of   PW4   Ramchandra   Maroti
    Choure, brother of the victim Chandrabhagabai, it is seen from his
    evidence that Chandrabhagabai had married with accused No.1
    Limbraj, about 8 to 9 years prior to the incident and she had two
    sons and a daughter out of the said wedlock, but the daughter was
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    not alive.  He further stated that Chandrabhagabai was residing in
    her matrimonial house  since marriage, and she used to meet him
    whenever she visited his house,   on account of festivals.     He
    further stated that Chandrabhagabai used to complain to him that
    she was treated with cruelty and was compelled to do hard work in
    the   field   and   also   cleaning   of   cattleshed   and   she   was   being
    assaulted and kept starved.   He further stated that,   he himself
    and   his   parents   and   brother   persuaded   the   inlaws   of
    Chandrabhagabai not to illtreat her, but they did not pay any
    heed,   and continued to give illtreatment to her.   He also stated
    that   at   the   time   of   Diwali,     preceding   the   incident,
    Chandrabhagabai   repeated to them about the harassment and
    insistence   by   her   inlaws   to   meet   the   demand   of   Rs.25,000/=
    required for the flour mill. Thereafter, they persuaded her and
    assured to meet the demand within one year.
    26. During   the   course   of   cross   examination,   the   witness   has
    stated that the illtreatment at the hands of inlaws of the victim
    started three years after the marriage.   He also stated that the
    accused ran flour mill for about 4 to 5 years after marriage of
    Chandrabhagabai.  According to him, the said flour mill was not in
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    working condition. Pertinently, he stated that the police recorded
    his statement, but the very disclosure by Chandrabhagabai about
    demand   of   amount   of   Rs.25,000/=   at   the   time   of   Diwali   and
    assurance by witness and his parents to fulfill the same within one
    year, come under the omission.
    27. Considering   the   testimony   of   PW4   Ramchandra,   it   is
    apparent that   there is vital omission, as mentioned hereinabove
    and   he   has   made   general   statement   in   respect   of   alleged
    harassment and illtreatment to Chandrabhagabai,  at the hands of
    her inlaws,  and no specific role has been attributed by him to any
    of   the   accused   in   respect   of   the   alleged   illtreatment   and
    harassment, and therefore, in the absence of the same,   liability
    upon   each   of   the   accused   cannot   be   fixed   in   respect   of   their
    participation in the alleged illtreatement and harassment to victim
    28. That takes me to deposition of PW10 Shrimant Shankar
    Dhakne, who stated that while he was returning back from his
    field, he noticed that Chandrabhagabai was lying in front of cattle
    shed of accused No.3 Vishnu.  He gave call to her, but she did not
    respond and he found that she had vomited due to consumption of
    poisonous   substance,  and   hence,   she   was   taken   to   Sarula   and
    thereafter   she   was   shifted   to   Civil   Hospital,   Beed,   where   she
    breathed last.
    29. PW10   Shrimant   was   declared   hostile,   but   nothing   much
    beneficial to the case of the prosecution could be elicited from his
    cross examination conducted by the learned A.P.P.  On the contrary,
    in the  cross  examination  conducted  by learned  counsel  for  the
    accused, this witness stated that Chandrabhagabai  had a kidney
    trouble and swelling, and was suffering from illness ccontinuously
    for 23 years prior to her demise, and the accused used to take her
    for   medical   treatment,   regularly.     He   further   stated   that
    Chandrabhagabai   had   attempted   to   commit   suicide,     about   12
    months prior to her death.
    30. Accordingly, it is apparent from the testimony of witness
    Shirmant  that victim Chandrabhagabai was suffering from illness
    continuously for 23 years due to kidney problem and swelling.  It
    is also material to note that she had attempted to commit suicide
    by consuming poisonous substance, about 12 months prior to her
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    death, and hence, there appears to be tendency of committal of
    suicide, on the part of the victim Chandrabhagabai.
    31. That takes me to testimony of PW6 Dr. Kailash Hiraman
    Dudhal, who was the Medical Officer and who performed post
    mortem   on   the   dead   body   of   the   victim   Chandrabhagabai,   on
    26.2.1999 between 5.35 p.m. to 6.35 p.m. and stated that no ante
    mortem injuries were noticed on the dead body, and there was
    kerosene like smell to the stomach  contents.  In his opinion, the
    cause of death was “cardio respiratory failure due to asphyxia,
    secondary   to   insecticide   poisoning.”.     The   witness   stated   that
    viscera   was   preserved   and   that   the   same   is   still   lying   in   the
    mortuary room and is not collected by the concerned police station.
    Therefore, according to the witness, no final report of analysis of
    C.A. was received.  He also stated that even they did not inform or
    remind the concerned police station, to collect the viscera.  Witness
    was unable to assign any reason, why reminder was not issued to
    the police station, till date.   He further stated that even in the
    absence of report of analysis of viscera, his final opinion is that the
    cause of death of Chandrabhagabai was “cardio respiratory failure
    due to asphyxia, secondary to insecticide poisoning.”.  Post mortem
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    notes are marked as Exhibit 29.  According to him, cause of death
    of the victim was consumption of poisonous insecticide.
    32. In the cross examination, PW6 Dr. Kailash Dudhal stated
    that the provisional certificate of cause of death, has been issued to
    the investigating agency, prior to collection of the post mortem
    report.     He   further   stated   that   it   is   correct   that   even  in   the
    provisional certificate of cause of death, it has been mentioned that
    viscera has been preserved, and according to him, it was the duty
    of the investigating officer or the concerned police station to collect
    it,  for sending the same to Chemical Analyzer for analysis purpose.
    33. Thus, it is apparent from the testimony of PW6 Dr. Kailash
    Dudhal   that   he   conducted   post   mortem   on   the   dead   body   of
    Chandrabhagabai, and according to him, cause of her death  was
    “cardio respiratory failure due to asphyxia, secondary to insecticide
    poisoning.”.     It   is   curious   to   note   that   although   viscera   was
    preserved,   police did not collect and send the same to chemical
    analyzer for analysis purpose, which amounts to vital lacuna in the
    prosecution case.
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    34. On the background of aforesaid evidence, learned counsel for
    the appellants canvassed that there is inordinate delay  in lodging
    the FIR, inasmuch as the alleged incident is said to have taken
    place on 26.2.1999, whereas the FIR came to be lodged on 1.3.1999
    i.e. three days after the alleged incident, and the prosecution has
    not given any plausible and convincing  explanation therefor, and
    therefore, said  delay hampers  the prosecution case, and  hence,
    possibility   cannot   be   ruled   out   that   the   FIR   was   lodged   by
    complainant PW8 Suryakant   in consultation with the relatives
    and after concocting a false story against the accused persons.
    35. It is also canvassed by the learned counsel for the appellantsaccused
    that the witnesses examined by the prosecution are the
    close relatives of the victim Chandrabhagabai and the prosecution
    has   failed   to   examine   independent   witnesses   in   respect   of   the
    alleged cruelty to which the victim was allegedly subjected, and
    therefore, the conviction against the accused persons cannot be
    based on the testimonies of close relatives of the victim, they being
    interested   witnesses.     According   to   learned   counsel   for   the
    appellantsaccused,   evidence   of   PW8   Suryakant,   is   hearsay
    evidence, since he has no personal knowledge and although mother
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    of the victim, namely, Janabai reached to village Sarula, first in
    point of time, and   her statement under Section 161 of Code of
    Criminal   Procedure   was   recorded,   and   although   complainant
    Suryakant   was   informed   by     her   about   the   incident,   still
    prosecution has chosen not to examine her for the reasons bestknown
    to   it.     Moreover,   it   is   also   submitted   that   the   alleged
    demand of Rs. 25,000/=  made to Chandrabhagabai, for installation
    of flour mill, was about one year prior to the incident and there is
    no close proximity between the alleged demand and illtreatment
    due to non fulfillment thereof and alleged committal of suicide by
    the victim.
    36. Moreover,   it   is   further   submitted   that   it   is   not   the
    prosecution   case   that   there   was   any   recent/immediate   glaring
    unlawful demand by the accused persons to the victim prior to the
    date of incident, resulting into committal of suicide by the victim on
    the date of the incident, and therefore, it is canvassed that there
    was no immediate incitement to the victim, leading to committal of
    suicide by her.
    37. Further, it is also canvassed by the learned counsel for the
    appellants that about 8 to 9 years had passed from the date of
    marriage of the victim Chandrabhagabai with accused No.1, and
    even three children were begotten out of the said wedlock,   and
    considering the said passage of time after the marriage and also
    birth of children during that period, it is not conceivable that the
    victim was subjected to cruelty of such a nature which drove her to
    commit suicide.   Moreover, it is also submitted by the learned
    counsel for the appellantsaccused that  even there was not a single
    complaint of harassment/illtreatment by the victim or her parental
    relatives against the accused persons since her marriage till the
    date of incident, and asking to do household work, or work at own
    field, cannot be termed as “cruelty”.
    38. It is also argued by the learned counsel for the appellants
    that although the viscera of the victim was preserved at the time of
    post mortem, it is curious to note that the same was not forwarded
    to the chemical analyzer’s office   for examination purpose, and
    therefore, there is no final report in respect of cause of death of the
    victim, and the said lacuna sustains fatal blow to the case of the
    prosecution.     It   is   canvassed   by   the   learned   counsel   for   the
    appellantsaccused that the defence taken by them that the victim
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    Chandrabhagabai might have committed suicide due to intolerable
    trouble of disease of kidney,  cannot be overlooked since the accused
    have probabilized the same, as PW10 Shrimant Dhakne has also
    stated about Chandrabhagabai suffering from said disease.
    39. Besides,  it   is  further  canvassed   that   the   prosecution  has
    failed to prove and establish the very ingredients of Section 498A
    of IPC, such as,
    (i) Willful conduct of the accused driving the victim to
    commit suicide, or
    (ii) cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health of
    the woman, or
    (iii) harassment of the woman with a view to coercing her
    or any person related to her to meet any unlawful
    demand   for   any   property   or   valuable   security,   on
    account of failure by her or any person related to her to
    meet such demand.
    Accordingly,   it   is   submitted   that   the   prosecution   has   failed   to
    establish nexus between the alleged cruelty and suicide by the
    victim Chandrabhagabai.
    40. Moreover, it is also canvassed by the learned counsel for the
    appellants that the ingredients of Section 107 of the IPC, in respect
    of abetment, namely,
    (i) instigate any person to commit an offence, or
    (ii) engaging in a conspiracy for committing it, or
    (iii) intentionally aiding a person to commit it;
    are   missing   in   the   present   case,   considering   the   oral   and
    documentary evidence adduced and produced by the prosecution.
    Hence, learned counsel for the appellantsaccused urged that the
    prosecution has failed to prove and establish the charges levelled
    against   the   accused   persons,   beyond   reasonable   doubt,   and
    therefore, the accused deserve to be acquitted of the offence with
    which they were charged, convicted and sentenced, by allowing the
    present appeal.
    41. Shri S.P. Katneshwarkar, learned Counsel for the appellantsaccused,
    in support of his contention that there was no cruelty,
    illtreatment or harassment to the deceased Chandrabhagabai or
    abetment by accused persons to commit  suicide by her, relied upon
    couple of judicial pronouncements.  Firstly, he relied on the case of
    Deepak s/o Bhimrao vs. State of Mah. 2004 (2) Mh.L.J. 987,
    ::: Downloaded on – 20/09/2016 23:17:03 :::
    Bombay High Court
    30 criapl-36.01
    more particularly on para 14 thereof which reads as follows;
    “14. There is no doubt that; the concept of cruelty and its
    effect varies from individual to individual and it also depends
    on the social and economic status to which the parties belong.
    It is also true that cruelty may not be physical and even
    mental   torture   and   abnormal   behaviour   may   amount   to
    cruelty,   in  the  instant   case,  the  father   of  deceased   has
    spoken   of   complaint;   of   beating   by   Sunita.     However,   as
    observed above, his evidence is found to be exaggerating and
    contradictory to the seizure memo. PW 5 Baby speaks bare
    minimum on the point of alleged cruelty.  Moreover, she is a
    married sister of deceased Sunita and is not expected to
    possess knowledge in respect of alleged harassment to Sunita.
    On the point of cruelty, evidence of PW 6 Vimal can also not
    be accepted. In answer to a question, she has deposed in
    crossexamination that Sunita had gone to Ghatanji prior to
    23   days   of   the   incident.     However,   according   to   PW   4
    Narayan, father of the deceased, the incident occurred on the
    day on which Sunita returned from Ghatanji, place of her
    husband.   Thus, in absent of direct oral or documentary
    evidence, the prosecution case  cannot  be accepted on the
    basis of hearsay evidence.”
    42. Learned Counsel for the appellants, also relied upon Kishori
    Lal vs. State of M.P. 2007 DGL (Soft) 706 , more so on paras. 6
    and 7 which read thus;
    “6. Section 107 IPC defines abetment of a thing.   The
    offence   of   abetment   is   a   separate   and   distinct   offence
    provided in the Act as an offence.  A person, abets the doing
    of a thing when (1) he instigates any person to do that thing;
    or   (2)   engages   with   one   or   more   other   persons   in   any
    conspiracy for the doing of that thing; or (3) intentionally
    aids,   by  act  or  illegal   omission,  the   doing   of   that   thing.
    These things are essential to complete abetment as a crime.
    The word “instigate” literally means to provoke, incite, urge
    on   or   bring   about   by   persuasion   to   do   any   thing.     The
    abetment may be by instigation, conspiracy or intentional aid,
    as provided in the three clauses of Section 107. Section 109
    provides that if the act abetted is committed in consequence
    of abetment and there is no provision for the punishment of
    such abetment, then the offender is to be punished with the
    punishment provided for the original of offence. “Abetted” in
    Section 109 means the specific offence abetted. Therefore, the
    offence for the abetment of which a person is charged with
    the abetment is normally linked with the proved offence.
    7. In cases of alleged abetment of suicide there must be
    proof   of   direct   or   indirect   acts   of   incitement   to   the
    commission   of   suicide.     The   mere   fact   that   the   husband
    treated the deceasedwife with cruelty is not enough. [See
    Mahinder Singh v. State of M.P.(1995 AIR SCW 4570) ].
    Merely on the allegation of harassment, conviction in terms
    of   Section   306   IPC   is   not   sustainable.     There   is   ample
    evidence on record that the deceased was disturbed because
    she had not given birth to any child.  PWs. 8, 10 and 11 have
    categorically stated that the deceased was disappointed due
    to the said fact and her failure to beget a child and she was
    upset due to this. ”
    43. Learned Counsel for the appellants, also relied upon the case
    of Baban vs. State of Mah. 2007 (Supp) Bom.C.R. 536, on para
    9, wherein observations of the Hon’ble Apex Court in  “Girdhar
    Shankar   Tayade   vs.   State   of   Maha.   1,   2002   DGLS   471,   are
    reproduced, and also on para 27, which read as under:
    “9. The Apex Court in (“Girdhar Shankar Tayade vs. State
    of Maharashtra”)  2002 DGLS 471 …………………………………….
    has   explained   the   purpose   and   meaning   of   expression
    “cruelty” as defined in section 498A of the Indian Penal
    Code.  The basic purport of the statutory provision is to avoid
    “cruelty” as defined by attributing statutory meaning thereto.
    The word “cruelty”   has to be understood in the context of
    two   explanations   enumerated   under   section   498A   of   the
    Indian Penal Code.  The first explanation (a) involves three
    specific situations to wit : (i) willful conduct which would
    drive the woman to commit the suicide or (ii) to cause grave
    injury to herself or (iii) danger to life, limb or health.  Such
    willful conduct may be mental and or physical as the case
    may be.  Another explanation (b) covers coercive harassment
    on account of non fulfillment of unlawful demand.  It is well
    settled that the charges of matrimonial cruelty and that of
    abetment to the suicide of a married woman are distinct. Still
    however,   when   both   the   charged   are   levelled   then   the
    prosecution must establish nexus between cruelty and the
    suicide of the married woman.
    27. The recitals of the said Chitthi (Article8) have not
    been duly proved. The handwriting expert did not corroborate
    the case of prosecution regarding identity of the handwriting
    of the Chitthi (Article8).   Even assuming that there was
    some quarrel in the relevant morning, which could not be
    tolerated by deceased Sau. Aruna, yet that by itself can not
    be regarded as the act of “cruelty”   within the meaning of
    section   498A   of   the   Indian   Penal   Code.     This   Court   in
    (“Ravindra   Pyarelal   Bidan   and   others   vs.   State   of
    Maharashtra”) 1993 Cri.L.J. 3019 has held that the cruelty
    established has to be of such gravity that was likely to drive
    a woman to commit suicide. It is further observed that if
    suicide is established then   it has to be established that it
    was occasioned on account of cruelty which was of sufficient
    gravity so as to lead a reasonable person placed in similar
    circumstances to commit suicide.  This Court expressed view
    that   mere   harassment   by   itself   can   not   be   regarded   as
    “cruelty”.  The harassment has to be with a definite object,
    namely, to coerce the woman or any person related to her to
    meet any unlawful demand. ”
    44. Lastly, learned Counsel for the appellants, relied upon the
    case of Supadu vs. State of Mah. [2006(2) Mh.L.J. (Cri.) 888],
    especially on para 30 thereof which reads :
    “30. So far as the question of sentence is concerned, it may
    be seen that appellant No.1 Supadu was aged about 65 years
    and appellant No. 2 Sarubai was aged about 58 years at the
    relevant time.  A period of about 13 years has elapsed after
    the impugned order of conviction and sentence.  By now, the
    appellant No.1Supadu has become old aged person of about
    78 years and appellant No.2 too has become quite old of
    about 71 years. In view of their advance age, some leniency
    will have to be shown to them.   The impugned order of
    sentence   will   have   to   be   modified,   in   keeping   with   the
    circumstances and age of the appellants No. 1 and 2, though
    no modification is required insofar as the sentence awarded
    to appellant No.3Baban is concerned.)”
    45. Learned A.P.P. Shri V.G. Shelke for the respondentState
    canvassed   that   the   testimonies   of   PW3   Kesharbai,   PW4
    Ramchandra, PW7 Gorakh, PW8 Suryakant and PW11 Maroti,
    so also PW2 Sajjanbai, are consistent   in respect of illtreatment
    and   harassment   given   by   the   accused   persons   to   victim
    Chandrabhagabai, due to non fulfillment of their demand for Rs.
    25,000/= for flour mill, by her and her parents, which connect the
    accused   persons   with   the   crime.     It   is   further   canvassed   that
    although   the   aforesaid   witnesses   are   the   family   members/close
    relatives of the victim, they have deposed fairly and put forth truth
    before the court, and therefore, their testimonies deserve to be
    believed and are required to be accepted.  It is also  canvassed that
    since the victim Chandrabhagabai was subjected to cruelty by the
    accused persons in the house, there cannot be any independent
    witness,   and   therefore,   the   prosecution   could   not   examine   any
    independent   witness   to   the   same,   and   absence   of   independent
    witness cannot be construed as flaw in the prosecution case.
    46. As regards delay of three days caused in filing the FIR,
    learned APP submitted that the prosecution has explained the said
    delay,   properly   and   convincingly,   in   the   testimony   of   PW8
    Suryakant i.e. the complainant, since, initially although he had
    gone to police out post, Nadurghat, for lodging the complaint,  he
    was advised to lodge the same with  police station at Kaij, which
    consumed time, and accordingly, FIR was lodged on 1.3.1999 with
    Police Station, Kaij, and hence, the said delay cannot be said to be
    fatal to prosecution case, as the  same is properly explained.
    47. Learned A.P.P. further submitted that the learned trial court
    has scrutinized and assessed the evidence in proper perspective and
    rightly sentenced the accused persons,   and there are no glaring
    defects or infirmities so as to interfere  in the finding recorded by
    the trial court,  warranting reversal thereof, and accordingly, urged
    that the present appeal bears no substance and same deserves to
    be dismissed.
    48. I have perused the oral, documentary, as well as medical
    evidence adduced and produced on record by the prosecution, as
    well   as   perused   the   impugned   judgment   and   order   dated
    29.12.2000, and also considered the submissions advanced by the
    learned counsel for the parties, anxiously, and perused the judicial
    pronouncements cited by the learned counsel for the appellantsaccused,
    carefully, and I am inclined to accept the submissions
    advanced by the learned counsel for the appellants accused, since
    there are  infirmities, discrepancies and lacunae in the prosecution
    case, and the prosecution has failed to prove and establish the guilt
    of   the   appellants accused,   beyond   reasonable   doubt,   since,   the
    prosecution witnesses, and more particularly who are the family
    members and close relatives of the victim Chandrabhagabai, have
    not attributed specific role to each of the accused persons in respect
    of the alleged harassment and illtreatment or cruelty, to which the
    victim Chandrabhagabai was allegedly subjected by them.  Further,
    the prosecution has not examined any independent  witness to the
    alleged  illtreatment/harassment  to  victim  Chandrabhagabai,  nor
    examined at least any neighbour,   who could have thrown some
    light on the alleged illtreatment to victim Chandrabhagabai.
    49. Moreover,   although   Janabai,   mother   of   the   victim
    Chandrabhagabai and PW8  Suryakant, reached at Sarula, first in
    point of time and who was the source of information to PW8
    Suryakant and whose statement under Section 161 of the Code of
    Criminal Procedure was recorded, is withheld by the prosecution,
    for the reasons bestknown to it, and therefore, the submission
    advanced by the learned counsel for the appellantsaccused that the
    testimony of the complainant PW8 Suryakant is hearsay evidence,
    cannot be overlooked.   Moreover, sight also cannot be lost of the
    aspect that the prosecution witnesses have consistently deposed
    that     victim   Chandrabhagabai   was   meted   out   harassment/illtreatment
    by accused persons on the ground that she did not know
    cooking/domestic work, and it is also pertinent to note that it has
    come in the evidence that the alleged demand by accused persons
    for Rs.25,000/= for installation of flour mill, was made about one
    year   prior   to   the   incident,   and   as   such,   there   was   no   close
    proximity between the alleged demand of said amount and the
    alleged   illtreatment/harassment   to   the   victim,   due   to   non
    fulfillment   thereof,   and   consequently;   with   the   alleged   suicide
    committed by the victim, and the prosecution has apparently failed
    to establish nexus among the said vital aspects. Moreover, it is not
    the case of the prosecution that there was any recent/immediate
    glaring   incident   or   unlawful   demand   by   accused   to   victim
    Chandrabhagabai,   resulting   into   incitement   to   her   to   commit
    50. Besides that, the fact cannot be ignored that almost 8 to 9
    years had passed since marriage of victim Chandrabhagabai with
    accused No.1 Limbraj and even three children were begotten out of
    the said wedlock,  and considering the said passage of time after
    the marriage and birth of three children, it is not conceivable that
    she was subjected to such a cruelty which drove her to commit
    suicide. It is also material to note that   there was not a single
    complaint of harassment/illtreatment,  by victim Chandrabhagabai
    herself or by her parental relatives against the accused persons
    since last 8 to 9 years after her marriage till the date of the alleged
    incident,  and merely asking her to do household work or work at
    own field cannot be termed as “cruelty” as contemplated under
    Section 498A of IPC.
    51. Moreover,   the   chain   of   the   prosecution   case   is   also   not
    complete, since although viscera of the deceased  Chandrabhagabai
    was preserved at the time of post mortem, it was not sent to the
    chemical analyzer  for examination purpose, and therefore, there is
    no C.A. report in that respect, and consequently; no final report
    regarding cause of death  of victim Chandrabhagabai, is on record,
    and the same   gives fatal blow   to the case of the prosecution.
    Hence, the defence taken by the accused persons that the victim
    Chandrabhagabai might have committed suicide due to intolerable
    trouble of kidney disease, which is apparently supported by PW10
    Shrimant Dhakne in his testimony, also cannot be ignored , since
    the accused have probabilized the said defence.

    52. In   substance,   the   prosecution   has   failed   to   prove   and
    establish the very ingredients of section 498A of IPC, and also
    failed   to   establish   nexus   between   the   alleged   cruelty   and   the
    suicide  committed  by Chandrabhagabai, to connect  the  accused
    persons   therewith,   and   consequently;   with   the   alleged   crime.
    Moreover, having comprehensive view of the matter and considering
    the   totality   of   the   testimonies   of   prosecution   witnesses,   the
    ingredients of Section 107 of IPC in respect of abetment, such as,
    (i) instigate any person to commit an offence,  or
    (ii) engaging in a conspiracy for committing it; or
    (iii) intentionally aiding a person to commit  it;
    are absent in the present case and on that count also, prosecution
    case fails.
    53. Apart from that, there is also delay of three days in lodging
    the FIR, since the alleged incident occurred on 26.2.1999, whereas
    the   FIR     was   lodged   on   1.3.1999.   In   the   said   context,   the
    prosecution tried to give explanation that the complainant PW8
    Suryakant has stated in his deposition that initially he had gone to
    Police Out Post, Nandurghat, but he was advised to lodge the
    complaint with Police Station, Kaij, which consumed time, and
    accordingly; he lodged FIR with Kaij Police Station, on 1.3.1999.

    However, it is worth noting that complainant PW8 Suryakant was
    advised on 27.2.1999 to lodge the FIR with Police Station, Kaij, and
    hence, he could have approached Kaij Police Station on the same
    day or at least on next day i.e. 27.2.1999, but admittedly, he did not
    approach Kaij Police Station either on 27.2.1999 or on 28.2.1999, as
    admittedly, he approached Kaij Police Station, only on 1.3.1999 for
    which no justifiable reason is coming forward, which apparently
    gave room to concoction and implication of the appellants in the
    present case, falsely, and hence, the said delay is fatal to the case
    of the prosecution and hampers its case, and the explanation given
    by prosecution in that respect, is not plausible and convincing.
    54. In   the   circumstances,   having   comprehensive   view   of   the
    matter,   and   also   considering   judicial   pronouncements   cited   by
    learned counsel for appellants in respect of Section 498 and Section
    306 of IPC, it is amply clear that the prosecution has failed to bring
    the  guilt at home against  the accused persons,  and has failed to
    prove   and   establish   the   charges   levelled   against   them,   beyond
    reasonable doubt. Consequently, convictions and sentences inflicted
    upon the appellants deserve to be quashed and set aside and they
    deserve to be acquitted of the said charges, by allowing present appeal.

  7. 55. In the result, present appeal is allowed, and the judgment
    and order dated 29.12.2000, rendered by the learned II Additional
    Sessions   Judge,   Ambajogai,   in   Sessions   Case   No.   59   of   1999,
    thereby convicting and sentencing the present appellantsoriginal
    accused for the offences punishable under Sections 498A and 306
    read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, with which they were
    charged and tried, is quashed and set aside, and the appellantsaccused
    stand acquitted of the said offences.  Fine amount, if any,
    paid by the appellantsaccused,  be refunded to them, and their bail
    bonds stand cancelled.


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