Crl.Rev.No.781 of 2009 (O&M) -1- IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH Crl.Rev.No.781 of 2009 (O&M) Date of Decision:- 22.09.2009 Bhateri ....Petitioner(s) vs. State of Haryana and others ....Respondent(s) *** CORAM:- HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE AUGUSTINE GEORGE MASIH *** Present:- Mr.Ravi Partap Singh, Advocate, for the petitioner. *** AUGUSTINE GEORGE MASIH, J.
The present revision petition has been preferred by the complainant against the judgment dated 5.11.2008 passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Rohtak, vide which the accused-respondents have been acquitted after being given the benefit of doubt and holding that the prosecution has failed to prove against any of the accused for any of the offences for which they were charge-sheeted.
Counsel for the petitioner contends that the judgments acquitting the accused-respondents is perverse and the Court has totally misread the evidence which has been led by the prosecution especially the non-reliance upon the statement of Anita (PW-6), sister of deceased Sanju, who had corroborated the prosecution version in-toto. He contends that minor discrepancies which had crept in could not be made the basis for acquittal of the accused respondents. His further contention is that the benefit of doubt has been wrongly given to the accused as the offences for which they had been charged stood fully proved against them and, thus, the present petition deserves to be accepted.
I have heard counsel for the petitioner and have gone through the records of the case.
Briefly, the facts of the case are that on 28.3.2007, complainant-petitioner Bhateri along with her daughters Anita and Sunita and Jeth (Brother-in-law) Om Parkash got recorded her statement to ASI Har Narain, In-charge, Police Post, Kahnaur to the effect that her husband had expired 8 years ago. She thereafter married her daughters Sanju and Anju with accused Krishan Lal and Pawan respectively, who were brothers and residents of village Kahnaur. As per their capacity, dowry was given in the marriage and her daughter Sanju was sent to her in-laws’ house while Anju was not sent and she stayed back in her paternal house. Out of the marriage between Krishan Lal and Sanju, one daughter (aged about 1-1/2 years) and a son ( aged about 7 months) were born. Right from the very beginning of the marriage, her daughter Sanju was harassed by her husband Krishan lal, brother-in-law Pawan and mother-in-law Gindori for and in connection with the demand of dowry and was being taunted and beaten for the said purpose. Sanju had complained about the same many a time when she visited her maternal house at Lohani. A Local Panchayat including the complainant Bhateri, her daughter Sunita, Sajjan Singh-son of her husband’s sister and her Jeth (brother-in-law) Om Parkash visited village Kahnaur and advised both her son-in-laws and mother-in-law-Gindori to behave properly with Sanju. On 27.3.2007 at about 11.00 A.M., the complainant received a telephonic call from Sanju who told her that Krishan Lal, Pawan and Gindori were pressurizing her to bring a sum of Rs.10,000/- as they needed this money for the marriage of their daughter Poonam. The complainant assured her daughter Sanju that she would make arrangement for the money and would inform her on telephone. On that very day i.e. 27.3.2007 at about 4./5 P.M., a telephonic message was received from her son-in-law Krishan Lal by the complainant that Sanju had become unconscious and that she should reach immediately. She along with her daughters Anita and Sunita and her Jeth Om Parkash reached village Kahnaur and found her daughter Sunita lying dead on a cot in a room. On probe, the complainant came to know that her daughter Sanju had committed suicide by hanging herself with a Chunni tied with the ceiling fan on account of harassment meted out to her by all the three accused or Sanju had been put on the cot after murdering her. On this statement, FIR No.92 dated 28.3.2007 under Section 304-B/498-A/34 IPC was registered at Police Station Kahnaur District Rohtak. On completion of the investigation, challan was presented in the Court. Charges were framed against the accused-respondents on 30.8.2007 under Section 304-B/498-A/34 IPC to which they pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. Thereafter, the evidence was led by the prosecution and on closure thereof, the accused were examined under Section 313 Cr.P.C. and they pleaded innocence and false implication in the case and also led evidence in defence.
On consideration of the evidence led by the parties, the learned trial Court came to the conclusion that the prosecution has failed to prove its case against the accused-respondents beyond doubt and, therefore, acquitted them of the charges framed against them by giving them the benefit of doubt. A perusal of the impugned judgment clearly shows that the learned trial Court has, in detail discussed each and every evidence oral as well as documentary and has returned a finding that the offences for which the accused have been charged, have not been proved against them. The discussion and the findings as recorded by the trial Court along with the reasons are in paras 20 to 27 of the judgment which read as follows:-
“20. After hearing the arguments of both the sides and going through the case file, it is clear that the complainant Bhateri (PW2) and Sajjan Singh (PW3) have not uttered even a single word that any of the accused had ever harassed the deceased for or in connection with the demand of dowry. The complainant has only stated that she had received a telephonic call from her daughter Sanju that all the three accused were demanding Rs.10,000/-, for the marriage of her daughter Sanju’s sister-in-law Poonam. Such demand can not be said to be a dowry demand. It is a matter of common knowledge that the relatives who are in need of money ask their relatives to seek financial help for some particular occasion in the hour of need. In this regard, if any authority on the point is needed then the reliance can be placed on the observations made by the Hon’ble Apex Court in Appasaheb and another vs. State of Maharashtra, 2007 (1) RCR (Criminal) 747 wherein it was observed that the demand of Rs.1000/- Rs.1200/- for domestic expenses by the in-laws of a girl, could not be said to be a demand of dowry for convicting underSection 304-B IPC. Similar view was also taken by the Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan in through P.P.2007 (4) RCR (Crl.) 995.
21. In the complaint (Ex.PB) the complainant had stated that after the marriage of her daughter Sanju, all the three accused have been harassing her for the demand of dowry but while appearing in the witness box, she has stated that she did not know as to what the accused were doing with her daughter. So much so, she has not corroborated the version of her complaint Ex.PB that she along with her daughter Sunita, her sister-in-law’s son Sajjan and Jeth Om Parkash visited village Kahnaur and advised the accused persons to behave with Sanju properly. She has also not corroborated the version of her complaint Ex.PB that she along with her daughters Sunita and Anita and Jeth Om Parkash visited village Kahnaur on receipt of a telephonic message from accused Krishan that Sanju had become unconscious but has stated that on that day, she along with the aforesaid members had gone to village Kahnaur on receipt of the telephonic call from her daughter Sanju and that when they went there, they found Sanju lying dead on the cot. Similarly, Sajjan as PW3 has not stated that he had visited village Kahnaur at any time before this occurrence for advising the accused persons to behave Sanju properly but has stated that he had gone to village Kahnaur along with complainant Bhateri, his maternal uncle Om Parkash & her cousin Sunita on the date of occurrence i.e. 27.3.2007 and came to know that Sanju got herself hanged.
22. From the aforesaid statements of these two material witnesses, the prosecution version about the harassment of the deceased by the accused persons, for or in connection with the demand of dowry at any time on or before the death of Sanju, has not been established.
23. Now, we are left with the solitary statement of Anita (PW6) who is the elder married sister of Sanju and has stated that the deceased was being harassed by the accused for bringing inadequate dowry and also used to beat her for not fulfilling their demand. But her statement can also not be said to be believable seeing the statements of PW2 and PW3. Though she has stated that the deceased Sanju used to tell about harassment meted out to her by the accused when she visited her parental home, but she could not tell the specific time of her harassment or demand of dowry from her sister. From the statement of this witness, it is made out that the deceased was harassed and beaten by the accused persons two years prior to her death. It means the ingredients of Section 304-B of IPC that the prosecution should show that soon before her death, the victim lady was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for or in connection with the demand of dowry.
24. The statement of PW6 that they were told by Sanju that the accused were harassing her for demand of dowry, therefore, she along with her mother, Tau Om Parkash and elder sister Sunita went to the matrimonial home of Sanju and further that on 27.3.2007, on receipt of a telephonic call from accused Krishan regarding the fact of Sanju becoming unconscious, she along with her mother, Tau Om Parkash, her cousin Sajjan and sister Sunita went to Kahnaur, is not proved to be in consonance with the statement of PW2 and PW3 because none of them has stated that Anita (PW6) has ever visited the matrimonial home of Sanju with them. Om Parkash, and Sunita at any point of time.
25. The statements of PW2 and PW6 are also contradictory because PW2 has stated that on the date of occurrence, when Sanju made a telephonic call to her about the demand of Rs.10,000/- by the accused persons for marriage of her sister-in-law Poonam, then she told her that she would come to know as to why they were demanding this amount from her, whereas PW6 has stated that when Sanju apprised her and her mother, that the accused had raised the demand of Rs.10,000/-, from her, then her mother and told Sanju that if any of the accused persons was having time to come to them for collecting the amount, then he be sent otherwise they would send the desired amount by the evening. PW2 has no where stated that Sanju had also told her that the accused had threatened her to bring the amount if she wanted to survive otherwise she would be done to death but PW6 has stated so. PW6 has also made improvements over the statement in Ex.DA.
26. It has not come in the statement of PW6 as to what type of dowry demand was raised by any of the accused persons. Had there been demand of dowry in the shape of cash, jewellery or other type of articles, then the deceased would have certainly told her and other family members but this is not the position. So, it can not be said that the accused had harassed her from the very beginning of the marriage for or in connection with the demand of dowry.
27. No doubt, Sanju died in an unnatural circumstance at her matrimonial home within 7 years of her marriage but until and unless, the other ingredients i.e. she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any other relative of her husband, for or in connection with the demand of dowry soon before her death are proved, it can not be said that the presumption as to dowry death under Section 113-B of the Indian Penal Code could be raised in the facts and circumstances of the case in hand.”
A perusal of the above leaves no manner of doubt that the trial Court has in detail considered the evidence led by the prosecution and returned a finding which is in consonance with the evidence led by the parties. The reasons given by the trial Court for coming to the conclusions are fully justified and the same cannot be said to be perverse or without any basis which would warrant interference by this Court while exercising its revisional jurisdiction It is now well settled the revisional jurisdiction of the Court is limited one and is not to be exercised and equated with that of an appellate Court’s jurisdiction. The appellate Court while exercising its jurisdiction can go into the questions of fact and law and convert an order of acquittal into one of conviction as it has a much wider jurisdiction whereas the revisional jurisdiction is restricted and can be exercised if there is an error on the point of law or non-appraisal of evidence at all. The High Court can also exercise its jurisdiction if there is a glaring defect in procedure. Nothing has been pointed out by the counsel for the petitioner which would persuade this Court to exercise its limited revisional jurisdiction. The learned counsel has taken me through the evidence led by the prosecution wherein he has tried to point out the discrepancies but the same when seen in the context of the case are minor in nature whereas the prosecution witnesses have supported the case of the prosecution on all material aspects. The conclusions, thus, drawn by the Courts below and the findings returned on the basis of the evidence led by the parties are fully justified, and, therefore, do not warrant any interference by this court.
September 22, 2009 ( AUGUSTINE GEORGE MASIH ) poonam JUDGE Whether referred to Reporters : Yes/No Crl.Misc.No.15589 of 2009 in Crl.Rev.No.781 of 2009 *** Present:- Mr.Ravi Partap Singh, Advocate, for the petitioner. Mr.Amandeep Singh Rai, AAG, Punjab. Mr.Ashok Kumar Jindal, AAG, Haryana. ***
This is an application for condonation of delay of 22 days in filing the appeal.
For the reasons mentioned in the application, the same is allowed. The delay of 22 days in filing the appeal is condoned.
Application stands disposed of.
September 22, 2009 ( AUGUSTINE GEORGE MASIH ) poonam JUDGE