Punjab-Haryana High Court
Gurwinder Singh vs State Of Punjab on 10 September, 2013
                     CRA No.714-SB of 2003                                                 1

                               IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT
                                              CHANDIGARH


                                                                  CRA No.714-SB of 2003

                                                                  Date of Decision:-10.9.2013

                     Gurwinder Singh
                                                                               ...Appellant
                                                        Vs.
                     State of Punjab
                                                                               ...Respondent


                     CORAM: HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE MEHINDER SINGH SULLAR


                     Present:-     Mr.P.S.Hundal, Senior Advocate with
                                   Mr.Dinesh Trehan, Advocate for the appellant.

                                   Mr.Jaspreet Singh Sekhon, AAG Punjab for the State.

                     Mehinder Singh Sullar, J. (Oral)

The matrix of the facts & evidence, unfolded during the course of trial, which needs a necessary mention for the limited purpose of deciding the core controversy, involved in the instant appeal and emanating from the record, as claimed by the prosecution, is that the marriage of appellant-convict Gurwinder Singh son of Multan Singh (for brevity “the appellant”) was solemnized with Jasbir Kaur, daughter of complainant Surmukh Singh (PW1) (for short “the complainant”) in the month of April, 1997 according to Sikh rites and ceremonies. After solemnization of the marriage, they happily resided together, cohabited as husband & wife and a female child was born out of their wedlock. It was averred that on 4.12.1999 at about 6 P.M., the complainant received a message that his daughter was ill and was taken to Civil Hospital, Bassi. Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh He along with his maternal uncle Pal Singh reached there. Ultimately, they came to know that Jasbir Kaur had died. Then, the complainant returned back to his village with the family members. Subsequently, after the inquiry, he came to know that his daughter had taken some poisonous substance and died. He did not suspect the hand of any one at that time and initially reported the matter to the police, vide DDR No.25 dated 4.12.1999 (Ex.DX). Consequently, the police prepared the inquest report and recorded the statements of complainant and his real brothers Bawa Singh and Jaspal Singh. They have corroborated the contents contained in the DDR (Ex.DX) and did not raise any kind of accusing finger against the accused.

2. Sequelly, the case of the prosecution further proceeds that on 7.12.1999, the complainant moved a complaint (Ex.PB) to SSP Fatehgarh Sahib against the accused leveling the allegations of harassment of his daughter by them on account of demand of dowry, scooter, gas cylinder and cash of ` 50,000/-. He was stated to have given the gas cylinder and paid ` 15,000/- with the hope that the accused may not harass his daughter, but in vain. During the course of inquiry, the DSP recommended and consequently, a criminal case was registered against the accused u/s 304-B IPC. The investigation was carried out by SI Gurdial Singh (PW9). During the investigation, supplementary statement of the complainant was again recorded. The investigating agency found Multan Singh (father-in-law), Balbir Singh alias Kala (brother-in-law), Tej Kaur (grand mother-in-law) of deceased and Ranjit Kaur alias Bhuri (niece), daughter of Jagtar Singh alias Jagga, as innocent, exonerated Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh them and submitted the final police report (challan) against appellant Gurwinder Singh, husband of the deceased, that too, only u/s 306 IPC.

3. Leveling a variety of allegations and narrating the sequence of events, in all, the complainant claimed that Jasbir Kaur, daughter of the complainant, died an unnatural death by consuming some poisonous substance within a period of seven years of her marriage. Soon before her death, she was subjected to cruelty and harassment by the appellant, her husband & acquitted accused in connection with and on account of demand of dowry. Thus, they have committed the offence of dowry death. In the background of these allegations and in the wake of complaint (Ex.PB) of complainant, the present criminal case was registered only against the appellant (husband), by means of FIR No.237 dated 11.12.1999 (Ex.PW9/B), on accusation of having committed an offence punishable under section 304-B IPC by the police of Police Station Sirhind, District Fatehgarh Sahib, in the manner depicted here-in-above. Concededly, the final police report (challan) was submitted against the appellant only u/s 306 IPC and the other accused were exonerated by the police. Thereafter, in pursuance of application u/s 319 Cr.PC filed on behalf of prosecution, the remaining accused were also summoned to face the trial of indicated offence. Accordingly, they were charge sheeted for the commission of an offence punishable u/s 306 IPC and the case was listed for evidence of the prosecution, vide order dated 11.7.2000 by the trial Court.

4. At the same time, the complainant has also filed a separate private complaint, arising out of the same very incident, against the Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh appellant and acquitted accused, in which, they were summoned and committed to the Court of Session to face the trial for the commission of offences punishable u/ss 304-B, 498-A and 120-B IPC.

5. Having completed all the codal formalities, the appellant and acquitted accused were again charge-sheeted for having committed the offences punishable u/ss 498-A, 304-B and 120-B IPC. As they did not plead guilty and claimed trial, therefore, the case was slated for evidence of the prosecution. The case instituted on final police report and private complaint u/ss 304-B, 498-A and 120-B IPC were directed to be disposed of separately to avoid the conflicting judgments of the same occurrence and evidence was ordered to be recorded in police challan case u/s 306 IPC, by means of order dated 19.10.2002 by the trial Court.

6. Likewise, the prosecution, in order to substantiate the charges framed against the appellant and acquitted accused, examined PW1 complainant Surmukh Singh, who has deposed in the following terms:-

“About 5½ years back I married my daughter Jasbir Kaur to Gurwinder Singh accused son of Madhan Singh. At the time of marriage of my daughter according to my capacity and according to the demand of Gurwinder Singh, I gave maximum articles of dowry to accused present in the court i.e Gurwinder Singh, Multan Singh, Tej Kaur, Balbir Singh and Bhoori in the presence of my relatives. All the accused are residing in common house and have common kitchen. Jasbir Kaur gave birth to a female child and after 1½ years of her marriage, Gurwinder Singh and other accused present in the court were not happy over the dowry articles given by me and they were demanding more dowry in the shape of scooter etc. Jasbir Kaur disclosed this to me and to my relations in vill. Kasumbri but I could not fulfill the demand of accused and as a result of this all accused present in the court started beating and maltreating my daughter Jasbir Kaur. After some time all accused again started demanding Rs.50000/- and a gas cylinder and compelled Jasbir Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh Kaur to bring the same from her parents. Jasbir Kaur came to our village and disclosed both the abovesaid demands to me and my other relations and also stressed that we should fulfill the demands of accused, otherwise she would be killed by them. Then I along with my brother-in-law Balbir Singh and brother Jaspal Singh went to the village of accused and handed over them Rs.15,000/- and a gas cylinder and also requested them not to treat Jasbir Kaur with cruelty and also not to harass her. Even after that all accused continued to maltreat Jasbir Kaur and demanded more money Jasbir Kaur again came to my village and requested me that I should fulfill the demand of Rs.50000/- of the accused, otherwise her life was in danger as Tej Kaur accused was adamant to the demand of Rs.50000/- and she had also beaten her. I send back my daughter Jasbir Kaur to her in laws house and told her that I would come there. On 4.12.99 a person came to my house and told me that my daughter Jasbir Kaur has been administered poison by all the accused and she had died in her in laws house. I along with my relation went to vill. Isher Hale and found my daughter lying dead in the house of her in laws. Police came to the spot and got my and my relation’s signatures on blank paper pertending that our signatures were required for getting post mortem examination of the deceased Jasbir Kaur done. After post mortem of dead body of my daughter we cremated her on next day in our vill. All the abovesaid details given in my statement were also told to police on 4.12.99 for taking action against all the accused. After 2-3 days I came to know that police has not registered the case against the accused regarding unnatural death of my daughter and they had also used the blank signed papers of mine and my relatives in favour of accused. Then on 7.12.99 an application giving details of fact of unnatural death of my daughter in the house of her in laws and demand of dowry by all the accused was moved before SSP F/Sahib and the same was marked to DSP, F/Sahib for enquiry. DSP, F/Sahib after enquiry got registered the case u/s 304-B against all accused in PS Sirhind. My application is Ex.PB. After that my statement was got recorded by the police. On 10.4.2000 I came to know that challan against the accused has been presented i.e. Gurwinder Singh only under sec.306 IPC and other accused had been left out by the police. Then I filed a complaint before the court. Complaint is Ex.PA. Gurwinder Singh accused is husband, Multan Singh father-in-law, Balbir Singh brother in law, Kuldip Singh niece and Tej Kaur grand mother in law of my daughter Jasbir Kaur deceased. All the accused are present in the court. Application Ex.PA bears my signatures. My statement was recorded.”

7. Similarly, PW4 Balbir Singh, maternal uncle of the deceased Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh and PW5 Gurmeet Singh, have tried to corroborate the statement of PW1. Instead of reproducing their entire statement and in order to avoid repetition suffice it to say that they have attempted to support the second version contained in the private complaint on all vital aspects of the matter as regards the demand of dowry and cash etc. is concerned. PW6 Om Parkash Sachdeva, Draftsman correctly prepared the scaled site plan (Ex.PW5/A) of place of occurrence on 24.2.2000 at the instance of Jagmail Kaur. PW2 HC Pritpal Singh and PW3 HC Jastejpal Singh are the formal witnesses, who have only tendered their respective affidavits (Ex.PC & Ex.PD) to complete the chain of link evidence.

8. Now adverting to the medical evidence, PW7 Dr.Bhushan Malhotra on 5.12.1999 in pursuance of order (Ex.PW8/B) of PW8 Dr.Jaswant Singh, on police request (Ex.PW7/F) accompanied by inquest report (Ex.PW7/B), has conducted the post mortem examination on the dead body of Jasbir Kaur, vide post mortem report (Ex.PW7/A). After receipt of report (Ex.PW7/C) of chemical examiner and examining the inquest report, he opined, by way of his report (Ex.PW7/D) that the death was due to organo phosphorus poisoning, which was sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature.

9. The last to note is the testimony of Investigating Officer PW9 SI Gurdial Singh, who maintained that on 4.12.1999 on receipt of information, he proceeded to the house of accused Multan Singh and Gurwinder Singh in village Isherhail, where the dead body of Jasbir Kaur was lying. He prepared the inquest report (Ex.PW7/B) of the dead body and recorded the statement (Ex.PW9/A) (Ex.DA) of complainant and Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh made his endorsement (Ex.PW9/B) for conducting inquest proceedings. Thereafter, he despatched the dead body for post mortem examination. He further stated that on 11.12.1999 DSP Dilbagh Singh went for conducting the enquiry on the application of complainant, which was marked by the SSP, vide order (Ex.PW/1). After inquiry, the DSP found a prima facie case u/s 304-B IPC and he made the endorsement (Ex.PB/2), on the basis of which, formal FIR (Ex.PW9/B) was recorded by Ami Chand ASI. Then the investigation was handed over to him by DSP Dilbagh Singh. He prepared the site plan (Ex.PW9/C) of the spot and recorded the supplementary statement of the complainant and statements of other witnesses. He has further testified his investigation as well.

10. After the close of the prosecution evidence, the statements of the appellant and acquitted accused were recorded. The entire incriminating material/evidence was put to enable them to explain any circumstance appearing against them therein, as contemplated under section 313 Cr.PC. However, appellant Gurwinder Singh has denied the prosecution evidence in its entirety and pleaded false implication in the following manner:-

“I am innocent and falsely implicated in this case. Jasbir Kaur deceased was never maltreated nor was she subjected to cruelty or harassment by me nor any of my family members. We never demanded any dowry articles or cash from the parents of the deceased nor any such dowry articles cash were accepted by me or my close relatives. Jasbir Kaur was the lady of hot temperament and of hypersensitivity in nature. She took some poisonous substance by mistake and died due to her heart failure. Neither I nor any of my close relatives are responsible for her death. Surmukh Singh father of Jasbir Kaur his relative and other respectables of vill.Kusumbari, when came to Isherhail on 4.12.99 verified this fact and reported the same to the police of P.S.Sirhind (Fatehgarh Sahib). Subsequently, the persons Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh inimical towards us instigated Surmukh Singh father of Jasbir Kaur deceased to get this false case registered. I am innocent.”

11. In the same manner, similar line of defence was adopted by other acquitted accused. They, in order to prove the line of defence, have examined DW1 Faquir Singh son of Rachan Singh, DW2 Mohinder Singh son of Labh Singh, DW3 Jagmail Kaur wife of Harchand Singh & DW4 Karnail Singh son of Nasib Singh. The crux of their evidence is that the appellant and deceased were residing separately. Neither the accused maltreated her nor demanded any dowry articles and cash from her. The initial version projected by the complainant was verified to be correct by the DSP. They maintained that Jasbir Kaur died due to consumption of some poisonous substance by mistake. DW5 HC Netar Singh has proved the entry in the DDR (Ex.DX). This is the total oral as well as documentary evidence brought on record by the parties.

12. Taking into consideration the entire evidence on record, accused Multan Singh (father-in-law), Balbir Singh (brother-in-law), Tej Kaur (grand mother-in-law) and Rajnit Kaur alias Bhuri (niece) of deceased were acquitted of the charges framed against them. At the same time, the appellant was convicted u/ss 304-B and 498-A IPC and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment (for brevity “RI”) for a period of ten years, to pay a fine of ` 5000/- each, or in default thereof to further undergo RI for a period of one year only for the commission of an offence punishable u/s 304-B IPC. However, no separate sentence was awarded u/s 498-A IPC, by means of impugned judgment of conviction and order of sentence dated 3.3.2003 by the trial Judge.

13. At the very outset, it may be added here that State of Punjab Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh has not filed any appeal to challenge the acquittal of remaining accused as the trial Court has only convicted the appellant-husband in this case in the pointed manner.

14. Aggrieved thereby, the appellant-husband has preferred the instant appeal. That is how I am seized of the matter.

15. After hearing the learned counsel for the parties, going through the evidence on record with their valuable assistance and after considering the entire matter deeply, to my mind, the present appeal deserves to be partly accepted in this respect.

16. As indicated here-in-above, accused Multan Singh (father-in- law), Balbir Singh (brother-in-law), Tej Kaur (grand mother-in-law) and Rajnit Kaur alias Bhuri (niece) of deceased were acquitted of the charges framed against them. At the same time, the appellant-husband was convicted u/ss 304-B and 498-A IPCSection 304-B IPC postulates that “Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.” Similar is the provision of offence punishable u/s 498-A IPC as well.

17. A plain and meaningful reading of these provisions would reveal that the prosecution is legally required to prove the following essential ingredients before invoking the provisions of section 304-B Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh IPC:-

(i) The death of wife should be caused by burns or bodily injury or otherwise than under normal circumstances;

(ii) Such death should have been occurred within seven years of the marriage;

(iii) She must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband;

(iv) Such cruelty or harassment should be for or in connection with demand of dowry soon before her death.

(v) Such cruelty and harassment was made soon before her death.

18. Such thus being the legal position & evidence on record, now the sole controversy, which invites an immediate attention of this Court and arises for determination in this appeal is, as to whether all the essential ingredients of the offence punishable u/s 304-B IPC are complete or in any case, what offence was committed by the appellant ?

19. Having regard to the rival contentions of learned counsel for the parties, to me, the prosecution has utterly failed to prove all the essential ingredients of the offence punishable u/s 304-B IPC. However, at the same time, it stands proved on record that the appellant-husband had abetted and driven the deceased to commit suicide and he is liable to be convicted & sentenced for the commission of an offence punishable u/s 306 IPC, for the reasons mentioned here-in-below.

20. What cannot possibly be disputed here is that the marriage of the appellant was solemnized in the month of April, 1997 with the deceased. After solemnization of the marriage, they happily resided together, cohabited as husband & wife and a female child was born out of their wedlock. Admittedly, on 4.12.1999 at about 6 P.M., the complainant received a message about the illness of his daughter. He along with his Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh maternal uncle Pal Singh reached in Civil Hospital, Bassi. Ultimately, they came to know that Jasbir Kaur had died. Then, the complainant returned back to his village with the family members. Subsequently, after inquiry, he came to know that his daughter had taken some poisonous substance and died. He did not suspect the hand of any one at that point of time and initially reported the matter to the police, vide DDR No.25 dated 4.12.1999 (Ex.DX). Resultantly, the police prepared the inquest report and recorded the statements of complainant and his real brothers Bawa Singh and Jaspal Singh. Concededly, she died an unnatural death due to consumption of some poisonous substance, within a period of three years of her marriage. In other words, initially at the first instance, the complainant and his brothers did not raise any accusing finger towards the appellant that Jasbir Kaur was treated with cruelty by him in connection with and on account of demand of dowry. PW9 SI Gurdial Singh has also so admitted that he correctly recorded the statement (Ex.PW9/A) (Ex.DA) of complainant on 4.12.1999. He was accompanied by Gurmit Singh, Sarpanch of village Kusumbari. He maintained that he read over the statement and complainant signed the same at point DA/2 in token of its correctness, which was attested by him as well as Gurmit Singh. Sarpanch at point Ex.DA/1. He has also recorded the statements of Bawa Singh and Jaspal Singh, real brothers of the complainant at the time of preparing the inquest report. They also did not raise any accusing finger towards the accused. Such statements of complainant and his brothers are relevant as envisaged u/s 175 Cr.PC.

21. Subsequently, according to the prosecution that after Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh solemnization of the marriage, the appellant and acquitted accused had started demanding one scooter and Rs.50,000/- from the deceased and the complainant moved a complaint (Ex.PB) to the SSP. The DSP recommended the registration of a criminal case against the accused and the investigation was handed over to SI Gurdial Singh, Investigating Officer (PW9). During the course of investigation, he recorded the statements of Bahadur Singh, Sarpanch, Shingara Singh Ex-Sarpanch & one Jagmail Kaur of village Isherhail, who have maintained that although no demand of dowry was made by the accused, but the deceased was fed up with the drinking habit of her husband Gurwinder Singh. He had also recorded the supplementary statement of the complainant and statements of other witnesses. After completion of the investigation, he found the remaining accused (acquitted) as innocent and exonerated them. The final police report (challan) was submitted only against the appellant-husband, that too, for the commission of an offence punishable u/s 306 IPC.

22. Thereafter, the complainant filed a private complaint against all the accused u/ss 304-B, 498-A and 120-B IPC, alleging therein that the accused have demanded a scooter and cash of Rs.50,000/-. No doubt, the complainant (PW1), Balbir Singh, maternal uncle of the deceased (PW4) and Gurmeet Singh (PW5) have vaguely stated regarding the indicated demands by the appellant, but, to my mind, no implicit reliance can be placed on their statements, which they appeared to have made after due consultations, deliberations and made improvements. Had the appellant or other acquitted accused demanded the above dowry articles and cash soon before the death of Jasbir Kaur, in that eventuality, the Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh complainant, who had himself lodged the DDR (Ex.DX), would have and ought to have been mentioned in his initial version in this direction. On the contrary, he (complainant) and his brothers Bawa Singh and Jaspal Singh have categorically maintained that she died due to consumption of some poisonous substance of her own. The accused did not demand any dowry. They did not state about the demand of dowry soon before her death in their initial version. Not only that, the story of the prosecution with regard to the pointed demand of dowry relatable to other relatives of the appellant-husband, has already been disbelieved and they were acquitted by the trial Court.

23. Moreover, the epitome of evidence on record would reveal that the appellant demanded the scooter and Rs.50,000/- and the complainant paid Rs.15,000/-, but still, he demanded more money including the scooter. Assuming for the sake of argument that if the demand in question was made by the appellant, even then, to me, it will not attract the penal provisions of section 304-B IPC. Indisputably, there is not an iota of evidence on record, muchless cogent, even to suggest remotely that the deceased was subjected to any legally required cruelty or harassment soon before her death by the appellant in connection with and on account of demand of dowry. That means, there should be a perceptible nexus between her death and the dowry related harassment or cruelty soon before her death. Preceding on these premises, the presumption arising under section 113-B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (hereinafter to be referred as “the Act”) could not legally be invoked against the appellant in the absence of specific evidence of Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh harassment and cruelty for demand of dowry soon before her death and in the absence of indicated essential ingredients of section 304-B IPC, which are totally lacking in the instant case. The Hon’ble Apex Court has examined the similar matter in detail in case Appasaheb and another v. State of Maharashtra 2007(1) RCR (Criminal) 747, wherein, it was held as under (para 9) :-

“Two essential ingredients of Section 304-B IPC, apart from others, are (i) death of woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances, and (ii) woman is subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for “dowry”. The explanation appended to sub- section (1) of Section 304-B IPC says that “dowry” shall have the same meaning as in Section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

Section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act reads as under :-

“2. Definition of “dowry” – In this Act “dowry” means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly –

(a) by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or

(b) by the parent of either party to a marriage or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or to any other person, at or before or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (shariat) applies.”

In view of the aforesaid definition of the word “dowry” any property or valuable security should be given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly at or before or any time after the marriage and in connection with the marriage of the said parties. Therefore, the giving or taking of property or valuable security must have some connection with the marriage of the parties and a correlation between the giving or taking of property or valuable security with the marriage of the parties is essential. Being a penal provision it has to be strictly construed. Dowry is a fairly well known social custom or practice in India. It is well settled principle of interpretation of Statutes that if the Act is passed with reference to a particular trade, business or transaction and words are used which everybody conversant with that trade, business or transaction knows or understands to have a Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh particular meaning in it, then the words are to be construed as having that particular meaning. (See Union of India v. Garware Nylons Ltd., AIR 1996 S.C. 3509 and Chemicals and Fibres of India v. Union of India, AIR 1997 S.C. 558). A demand for money on account of some financial stringency or for meeting some urgent domestic expenses or for purchasing manure cannot be termed as a demand for dowry as the said word is normally understood. The evidence adduced by the prosecution does not, therefore, show that any demand for “dowry” as defined in Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act was made by the appellants as what was allegedly asked for was some money for meeting domestic expenses and for purchasing manure. Since an essential ingredient of Section 304-B IPC viz. demand for dowry is not established, the conviction of the appellants cannot be sustained.”

24. Therefore, no implicit reliance can be placed on the improved and contradictory statements of PW1, PW4 and PW5, relatable to the demand of dowry in question. Their evidence is not sufficient, as for mere demand of pointed articles and amount, the appellant cannot legally be convicted, deserves to be and is hereby acquitted u/s 304-B IPC as well.

25. Be that as it may, although the legally required evidence of cruelty and harassment soon before the death of Jasbir Kaur in connection with and on account of demand of dowry, the essential constituents and Bench mark of offence punishable u/s 304-B IPC is lacking, but still, the perusal of the evidence on record would reveal that the deceased died an unnatural death by consuming some poisonous substance within a period of three years of her marriage in her matrimonial home. The appellant was residing with her in the same house, where she committed suicide. In that eventuality, it was his duty to explain the reasons of her death as to how, when and in what manner, she died under mysterious circumstances, but he has utterly failed to do so in this regard. The demand in question is Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarhdirectly related to him only as no other person was going to be benefitted in this respect. He would have been the ultimate beneficiary of the demand of scooter and Rs.50,000/- and such like demand can originate from his mouth only, who individually might be interested in enhancing his status by fulfilling his demand. This demand could not be met and he started harassing and maltreating his wife Jasbir Kaur. Moreover, it is not a matter of dispute that during the course of investigation, PW9 SI Gurdial Singh had recorded the statements of Bahadur Singh, Sarpanch; Shingara Singh, Ex-Sarpanch & one Jagmail Kaur of village Isherhail, who have maintained that although no demand of dowry was made by the accused, but the deceased was fed up with the drinking habit of her husband Gurwinder Singh. He had also recorded the supplementary statement of the complainant and the statements of other witnesses. He found Multan Singh (father-in-law), Balbir Singh alias Kala (brother-in- law), Tej Kaur (grand mother-in-law) of deceased and Ranjit Kaur alias Bhuri (niece), daughter of Jagtar Singh alias Jagga, as innocent, exonerated them and submitted the final police report (challan) against the appellant, that too, only u/s 306 IPC.

26. Therefore, it stands proved on record that Jasbir Kaur committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance on account of demand by the appellant and his drinking habit. The peculiar facts and special circumstances, emerging from the evidence on record, as culled out here-in-above, would naturally suggest that she had been subjected to cruelty within the meaning of section 498-A IPC and presumption in terms of section 113-A of the Act is duly applicable to the facts and Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh evidence of the present case. Hence, the appellant is guilty for having committed an offence punishable u/s 306 IPC, for which, he was duly charge-sheeted in the case instituted on police report (challan), vide order dated 11.7.2000.

27. In this manner, if the compendium of the totality of the facts & evidence, emitting from the record, as discussed here-in-above, is put together, then, to my mind, the conclusion is inescapable and irresistible that the appellant had harassed, treated Jasbir Kaur (deceased) with cruelty, demanded a scooter and Rs.50,000/- and his conduct had driven her to commit suicide. Meaning thereby, he had abetted the commission of the crime in question. Thus, he deserves to be and is hereby convicted & sentenced for the commission of an offence punishable u/s 306 IPC in the obtaining circumstances of the case.

28. Now adverting to the matter of sentence, as per custody certificate, the appellant has already undergone the considerable period of sentence of imprisonment of more than three years. He has already faced the pangs and suffered the agony of protracted trial and appeal for the last about 14 years. He was a young person at the relevant time of commission of offence. There is no history of his previous involvement in any other criminal case. He has minor daughter, old parents and there is no other male member in his family to look after them. The learned State counsel has acknowledged this factual matrix. In this view of the matter, to me, it would be expedient in the interest and justice would be sub-served if the appellant is sentenced to the period already undergone by him u/s 306 IPC.

Arvind Kumar Sharma 2013.09.17 11:27 I attest to the accuracy and integrity of this document Chandigarh

29. No other legal point, worth consideration, has either been urged or pressed by the counsel for the parties.

30. In the light of aforesaid reasons, the instant appeal is partly accepted. The appellant is acquitted of the offences punishable under sections 304-B & 498-A IPC. At the same time, he is, hereby, held guilty and convicted for the commission of an offence punishable u/s 306 IPC. Consequently, he is sentenced to the period (more than three years) already undergone by him. Thus, the impugned judgment of conviction and order of sentence are modified to the extent and in the manner depicted here-in-above.

Needless to mention that the necessary compliance and procedural consequences would naturally follow.

Sd/-

                     10.9.2013                                           (Mehinder Singh Sullar)
                     AS                                                         Judge


                                 Whether to be referred to reporter? Yes/No




Arvind Kumar Sharma
2013.09.17 11:27
I attest to the accuracy and
integrity of this document
Chandigarh

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