Naveen Chand Johri And Anr. vs State

Delhi High Court
Naveen Chand Johri And Anr. vs State on 15 May, 1991
Equivalent citations: 44 (1991) DLT 354, II (1991) DMC 26
Author: S Jain
Bench: S Jain


(1) The facts giving rise to this revision petition are that Naveen Chand Johri petitioner No. I is the son of Smt. Vidya Devi petitioner No. 2. Naveen Chand Johri was married to Pratima Johri, deceased on 16 10.1977. Two children were born out of this wedlock. In 1987. petitioner No. 1 and Pratima Johri deceased along with their children were living at C-4-B/13/151, Janakpuri, New Delhi. On the night of 26th January, 1987 Pratima Johri burnt herself in order to commit suicide. She was removed to hospital by her husband and got her admitted there. The doctor on duty certified that Smt. Pratima John was in a fit condition to make a statement. Her statement was recorded at that very time by the 1.0. in the presence of the doctor who also signed the same as an attesting witness. On the basis of the statement so recorded, DDNo.SA dated 26.1.87 was recorded on the basis of which Fir No. 34/87 was registered against both the petitioners. After investigation, both the petitioners were sent for trial for the offences punishable under Section 498A/34 and Section 306/34 IPC.

(2) Learned Addl Sessions Judge by his order dated 22.1.1991, charged both the petitioners under Section 498A/34 and Section 306/34 IPC.

(3) Aggrieved, both the petitioners have filed this revision petition.

(4) Learned counsel for the petitioner argued that there is not an iota of evidence against petitioner No. I When Pratima Jain was admitted in the hospital, she made a statement before the doctor and the police officer. She did not involve petitioner No. I either as an abettor to commit suicide or a person who had treated, her cruelly at any time. She remained in the hospital till 29.1.1987 when she died, but she did not make any other statement during this period implicating petitioner No. 1. Even in the statements of Bhim Narain Saxena Pwi who is father of the deceased Sudhir Saxena PW2 brother of the deceased, and Snit. Saria Sixena, PW3, mother of the deceased nothing has come against petitioner No. I implicating him in the said crime. He also drew my attention to the letters written by the deceased to her relatives and even to petitioner .No. 1. According to the learned counsel, there is no material for framing charge against petitioner No. I either under Section 498A or under Section 306IPC.

(5) Regarding petitioner No. 2, learned counsel submitted that she always treated the deceased with love and affection but she has been falsely implicated. Petitioner No. 2 was not present in the house at the time of this unfortunate incident. She could not have abetted the suicide committed by the deceased. There is no evidence of any neighbour that petitioners in any way tortured or harassed the deceased. They have been falsely implicated at the behest of the brother of the deceased who is an officer in Delhi Police.

(6) It is well settled principle of law, as has been laid down by the Supreme. Court in Union of India y. Parfula Kumar 1979 (J) S.C.C 4 and by a decision of this Court in the State v. Hanuman Doss 1988 Chandigarh Crime cases 226 that “for the purpose of framing charge, the duty of the Judge is to consider judicially whether on consideration of the material on record, it can be said that the accused has been reasonably connected with the offence alleged to have been committed and that on the basis of the said materials, there is reasonable probability or chance of the accused being found guilty of the offence alleged. For the purpose of determining whether there is sufficient ground for proceeding against an accused, the court possess comparatively wider discretion in the exercise of which it can determine the question whether the material on record is such on the basis of which a conviction can be said reasonably to be possible. However, the court is entitled to sift and weigh the evidence which has come on record as to whether or not a prima facie case against the accused persons has been made out. The court is not expected to frame the charge mechanically but has to exercise its judicial mind to the given facts of the case. The test to determine a prima facie case would naturally depend upon the facts of each case and it is difficult to lay down a rule of universal application. Where the materials placed before the court disclose great suspicion against the accused which has not been properly explained, the court will be fully justified in framing a charge and proceeding with the trial. By and large, however, if two views are equally possible and the judge is satisfied that the evidence produced before him while giving rise to some suspicion but not grave suspicion against the accused, he will be fully within his right to discharge the accused.

(7) Applying the above principle of law to the present case, it is clear that the Addl Sessions Judge is not justified in framing a charge against petitioner No. I either under Section 498A or 306 IPC. In the dying declaration alleged to have been made by the deceased on that very day, after the incident, before a doctor, who certified that she was in a fit condition to make the statement, she has said nothing against her husband petitioner No. 1: She has specifically mentioned that petitioner No. 1. i.e. her husband is not at fault at all. As a matter of fact, petitioner No. I got up immediately and extinguished the fire with his quilt and removed her to the hospital immediately. In her dying declaration she has specifically used the words “ISME Mere Pati Ka KOt Kasoor Nahin HAIN”. In the statement of Smt. Saria Saxena, mother of the deceased, Sudhir Kumar-brother of the deceased, Bhim Narain Saxena-father of deceased, nothing adverse has come against petitioner No. 1. In the letters, photocopies of which have been placed on record, written by the deceased, it is apparent that she was dissatisfied with petitioner No. 2. She had not hide any complaint against her husband at any time. To bring a case within the purview of Section 498A Ipc, it is to be shown that the husband or relatives of the husband of a woman subjected her to cruelty. For the purposes of this section “cruelty” means (a) any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health of the woman or (b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand. As far as petitioner No. I is concerned, there is no evidence on record to implicate him in the offence under Section 498A even on prima-facie grounds.

(8) To bring a charge of abetting suicide under Section 306 Ipc, it has to be shown by some piece of evidence that the accused is guilty of some act of omission or commission which may have abetted the deceased to commit suicide. In this case, there is not an iota of evidence even to show prima-facie that petitioner No. I is guilty of some act of omission or commission which has abetted the deceased to commit suicide. From the evidence on record, no suspicion is created against petitioner No. I, showing his involvement in this crime and therefore framing of charge under Section 498A Indian Penal Code and Section 306 Indian Penal Code against petitioner No. I by the Addl Sessions Judge is not justified.

(9) As far as petitioner No. 2 is concerned, there is sufficient evidence to implicate her in this case for both the offences under Section 498A Indian Penal Code and Section 306 IPC. In the dying .declaration upon which the counsel for the petitioner has placed much reliance, the deceased has specifically mentioned that fed up with the acts of her mother-in-law she has resorted to this act of committing suicide. Even in the statement of witnesses examined under Section 161 Cr. P.C. during investigation sufficient evidence has come against petitioner No. 2 Smt. Vidya Devi of treating the deceased cruelly and harassing her. Even a perusal of letters copies of which have been paced on record, would reveal that petitioner No. 2 was not treating the deceased well and she was fed up with the acts of omission and commission of her mother-in-law.

(10) In these circumstances, I accept this revision petition in part and set aside the order of the Addl Sessions Judge as far as framing of charges against petitioner No. I is concerned, but dismiss the revision petition filed on behalf of petitioner No. 2. She will face the trial for berth the offences under Section 498A and Section 306 IPC. Revision Petition is accepted in part. Record of the lower court be sent back.

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