1/13 jud.744-97 nsc. IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 744 OF 1997 The State of Maharashtra through Police Station Neral, ...Appellant Taluka Karjat, District - Raigad (Orig. Complainant) V/s. Madhukar Raghunath Kambari Age. 23 years R/o. Dhamote, ...Respondent Taluka Karjat, District - Raigad (Orig. Accused) ig ******* Mr. P.S. Hingorani, APP for State. Mr. G.S. Hiranandani, for the Respondent. ******* CORAM: P.D KODE, J.
DATE : 19th October, 2012 ORAL JUDGMENT : 1) By the aforesaid appeal, the Appellant-State has assailed
the part of the Judgment and Order dated 7 th May, 1997 passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Raigad-Alibag acquitting the respondent no.1 from the charge of commission of offence under Sections 498-A, 306 r/w 34 of the Indian Penal Code. The respondent no.1 at the said trial was tried for commission of such offences in furtherance of common intention of himself, his father, original accused no.2, his mother, original accused no.3 and his sister, original accused no.4.
2/13 jud.744-97 2) The said prosecution emerged out of the charge sheet
submitted by the Neral Police Station as a investigation of crime no. 12/94 registered with the said police station upon complaint (Exhibit-14) lodged by PW.1 Janu Thamke, the father of victim Vandana i.e. wife of respondent against respondent and his father, mother and sister.
3) According to the prosecution daughter of PW.1 viz. Vandana had married respondent on 10th May, 1995 and since then she was residing in village Dhamote at which PW.1 was also residing alongwith other family members. Vandana after marriage on two occasions she occasions had been to the house of her father and on appraised PW.1 that respondent was beating her said upon suspicion and was also asking her to bring money and grocery from the paternal house. PW.1 on both occasions provided grocery and money for house-hold expenditure after pacifying her sent her back to the respondent.
4) According to the prosecution on 20 th October, 1995, father in law of Vandana, original accused no. 2-Raghunath Dhau Kambari, her mother-in-law, original accused no. 3-Mainabai Raghunath Kambari and Sister-in-law, Ramabai Raghunath Kambari and the respondent on the ground of Vandana after their demand having not returned gold and silver ornaments given by them on her marriage assaulted her with fist blows. Vandana narrated about the said incident to PW.1 when he had been to her house and thereafter he had taken her for treatment to the Government Dispensary at Neral. PW.1 produced the case paper bearing no. 336 dated 21.10.1995 regarding treatment given to 3/13 jud.744-97 Vandana at said dispensary while lodging complaint. According to the prosecution after treatment PW.1 had then taken Vandana to his house without lodging complaint about the incident at the police station. In the said night upon assurances given by villagers one Parsu Bhoir and Allya Mundhe that Vandana would not be assaulted and would be well treated in future, PW.1 had sent to the matrimonial house.
4. According to the prosecution on 21st November, 1995 Vandana returned to the house of PW.1 and told him that respondent has asked to bring a hen for the meal and thereon PW.1 purchased and handed over hen to her.
money for expenditure.
We also gave
5. According to the prosecution on 24th November, 1995 i.e. a day prior to the lodging of Exhibit-14, Vandana returned to the house of PW.1 and informed him, her sisters, PW.2, Pama Vehale and PW.3 Alka Patil, that respondent upon suspicion assaulted her by fist blows and asked her to bring hen and money from her father. PW.1 then pacified Vandana by telling that on the next day he would be sending hen and sent her back to her matrimonial house. PW.1 thereafter went to the house of one Deshpande, residing at Sainath Nagar, Neral. As he was returning from the house of Deshpande he met his daughter PW.3. She appraised him that quarrel had ensued in between respondent and Vandana on the ground of having not brought hen from her parental house and thereafter Vandana burned herself and has sustained burn injuries and hence she was going to the Police Station. PW.1 rushed to the house of Vandana and found that she has sustained 4/13 jud.744-97 burn injuries and learnt from the people gathered that the said incident occurred at about 6.30 p.m. The villagers and police brought Vandana from Neral to Government Dispensary at Neral and at the said dispensary her dying declaration (Exhibit-22) was recorded by PW.7 Mr. Pardeshi, Special Executive Magistrate. Vandana was thereafter shifted to Civil Hospital at Thane for further treatment. According to the prosecution PW.1 lodged complaint to such effect. After Vandana succumbed to the burn injuries on 29th November, 1995 the offence under Section 306 of I.P.C. was added to the crime already registered. After effecting the requisite investigation PW.8 PSI Patel had charge-sheeted the respondent and the other three accused for commission of offence under Section 306, 498-A r/w 34 of Indian Penal Code.
6. The trial court after appreciating the oral evidence of eight witnesses and documentary evidence adduced by the prosecution at the said trial acquitted the respondent and other co-accused from the charge of commission of offence punishable under Section 306, 498A r/w 34 of Indian Penal Code. Though prosecution sought leave to prefer an appeal against judgment and order of acquittal of all accused, the leave was granted and appeal was admitted only against respondent.
7. Mr. P.S. Hingorani, learned APP urged that the trial court failed to appreciate that the evidence of PW.1, PW.2 and PW.3 in terms reveal that during the short span of life, Vandana was ill- treated by respondent no.1. He urged that the trial court failed to take into account the provisions of Section 113-A of the Evidence Act. He urged that the incident in question having taken place 5/13 jud.744-97 within few months after the marriage i.e within a span of seven years, the trial court ought to have presumed that subjecting Vandana to cruelty by respondent no.1 has abated the commission of a suicide by Vandana. He urged that considering the evidence of PW.1,PW.2 and PW.3 in proper perceptive the same leads to the conclusion of the prosecution having established the commission of offences under Section 498-A and Section 306 by respondent no.1. He urged that the prosecution evidence in term reveals that Vandana was ill-treated and was subjected to cruelty since her marriage by respondent no.1. The Ld. APP urged that merely because the same evidence of PW.1, PW.2, PW.3 is not accepted against respondent no.2 to 4 would be no ground for not relying the said evidence against the respondent no.1. He urged that admittedly the evidence pertaining to cruelty to which Vandana was subjected at her matrimonial house could have flown only from matters informed by her to her parents and sister. He urged that the said evidence having remained un-shattered and no circumstance having surfaced on record for not accepting the said evidence or any rational reason for committing suicide, the trial court manifestly erred in discarding the said evidence. He thus contended that entire Judgment and Order of acquittal of respondent recorded by the trial court is not only erroneous but perverse, warranting an interference. He thus urged that the appeal may be allowed and the Judgment and Order of acquittal recorded by the trial court against respondent no.1 be quashed and set aside and he be convicted for commission of offence under Section 306, 498-A of the Indian Penal Code and be sentenced in accordance with law.
8. Mr. G.S. Hiranandani, learned counsel for the respondent supported the judgment impugned by urging that though it is true that without any rhyme and reason, no sensible person would commit a suicide, the same does not absolve the prosecution the basic burden of establishing that Vandana committed suicide due to cruelty to which she was allegedly subjected by respondent no.1 or the other co-accused. By drawing the attention towards the dying declaration (Exhibit-22) he contended that the matters stated therein in term reveal the reasons because of which Vandana had committed suicide. He urged that the matters in the said of dying declaration amply denotes that suicide was committed by Vandana in heat of anger and not because of any act on part of respondent.
9. Learned Counsel further urged that occurrence of an quarrel between a married couple cannot be viewed with a narrow campus of the same denoting husband subjecting his wife with cruelty. He urged that hardly there would be any married couple without there occurring an quarrel in between husband and wife. Learned Counsel contended that even accepting the evidence of PW.1 or that of PW.2 and PW.3 as it is ,it appears that the prosecution is trying to make mountain out of mole. He urged that the evidence regarding acts of cruelty surfaced at the trial is vague and/or in a nature of an improvement made by PW.1 and other witnesses as rightly observed by the trial court after carefully scanning the evidence of the said witnesses. It was urged that the said evidence fails to denote that such acts would be covered within the parameters of Section 498 of the Indian Penal Code.
10. Learned Counsel by inviting attention to the provisions of Section 113-A of the Evidence Act contended that the presumption provided in the said section is required to be raised after taking into consideration all the relevant facets. It was urged that the dying declaration (Exhibit-22) of Vandana recorded by PW.7 in term reveals that the suicide was resulted of inability of Vandana to control her anger. He thus contended that hardly any legal evidence has surfaced of commission of any act constituting the offence either under Section 306 or 498A r/w of the IPC. He urged that the judgment and order of acquittal passed by the trial court neither can be said to be erroneous nor perverse. He urged that the view taken by the trial court being based upon correct appreciation of an evidence surfaced at the trial, the same would not warrant any interference by this court. He thus contended that the appeal devoid of merit be dismissed.
10. Thoughtful considerations were given to the submissions advanced by both the parties and the record and proceedings and the judgment impugned was carefully perused to ascertain the merits of the said submissions. Considering the tenure of the submissions advanced and the subject matter being in relation with the offences under Section 498-A, 306 of Indian Penal Code and the learned APP having lead finger upon the provisions of Section 113-A of the Indian Evidence Act, it appears proper to consider the same before making dilation about the evidence surfaced at the trial and the conclusions arrived by the trial court after appreciating the same.
8/13 jud.744-97 11. Without unnecessarily reciting the provisions of Section
498-A of Indian Penal Code, it can be safely said that the cruelty made punishable under the said section has been culled out in the explanation given to the said section which runs as under :-
For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means–
(a) any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or
(b) harassment of 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.
12. Now considering the nature of the allegation in the present case and apparently the same being not related with coercing victim Vandana for meeting any unlawful demand for any property or a valuable security, it will be wholly unnecessary to make any detailed dilation about the harassment contemplated under clause
(b) of above stated explanation. At any rate considering the harassment contemplated under clause (b) of the said explanation is related with “demand for any property or a valuable security”. Needless to add that the harassment contemplated under the said clause (b) is apparently of an persistent nature and is required to be in relation with the property of an significant value. Further more it us added that mere asking of bringing some article of an 9/13 jud.744-97 insignificant value on a stray occasion will not be covered under clause (b) of the said explanation that is to say the same amounting to a cruelty contemplated under Section 498-A.
13. Similarly, even considering the matters in clause (a) of the said explanation, it is amply clear that the same contemplates a reasonable nexus between the act committed by the accused person leading to the victim committing the suicide or causing grave injury and danger to her life, limb and or health. Needless to add that the true import of the said section is the acts complained must be of such a nature having a reasonable likelihood of the victim due to said act/s committing either suicide and/or grave injury and danger to her life, limb or health. Hence, merely because of some demand of an insignificant nature is followed by suicide committed by an victim would not be covered within the clause (a) of explanation of the said section unless the act committed by the victim can be said to be fall out of the acts committed by the accused.
14. Now even considering the provisions of Section 306 which provides for an punishment of an abatement of an suicide, it is amply clear that the same requires of their existing a reasonable nexus in between the acts committed by the accused person leading to the commission of an suicide by an victim and/or abatement of commission of such a suicide by the victim. It an be added that without existence of such an nexus mischief will not be covered by the provisions of Section 306 of the I.P.C.
Section 113-A :- “Presumption as to abatement of suicide by a married woman.-
When the question is whether the commission of suicide by a women had been abetted by her husband or any relative of her husband and it is shown that she had committed suicide within a period of seven years from the date of her marriage and that her husband or such relative of her husband has subjected her to cruelty, the court may presume, having regard to all the other circumstances of the case, that such suicide had been abetted by her husband or by such relative of her husband”.
16. A bare glance of the said section reveals that the even the said provisions do not contemplate any mandatory presumption created by the said provision, even though the event of an suicide had occurred within a period of seven years from the date of the marriage. The word used “may presume” considered with the further words “having regard to all the circumstances of the case” denote that no presumption stipulated by the said section can be raised merely on the count of the suicide being committed by the victim within the period of seven years of her marriage. Further more the further part of section recited hereinabove also denotes that while considering the question of raising the presumption the 11/13 jud.744-97 court has to give regard to all the other circumstances of the case. Obviously, in event of suicide committed being as an result of any other cause then no such a presumption can be raised.
17. Having considered the legal provisions relevant to offences involved in the present appeal, now considering the evidence surfaced at the trial at the first blush it can be said that the fact of Vandana having committed suicide at her matrimonial house, PW.1 having lodged the complaint about the same and PW.4 Dr. Sunita Shankar Jagtap, having treated her and PW.7 having recorded her dying declaration is not disputed by either side. Apart from the same, the same is also evident from her dying declaration (Exhibit-
22) considered alongwith the evidence of PW.4 Dr. Sunita Shankar Jagtap, PW.5 Alu Pandu Mundhe, PW.6 Ramesh Janu Palkar and PW.7 Deepak Deviprasad Pardeshi, the said aspect does not require any detailed dilation.
18. Needless to add that through the evidence of PW.7 the prosecution has duly established of Vandana having made the dying declaration (Exhibit-22) to PW.7 and PW.7 having recorded the same. Similarly, the evidence of PW.5, Alu Pandu Mundhe, is confined to PW.2 having told him about the quarrel occurred in between Vandana and the respondent. The said evidence also does not appear to be of any significant help to the prosecution to supports its case.
19. Now considering the most relevant evidence of PW.1, father, PW.2 elder sister and PW.3 younger sister of the victim the 12/13 jud.744-97 careful scrutiny of the evidence of the said witnesses clearly reveals that during the short span of six months of the said marriage, Vandana had been to her parental house only twice. Though all the said witnesses during the evidence has claimed of Vandana having complained to them about the ill-treatment at the hands of the respondent and her relatives, the said entire evidence is confined to the respondent having allegedly asked her to bring the hen on two occasions and also asked her to bring the money for grocery. Apart from the said evidence being vague regarding the precise nature harassment caused to her, it is difficult to perceive that the same can be construed to be constituting the cruelty within the meaning of Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code.
20. In the context of the evidence of the said 3 witnesses, scrutiny also supports that the trial court has also rightly observed that PW.1 during his evidence has tried to make an improvement of Vandana having told him of herself being harassed by respondent and so also by his relatives on the count of herself having not returned the gold and silver ornaments given by them in her marriage. Thus the trial court has rightly discarded the said part of the evidence against the respondent and other accused who were facing the trial. Similarly, the trial court has also rightly come to the conclusion of PW.1 and so also PW.3 her sister Alka having made an improvement at an trial of Vandana having told them of herself being asked to bring a hen from the parental house. Without unnecessarily enlisting the improvements made by the said witnesses at the time of an trial, it can be safely said 13/13 jud.744-97 that the observation made by the trial court in paragraph nos. 10 to 16 are well in conformity with the evidence surfaced at the trial and particularly the matters elicited during their cross- examination. Having regard to the same, it is difficult to find any infirmity in the conclusion arrived by the trial court of their evidence not inspiring confidence.
21. Now considering the dying declaration (Exhibit-22) the same also clearly supports the observations made by the trial court pointed out by the learned counsel for the respondent that the same squarely indicates of Vandana having committed suicide in heat of an anger. Thus from careful examination of the judgment impugned, it is difficult to find that the trial court committed any error for coming to the conclusion of hardly their existing any evidence establishing nexus of the suicide committed by Vandana with the acts constituting cruelty allegedly committed by the respondent. Having regard to the same, it is difficult to find any infirmity in the finding reached by the trial court on the basis of the evidence surfaced at the trial. Since the said findings are based upon the evidence surfaced at the trial and the view taken by the trial court being probable view no interference with the same is warranted. Needless to add that there is absolutely no substance in the submission canvassed that the findings arrived are perverse. Resultantly there being no merit in the appeal preferred the same deserves to be and accordingly stands dismissed.
(P.D. KODE, J.)