Delhi District Court
State vs . Shri Raj Kumar Sethi And Ors. Page … on 20 July, 2018
IN THE COURT OF Ms. HARSHITA VATSAYAN, MM, MAHILA COURT-01,

                     EAST, KARKARDOOMA COURTS, DELHI

                            State v. Raj Kumar Sethi and others

FIR No.267/2003

P.S. Farsh Bazaar

U/s 498A/406/34 IPC

Date of institution of the case: 09.12.2004

Date on which judgment is delivered: 20.07.2018

                                          CASE DETAILS

1.     New Case Number                        :   6035/2016

2.     Name of the complainants               :   Mrs. Pooja Verma (since deceased)

3.     Date of commission of offence/

       registration of FIR                    :   10.09.2003

4.     Names of the accused persons

       and addresses                          :   1) Shri Raj Kumar Sethi

                                                  S/o Shri Amar Nath Sethi;

                                                  2) Smt. Veena Sethi,

                                                   W/o Shri Amar Nath Sethi;

                                                   3) Shri Sanjeev Sethi,

                                                   S/o Shri Amar Nath Sethi;

                                                   (discharged vide order dated
FIR No. 267/2003
P.S. Farsh Bazar
State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors.                     Page No.1 of 40
                                                    01.11.2007)

                                                   4) Ms. Jyoti,

                                                   D/o Shri Amar Nath Sethi.

                                                  (discharged vide order dated

                                                  01.11.2007)

                                                  All Residents of House No. 1531,

                                                   Jahangirpuri, Delhi.

5.     Offence complained of                :      498A/406/34 IPC

6.     Plea of accused                      :      Pleaded not guilty

7.     Final order                          :     Acquittal

8.     Date of such order                   :      20.07.2018

                                          JUDGMENT

1. Vide this judgment I shall dispose of the FIR bearing no. 267/2003 which was registered at PS Farsh Bazar on the complaint filed by Smt. Pooja Verma (since deceased).

2.

3. Succinctly stated, the facts of the prosecution case are as under:-

The complainant Smt. Pooja Verma lodged a complaint at the PS Farsh Bazar 10.09.2003 stating inter alia that she was married to the accused on 19.02.03 FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.2 of 40 following all traditional Hindu rites and customs and at the time of the marriage, her family had given her stridhan and other articles and she carried them with her to her husband’s house and there she started her conjugal life. She states that after a few days of her marriage, the accused along with his family members started taunting her for not giving adequate and valuable dowry articles and tortured her physically and mentally. The accused demanded valuables like a gold chain for the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and cash to the tune of Rs 40, 000/- for a motorcycle. She further alleged in her complaint that sometime in May, 2003, the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi rode his motorcycle in a very rough manner while the complainant was riding pillion. Despite requests from the complainant to drive slowly, he continued to drive in a rash manner as a result of which the complainant fell off the motorcycle and sustained injuries. The complainant has alleged that despite sustaining injuries, her in- laws showed an utterly callous attitude towards her and failed to take care of her. Much to the complainant’s dismay, the accused Smt. Veena Sethi and Shri Raj Kumar Sethi told her that they wouldn’t look after her and instead she should go to her parents’ house. As a result, the complainant was compelled to go to her parents’ house on 01.06.2003 and she continued to live there till 14.08.2003. On 14.08.2003, the complainant went back to her matrimonial home. The complainant alleges that on her return the treatment meted out to her was even more cruel and indifferent. She alleged that her mother- in- law Smt. Veena Sethi and her husband Shri Raj Kumar Sethi brutalized her verbally, emotionally and physically. According to the FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.3 of 40 complainant, these accused persons would pass vituperative caustic comments against the complainant and the latter just tolerated the same for the sake of her conjugal life. The complainant has also alleged in her complaint that on 21.08.2003, when her parents came to visit her at her matrimonial home, they were shoddily treated by her in- laws. Seeing this, the parents of the complainant took her along with them. The complainant alleges that as she was leaving for her parents’ house, the accused threatened her against coming back to the matrimonial home without fulfilling the dowry demands. Aggrieved by the above said incidents, the complainant was constrained to file the FIR bearing no. 267/ 2003 (DD no. 28A, dated 10.09.2003, PS Farsh Bazaar, Delhi).

4. On the same day, the investigation of the case was marked to Inspector Shri Ram Raj Singh, Additional SHO, PS Farsh Bazaar by the Duty Officer of the concerned PS on the date the FIR was lodged. The police after investigation submitted chargesheet against the accused persons u/s 498A/ 406/ 34 IPC.

5. On appearance of the accused persons, copies were furnished to them as per the mandate of Section 207 Cr.P.C. Thereafter, the matter was posted for arguments on the point of charge. After hearing rival arguments of the learned counsel for the accused persons and the Ld. A.P.P for the State on the point of consideration of charge, my Ld. Predecessor after finding prima facie material FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.4 of 40 against the accused person Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Smt. Veena Sethi, framed a joint formal charge u/s 498A/34, IPC against them. A separate charge under Section 406 IPC was framed against the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi. The other two accused persons Ms. Jyoti and Shri Sanjeev Sethi were discharged by my Ld. Predecessor vide order dated 01.11.2007. The charges were then read over to the accused persons Smt. Veena Sethi and Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and explained to them to which they pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried.

6. In order to connect the accused with the offences charged and to prove the allegations, the prosecution examined 24 witnesses. Their testimonies in a nutshell are produced herein under:-

i) PW1 Shri Vishnu Dutt Shastri deposed that he had solemnized the marriage of the complainant Smt. Pooja Verma with the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi.

ii) PW2 Smt. Krishna Verma, mother of the complainant deposed that on 19.02.2003, her daughter was married to the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi. She stated in her examination in chief that they gave their daughter articles like double bed, almirah, TV, refrigerator, cooler, cushion cover, jewelry (gold necklace, earrings, two rings, silver coins etc), wrist watch, utensils, clothes for the boy as well as the family members alongwith other gift items etc. The list of dowry articles given to the IO was marked ExhibitPW2/A and was signed by the complainant. PW2 Smt. Krishna Verma further deposed that in May, 2003, her nanad (sister- in-

FIR No. 267/2003
P.S. Farsh Bazar
State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors.                     Page No.5 of 40

law) had also called her daughter for dinner. Since PW2 was unwell, she tried to contact her daughter Smt Pooja Verma but the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi didn’t let the PW2 talk to Smt. Pooja Verma. PW2 alleged that the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi didn’t let her daughter visit her parental house. PW2 also stated in her examination in chief that on the same night, her daughter Smt. Pooja Verma sustained injuries on account of a fall from the bike rashly being driven by the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi. PW2 stated that she didn’t receive any intimation about the same from the accused and his family till the next date. PW2 alleged that on the next date, her daughter on phone told her that she had sustained injuries on account of a fall from the motorcycle. PW2 also alleged that the in laws of her daughter asked her to go back to her parental house. PW2 stated that on 01.06.2003, she alongwith her husband went to the matrimonial house of her daughter and brought her back. PW2 stated in her examination in chief that by this time her daughter had become very frail and looked rather emaciated. PW2 stated in her examination in chief that her daughter also told her then that her in laws were demanding Rs. 40, 000/- and gold chain and that she was being harassed by them for not fulfilling the said demand. The PW2 stated that her daughter told her that her in laws and husband were emotionally and physically tormenting her and she was finding it hard to live at her matrimonial home in such a hostile atmosphere. PW2 stated that her daughter continued to live at their place till 13.08.2003 and thereafter, she returned to her matrimonial home on 14.08.2003. PW2 stated in her examination FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.6 of 40 in chief that the atrocities on her daughter increased manifold after her return to her matrimonial home and she was physically brutalized by Shri Raj Kumar Sethi. PW2 stated that as she didn’t get any response from her daughter, she visited her matrimonial home with her husband Shri Satish Verma on 21.08.2003. She stated that she went straight to the room of the complainant and found the accused tying a noose around the complainant’s neck with her chunni and blood was also coming out from her daughter’s arms at that time. PW2 stated that from there she immediately took her daughter to PS Jahangirpuri to show the injuries on her body and get a complaint lodged. She further stated that their complaint remained unheeded as the police might have been bribed by the in- laws of her daughter/the complainant herein. PW2 further stated in her examination in chief that from there she took her daughter back to her in- laws place but the latter denied entry to them and as a result the complainant was brought back to the parental home. PW2 has stated in her examination in chief that at this time when she returned to the matrimonial home of her daughter and when she was not permitted to enter, PW2 got the neighbours gathered as well so as to show them the injuries inflicted on the body of the complainant. PW2 has also alleged that Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and his family members also gave physical beatings to her and her husband. PW2 stated that her daughter lodged a complaint at PS Farsh Bazar and the same was marked ExhibitPW2/B. PW2 also stated that her daughter Pooja had become extremely frail and her body had withered into ruin on account of the maltreatment meted out to her FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.7 of 40 by her in- laws. PW2 stated that as a result of this maltreatment, her daughter ultimately died on 12.10.2003 and intimation in this regard was given to the police which is marked ExhibitPW2/C. PW2 stated that she could produce photographs of her daughter’s wedding; photographs of injuries on her daughter’s body and her frail physical condition. PW2 furnished a few photographs which were marked ExhibitP1 to ExhibitP5. She also brought negatives of the photographs marked ExhibitP1 to ExhibitP4. PW2 stated that she could not produced the receipts for jewelry given to the complainant at the time of her marriage as the same had been arranged by PW2’s father Shri Mamta Ram who was purportedly a jeweler. She stated that she hadn’t taken any bills for the same from her father. PW2 stated in her cross examination that she didn’t know the family of the accused prior to the marriage negotiations with their family. PW2 stated that at the time of marriage, the complainant was given a gold set including earrings; ring, pajeb, bichua, gold ring and a gold chain. She stated that she had given around 6-7 tolas of gold to her daughter at the time of her wedding. She admitted that no list of dowry articles was prepared at the time of marriage. She also could not recall whether the list of dowry articles was prepared before the lodging of the FIR or after the same had been lodged. She also stated that the list of dowry articles was prepared by the officials of the PS Farsh Bazar as per the dictation of the complainant. PW2 also stated that they had handed over the receipts of other dowry articles purchased to the police. She also stated that she had told the police that the gold ornaments given to her daughter/ FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.8 of 40 complainant at the time of marriage were handed over her by her in- laws. She also admitted that it was correct that it was not mentioned by her in her statement to the police that the jewelry given to the complainant at the time of wedding had been procured from the shop of the father of PW2. She stated that photographs of dowry articles given at the time of wedding had been taken and also stated that the same might have been handed over to the police. She stated that after about 2-3 months of her daughter’s wedding, PW2 got to know of the dowry harassment of her daughter by her in- laws. She stated that she had narrated all details of the dowry harassment to the Sub Divisional Magistrate who recorded her statement after the death of the complainant Ms. Pooja Verma which is marked ExhibitPW2/C. She couldn’t recall whether she had told the Sub Divisional Magistrate that she had given numerous dowry articles like TV, refrigerator, cooler, double bed, almirah, gold necklace etc. to the complainant at the time of her wedding. When confronted with the statement recorded before the Sub Divisional Magistrate ExhibitPW2/C, it was found that there was absolutely no mention of the same therein. She also could not recall whether she had told the Sub Divisional Magistrate that her daughter had handed over the list of dowry articles to the police. When confronted with the statement recorded before the Sub Divisional Magistrate marked ExhibitPW2/C, it was found that there was absolutely no mention of the same therein. She also stated that she had told the Sub Divisional Magistrate that her nanad Rani had called the complainant for dinner in May, 2003 and that PW2 was unable to contact her FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.9 of 40 daughter on that day. However, when confronted with document marked ExhibitPW2/C, no mention of the same was found therein. She also couldn’t recall whether she had told the Sub Divisional Magistrate that her daughter Pooja had sustained injuries on account of a fall from the motorcycle as the same was deliberately driven in a rash manner by the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi. When confronted with the document marked ExhibitPW2/C i.e. the statement of PW2 before the Sub Divisional Magistrate, the same had no mention of the said allegation. She also could not recall whether she had told the Sub Divisional Magistrate that since the in- laws of her daughter were not treating her daughter well, she took her back with her. No mention of the same was found in the statement marked ExhibitPW2/C. She also stated that she had gone to the PS Jahangirpuri with her husband to report the incident of her daughter’s fall from the motorcycle. She admitted that she had not requested the police to accompany her to the matrimonial home of the complainant and get the medical examination of the daughter done. She herself admitted that her daughter was not having any external injuries but was having a lingering pain in abdomen and back. She stated that she got her daughter medically treated at GTB Hospital. She also admitted in her cross examination that her daughter was treated for cough problem by a local doctor even prior to her marriage and her treatment had run for several months. She said that when the problem of cough persisted, she got her daughter treated at GTB Hospital and that her daughter remained there for 15-20 days as well. Though she stated that FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.10 of 40 her daughter had told her about the dowry demand for Rs. 40, 000/- and a gold chain from the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi, the same found no mention in the statement marked ExhibitPW2/C. Other allegations of dowry harassment as narrated by the PW2 in her examination in chief in court found no mention in the statement recorded before the Sub Divisional Magistrate marked ExhibitPW2/C. Though it was stated by the PW2 that on 21.08.2003, she saw the accused Raj Kumar Sethi tying a noose around the neck of the complainant Pooja and blood was also oozing out from her hand, no such thing finds a mention in the statement of PW2 recorded before the SDM which is marked ExhibitPW2/C. She stated that she went to the police station on that day at night time. She also admitted that neither she nor her husband requested the police on 21.08.2003 to get their daughter medically examined. She admitted that no FIR was recorded on that day. She stated that on 21.08.2003, her daughter left her matrimonial home with 8 pairs of suits; medicine; gold set; pair of gold tops; pair of gold earrings; purse; wrist watch and a big bag. She stated that on 21.08.2003, the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi had also come to the PS Jahangirpuri. She also admitted that on that day, the complainant had given an application at the PS Jahangirpuri that she was going to her parental home out of her own free will and volition and not under compulsion. The said application was marked ExhibitPW2/DA. She also admitted that the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi had also given a statement before police that he had no objection if Pooja went back to her parental home as per her wishes. The said statement was marked FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.11 of 40 ExhibitPW2/DB. She admitted that on 21.08.03, no formal FIR was lodged at PS Jahangirpuri. Several other alleged events of 21.08.2003 do not find mention in the statement of PW2 before the Sub Divisional Magistrate which is marked ExhibitPW2/C, even though they found a specific mention in PW2’s examination in chief. She also admitted that she never requested the Investigating officer to record the statement of neighbours of the accused who had gathered at site on 21.08.2003. She also admitted that in her statement marked ExhibitPW2/C she had not stated that she as well as her husbands were also physically assaulted by the accused on 21.08.2003. She also admitted that no call was made to the police after the said incident. She also admitted that in her statement recorded before the Sub Divisional Magistrate which is marked ExhibitPW2/C she had not stated that photographs of dowry articles had also been clicked. She also admitted that she had not placed any photograph on record to show external injuries on the body of her daughter and her grave medical condition to the police. She also admitted that photographs marked Exhibit2 to ExhibitP5 do not show any external injury on her daughter’s body. She later stated in her cross examination that her daughter never had any cough problem. She denied that she was deposing falsely to implicate the accused persons without any rhyme or reason.

iii) PW4 Shri Satish Verma, father of the accused was also examined as a witness. In his examination in chief he stated that he had married his daughter/ complainant herein to the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and had given the dowry as per the best FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.12 of 40 of his ability. He stated that a few days after his marriage, his daughter had come home and told him about the maltreatment being meted out to her at her matrimonial home by her in- laws. According to him, his daughter had told him that she was being tortured to bring Rs. 40, 000/- (for a motorcycle) as dowry and also a gold chain for the accused Smt. Veena Devi and Shri Raj Kumar Sethi. He also deposed in his examination in chief that his daughter had sustained injuries on account of a fall from the motor cycle which was recklessly being driven by the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi. He also stated that when he came to know about the same, he went to visit his daughter. He also deposed in his examination in chief that his daughter told him that her mother-in- law and husband were being very indifferent towards her and had asked the complainant to go to her parental house. He also stated that he brought his daughter to his house on 01.06.2003 and she continued to stay there till 14.08.2003. He stated that his daughter returned to her matrimonial home on 14.08.2003 after recuperating to some extent. PW2 also deposed that 3-4 days after his daughter returned to her matrimonial home, she gave him a call and shared her marital woes with him and told him that her in laws were not treating her well. He stated in his examination in chief that when he visited the matrimonial house of his daughter, her in- laws misbehaved with him and his daughter. In his examination in chief, he also stated that his daughter had told him then that her in- laws had threatened her that they would finish her off. He also stated that he took his daughter to the PS Jahangirpuri on the said date. He said that he also made a complaint to the FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.13 of 40 police on the said date and that his son in law i.e. accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi was also called to the police station. PW2 also stated that thereafter, he brought his daughter home and sent written complaint to the Commissioner of Police as well. He also stated that after this a formal FIR was lodged. He then stated that the medical condition of his daughter continued to worsen after that and she underwent treatment at GTB Hospital and SDN Hospital. He also stated in his examination in chief that during the course of treatment at the hospital, his daughter expired on 12.10.2003. In his examination in chief, PW2 also stated that he sent intimation of his daughter’s death to the police and a magisterial inquiry into the death was also conducted. He also stated that his statement was recorded by the Sub Divisional Magistrate marked ExhibitPW4/A. He also stated that the police also seized one colour photograph of his daughter’s marriage and also the wedding invitation card which is marked ExhibitPW4/B. In his examination in chief, PW2 also deposed that on 12.09.2003, the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi had also produced some of the dowry articles/ stridhan and that the same was seized by the police vide seizure memo marked ExhibitPW4/C. Similarly a few other articles were seized vide seizure memo ExhibitPW4/D on 15.09.2003. PW2 also deposed that the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi was arrested vide arrest memo marked ExhibitPW4/E and his personal search memo was marked ExhibitPW4/F. In his cross examination, he stated that the marriage of the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi with the complainant was arranged through a Mediator Smt. Neetu. He stated that the marriage had taken place in a FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.14 of 40 cordial atmosphere and the accused had not made any demands for dowry prior to marriage. He stated that whatever articles were given by him at the time of his daughter’s wedding was cordially accepted by the accused persons. He stated that no list of dowry articles was prepared at the time of wedding and the list of dowry articles written down later by his daughter was on the basis of his own recollections. He stated that during investigation, he had handed over the invoices/ bills for the dowry articles to the Investigating Officer. He stated that he didn’t remember whether he gave the bills for the jewelry to the Investigating Officer. He later stated that since the police never asked for the same, he never produced the same before the police on his own. He stated that he didn’t recall whether he had ever procured the bills for the jewelry articles. He also stated in his cross examination that the list of dowry articles was written by his daughter/ complainant at his house. He stated that all the electronic items given in dowry were purchased from a shop called KD Sunita and Company. He denied the suggestion that he had not handed over the bills for these articles to the police. He admitted that no photograph of dowry articles was clicked at the time of wedding. He also stated in his cross examination that he didn’t know whether his daughter had gone to Manali for honeymoon. He stated that he came to know of the dowry harassment of his daughter by her in- laws, 1-2 months after her marriage when his daughter came to his house. He stated that he didn’t remember whether he had stated before the Sub Divisional Magistrate that his daughter was being harassed for Rs. 40, 000/- and gold chain for the accused. This FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.15 of 40 fact was not recorded in the statement before the Sub Divisional Magistrate. He stated that he had visited his daughter for the first time after she sustained injuries on account of a fall from the motorcycle almost a week after the incident i.e. on 21.05.2003 and further stated that his daughter continued to live at her matrimonial house till 01.06.2003. He stated that he didn’t recall whether his wife accompanied him to his daughter’s matrimonial house on 01.06.2003 when he went there to bring back his daughter. He stated that in between 01.06.2003 and 13.08.2003, he had gotten his daughter medically treated at GTB hospital and SDN Hospital. He denied the suggestion that his daughter was having problem of cough even prior to marriage and she had undergone treatment for the same even prior to marriage. He also admitted in his cross examination that he had not handed over any photograph of dowry articles to his daughter. He also stated that he didn’t recall whether he had stated before the Sub Divisional Magistrate that his daughter had told him about the numerous taunts/ vituperative comments passed by her in- laws. When confronted, he was unable to show that he had stated so before the Sub Divisional Magistrate. He also admitted that when he got his daughter Pooja back to his house in June, 2003, he didn’t see any injury on her body. He also stated that he didn’t recall whether he had stated before the Sub Divisional Magistrate that his daughter had called him 3-4 days after return to her matrimonial home on 14.08.03 that her in laws were harassing her. When confronted with the statement recorded before the Sub Divisional Magistrate, it was found that there was no such averment. He also FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.16 of 40 stated that he didn’t recall whether he had stated before the Sub Divisional Magistrate that the in- laws of his daughter had misbehaved with him, his wife and daughter on 21.08.2003 when he went to visit his daughter at her matrimonial home. When confronted with the statement recorded before the Sub Divisional Magistrate, the said submissions were not found recorded therein. He stated that he had visited his daughter’s matrimonial house on 21.08.2003 in the morning and thereafter, he had taken his daughter to PS Jahangirpuri for some time. He admitted in his cross examination that his daughter didn’t lodge any complaint in the police station on that day. He also stated in his cross examination that Shri Raj Kumar was not called to the police station on that day and stated that he didn’t see the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi at the police station on that day. He also stated in his cross examination that on 21.08.2003, his daughter left the matrimonial home only in the clothes that she was wearing and didn’t take along any other thing. He denied the suggestion that his daughter left her matrimonial home with pair of gold tops, gold set, gold earrings, wrist watch, 8 suits, purse and a big bag. He admitted that he had not asked the police officials at PS Jahangirpuri to get his daughter medically examined on 21.08.2003.

iv) PW5 (sic as PW6) Shri Mukesh was uncle of the complaint. He deposed that he too had identified the dead body of the complainant Pooja at the mortuary and admitted his signature on document marked ExhibitPW5/ A.

v)      PW7 Shri Praveen Kumar was a tenant of Shri Satish Kumar Verma, PW4
FIR No. 267/2003
P.S. Farsh Bazar
State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors.                 Page No.17 of 40

herein. He was a tenant under him for almost 10 years and he stated in his examination in chief that the PW4 had told him about the harassment for dowry meted out to his daughter at her matrimonial home. He stated that PW4 had told him that the in laws of his daughter had demanded Rs. 40, 000/- and gold chain from her. In his cross examination by the Ld. APP for the State he stated that the father in law, mother in law and sister in law of the complainant used to torture her for dowry. He stated that PW4 had told him that his daughter’s in laws would brutalize her. PW7 couldn’t identify the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi in Court when asked to identify Shri Raj Kumar Sethi. In his cross examination by the counsel for the accused persons, he admitted that whatever fact he was deposing in court was being told by him for the first time and he had not given any statement to the police earlier. He also admitted that he never went to the matrimonial house of the complainant and admitted that he had only heard of dowry harassment of the complainant from PW4.

vi) PW8 Smt. Raj Rani was the aunt of the complainant. She stated in her examination in chief that on 18.02.2003, she attended the sagai (engagement) ceremony of her niece/ the complainant with the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi. She stated that on that occasion, the mother in law of the complainant had demanded Rs. 40, 000/- in cash and gold chain from her on that day. She also stated that on hearing the said demand of the mother in law of her niece, she told her that she would talk to her brother (PW4) in this regard. She also stated in her examination in chief that when she told PW4 about the said demand, he flatly refused to accede to the same as FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.18 of 40 his daughter’s in laws had never raised any such demand earlier. She stated that after the marriage of her niece, the latter went to her matrimonial home where she was tortured by her in laws for dowry. In her cross examination, she stated that the demand of Rs. 40, 000/- and gold chain was made by the in laws of her niece at the time of Sagai ceremony in the presence of PW4, PW2 and few other relatives. She admitted that she had never given any statement to the police earlier. She admitted that she was deposing in the Court in the instant case for the first time. She stated that she came to know of the harassment of her niece for dowry by her in laws through PW4.

vii) PW9 HC Sompal Singh, PS Farsh Bazar, Delhi stated in his examination in chief that on 10.09.2003, he was posted as HC at PS Farsh Baar and on that day the complainant had come there along with her parents to lodge FIR. He stated that on instructions of the Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh, he accompanied the complainant to the SDN Hospital. He stated that the Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh had come there to record the statement of the complainant on the same day but the complainant refused to give the statement on that day as she was not feeling well. PW9 stated that the Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh had recorded his statement at the spot. PW9 in his cross examination stated that the Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh recorded statement of the complainant’s father at the spot. However, the statement of the complainant’s mother was not recorded in his presence. PW9 also stated in his cross examination that though the FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.19 of 40 doctor had certified the complainant to be medically fit to give statement, the complainant had not given her statement on that day.

viii) PW10 Shri SP Bharadwaj has in his examination in chief stated that on 12.10.2003, he was posted as Sub Divisional magistrate in East District, Government of NCR of Delhi. He stated that when he was in office on 12.10.2003, he got intimation about the death of the complainant and he conducted a Magisterial Enquiry as the complainant had died within 7 years of her marriage. He stated that he made enquiries about the death of Smt. Pooja Verma from her parents who were there and recorded the statement of father marked ExhibitPW4/A and statement of mother marked ExhibitPW2/C. PW10 identified his signatures thereon. He stated that he prepared a brief autopsy report of the complainant marked ExhibitPW10/A and an unnatural death report marked ExhibitPW10/B. He also stated that on 13.10.2003, he visited the mortuary where the body of the complainant was identified by the father of the complainant and was marked ExhibitPW10/ C. PW10 identified his signature thereon. Identification of the dead body was also done by PW5 and the report to this effect is marked ExhibitPW5/A. He stated in his cross examination that the complainant had died at her parental home and that he had never visited the matrimonial home of the complainant.

ix) PW11 HC Inderjeet was a formal witness who went to the parental house of the complainant alongwith Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh on 11.09.2003 when the father of the complainant handed over the wedding card and photographs FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.20 of 40 of the complainant’s wedding to the Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh, which is documented in document marked ExhibitPW4/B. No material contradiction or inconsistency emerged in his cross examination which was cryptic and formal in nature.

x) PW12 W/ HC Rajesh was a formal witness before whom the statement of the complainant and her mother was recorded by the Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh at SDN Hospital on 11.09.2003. She was also privy to the arrest of the co- accused Shri Sanjeev Sethi and Ms. Jyoti (who were subsequently discharged). She was a witness to the arrest memo of accused Ms. Jyoti marked ExhibitPW12/A. She was also privy to the preparation of seizure memo marked ExhibitPW12/B. In his cross examination, he admitted that he didn’t recall the time when the statement of the complainant and her mother were recorded by the Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh. He admitted that he didn’t know whether the Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh had taken medical opinion of the doctor regarding medical fitness of the complainant to give statement. He stated in his cross examination that the statement of the complainant and her mother were recorded in the handwriting of the Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh. He stated that he couldn’t recall whether the complainant and her mother had signed their statements in English or Hindi. He denied the suggestion that he was deposing falsely and also denied the suggestion that he never joined the investigation on 12.09.2003.

xi) PW13 HC Dharmender was posted as constable at PS Farsh Bazar on FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.21 of 40 12.09.2003. He stated that the Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh had arrested the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi in his presence on 12.09.2003 and that the arrest memo and seizure memo qua the said accused was prepared before him and the same were marked Exhibit4/E and Exhibit4/C. In his examination in chief, PW13 identified his signatures thereon. In his cross examination he admitted that he didn’t remember as to how much time it took for him to reach the matrimonial home of the complainant from PS Farsh Bazar. He also couldn’t recall as to in which vehicle he went to the matrimonial house of the complainant. He couldn’t recall the layout or other particulars of the matrimonial house of the complainant. He stated that as far as he could recall the Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh has called some public witness at that time. However, he couldn’t recall whether any neighbor was made to join those proceedings. He denied the suggestion that he didn’t join investigation on 12.09.2003.

xii) PW14 Ct. Harvir Singh was another formal witness to be examined. He was a constable at PS Farsh Bazar on 15.09.2003. In his examination in chief he stated that on 15.09.2003, he joined investigation of the case and went to the matrimonial home of the complainant alongwith Investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh. He stated that on arrival there, he met dewar of the complainant Shri Amit Sethi, who produced a few articles received at the time of marriage and the same were seized vide document marked ExhibitPW4/D. In his cross examination he stated that he had gone there with the Investigating Officer, SHO of the area and father of the FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.22 of 40 complainant. He stated that the seizure memo was prepared in his presence by the Investigating Officer. He denied the suggestion that he didn’t join investigation on 15.09.2003.

xiii). PW16 Dr. Rajeev Grover was another formal witness examined by the prosecution. He was posted as CMO of the SDN Hospital on 10.09.2003. He stated that on that day at around 11.15 p.m. one patient namely Pooja with alleged history of being beaten by her husband was brought to the hospital and was medically examined. On examination, the patient was found to be emaciated and anemic and it was found that she was already undergoing treatment at GTB hospital. PW16 stated that there was no fresh injury mark on the body of the complainant and she only complained of abdominal pain. Nothing material emerged in the cross examination which was very formal and cryptic.

xiv) PW17 ASI Vijay Singh was another formal witness examined by the prosecution. On 12.09.2003 he was posted Malkhana Mohrar and he stated that on that day the investigating Officer Shri Ram Raj Singh had deposited the seized dowry articles at the Malkhana. He admitted having made entries in the Register No. 19 at the PS concerned which were marked Exhibits PW17/A and ExhibitPW17/B respectively. He made similar statements about articles seized on 15.09.2003 and the same was recorded in document marked ExhibitPW17/ C (OSR).

xv) PW18 Ct. Geeta was another official witness examined by the prosecution to fortify its case. In her examination in chief she stated that she was posted at PS FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.23 of 40 Farsh Bazar on 02.10.2003 and on that day accused Smt. Veena Devi came to the PS Farsh Bazar alongwith her son and she was arrested at the PS vide arrest memo marked ExhibitPW18/A and her personal search memo was marked ExhibitPW18/B. PW18 identified her signatures thereon. Her cross examination was again formal and cryptic in nature and hence, the same is not being reproduced here. xvi) PW19 Dr. Kulbhushan Goyal, CMO, Aruna Asaf Ali Hospital was also examined as a witness. He stated in his examination in chief that on 13.10.2003, he conducted the post mortem of the complainant who allegedly had a history of dowry harassment. He admitted his signatures on the detailed Post Mortem report marked ExhibitPW19/A. As per the said report, the body of the complainant was emaciated at the time of death and there was no external mark of injury thereon. On internal examination, head and neck were found intact. Both lungs were adhered to the chest wall, oedema was present and on cut sections, turbid frothy blood was oozing out. Congestion was present with the patchy consolidation in both the lungs. At places, pus points were seen in lung parenchyma. According to him, the post mortem findings were consistent with natural disease process. He also added that on the basis of the FSL report received regarding blood and viscera samples, the possibility of poisoning was ruled out. He stated that considering the conspectus of circumstances, the cause of death of the complainant was shock consequent to tubercular peritonitis and terminal respiratory distress consequent upon pneumonitis and pulmonary koch’s, a natural disease process. PW19 also admitted his signatures FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.24 of 40 on his subsequent opinion marked ExhibitPW19/C.

xvii) PW20 HC Jasbir Singh; ASI Ramesh Chand; ASI Devraj Singh; Retired SI Jai Pal Singh were other formal witnesses examined by the prosecution. Their testimonies and depositions in court are not being reproduced here as they were merely formal in nature and no concrete defects/ inconsistencies were found in their depositions in Court.

xviii) PW24 Retired Inspector Ram Raj Singh, Investigating Officer of the case was also examined as a witness. In his examination in chief he narrated the course of investigation primarily. In his cross examination by the counsel for the accused he stated that on 10.09.2003, the parents of the complainant were present in the hospital when he reached there to record the complainant’s statement. He admitted that though the doctor had certified that the complainant was medically fit to depose, the complainant’s statement couldn’t be recorded as she was sleeping under influence of medicines. He denied the suggestion that he deliberately didn’t record the statement of the complainant on that day. He stated that he recorded supplementary statement of the complainant on the next day in the presence of the parents of the complainant and on that day he had not sought fresh certification from the doctor regarding the complainant’s condition. He stated that the supplementary statement was recorded at the parental house of the complainant. He stated that when he was recording the statement of the complainant, the complainant was looking emaciated and extremely frail. He stated that he also recorded the statements of the parents on the same day.

FIR No. 267/2003
P.S. Farsh Bazar
State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors.                 Page No.25 of 40

He again reiterated the sequence of arrests and seizure of articles in the present case. He stated that seizure memo marked ExhibitPW4/C was prepared in presence of two witnesses Shri Sohan Lal and Shri Prem Sagar. PW24 stated that he didn’t record statements of these witnesses under Section 161CrPC as there was no necessity of doing so. He admitted that he didn’t examine these witnesses to find out about the relationship background between the complainant and the accused. He also deposed that he had examined a neighbor of the accused who had stated that he had never seen any altercation between the accused and the complainant. He also stated that he had also contacted officials of PS Jahangirpuri to enquire about the incidents of 21.08.2003 and as per the version of one ASI Jagdish Singh of PS Jahangirpuri, there was no such altercation on 21.08.2003. According to PW24, this ASI Jagdish Singh had told him that parents of the complainant had told him on 21.08.2003 that they were taking the complainant alongwith them as the complainant was not keeping well. He also stated that the parties had mutually agreed that the complainant go to her parents’ house. PW24 also stated that though he had asked the parents of the complainant to hand over the bills/ invoices of dowry articles/ jewelry etc. to him, they had not furnished the same. PW24 stated that the complainant’s mother had told him that jewelry that was given to the complainant was ancestral jewelry/ heirloom, which she had inherited from her ancestors. PW24 stated that he didn’t examine any witness to determine whether the jewelry given to the petitioner was ancestral or not. PW24 also admitted that during investigation, he also came to FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.26 of 40 know that the complainant had been suffering from fever prior to her marriage and that she was getting treatment from Dr. Rajeev prior to her marriage. Prosecution evidence was closed thereafter.

7. Separate Statements of the accused Smt. Veena Sethi and Shri Raj Kumar Sethi under Section 313CrPC were recorded on 20.09.2017 in the course of which all the incriminating material in evidence was put to the accused persons. While denying the incriminating The accused persons pleaded innocence and claimed that no demand of dowry was ever made by them at any point of time during the lifetime of the deceased nor was the deceased harassed by any of them during her lifetime. They categorically denied all allegations leveled against them and stated that it was the complainant who didn’t want to reside in the matrimonial home and instead wanted to stay at her parental house. Allegedly, the complainant also wanted the accused to shift there. They stated that they had been falsely implicated in the instant case and that the complainant had been ailing even before the marriage and the factum of her being diseased was deliberately concealed by the parents of the complainant. They stated that the parents of the complainant had deliberately concealed the fact that the complainant was a TB patient. They stated that the complainant left her matrimonial home out of her own volition and took her jewelry alongwith her and never returned there thereafter.

FIR No. 267/2003
P.S. Farsh Bazar
State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors.                 Page No.27 of 40

8. The accused persons declined to lead any defence evidence and as a result the matter was straightaway posted for final arguments. The final arguments were advanced by the Ld. APP for the State as well the Ld. Counsel for the accused. POINT FOR DETERMINATION Whether the accused persons were guilty of the charges framed on 01.11.2007? Appraisal of evidence led and findings on the above mentioned point of determination:

9. I have scrutinized the evidence on record and considered the rival submissions made by learned counsel for the parties.

10. At the very outset, it would be apposite to reproduce Section 498AI.P.C. as it is the allegation of foundational import in the instant case: it reads as under:-

“Section 498A: Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.–Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.28 of 40 shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation: 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.”

FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.29 of 40

11. It would also be apposite to reproduce the Section 406 IPC as this is another offence for which the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi has under gone trial. It reads as under:- “405. Criminal breach of trust:- Whoever, being in any manner entrusted the property, or with any dominion over property, dishonestly misappropriates or converts to his own use that property, or dishonestly uses or disposes of that property in violation of any direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged, or of any legal contract, express or implied, which he has made touching the discharge of such trust, or willfully suffers any other person so to do, commits ” criminal breach of trust”.

406. Punishment for criminal breach of trust:- Whoever commits criminal breach of trust shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”

12. The learned counsel for the accused has argued that the prosecution has miserably failed to attribute any act on part of the accused persons that can be said to be within the ambit of the offences mentioned herein above as has been alleged to have been committed by the accused. He argues that there is no evidence to suggest that the informant was treated in a very shoddy and callous manner by her in- laws and that she was also verbally, physically and emotionally brutalized by her in laws. According to the counsel for the accused, there is nothing on record to show that grave injury was inflicted on the complainant by her in laws and that the same was FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.30 of 40 related to dowry. It is contended by the counsel for the accused that though it was indeed unfortunate that the complainant died at such an early age, it would be extremely harsh to saddle the accused with criminal liability for her death as she had died on account of TB related medical problems.

13. The counsel for the accused has taken me through several inconsistencies and lacunae in the prosecution’s case which show that the prosecution has failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and hence, as a logical corollary, the benefit of doubt must accrue in favour of the accused.

14. At the outset, I note a glaring feature in this case which throws considerable suspicion on the prosecution version and which was pressed into service by the Ld. Counsel for the accused persons with all vehemence at his command. It is alleged that the conduct of the complainant and her family in not lodging an FIR on 21.08.2003 (i.e. date of an alleged incident which forms part of the series of acts of dowry harassment) was indeed unnatural and that the inordinate delayed filing of the FIR on 10.09.2003 showed that the FIR was an afterthought meant to falsely implicate the accused. There is substantial merit in the said contention of the accused persons’ counsel as it is a well settled legal proposition that “a delayed report not only gets bereft of the advantage of spontaneity, the danger of the introduction of coloured version, exaggerated account of the incident or a concocted story as a result of deliberations and consultations, also creeps in, FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.31 of 40 casting a serious doubt in its veracity. Therefore, it is essential that the delay in lodging the report should be satisfactorily explained.” As has been held in “Bhajan Singh @ Harbhajan Singh Ors vs State of Haryana” reported in 2011 STPL(web) 536 SC that:-

“Prompt and early reporting of the occurrence by the informant with all its vivid details gives an assurance regarding its true version. In case, there is some delay in filing the FIR, the complainant must give explanation for the same. Undoubtedly, delay in lodging the FIR does not make the complainant’s case improbable when such delay is properly explained. However, deliberate delay in lodging the complaint may prove to be fatal. In such case of delay, it can be presumed that the allegations were an afterthought or the complainant had given a coloured version of events. The court has to carefully examine the facts before it, for the reason, that the complainant party may initiate criminal proceedings just to harass the other side with mala fide intentions or with ulterior motive of wreaking vengeance.

The court proceedings ought not to be permitted to degenerate into a weapon of harassment and persecution. In such a case, where an FIR is lodged clearly with a view to spite the other party because of a private and personal grudge and to enmesh the other party in long FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.32 of 40 and arduous criminal proceedings, the court may take a view that it amounts to an abuse of the process of law”.

15. Herein, it is evident that no explanation has been put forward by the family members of the deceased complainant as regards the delay in lodging an FIR and this casts a long shadow of doubt on the credibility of the prosecution’s version. The learned advocate for the accused has submitted that if at all such brutalities as alleged by the complainant were indeed committed on her from 19.02.2003 till 21.08.2003, she would have reported the matter to the police and lodged an FIR on 21.08.2003 itself when she visited the Police Station at Jahangirpuri. However, on that day, the complainant chose to stay silent about the alleged atrocities and decied to lodge an FIR after almost 20 days of the alleged incident. Prompt reporting/ lodging of FIR would have imparted credibility and authenticity to the prosecution’s case. There is an inherent improbability in such conduct of the complainant and the near and dear ones of the deceased complainant, for which no explanation has been rendered by the prosecution, let alone a plausible one. In such circumstances, the likelihood of the accused having been falsely implicated cannot be ruled out.

16. Further, the conduct of the complainant and her family members in not getting a medical examination done in presence of police to show the alleged physical brutalities inflicted on the complainant also compels me to view the case of the prosecution with spectacles tinged with suspicion and skepticism.

FIR No. 267/2003
P.S. Farsh Bazar
State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors.                 Page No.33 of 40

17. The Ld. Counsel for the accused has also highlighted the apparent contradictions within the statements made by the witnesses PW2 and PW4 before the Investigating Officer and what was deposed by the witnesses in Court. PW2 has stated in court that the jewelry given to the complainant was arranged by the father of the complainant who was purportedly a jeweler but the Investigating Officer has stated that PW2 had told him that the jewelry was ancestral in nature. Further, the PW2 has herself wavered in her version and at one stage stated that the jewelry gifted to the complainant was the jewelry that PW2 got from her in- laws. PW4 has stated that he purchased gold jewelry and not stated that the same was arranged from the shop of his father in law who was purportedly a jeweler. According to him he hadn’t produced the bills for jewelry as the police had never asked him to furnish the same.

18. There are material discrepancies in the versions of the PW2 and PW4 also. According to the former, the complainant left her matrimonial home on 21.08.2003 alongwith pair of gold tops, gold set, gold earrings, wrist watch, 8 suits, purse and a big bag. However, PW4 has stated that the complainant left her matrimonial home only with the wearing apparel she was wearing them. Several discrepancies are also seen in their testimonies regarding the dates and times on which the complainant, PW2 and PW4 visited the PS Jahangirpuri and PS Farsh FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.34 of 40 Bazar to lodge a complaint. This also creates a lingering suspicion about the credibility of their depositions.

19. Also, the ld. counsel for the accused has contended that father of the complainant examined as PW4 has himself admitted that no demand for dowry was made at the time of marriage and hence, it cannot be said that the accused were dowry seekers after marriage as well. The Ld. Counsel for the accused has further sought to debunk the testimonies of PW6, PW7 and PW8 a hearsay evidence as they were never privy to the dowry harassment personally and had only heard canards concocted by the complainant’s parents to falsely implicate the accused persons. The Ld. Counsel for the accused has highlighted the dichotomy in statement of PW8 and PW4. As per PW4 no demand for dowry was made prior to marriage and it was only after marriage that the demand for Rs. 40, 000/- for a motorcycle was made by the accused alongwith a demand for a gold chain. However, as per the PW8, such a demand was made on 18.02.2003, on the day of sagai and such demand was allegedly made to PW8 by accused Smt. Veena Sethi. This is a very material dichotomy in the versions of the prosecution witnesses. The counsel for the accused has also highlighted the discrepancy in the statement of PW8 itself. At one place she has stated that such dowry demand was made only to her and that she had told accused Smt. Veena Sethi that she would ask PW4 to fulfill the same. At a later stage, in her deposition in Court, PW8 has stated that such demand was made on the FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.35 of 40 day of sagai in the presence and hearing of PW4, PW2 and other family members. These discrepancies also erode the credibility of the testimony of the PW8.

20. In a like fashion, the learned counsel for the defence has contended that there are several other marked discrepancies in the statements of the witnesses and they are not reliable.

21. The Ld. Counsel for the accused has also stated that since the witnesses PW2; PW4; PW6; PW7; PW8 are all members of the same family or close acquaintances, their testimonies cannot be blindly relied on as they were interested witnesses as well and they might be having their own axes to grind by falsely implicating the accused. He has argued that this court should be cautious in accepting their statements. I also agree with the said contention of the counsel for the accused as several inconsistencies were found in the testimony of these witnesses and their testimony also stands vitiated on ground of being hearsay. These witnesses have also admitted that they were never privy to any act of alleged dowry harassment. Further, the police witnesses have in their statements deposed that when they made enquiries from neighbours, the neighbours said that they had never seen any altercation between the complainant and the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi. I see no reason to doubt the version of the police officers. Also, I am of the view that had the versions of the PW6, PW7 and PW8 been genuine, they would also have given statement before the police prior to coming to the court. They never joined FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.36 of 40 investigation and it appears that they have been tutored to depose on the certain line in court. PW7 couldn’t even identify the accused in court and he made a categorical admission that he had never visited the matrimonial home of the complainant.

22. The counsel for the accused persons has also contended that the testimonies of the PW2 and PW4 in court were vitiated on account of embellishments and exaggerations as many of the allegations leveled in the depositions recorded in court found no mention in their statements recorded before the Sub Divisional Magistrate. The counsel for the accused submits that these embellishments/ additions in their depositions in court with regard to the alleged ill treatment of the deceased complainant and the alleged demands for dowry made by the accused, could not rule out the possibility of the introduction of ‘coloured versions’ by these prosecution witnesses and the concoction of facts belatedly made under legal advise. Hence, for these reasons as pressed by the counsel for the accused, I am of the considered view that there existed reasonable doubt about the genesis of the prosecution story due to the embellishments, infirmities and contradictions in the evidence on record, which go to the root of the matter and which are sufficient to shake the core of the prosecution case.

23. Yet another aspect of the case which deserves to be noted is that in the MLC of the complainant on 10.09.2003 there is no mention of any external injuries FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.37 of 40 on any body part of the complainant. Even in the postmortem report, there is no mention of any external injury seen over the body of the deceased. PW19 Dr. Kulbhushan Goyal opined in his report that considering the conspectus of circumstances, the cause of death of the complainant was shock consequent to tubercular peritonitis and terminal respiratory distress consequent upon pneumonitis and pulmonary koch’s, a natural disease process. He also ruled out chances of poisoning etc. and didn’t find any injury marks on the body. It is also to be noted that the PW2 has herself in her cross examination stated at one point that the complainant Pooja was having cough related problems prior to marriage and had been undergoing treatment at GTB hospital and had stayed there for 15-20 days. Though she has later resiled from the said statement, her earlier admission in court when read with the doctor’s report regarding cause of death of the complainant/ victim, it appears that PW2 has done a volte face from her earlier admission only to establish that the complainant didn’t die because of TB and that she died on account of dowry harassment. Such vacillations on part of the PW2 also taint her deposition and erode its evidentiary worth. Further, the prosecution has failed to prove any external injury on the body of the complainant. Even the photographs filed by the PW2 do not prove any external injury and PW4 has himself admitted that there was no external injury on his daughter’s body when she returned from her matrimonial home. This admission of PW4 itself debunks the genuineness and credibility of the FIR No. 267/2003 P.S. Farsh Bazar State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors. Page No.38 of 40 prosecution’s version that blood was oozing from the arms of the complainant on 21.08.2003 when PW2 and PW4 visited her matrimonial home.

24. Suffice it to state that the improvements, embellishments and concoctions made by the material prosecution witnesses after due deliberation have rendered the entire prosecution case doubtful. It is trite that general and vague allegations of dowry demands and beatings given to the deceased without detailing specific instances, vague and inconsistent statements of interested witnesses such as parents, brothers and sisters of the deceased, bald statements made by prosecution witnesses which fall short of evidence to prove that the victim was harassed for dowry and improved versions of statements made by prosecution witnesses for the first time in Court disclosing things not disclosed during investigation, are liable to be viewed with suspicion. The present case suffers from the vice of perversity on all these counts. The medical opinion given by the PW19 Dr. Kulbhushan Goyal further erodes credibility of the prosecution’s case as the complainant is stated to have died on account of natural disease process and acute, incurable form of TB. Keeping the conspectus of circumstances and testimonies in mind, in my considered opinion the accused cannot be convicted on the strength of material that has been brought on record. Hence, the offence under Section 498A IPC is not made out against both the accused persons.

FIR No. 267/2003
P.S. Farsh Bazar
State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors.                  Page No.39 of 40

25. I now advert to the offence under Section 406 IPC. The prosecution has failed to prove the list of dowry articles and jewelry given to the deceased complainant at the time of her marriage. There are no receipts, invoices or photographs to show the same. Further no evidence of entrustment of stridhan to the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi is there on record. Hence, even the said offence is not made out and the accused Shri Raj Kumar Sethi stands exonerated of this charge as well.

26. The accused persons Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Smt. Veena Sethi stand acquitted. Bail bonds and surety bonds furnished earlier stand discharged. Originals be returned after cancelling out endorsements thereon.

27. File be consigned to the record room after due compliance.

                                                    (Harshita Vatsayan)

                                                  MM(Mahila Court-01/East/

                                                 KKD Courts/Delhi/20.07.2018



                                                              Digitally signed by HARSHITA

                                           HARSHITA           VATSAYAN
                                                              DN: c=IN, o=OFFICE OF THE
                                                              DISTRICT AND SESSIONS JUDGE,


                                           VATSAYA
                                                              2.5.4.20=0ed39c1a3bfaa3a1878a2
                                                              e5b1d2dfbdbeca9e16d4526c6efb
                                                              2c959f60424293d, ou=DELHI
                                                              DISTT COURTS,CID - 6543012,

                                           N                  postalCode=110054, st=Delhi,
                                                              cn=HARSHITA VATSAYAN
                                                              Date: 2018.07.21 17:50:05 +05'30'




FIR No. 267/2003
P.S. Farsh Bazar
State Vs. Shri Raj Kumar Sethi and Ors.                  Page No.40 of 40

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s