Delhi District Court
Sc No. 444/2016 State vs . Sanjay Kumar & Ors. Page 1 Of 60 on 10 July, 2018
IN THE COURT OF SH. ANIL KUMAR SISODIA : ASJ ­04
  EAST DISTRICT : KARKARDOOMA COURTS : DELHI

                     SC No. 444/2016

FIR No. 205/2009
P.S. Geeta Colony
U/S : 498 A/323/302/34 IPC

State 

Vs.

1. Sanjay Kumar
S/o Shri Ram Kishan, 
R/o H.No. 240 A, Gali No. 3, 
New Lahore Shastri Nagar, Delhi.

2. Vinod Kumar
S/o Shri Ram Kishan, 
R/o H.No. 240 A, Gali No. 3, 
New Lahore Shastri Nagar, Delhi.

3. Smt. Urmila
S/o Shri Ram Kishan, 
R/o H.No. 240 A, Gali No. 3, 
New Lahore Shastri Nagar, Delhi.

4. Govind @ Govinda
S/o Shri Ram Kishan, 
R/o Village Khera, PS Pilakhwa, 

SC NO. 444/2016   State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.     Page 1 of 60
 Distt. Ghaziabad, U.P 
& H.No. 240 A, Gali No. 3, 
New Lahore Shastri Nagar, Delhi.

5.  Ram Kishan
s/o Late Sh. Jagram, 
R/o H.No. 240 A, First Floor, 
Gali No. 3, New Lahore Shastri Nagar,
Delhi.                                                             .....Accused

Date of registration of FIR                          :     21.08.2009
Date of institution of the case                      :     10.12.2009
Date of reserving order                              :     07.06.2018
Date of pronouncement                                :     10.07.2018

APPEARANCES:
Sh. Ajit Kumar Srivastava, Addl. PP for the State.
Sh. V.K. Singh, Advocate for accused nos. 1 to 3.
Sh. R.K. Jain, Advocate for accused nos. 4 & 5




                                  JUDGMENT

Case of Prosecution

1.  The   case   as   set   out   by   the   prosecution   is   that   on 21.08.2009 on receipt of information regarding quarrel and burning   of a woman at police station Geeta Colony vide DD   No.   44­B,   45­B   and   46­B,   SI   Maha   Singh   reached SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 2 of 60 House   no.   240,   Gali   No.   3,   New   Lahore   Sahstri   Nagar, Delhi with HC Shri Bhagwan and found that   Smt. Lata in burnt condition and her brothers, husband and brothers­in­ law in injured condition were taken to hospital by PCR van and the place of occurrence was found locked.  He reached SDN     hospital     and   came   to   know   that   Lata   had   been shifted   to   GTB   Hospital.       SI   Maha   Singh   left   HC   Shri Bhagwan at SDN Hospital and went to GTB Hospital where Smt   Lata   was  found  under  treatment.      He recorded the statement of Smt. Lata who gave her statement that she was married to accused Sanjay on 25.02.2001 according to Hindu   rites   and   ceremony.   At   the   time   of   marriage,   her parents had given sufficient dowry   as per their capacity. Her husband was in   private job but was unemployed for last three months.   Her in­laws had started harassing her after two years of the marriage as she was unable to give birth to a child. Smt. Urmila, mother­in­law of Lata used to ask her to bring money from her house and was keeping her separately from her husband.     Two days prior to the incident Smt. Urmila and Sanjay asked her to bring Rs. 4 lacs if she wanted to live in her matrimonial house.   Smt.

SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 3 of 60 Lata refused  and  her in­laws were harassing and beating her since  morning of 21.08.2009.   At about 05.00 PM she informed her brothers about the incident on telephone and asked them to come to her house.   However, before they could come, her brothers­in­law Vinod and Govinda caught hold   of   her   when   she   was   sitting   in   the   chowk   at   about 06.30   PM   and   her   mother­in­law   poured   kerosene   oil   on her   from   a   plastic   bottle   and   her   husband   lighted matchstick and set her on fire. Her father in law who was also present at the spot instigated other family members to burn her and they also gave beatings to her brothers when they reached her house.   On the statement of Smt. Lata, FIR   was   registered   against   the   accused   persons   under Section 498 A/307 IPC. Smt. Lata expired in the hospital on 27.08.2009   and   Section   302   IPC   was   added.     During investigation, accused Sanjay, Urmila, Govind @ Govinda and   Vinod   were   arrested.   Co­accused   Ram   Kishan   was arrested   on   11.02.2010   and   supplementary   chargesheet was filed against him.

2.  Charge sheet was filed against accused persons after SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 4 of 60 completion of investigation and case was committed to the court of Sessions after compliance of provisions of Section 207 Cr.P.C.

Charge framed against the accused.

3.   On   11.01.2011   Ld.   Predecessor   of   this   court,   after hearing the arguments, framed charges u/s 498 A/302/34IPC against all the accused persons.   Separate charge u/s 323/34   IPC     was   also   framed   against   accused   Vinod Kumar   and   Govind   @   Govinda.     The   accused   persons pleaded not guilty to the charges framed against them and claimed trial.

Witnesses examined by prosecution

4.  Prosecution examined 25 witnesses in all to prove its case.  The brief summary of the deposition of Prosecution Witnesses is as under:­ (I)  PW1 Asharfi  Devi    is the mother of the deceased. She testified that deceased Lata was her daughter and she SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 5 of 60 was married to accused Sanjay on 25.02.2001 according to Hindu rites & customs.   Lata was living peacefully with her husband but after two years of marriage she was harassed and beaten by the accused persons as she could not give birth to a child and and she was not provided food in her matrimonial home. The accused persons were demanding money  from her and the said demand was fulfilled many times   by   her.     PW­1   further   testified   that   she   had   given sufficient   dowry   to   the   accused   persons   at   the   time   of marriage  of  her  daughter. She has also testified that her daughter   used   to   telephonically   inform   her   about   the beatings given by her husband as well as her mother­in­ law. She was not provided proper food and even tea.  Her daughter   had   to   take   private   tuitions   to   maintain   herself. PW1 also testified that lastly, they found the dead body of her daughter in burnt condition in the hospital as she was killed   by   the   accused   persons.     Her   daughter   Lata   had telephonically informed her that she was being beaten by the accused persons and   PW­1 had   sent her sons Kalu Ram and Bakshi Ram to matrimonial home of Lata but they were not allowed to go upstairs and were also beaten by SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 6 of 60 the accused persons.

(ii)  PW2   Bakshi   Ram  is   the   brother   of   deceased.   He testified that his sister Lata got married to accused Sanjay and at the time of marriage he had spent Rs. 9 to 10 lacs and   had   also   given   19   tola   of   gold   jewellary.       Accused persons   started   harassing   his   sister   for   dowry   after   two years of marriage.  He had gone many times to the house of   the   accused   persons   to   resolve   the   dispute   and accused   persons   agreed   to   mend   their   ways   but   again started   harassing   his   sister.   He   further   testified   that   his sister was also harassed for not giving birth to a child and she was burnt to death on 21.08.2009.     He also testified that on 21.08.2009 at about 05.00/05.30 PM his sister had called up and informed him that she was being harassed by accused persons since morning and PW­2 along with his brother Kalu Ram had gone to  their sister’s house.  They saw   their   sister   under   flames   and   when   they   tried   to   go upstairs, they were beaten by accused Govinda, Vinod and Sanjay and they sustained injuries.  He has further testified that   he   made   call   to   PCR   and   thereafter   police   reached SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 7 of 60 there and took them and their sister to hospital in PCR van and on the way to the hospital, his sister informed that she was burnt by accused persons and there was a demand of Rs. 4 lacs from her.  Lata also informed him that accused Sanjay wanted to remarry.  This witness also identified the dead body of deceased Lata and proved the identification statement   Ex.   PW2/B   and   inquest   proceedings   as Ex.PW2/C.  He also proved his signature on the request for postmortem Ex. PW2/A.

(iii)  PW3 HC Suresh Chandra  is the Duty Officer, who has proved the FIR as Ex.PW3/B  and endorsement on the rukka as Ex. PW3/A.

(iv)  PW4   Ct.   Rameshwar  is   the   DD   Writer,   who   has proved the DD no. 44­B, DD no. 45­B & DD No. 46­B as Ex. PW4/A to Ex.PW4/C.

(v)  PW5 Dr. Devender Kumar  has appeared on behalf of   Dr.   Virat   and   proved   MLC   of   deceased   Lata   as Ex.PW5/A.

SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 8 of 60

(vi)  PW6 ACP Niyam Pal Singh  was the then SHO PS Geeta Colony and he has testified that on 21.08.2009 DD No.   44   B   and   other   DDs   regarding   the   incident   were marked   to   SI   Maha   Singh.     On   27.08.2009,   Lata   had expired and Section 302 IPC was added in the FIR.   On 05.09.2009   he   got     the   remand   of   accused   Sanjay   and Vinod   extended.     MLCs   of   accused   Sanjay   and   witness Bakshi   Ram   were   deposited   by   him   on   07.09.2009   for obtaining   the   opinion   and   on   11.09.2009   further investigation was marked to Inspector Rohtash.

(vii)   PW7 ASI Harbir Singh   was Incharge of PCR   Van R­17.   He testified that on 21.08.2009  at about 06.30 PM on   receipt   of   information   from   the   control   room,   he   had reached   the   spot   and   had  taken   deceased   Lata   to   SDM Hospital and from there she was shifted to GTB Hospital as it was a case of burn injury.  He further testified that on the way to hospital, deceased Lata had informed him that her mother­in­law Urmila had burnt her and she also expressed apprehension   that   her   mother­in­law   will   throw   out   her SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 9 of 60 belongings from her room.

(viii)  PW8 Retd. ASI Raj Kumar was on duty on PCR Van R­15  on  21.08.2009.   He had reached the spot at about 06.30   PM   on   receipt   of   information   from   control   room regarding   quarrel   and   another   information   regarding burning of a lady.   He found many persons at the spot and also   heard   noise   of   weeping     from   second   floor   of   the house and he asked all the persons to come down.  In the meanwhile 5­6 persons came down and on inquiry they told that their sister was burnt and they were also beaten.   He took four injured persons to SDN hospital where they were medically treated.

(ix)  PW9 Sh. Anil Kumar  is a neighbour of the accused persons.   He testified that   on 21.08.2009 he was present in  his  house   and  at about  06/06.15 PM   he heard noise from his adjacent house and he came down and saw 3­4 persons were coming out of the house of accused Sanjay. He also saw Lata coming down from the stairs, escorted by accused Sanjay and she was in somewhat burnt condition SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 10 of 60 and she was saying “Mujhse galti ho gai hai mujhe bacha lo”   One PCR  van took accused Sanjay, Vinod and Lata from the spot.   He also testified that he never heard about any quarrel between accused Sanjay and his wife.

(x)  PW10   Ct.   Manoj   Kumar  is   the   photographer,   who was the member of the Crime Team and he reached the scene   of   crime   alongwith   the   Incharge   and   on   the instructions of Incharge Crime Team, he took photographs of   crime   scene.     He   proved   the   photographs   as   Ex. PW10/A1 to A9 and negatives as Ex. PW10/B1 to B9.

(xi)  PW11   Sunil  was   a     tenant   in   the   house   of   the accused   persons.   He  has   testified   that   on  21.08.2009   at about 06.30 PM he was present in his room on the ground floor when he heard alarm of “bachao bachao” on which he found 4­5 persons were beating accused Sanjay and Vinod on   the   first   floor   of   the   house   and   when   persons   public persons collected, they fled away. He also came to know that   fire   had   taken   place   on   the   second     floor.     In   the meanwhile police reached the spot and the police officials SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 11 of 60 brought Lata from the second floor in a burnt condition and she was crying “bacha lo bacha lo galti ho gai mujhse”.

(xii)  PW12   Retd.   SI   Maha   Singh  is   the   first   IO   of   the case.   He   had   initially   investigated   the   case.       He     has testified  that  he along with HC Sri Bhagwan reached the spot i.e matrimonial house of deceased Lata on receipt of DD   no.   44­B,   45­B   and   46­B.       He   came   to   know   that injured   had   been   removed   to   the   hospital   by   PCR.   The second   floor   was  found  locked.  He informed to the SHO who came to the spot and thereafter reached SDN Hospital where accused Sanjay, Vinod, Bakshi and Kalu Ram were found   admitted.     Thereafter   he   went   to   GTB   Hospital, collected the MLC of Lata and recorded her statement Ex. PW12/A and came back to SDN Hospital and collected the MLCs   of   injured   persons.     He   prepared   the   rukka   Ex. PW12/B   and   got   the   FIR   registered   through   HC   Shri Bhagwan. Thereafter, he again visited the spot but house was found locked and he came back to police station.  On 22.08.2009,   he   called   the   crime   team   and   got   the   site photographed and also seized the burnt pieces of clothes SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 12 of 60 and   broken   pieces   of   bangles   of   deceased   Lata   and prepared rough site plan. On the same day in evening, he again   went   to   the   spot   and   found   accused   Sanjay   and Vinod   and   they   were   arrested   after   interrogation.       On 23.08.2009 he recorded the statements of Kalu Ram and Bakshi     Ram   in   the   police   station.     On   24.08.2009   he arrested   accused   Urmila   from   the   spot.   Accused   Urmila also   handed   over   one   mobile   phone   of   the   victim   Lata which was seized by him.   He has further testified that on 27.08.2009   he   received   information   from   GTB   Hospital regarding   the   death   of  Lata and  he  reached  the  hospital and   got   the   body   preserved   for   postmortem.     On 28.08.2009   he   reached   Mortuary   and   prepared   inquest papers   and   the   postmortem   was   got   conducted.     After postmortem   doctor   handed   over   one   sealed   envelop containing hairs of the deceased which were seized by him. On 15.09.2009 he went to the spot with Inspector Rohtash Kumar who arrested the accused Govind @ Govinda.  The witness also identified the case property i.e burnt clothes of the victim, broken pieces of bangles and the mobile phone of the deceased Lata.

SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 13 of 60

(xiii)  PW13   Sh.   Kalu   Ram  is   also   brother   of   deceased Lata.   He   has   testified   on  the   lines   of   deposition   of   PW2 Bakshi Ram and has corroborated the version of PW2 on material aspects.

(xiv)  PW14 ASI Shri Bhagwan  was   on emergency duty on  21.08.2009   and he had accompanied PW12 SI  Maha Singh to the spot and the house of second floor was lying locked and goods of first floor were lying scattered.   They came to know that injured have been taken to hospital.   He along   with   PW12   reached   SDN   Hospital   where   accused Sanjay,   Vinod,   Bakshi   and   Kalu   Ram   were   found   under treatment   and   Lata   had   been   shifted   to   GTB   Hospital. PW12   deputed   him   at   SDN   hospital   and   went   to   GTB Hospital.  Thereafter, PW12 returned back and got the FIR registered through him.   On 22.08.2009 he again went to the   spot   with   PW12   and   crime   team   was   called.   Crime Team   inspected   the   spot,   the   photographs   were   taken, pieces   of   burnt   clothes   having   smell   of   kerosene   and broken pieces of bangles were kept in sealed parcels. The SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 14 of 60 sealed parcels were taken into possession by PW12. The accused persons Sanjay and Vinod were arrested and their personal   search   were   conducted.   The   witness   also identified the burnt pieces of clothes and broken bangles in the court.

(xv)  PW15 Somvir Singh identified the dead body of Lata in Mortuary of GTB Hospital.

(xvi)  PW16 Inspector Rajesh Sinha is the Incharge of the Crime   Mobile   Team,   who   visited   the   scene   of   crime   on receiving  message   alongwith the photographer  Ct. Manoj and other members of Crime Team.  He proved his scene of crime report as Ex. PW16/A.

(xvii)  PW17   HC   Mohd.   Iftekhar  was   the   MHC(M)   at   PS Geeta   Colony   at   the   relevant   period.   He  has   proved   the relevant   entries   in   Register   No.   19   as   Ex.   PW17/A   to PW17/D.   He has proved the RC no. 51/21  for depositing the exhibits as Ex. PW17/E and the copy of the receipts of deposits   of   exhibits   with   FSL   has   also   been   proved   as SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 15 of 60 Ex.PW17/F.

(xviii)  PW18  Dr.   Anil Kohli    has proved the postmortem report of deceased Lata prepared by Dr. Vivek Srivastava as   Ex.PW18/A.     He   has   testified   that   on   external examination,   she   had   ante­mortem   superficial   to   deep flame   burns   present   over   head,   neck,   chest,   abdomen, right   thigh   and   upper   back.     The   burnt   area   were   foul smelling   and   covered   with   yellowish   green   pus   and unhealthy   granulation   tissues.   The   burnt   area   involved about   45%   of   the   total   body   surface.   He  further   testified that   on   internal   examination   the   organs   were   congested. Stomach was empty.  Scalp hair were preserved under the seal   of   VS   for   detection   of   inflammable   substance.     The time since death in this case was given as about  ¾ of a day. The cause of death was Toxaemia as a result of ante­ mortem infected flame burns involving about 45% of total body surface area.

(xix)  PW19   Nazim  is   the   neighbour   of   the   accused.   He testified that he had seen the police taking Lata in a serious SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 16 of 60 condition.   He   further   testified   that   the   relations   between accused   Sanjay   and   Lata   was   normal.   On   cross examination   by   Ld.   Addl.   PP,   he   stated   that   the   date   of incident  was 21.08.2009. He also admitted that a quarrel was going on second floor of the house and police came after some time. He also admitted that Lata came down in a burnt condition and a PCR Van took her to hospital.

(xx)  PW20   Mrs.   Manisha  was a tenant  in the house of accused persons at the time of incident. She has testified that she was present in the house on 21.08.2009. At about 06.30 PM, brother of deceased Lata along with 3­4 persons came   there   who   were   under   the   influence   of   liquor   and were   having   dandas   in   their   hands   and   had   threatened accused   Sanjay   and   his   family   members   and   had   gone upstairs at first floor.   After five minute, Sanjay and Vinod came   from   outside   and   they   were   in   stairs   when   the brothers   of   Lata   and   three­four   persons   started   beating Sanjay and Vinod.  On hearing the noise, she came under the jaal and saw Lata standing on the second floor of the house and she put herself on fire by lightening matchsticks SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 17 of 60 and   after   hearing   the   noise   the   public   persons   gathered and thereafter the brothers of Lata along with 3­4 persons started   running   here   and   there   and   had   fled   away. Thereafter, 6­7 police officials came and they brought Lata and accused Sanjay from the second floor and took them somewhere.   This witness was cross examined by the Ld. Addl. PP and she denied the statement given to the police. She also denied that there used to be quarrel between Lata and her in­laws. She also denied that as she was on the ground floor, she could not see how Lata was burnt.

(xxi)  PW21 Dr. Anil Saini  has appeared on behalf of Dr. Manoj and proved the MLC of Bakshi Ram and Kalu Ram as Ex. PW21/A and Ex. PW21/B.

(xxii)  PW22  Ct.  Satpal  had deposited the sealed parcels with   FSL   and   had   handed   over   the   acknowledgment   of deposit to the MHC (M).

(xxiii)  PW23   W/Ct.   Sonia   Malik  joined   the   investigation with PW12 and was a witness of arrest of accused Urmila.

SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 18 of 60 She has proved the arrest memo, personal search memo and disclosure statement of accused Urmila as Ex.PW12/L to Ex. PW12/N.

(xxiv)  PW24 ASI Ram Narayan is also a witness of arrest of  accused Urmila.   He further joined the investigation with IO  on  28.08.2009  and went to Mortuary of GTB Hospital where   postmortem   of   deceased   was   conducted   and thereafter, dead body of deceased Lata was handed over to   her   relatives.     He   further   testified   that   after   the postmortem, doctor handed over one parcel to the IO which was seized by IO vide seizure memo Ex. PW12/R and he had signed the same as a witness.

(xxv) PW25   ASI   Satbir   Singh  was   DD   writer   and   has proved DD no. 34 B  regarding death of deceased Lata as Ex. PW25/A.

Thereafter prosecution closed its evidence.

5. On   05.03.2018   Counsels   for   the   accused   persons SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 19 of 60 admitted  the  arrest   memo and personal search  memo of accused   Ram   Kishan   and   FSL   result.     Accordingly,   the arrest   memo   was   exhibited   as   Ex.   C­1,   personal   search memo   was   exhibited   as   Ex.   C­2   and   FSL   result   was exhibited as Ex. C­3.

Statement and Defence of accused

6.  Statements       of       the       accused     persons   were recorded u/s 313 Cr.P.C. and the stand of accused persons was of general denial.   Accused persons claimed that on the   day   of   incident   some   heated   arguments   had   taken place between deceased Lata and Sanjay on the issue of keeping tenant on the second floor and Lata informed her brothers   who   came   along   with   some   other   persons   in drunken   condition   and   gave   beatings   to   accused   Sanjay and   Vinod.     On   seeing   that   the   accused   persons   had sustained   injuries,   Lata   set   herself   on   fire   to   save   her brothers   from   being   implicated   in   any   criminal   case. Accused Govind and Ram Kishan also took a plea that they were   not   present   at   their   house   at   the   time   of   incident.

SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 20 of 60 Accused   Ram   Kishan   preferred   to   lead   evidence   in   his defence whereas other accused did not chose to give any evidence in their defence.

7.     Accused   Ram   Kishan   examined   DW1   Pappu   in   his defence   who     has   deposed   that   on   21.08.2009   accused Ram   Kishan   was   present   in   village   for   his   agricultural purpose   and   on   receipt  of  telephone   call   from   Delhi  that wife of accused Sanjay had burnt herself, the accused Ram Kishan   returned   to   Delhi on next  morning as  there is no transport facility available in the village during night time.

Thereafter accused closed evidence in defence.

Arguments and conclusion

8. Arguments have been addressed by  Ld. Addl. PP for the   State,   Ld.   Counsel   for   the   complainant     and   by   Ld. counsels for the accused persons.

9.  Ld. Addl.P.P.  for the State has argued that there is sufficient   evidence   on   record   to   hold   accused   persons SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 21 of 60 guilty of charges.   It has been argued that the identity of accused persons is not in dispute  and  deceased Lata had categorically   mentioned  the  names  and  roles   of  accused persons in her dying declaration Ex.PW12/A and there is no   reason   to   believe   that   she   would   falsely   implicate accused persons, leaving behind the real culprits.   It was argued that even PW1, mother of the deceased, PW2 and PW13 i.e. the brothers of deceased Lata have categorically deposed against accused persons.   The presence of PW2 and PW13 at the spot at the time of incident has not been disputed   by the   accused  persons  and even the MLCs of PW2  and  PW13  show that they were injured at the spot when they tried to save their deceased sister.  The guilt of the accused persons also stands proved by the statements of PW7 and PW8, the officials of the PCR Van who had reached   the   spot   and   had   taken   the   deceased   and   the injured to the hospital.   The presence of burnt clothes and broken   bangles   at   the   scene   of   crime   corroborates   the version given by the deceased in her dying declaration.

10.  Ld. Counsel for the complainant has also argued on SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 22 of 60 the lines of Ld. Addl. PP for the State and has submitted that initially the case was registered u/s 498­A/307/34  IPC, but after  death of Lata, Section 302 IPC was added and chargesheet   was   filed   u/s   498­A/302/323/34   IPC.   The charges u/s 498­A/302/34 IPC were framed against all the accused persons and charges u/s 323/34 IPC were framed against accused Vinod Kumar and Govind @ Govinda.   It was argued that deceased was murdered by the accused persons   in   a  pre   planned  manner.        It  was  argued  that there were three reasons for murder, (1) as deceased was unable to give birth to a child, (2) the deceased was unable to bring money demanded by the accused persons and (3) the husband of the deceased wanted to re­marry.   It was argued that both the brothers of deceased had gone to the matrimonial   home   of   deceased   on   receipt   of   telephonic information   on   motorcycle.   It   is   further   argued   that   the deceased made a dying declaration recorded by the IO in which   she   had   named   all   the   accused   persons   and   the same is corroborated by PCR officials.   It was argued that all public witnesses have corroborated each other.       The accused   persons   in   cross   examination   of   the   public SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 23 of 60 witnesses   have   given   contradictory   suggestions.     The presence   of   brothers   of   deceased   at   the   spot   is   also established by PW8 and they had told him that their sister was burnt by the accused persons.  It is further argued that accused Govinda had taken a plea of alibi in his statement u/s   313   Cr.P.C   but   no   witness   in   his   defence   has   been examined by him.     It is also argued that accused   Ram Kishan in his statement u/s 313 Cr.P.C has stated that he reached Delhi after two days of the incident but he has also failed   to   bring   any   credible   witness   to   prove   the   plea   of alibi.  It was argued that all the accused persons are liable to be held guilty for the charges framed against them.

11.  Sh. V.K. Singh, Ld. Counsel for accused Sanjay, Ram Kishan   and   Urmila   has   argued   that   deceased   had   died after  nine years  of marriage and there was no complaint against the accused persons either by the deceased or her brothers/mother   for   dowry   demand.   It   was   argued   that deceased was living separately on the second floor of the house with her husband.

He has further argued that the FSL result shows that SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 24 of 60 no  kerosene oil was found  in the clothes, bangles or hairs of   the   deceased   which   raises   a   doubt   about   the   version given by the deceased that she was burnt by her in­laws after pouring kerosene oil on her.  It was also argued that the dying declaration made by deceased is also unreliable. IO did not summon the SDM/Executive Magistrate or any other   higher   officer   before   recording   her   statement   even though   the   deceased   expired   on  27.08.2009   i.e   after   six days of the incident and there was sufficient time with the IO to get her statement recorded through SDM/Executive Magistrate.   It   was   also   argued   that   in     her   complaint, deceased alleged that she was being beaten since morning but no injury mark were found by the doctor at the time of preparing of MLC.   It was also argued that the deceased made   three   dying   declaration   but   all   of   them   are inconsistent.       As per PW9 and PW11, deceased stated that  “mujhse   galati   ho   gai   mujhe   bacha   lo”  whereas PW7 has testified that the deceased told him  “meri saas ne mujhe jala diya hai,  kahi wo mera samaan na nikal de” but in her complaint/dying declaration Ex. PW12/A she had   mentioned   the   role   of   each   accused   in   burning   her SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 25 of 60 which   amounts   to   material   improvement.       It   was   also argued that the statement Ex. PW12/A was not endorsed by   the   doctor   that   the   deceased   was   fit   for   making   the statement.     It   has   also   been   argued   that   mother   of   the deceased   (PW1)   was   also   present   at   the   time   time   of recording of statement of the deceased and therefore,  the possibility of deceased being tutored by her mother cannot be ruled out.  It is also argued that PW­20 Manisha in her statement has categorically deposed that she had seen the deceased   burning   herself   which   establishes   that   the deceased   had   attempted   to   commit   suicide   to   save   her brothers   who   had   attacked   and   injured   the   accused persons namely Vinod and Sanjay.   It was also argued that the   cause   of   death   in   the   presence   case   was  Toxemia. Ld. Counsel for the accused persons also relied upon the following judgments in support of his  arguments:­

(i). Budh Ram @ Pappu & Ors.  Vs State, 2010 (3) JCC 2343

(ii)  Raja Ram Vs State of NCT of Delhi, 2013 (1) JCC 41

(iii) Rupinder Kaur Vs State & Anr., 2016 [2] JCC 790

(iv) Manmohan Singh Vs The State (G.N.C.T. of Delhi), 2012 [2]  JCC 1350

(v) State Vs Sudesh Gulati & Ors., 2015 (3) LRC 308 (Del) (DB)

(vi) Rehmat Vs State of Haryana, Criminal Appeal No. 178­179  of 1989, date of decision 03.09.1996 of Hon’ble Supreme Court.

SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 26 of 60

(vii) Ahmed Sayeed Vs State, 2014 (1) LRC 378 Del

(viii) Tomaso Bruno Vs State of U.P, 2015 (1) Crimes 105 (SC)

(ix) Tarun @ Gautam Mukherjee VS State of West Bengal, 2000  (4) Crimes 260 (SC)

(x) Prabhash Sharma & Anr.Vs State, 2013(1)C.C.Cases (HC)

86.

12.  Sh.  R.K.  Jain,  Ld. Counsel for accused   Vinod and Govinda   has   also   argued   on   the   lines   of   the   arguments advanced by Sh. V.K. Singh.   He has further argued that the role of the accused persons as per the complaint Ex. PW12/A is that they had caught hold of the deceased when she was burnt by the accused persons.   It was argued that there are material contradictions and improvements in the testimony of PW1, PW2 and PW13. PW1 Asharfi Devi does not talk about the demand of Rs. 4 lacs allegedly made by the   accused   persons.       It   was   argued   that   the   relations between the parties were good till 2008 and there was no complaint filed   by the deceased or her parents regarding the   demand   of   dowry   by   the   accused   persons.     It   was argued   that   the   brothers   of   deceased   also   attended   the marriage of accused Vinod.  The incident took  place in the year   2009   and   deceased   and   her   husband   were   living separately from the other accused persons. It was argued SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 27 of 60 that the allegations of demand of dowry were vague and baseless.       The   prosecution   has   failed   to   explain     the injuries sustained by the accused persons.    There are no allegations   of   dowry   demand   by   the   witnesses   and therefore, no case u/s 498­A IPC was made out against the accused persons. It was also argued that the IO failed to recover any plastic cane or bottle containing the kerosene oil   from   the   spot   and   even   the   FSL   result   rules   out   the presence of kerosene oil in the clothes, bangles and hairs of   deceased   which   creates   a   strong   doubt   on   the prosecution story.    It was argued that the prosecution has failed   to   prove   its   case   beyond   reasonable   doubts   and hence accused persons are entitled for acquittal.   He has also   relied   on   the   following   judgments   in   support   of   his arguments:­

(i) Dandu Lakshmi Reddy Vs State of A.P.1999[2] JCC [SC] 420.

(ii)Narain Singh & Anr. Vs State of Haryana , 2004 [1] JCC 461.

(iii) Ramsai & Ors. Vs State of M.P.1994 CRI.L.J.138

(iv)Smt. Kamla Vs State of Punjab, 1993 CRI. L.J. 68.

(v) Pashupati Nath Shah Vs State, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 8192

13. I   have   heard  ld.  Counsels  for  the accused  persons and   ld.   Addl.   P.P.   for   the   State   and   have   perused   the SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 28 of 60 record carefully including the judgments relied by them.

Charges under Section 498­A/34 IPC

14.  Firstly, I shall deal with the charge u/s 498A/34 IPC against the accused persons.

15.  The   prosecution   has   relied   upon   the   testimonies   of PW1 Smt. Asharfi Devi, PW2 Sh. Bakshi Ram and PW13 Sh.   Kalu   Ram   to   prove   the   charges   u/s   498A/34   IPC against the accused persons.

16. In her statement Ex. PW12/A deceased Lata stated that she got married with accused Sanjay on 25.02.2001 as per   Hindu   rites   and   customs   and   her   father   had   given sufficient dowry at the time of her marriage.   Her in­laws started  harassing her after two years of marriage as she could not conceive.  She further stated that her mother­in­ law Urmila did not allow her husband to take up a job and used to say that she (Lata) should bring money from her house.   Two days prior to the incident, mother­in­law and husband  of deceased told her to bring rupees four lakhs SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 29 of 60 and when she declined, they started harassing and beating her.   She further stated that she was burnt by her in­laws as she was unable to conceive, she could not bring money from   her   parents   and   her   husband   wanted   to   remarry. Apart   from   this,   there   are   no   averments   regarding   any dowry demand in the statement Ex. PW12/A.

17. PW1   Smt.   Asharfi   Devi   is   the   mother   of   deceased Lata   and   she   has   testified   that   her   daughter   was   living peacefully   with   accused   Sanjay   but   after   two   years   of marriage   she   was   harassed   and   beaten   by   the   accused persons as she could not produce any child and she was not provided food in her matrimonial house and she had to take tuitions to maintain herself.  It was also stated that the accused persons were demanding money from her and the said demand was fulfilled by her many times.  At the time of her   marriage,   she   had   given   sufficient   dowry   to   the accused   persons.     PW1   was   cross­examined   by   ld. Addl.P.P.   for the  State and in her cross­examination she admitted that her daughter was being harassed for demand of dowry and she was burnt on 21.08.2009.

SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 30 of 60

18. PW2 Bakshi Ram is brother of deceased Lata and he has testified that after two years of marriage, the accused persons started harassing his sister for demanding dowry. He testified that he spent rupees nine to ten lakhs in her marriage and had also given her 19 Tolas of gold jewellery. Many a times they had gone to the matrimonial home of his sister to solve the matter.   He also testified that his sister had   called   him   up   on   21.08.2009   on   telephone   at 05.00/05.30 pm and informed that she was being harassed and beaten by the accused persons.

19.   PW13 Kalu Ram is another brother of the deceased Lata and he has testified that after two years of marriage of his   sister   Lata,   accused   persons   started   beating   her   on account of dowry demand.  Another cause for beating was that   she   was   not   able   to   bear   the   child.     He   has   also testified   that   on   21.08.2009   his   brother   Bakshi   Ram informed him about the telephonic call received from their sister   and   they   went   to   the   matrimonial   house   of   their sister.   He also testified that their sister informed him that SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 31 of 60 she   was   burnt   by   accused   persons   because   of   non­ payment of money.

20. Apart from the aforesaid family members of deceased Lata, prosecution has also examined some neighbours and a tenant of the accused persons.  However, none of these witnesses   have   admitted   that   there   used   to   be   quarrel between the deceased and the accused persons for dowry demands or any other issue.

21. PW9   Anil   Kumar,  who  is   the  neighbour   of   accused persons, in his cross­examination has testified that during the   period   of   10­12   years   of   their   (accused   persons) residence   in the area and he never heard any quarrel or dispute between the family members of Ram Kishan or with any neighbour.

22. PW11 Sunil, who was tenant of the accused persons, has also deposed in his cross­examination he had not seen or heard any quarrel between Sanjay and Lata.

SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 32 of 60

23. PW19 Nazim, who is neighbour of accused persons and he testified that relations between accused Sanjay and his   wife   were   normal.     When   cross­examined   by   ld. Addl.P.P. for the State, he denied the suggestion that there used to be quarrel at the house of the accused since last many years or he had stated so.

24. PW20   Manisha   was   also   tenant   in   the   house   of accused persons at the time of incident and in her cross­ examination   by   ld.   Addl.P.P.   she   had   denied   the suggestion that there used to be quarrel between deceased Lata and her in­laws.  She also denied the suggestion that accused persons used to harass Lata   and due to same there used to be quarrel in her house often.

25.  Apart from the testimonies of the aforesaid witnesses, there is no other oral or documentary evidence produced by the prosecution to prove the fact that accused persons demanded dowry or that deceased Lata was harassed for non­fulfillment of dowry demands.

SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 33 of 60

26.  From the bare perusal of aforesaid statements, it is clear that the allegations regarding demand of dowry are vague,   unspecific   and   uncertain.     No   specific   date   has been mentioned as to when any specific dowry article was demanded by accused persons from deceased Lata or her family members.  PW1, PW2 and PW13 have admitted that deceased Lata was kept well by the accused persons for two   years   after   her   marriage   but   thereafter   she   was   ill­ treated.   Admittedly,   neither   deceased   Smt.   Lata   nor   her mother   and   brothers   had   filed   any   complaint   whatsoever against   the   accused   persons   prior   to   the   incident   dated 21.08.2009 that she was being ill­treated   or harassed for the   demand   of   dowry.     Although   deceased   Lata   in   her complaint Ex. PW12/A has mentioned about the demand of rupees four lakhs by the accused persons but her mother and  brothers  have  not testified about this demand of the accused   persons   or   the   fact   that   deceased   Lata   was tortured   for   non­fulfillment   of   the   aforesaid   demand   of rupees four lakhs.

27.  The testimonies of PW1, PW2 and PW13 are vague SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 34 of 60 in nature and bereft of specific instances and specific dates on which the accused persons had demanded dowry or the deceased was meted out with cruelty for dowry demands.

Hence, in my considered opinion the prosecution has failed to prove the charges u/s 498A/34 IPC against all the accused persons.

Charges under Section 302/34 IPC

28.    Now   I   shall   deal   with   the   charges   u/s   302/34   IPC against   the   accused   persons.       As   per   the   case   of prosecution,   deceased   Lata   was   burnt   by   her   in­laws   on 21.08.2009.  Accused Vinod and Govinda had caught hold of deceased Lata, accused Urmila had poured kerosene oil on her and accused Sanjay had lighted the matchstick and set her on fire.     Accused Ram Kishan had instigated the other co­accused to burn deceased Lata and he will take care of other things.

On   the   other   hand,   accused   persons   in   their statements recorded u/s 313 Cr.P.C have taken a defence that   some   heated   arguments   had   taken   place   between SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 35 of 60 accused Sanjay and his wife Lata on the issue of keeping tenant on the second floor.  Accused Sanjay was opposing the same and Lata had informed her brothers who came along   with   some   other   persons   in drunken   condition   and gave beatings to the accused Sanjay and his brothers.  On seeing that Sanjay and his brothers had sustained serious injuries,   Lata   immolated   herself   to   save   her   brothers. Accused   Ram   Kishan   and   Govinda   took   a   defence   that they were not present at the spot when the incident took place.

29.    On the perusal of the record, it transpires that there is   no   eye   witness   to   establish   the   charge   u/s   302   r/w Section   34   IPC     against   accused   persons.     Case   of   the prosecution as regards this charge is primarily based upon the purported dying declaration of deceased Lata made in the presence of PW12 SI (Retd.) Maha Singh.  It has been argued   that   the   dying   declaration   of   deceased   clearly establishes the charge of murder against accused persons. Deceased had specifically   given the reasons   as well as the roles of accused persons in burning her. Ld. Defence SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 36 of 60 counsels,   on   the   other   hand   have   strongly   assailed   the dying   declaration   and   have   submitted   that   the   same   is unreliable and cannot be acted upon.  It was argued by the counsels   for   the   accused   persons   that   there   are   three versions given by the deceased as under:­   Firstly, when the deceased came down from the second floor, she stated  that “mujhse galati ho gai mujhe bacha lo” in the presence of PW9 and PW11.

Secondly, when deceased was being taken to hospital in the   PCR  Van,   she   told PW7  “meri  saas  ne mujhe jala diya hai,  kahi wo mera samaan na nikal de”.     Thirdly, the complaint/dying declaration Ex. PW12/A wherein   she   has   stated   that   she   was   caught   hold   by accused Govinda and Vinod and her mother­in­law Urmila poured kerosene oil on her and her husband set her on fire. Her father in law Ram Kishan instigated the co­accused to burn her.

It   was   argued   that   the   aforesaid   three   dying declaration would show that deceased had made material improvements in each of her subsequent dying declaration which   make   them   untruthful   and   unreliable.       From   the SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 37 of 60 perusal of first dying declaration, an impression is gathered that   deceased   had   burnt   herself   whereas   in   the   second dying declaration she blamed her mother­in­law Urmila for burning   her   and   in   the   third   dying   declaration   she implicated   all   the   family   members   including   accused Govind and Ram Kishan who were not even present at the spot at the time of incident.

30.  It is   well settled that dying declaration can form the sole basis for conviction.   But at the same time due care and caution must be exercised in considering what weight is   to   be   given   to   dying   declaration,   in  as   much  as   there could   be  any  number of circumstances  which may affect the truth.    The courts have always to be on guard to see that   the   dying   declaration   was   not   the   result   of   either tutoring or prompting or a product of imagination. It is the duty of the court  to find that the deceased was in a fit state of mind to make the dying declaration.

It is not difficult to appreciate why dying declaration was admitted in evidence at a trial for murder, as a striking exception to the general rule against hearsay.    Nobody, it SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 38 of 60 has been said, would wish to die with a lie on his lips.   A dying declaration has got sanctity and a person giving the dying  declaration   will be last  to give untruth as he stand before his creator.

The   Court   has   to   consider   each   case   in   the circumstances of the case.   What value should be given to a dying declaration is left to Court, which on assessment of the   circumstances   and   the   evidence   and   material   on record,   will   come   to   a   conclusion   about   the   truth   or otherwise   of   the   version,   be  it   written,   oral,   verbal   or   by signed or by gesture.

31.  In  Paniben Vs State of Gujarat, (1992) 2 SCC 474 the Hon’ble Supreme Court summarized the legal principles governing dying declaration as under:

(i) There is neither rule of law nor of prudence that dying declaration   cannot   be   acted   upon   without   corroboration. (See Munnu Raja Vs State of M.P., (1976) 3 SCC 104)

(ii) If the Court is satisfied that the dying declaration is true and   voluntary   it   can   base   conviction   on   it,   without corroboration.     (See State of U.P. V. Ram Sagar Yadav, SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 39 of 60 (1985) 1 SCC 552 and Ramawati Devi V. State of Bihar, (1983) 1 SCC 211).

(iii)   The   Court   has   to   scrutinise   the   dying   declaration carefully   and   must   ensure  that   the  declaration  is   not  the result of tutoring, prompting or imagination.  The deceased had an opportunity to observe and identify the assailants and   was   in   a   fit   state   to  make   the  declaration.    (See  K. Ramachandra Reddy V. Punjab Prosecutor, (1976) 3 SCC

618).

(iv) Where dying declaration is suspicious, it should not be acted upon without corroborative evidence.  (See Rasheed Beg v. State of M.P. , (1974) 4 SCC 264).

(v) Where the deceased was unconscious and could never make any dying declaration the evidence with regard to it is to  be  rejected.     (See Kake Singh v.  State  of M.P.,  1981 Supp SCC 25).

(vi) A dying declaration which suffers from infirmity cannot form the basis of conviction. (See Ram Manorath v. State of U.P., (1981) 2 SCC 654).

(vii) Merely because a dying declaration does contain the details as to the occurrence, it is not to be rejected.  (See SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 40 of 60 State   of   Maharashtra   v.   Krishnamurti   Laxmipati   Naidu, 1980 Supp SCC 455).

(viii) Equally, merely because it is a brief statement, it is not to   be   discarded.     On   the   contrary,   the   shortness   of   the statement itself guarantees truth.   ( See Surajdeo Ojha v. State of Bihar, 1980 Supp SCC 769).

(ix)Normally   the   court   in   order   to   satisfy   whether   the deceased was in a fit mental condition to make the dying declaration took up to the medical opinion.  But where the eyewitness   has   said   that   the   deceased   was   in   a   fit   and conscious state to make the dying declaration, the medical opinion cannot prevail. (See Nanhau Ram v. State of M.P., 1988 Supp SCC 152).

(x) Where the prosecution version differs from the version as   given   in   the   dying   declaration,   the   said   declaration cannot   be   acted   upon.     (See   State   of   U.P.   v.   Madan Mohan, (1989) 3 SCC 390).

(xi) Where there are more than one statement in the nature of   dying   declaration,   one   first   in   point   of   time   must   be preferred.     Of   course,   if the plurality   of dying declaration could   be   trustworthy   and  reliable,   it   has   to   be  accepted.

SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 41 of 60 (See Mohanlal Gangaram Gehani v. State of Maharashtra, (1982) 1 SCC 700).

32.    In  Tapinder Singh   Vs State of Punjab [1971 (1) SCR   599]  this   Court,   by   following   an   earlier   decision   in Kushal   Rao   Vs   State   of   Bombay   (1958)   SCR   582)   has reminded   the   Courts   that   a   dying   declaration   should   be subjected   to   very   close   scrutiny.     Following  observations were also made by this Court:

“The dying declaration is a statement by a person as to the cause of his death or as to any of   the   circumstances  of  the  transaction   which resulted   in  his death and it becomes relevant under Sec. 32 (1) of the Indian Evidence Act in a   case   in   which   the   cause   of   that   person’s death comes into question.  It is true tht a dying declaration is not a deposition in Court and it is neither made on   oath nor in the presence of the   accused.     It   is,   therefore,   not     tested   by cross­examination   on   behalf   of   the   accused.

But a dying declaration is admitted in evidence SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 42 of 60 by   way   of   an   exception   to   the   general   rule against   the   admissibility   of   hearsay   evidence, on the principle of necessity.  The weak points of   a   dying   declaration   just   mentioned   merely serve to put the Court on its guard while testing its   reliability,   imposing   on   it   on   obligation   to closely   scrutinise   all   the   relevant   attendant circumstances.”

33.  As noted above, in the present case, the deceased had given three versions of the incident.   The first version given   by   her   leads   to   an   inference   that   she     had   burnt herself whereas the second and third versions given by her raises a contrary inference that she was burnt by her in­ laws.   In   the   second   version,   she   has   only   named   her mother in law as a culprit whereas in the third version she has   implicated   all   the   accused   persons.   Thus,   there   are material improvements in the three versions given by her which make her dying declarations suspectful.  Hence, the same requires close scrutiny.

SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 43 of 60

34.   Perusal   of   the   events   shows   that   apart   from   what she had stated before PW7 ASI Harbir Singh and PW9 Anil Kumar   and   PW­11   Sunil,   deceased   Lata   had   the opportunity to inform the doctors about the reasons of her burn injuries in SDN Hospital well as GTB Hospital but she did not inform the doctors about it. PW7  ASI Harbir Singh in his cross examination has testified that the deceased did not   inform   the   doctors   at   SDN   Hospital   or   GTB   Hospital regarding the incident as to how she had received the burn injuries.     The   statement   of   PW7   stands   corroborated   by MLC of deceased Lata Ex. PW5/A which does not  disclose the   names   of   culprits.     Non   disclosure   of   the   names   of culprits/offenders   at   the   first   available   opportunity   by deceased Lata raises serious doubt that dying declaration Ex.PW12/A   implicating   all   accused   might   be   a   result   of tutoring or prompting.

35.   Further, PW12 SI Maha  Singh has not recorded the dying   declaration     in    accordance  with   the  procedure  for recording dying  declaration as provided under Delhi High Court Rules.     Delhi High Court Rules, Volume III Chapter SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 44 of 60 13 A deals with the procedure recording dying declaration. Rule 3 of this chapter provides that before proceedings to record   the   dying   declaration   the   Magistrate   shall   satisfy himself   that   the   declarant   is   in   fit   condition   to   make   a statement   and   if   the   medical   officer   is   present   or   his presence   can   be   secured   without   loss   of   time,   his certificate as to the fitness of declarant to make statement should be obtained.

36.        In the present case, PW12  SI Maha Singh did not obtain any certificate or  endorsement from the doctor that deceased was fit for giving statement when her statement was   being   recorded.       In   his   testimony   PW12   SI   Maha Singh has deposed that on the MLC of deceased Lata (Ex. PW5/A) doctor had opined under observation, burns 55% and fit for statement.     However, the IO did not bother to take   the   endorsement   of   the   doctor   on   the   dying declaration   Ex.   PW12/A,   even though the statement  was recorded in the emergency ward of the hospital  and doctor was  available   outside  the emergency  ward nor he called the   doctor   at   the   time  of   recording   of  her   statement.     In SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 45 of 60 such circumstances, the dying declaration Ex. PW12/A is liable   to   be   discarded   in   view   of   the   judgment   in  Mohar Singh and Ors. Etc. Vs State of Punjab: 1981 CriLJ 998 where   the   dying   declaration   was   recorded   by   the investigating   officer.     The Court  excluded   the same  from consideration   for   failure  of the  investigation   officer   to get the   dying   declaration   attested   by   the   doctor   who   was alleged   to   be   present   in   the   hospital   or   any   one   else present.

37.   PW12     SI   Maha   Singh   also   testified   that   he   had recorded the statement of deceased as per the directions of   Addl.   SHO   and   in   his   presence   but   even   the endorsement   of   Addl.   SHO   Inspector   Rohtash   was   not obtained   on   the   dying   declaration.     No   explanation   has been   given   as   to   why   endorsement   of   Senior   officer   i.e Addl. SHO was not obtained when dying declaration was recorded   in   his   presence   which   again     creates   doubt regarding   the   manner   in   which   dying   declaration Ex.PW12/A was recorded.

SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 46 of 60

38.   It   is   further   important     to   note   that   deceased   was admitted in the hospital on the night of 21.08.2009 and she expired on 27.08.2009 i.e after about six days.  There was sufficient   time   and   opportunity   with   PW12   to   get   her statement recorded by SDM or Judicial Magistrate but  no steps   were   taken   to   summon   the   SDM   or   Judicial Magistrate   for   recording  statement   of  the  deceased.       In fact   PW12   did   not   visit   the   hospital   after   21.08.2009   till 26.08.2009   as   is   revealed   from   his   cross   examination. There is no satisfactory explanation given by PW12 as to why   he   did   not   make   any   efforts   to   summon   SDM   or Judicial Magistrate for recording of the dying declaration of the deceased.

39.    The   version   given   by   the   deceased   in   her   dying declaration Ex. PW12/A is also not supported by medical and   forensic   evidence   which   also   makes   the   dying declaration   doubtful.   As   per   the   dying   declaration, deceased was set on fire after pouring kerosene oil on her. However, the MLC Ex.PW5/A does not mention about the smell   of   kerosene   oil   from   her   body   or   scalp.   The SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 47 of 60 postmortem report also does not mention about the smell of kerosene oil.  The burnt pieces of clothes, broken pieces of   bangles,   hairs   of   deceased   were   sent   to   FSL   for detection   of   the   presence   of   kerosene   oil.   However,   the FSL report Ex.C­3 shows that on chemical, TLC and GC examination,   petrol,   kerosene   and   diesel   could   not   be detected in the aforesaid articles.     This raises a serious doubt   about   the   truthfulness   of   dying   declaration   Ex. PW12/A.   The IO could not recover  plastic cane or bottle allegedly   used   in   the   incident   from   the   spot   which   also raises   a   big   question   mark   on   the   entire   story   of prosecution.

40.  Apart  from the above, perusal of testimony of PW2 and   PW13   would   show   that   they   have   deposed   falsely regarding   the   information   given   by   deceased   Lata   about involvement   of   accused   persons   in   the   incident.       PW2 Bakshi Ram (brother of the deceased) has deposed in his examination in chief that   while they were being taken to the   hospital,   her   sister   had   informed   that   she   had   been burnt   by   accused   persons.       She   informed   him   that   her SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 48 of 60 mother in law had poured kerosene oil upon her through cane, Sanjay lit the matchstick, Vinod and Govind had held her hands, Ram Kishan father in law instigated all of them. PW13   Kalu   Ram   (second   brother   of   the   deceased)   has also   deposed   on   similar   lines.   However,   their   testimony stands  belied from the evidence of PW7 ASI Harbir  Singh and   PW8   Retd.   ASI   Raj   Kumar,   both   of   whom   have deposed that deceased Lata was taken to hospital in PCR Van    R­17 and   PW13 Kalu Ram and PW2 Bakshi Ram were taken to the hospital in PCR Van R­15. Thus, there was no opportunity or occasion available with the deceased Lata   to   inform   her   brothers   about   the   role   of   accused persons in burning her. Hence, the testimonies of PW2 and PW13   on   this   aspect   has   to   be   discarded   as   false   and unreliable.

41.   The   dying   declaration   Ex.   PW12/A   also   becomes doubtful as deceased has implicated accused Ram Kishan and Govinda in her statement whereas from the perusal of evidence   on   record,   the   presence   of   Ram   Kishan   and Govinda   at   the   spot   has   not   been   established   beyond SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 49 of 60 reasonable  doubts.    Accused Ram Kishan has examined DW1 Pappu in support of his plea alibi.   DW1 Pappu has categorically   deposed   that   on   21.08.2009   accused   Ram Kishan was present in village Khera Pilakhua, Dist. Hapur for his agricultural purposes and he received a call at about 08.30  PM  from  Delhi regarding the incident and he went back   to   Delhi   next   morning   as   there   was   no   transport facility   available   during   the   night   hours.     He   was   cross examined   by   Ld.   Addl.   PP   for   State   at   length   but   his testimony could not be discredited and thus same has to be accepted as correct.

Similarly, accused Govinda in his statement u/s 313Cr.P.C has taken a plea that he was not present at home at the time of incident.  At about 08.00 PM when he returned to his house, he came to know that his brothers Sanjay and Vinod   were   taken   to   hospital   by   the   police.       Although, accused Govinda had not led any evidence in his defence but perusal of the statements of PW2 and PW13 recorded by the IO under Section 161 Cr.P.C show that they have not mentioned about the presence of accused Govinda at the spot at the time of incident nor any role was attributed SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 50 of 60 by them to Govinda.   Similarly, all other public witnesses examined   by   the   IO   have   not   mentioned   about   the presence   of   accused   Govinda   at   the   spot   either   in   their statements   under   Section   161     Cr.P.C   or   in   their depositions   before   the   court.       PW2   and   PW13     have mentioned about the presence of accused Govinda at the spot   at   the   time   of   incident   but   the   said   portion   of   their testimonies   is   liable   to   be   rejected   being   material improvements.     Thus,   the   false   implication   of   accused Govinda   and   Ram   Kishan   (even   when   they   were   not present at the spot)   in the dying declaration Ex.PW12/A makes the same untrustworthy and unreliable.

42.   Apart from this, the testimony of PW20 Manisha who was tenant in the house of the accused persons at the time of incident  assumes significance.   She has deposed that on hearing the noise when she came under the jaal, she saw   that   Lata   was   standing   on   the   second   floor   of   the house from the jaal and was visible from there and she saw Lata   putting   herself   on   fire   by   lighting   the   matchstick. Even though she has been cross examined by Ld. Addl. PP SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 51 of 60 on   the   ground   that   she   was   resiling   from   her   previous statement and suggestions were given that she had made improvements   in   her   statement   regarding   the   burning   of Lata to save the accused persons but she denied all such suggestions. She also denied the suggestion that she did not   see   how   the   incident   took   place.     Ld.   Addl.   PP   has argued that this witness is not reliable and her testimony should be discarded.

          However,   from   the   evidence   of   this   witness,   it   is undisputedly   established     that   she   was   a   tenant   on   the ground floor in the house of the accused persons and she was present at her house at the time of incident.     Hence, she was a natural witness and it was possible for her to see the   incident   from   the   ground   floor   through   the   jaal.       In order to ascertain whether a person standing on the   jaal on the second floor is visible from the ground floor or not, a spot   inspection   was   conducted   by   the   undersigned   vide Memorandum of Proceedings dated 06.06.2018 and it was found that a person standing on the jaal was visible from the   ground   floor.     Hence,   it   is   quite   possible   that   PW20 Manisha had seen the incident from under the jaal and her SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 52 of 60 testimony   cannot   be     disregarded   as   irrelevant   on   this aspect.       Therefore,   testimony   of   PW20   also   creates   a doubt   about   the   correctness   of   the   dying   declaration   Ex. PW12/A.

43.  Thus, in view of the aforesaid reasons, I do not deem it   safe   and   proper   to   rely   upon   any   of   the   three   dying declarations of deceased Lata and more particularly dying declaration Ex.PW12/A as they suffer from infirmities and contradiction   and   there   is   no   corroborative     evidence   to substantiate   the   same.     The   dying   declarations     are accordingly rejected and are discarded.          Apart from the above dying declaration of deceased Lata,   the   prosecution   has   not   be   able   to   produce   any cogent   and   reliable   evidence   to   prove   the   guilt   of   the accused   persons   beyond   reasonable   doubts.   Hence,   the accused persons are entitled for acquittal.

44.  In   view   of   the   aforesaid   discussions,   I   am   of   the considered   opinion   that   the   prosecution   has   failed   to established charges under Sections 302/34 IPC against the SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 53 of 60 accused persons.

Charges under Section 323/34 IPC

45.        Lastly  I  shall deal with the charges under Section 323/34   IPC   framed   against   accused   Vinod   Kumar   and Govind @ Govinda.   The case of prosecution in this regard is   that   when   PW2   Bakshi   Ram   and   PW13   Kalu   Ram reached matrimonial home of deceased Lata, they saw her sister in flames and they rushed upstairs to save her. They were   stopped   and   assaulted   by   accused   persons   as   a result of which they suffered injuries.  Accused persons on the other hand have taken a defence that PW12 and PW13 along   with   4­5   persons   came   to   their   house   in   drunken condition  and armed with dandas and assaulted accused persons and caused injuries to them.

46.      At   the   outset   it   may   be   mentioned   that   the prosecution   has  relied  upon the   testimonies   of  PW2  and PW13 to prove the charge against accused persons. The presence   of   accused   persons   on  the  spot   at  the  time  of SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 54 of 60 incident   is   not   in   dispute   and   injuries   suffered   by   the accused persons have  been established by their MLCs Ex. PW21/A and Ex. PW21/B respectively.

47. Ld. Counsels for the accused have argued that testimonies of PW2 and PW13 does not inspire confidence and there are material improvements and contradictions in their testimonies which make them unreliable.

48. PW2   Bakshi   Ram   in   his   examination­in­chief   has testified that on   receipt of information from his sister, he alongwith his brother Kalu Ram rushed to her matrimonial home and when they were trying to go upstairs to save her, accused Sanjay, Vinod Govinda and Urmila did not allow them to go upstairs and they were beaten by them.  He has further deposed that Govinda and Vinod picked up baseball bats   and  iron   saria  (iron rod)  given  by Urmila to Sanjay, with which they were beaten.  He sustained injuries on his head, hands and body and his brother sustained injuries all over   his   body  and     also   on  eyes   and  they   were  brutally beaten by the accused persons and thereafter he made a SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 55 of 60 call to 100 number and was taken to the hospital.   In his cross­examination   by   the   accused   persons,   PW2   was confronted with his statement u/s 161 Cr.P.C. Ex. PW2/DA where   he   had   not   mentioned     the   names   of   accused Govinda and his mother Urmila.   He was also confronted with   the   portion   of   his   statement   Ex.   PW2/DA   where baseball bat and saria were not mentioned.   He was also confronted with the   portion of   statement u/s 161 Cr.P.C. Ex.  PW2/DA   where it was not mentioned that  blood was oozing out from his injuries.   In his cross­examination he admitted that accused Sanjay and Vinod were also taken to the SDN hospital in the same PCR.   He also testified that his clothes were stained with blood but the police did not seize them.  He denied that he and his brother were under the influence of alcohol when they reached the spot and he testified that doctor had given wrong report in this regard in the MLC.  He also testified that he had informed the doctor as to who had assaulted him.

PW13   Kalu   Ram   in   his   examination­in­chief   has testified on the similar lines and has stated that when they rushed   to   save   their   sister,   they   were   no   allowed   to   go SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 56 of 60 upstairs and were beaten up by Sanjay and Vinod with the iron saria given by accused Urmila to Sanjay.   He further testified that his brother sustained head injuries and blood started   oozing   out   from   his   head   and   PW13   suffered injuries   on   his   face.     In   his   cross­examination   by   the counsels for the accused persons PW13 has testified that he does not know if Sanjay and Vinod were also admitted in the same hospital with them.  He testified that he did not tell the  doctor as to who had caused injuries to him and volunteered that doctor had not asked this fact.

49. From   the   bare  perusal   of   testimonies   of  above   two witnesses,   it   is   apparent   that   there   are   material contradictions and improvements in their testimony which make them unreliable and unsafe to convict the accused persons.   Firstly, in their statements u/s 161 Cr.P.C. none of these witnesses have mentioned about the presence of accused   Govinda   and   Urmila   but   in   their   examination­in­ chief both of them have implicated accused Govinda and Urmila.   Secondly, the statements u/s 161 Cr.P.C. of the two   witnesses   do   not   mention   that   the   accused   persons SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 57 of 60 had   beaten   them   with   baseball   bats   and   iron   sarias, whereas   in   their   deposition   before   the   court   they   have improved on their version and have testified that they were beaten by baseball bats and iron sarias.   As noted in the foregoing   paras,   none   of   the   public   witnesses   have mentioned about the presence of accused Govinda at the spot   at   the   time   of   incident   in   their   statements   u/s   161 Cr.P.C. as well as in their depositions before the court.  It is also   surprising   that   PW13   is   unable   to   tell   that   accused Sanjay and Vinod were also taken to the same hospital in the same  PCR,  whereas PW2 Bakshi Ram has admitted that   the   fact   that   both   accused   Vinod   and   Sanjay   were taken in the same PCR to SDN Hospital alongwith these persons.     Hence,   I   find   that   the   testimony   of   these witnesses   cannot   be   safely   relied   upon   in   view   of   the aforesaid material contradictions and improvements.

50.  At this juncture, it would also be relevant to mention about the testimony of PW20 Manisha, who was present at the  spot   at   the  time of incident and has testified that  on 21.08.2009 at about 06.30 pm brothers of Lata (deceased) SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 58 of 60 alongwith   3­4   persons   came   there,   who   were   under   the influence of liquor and were having dandas in their hands and threatened the family members of the accused persons and had gone upstairs and after about 5 minutes accused Sanjay and Vinod came outside and said brothers of Lata and 3­4 persons started beating Sanjay and Vinod.   The deposition   of   this   witness   presents   PW2   and   PW13   as assailants   rather   than   victims   of   assault,   which   is contradictory   to   the   story   of the  prosecution  and  casts   a serious doubt on it.

51. Apart   from   the   above,   it   is   also   admitted   fact   that accused Sanjay and Vinod had also suffered injuries on the spot.  However, the prosecution failed to explain as to how the two accused persons sustained injuries if they were the assailants.  This discrepancy in the story of the prosecution also makes it unreliable.

52. In   view   of   the   aforesaid   discussion,   I   am   of   the considered opinion that the prosecution has failed to prove charges   u/s   323/34   IPC   against   the   accused   persons SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 59 of 60 beyond reasonable doubts.

FINAL CONCLUSION :

53. After taking into consideration the entire facts of the   case   and   after   carefully   scrutinizing   the   evidence available   on   record,   I   am   of   the   considered   opinion   that prosecution   has   failed   to   prove   the   charges   u/s 498A/302/323/34  IPC against the accused persons.   The accused   persons   are   accordingly   acquitted   from   the aforesaid charges.  The accused persons shall file their bail bonds u/s 437(A) Cr.P.C. within a week from today.   The current bail bonds of the accused persons are extended till then.

File   be   consigned   to   Record   Room   after   due Digitally signed by ANIL compliance. ANIL KUMAR SISODIA Location: Karkardooma KUMAR Courts, East District, Delhi SISODIA Date: 2018.07.11 14:36:11 +0530 Announced in the open court (ANIL KUMAR SISODIA)   th On 10  day of July, 2018                     ASJ­04, EAST DISTT.

  KKD COURTS/DELHI SC NO. 444/2016 State Vs. Sanjay Kumar & Ors.   Page 60 of 60

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