Delhi District Court
State vs (1) Parmod on 2 February, 2018
                     IN THE COURT OF SH. SANJAY BANSAL:
                   SPECIAL JUDGE (NDPS) / ASJ / NORTH EAST:
                  KARKARDOOMA COURTS: SHAHDARA: DELHI.

Sessions Case No. 44513/2015
CNR No. DLNE01-000191-2013


STATE        Versus        (1)     PARMOD
                                   S/o Bhrahma Shankar
                                   R/o H.No. G-377, Gali No. 18,
                                   West Karawal Nagar, Delhi.
                                   P/A: Vill. Bhadur Pur, PS Naya Bangs,
                                   Distt. Etah, UP.


                           (2)     GOVIND @ UMA SHANKAR
                                   S/o Brahma Shankar
                                   R/o H.No. G-377, Gali No. 18,
                                   West Karawal Nagar, Delhi.
                                   P/A: Vill. Bhadur Pur, PS Naya Bangs,
                                   Distt. Etah, UP.


                           (3)     BRAHMA SHANKAR
                                   S/o Rameshwar Dayal
                                   R/o H.No. G-377, Gali No. 18,
                                   West Karawal Nagar, Delhi.
                                   P/A: Vill. Bhadur Pur, PS Naya Bangs,
                                   Distt. Etah, UP.

                           (4)     SMT. SIYA RANI
                                   W/o Brahma Shankar
                                   R/o H.No. G-377, Gali No. 18,
                                   West Karawal Nagar, Delhi.
                                   P/A: Vill. Bhadur Pur, PS Naya Bangs,
                                   Distt. Etah, UP.



FIR No.      :        388/2012
PS.          :        Karawal Nagar
U/s.         :        498A/304B/34 IPC

Chargesheet Filed On       :       22.01.2013
Date Of Allocation         :       02.02.2013

SC No. 44513/15                  State Vs. Parmod & Ors.         Page 1 of 27
 Judgment Reserved On :            02.02.2018
Judgment Announced On :           02.02.2018


JUDGMENT:

1. One Smt. Vandana was married with Parmod in the year 2008. She had been intermittently staying at her parents house. Lastly she went to her matrimonial house on 23.10.2012. On that day at about afternoon time, she received burn injuries in the matrimonial house. Information about the incident was given to Control Room through mobile phone no. 9871312791 and it was informed that one lady had put fire to herself at H. No. 377, Gali No. 18, G-Block, West Karawal Nagar. Information was forwarded to the concerned police station. ASI Yudhvir Singh alongwith Ct. Rakesh reached the spot. He found that Vandana was lying dead in burnt condition in the kitchen on the ground floor. Burnt clothes, hairs, plastic bottle containing kerosene oil and matchbox was also found. ASI Yudhvir Singh informed Crime Team as well as Executive Magistrate. After inspection by the Crime Team, exhibits were lifted. Dead body of Vandana was sent to mortuary. Father of deceased Vandana namely Satya Prakash was produced before the Executive Magistrate who recorded his statement. In the said statement, Satya Prakash alleged that Vandana used to complain that her husband, parents-in-law and brother-in-law (devar) used to harass her and did not allow her to talk to her family members. He told that after marriage, Vandana did not stay for more than 1 – 2 months at a stretch at the matrimonial house and used to come to the parental house. He stated that for around six months, his daughter was at his house and had gone to matrimonial house only on that day. He further told that information about death of Vandana was not given by her in- laws but by someone else. He expressed suspicion on Pramod (husband), Brahma Shankar (father-in-law), Siya Rani (mother-in-law) and Govind @ Uma Shankar (devar). On these allegations, FIR was registered u/s 498-A/304-B/34 IPC.

2. During investigation, accused Pramod and Uma Shankar were arrested. Their parents were absconding. Postmortem was got conducted. All other steps were taken. After completion of investigation, chargesheet was filed u/s 498A/304B/34 IPC against Pramod and Uma Shankar. Proceedings u/s 82 CrPC were initiated against Brahama Shankar and Siya Rani.

3. After compliance of section 207 CrPC, learned MM committed the case to Court of Sessions as offence u/s 304-B IPC was exclusively triable by it.

4. Both the parents later on surrendered and were arrested. Supplementary chargesheet was filed against them. Supplementary chargesheet was also committed to the Sessions Court.

5. Vide order dated 16.07.2013, my learned Predecessor framed charge for offences u/s 498-A/34 and 304-B/34 IPC and in the alternative u/s 302/34 IPC against all the accused persons. All the accused persons pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

6. In order to prove the charges, the prosecution examined around 15 witnesses.

7. Statements of accused persons u/s 313 CrPC were recorded. Accused persons did not examine any witness in their defence.

8. Evidence led by the prosecution may now be noted.

MATERIAL WITNESSES

9. PW-4 Sh. Satya Prakash is father of the deceased. He deposed that his daughter Vandana was married with accused Pramod in the year 2008. He stated that after marriage she went to her matrimonial house at Karawal Nagar, Delhi. He deposed that Vandana visited his house first time after marriage after about three months. He stated that Vandana told him that she was being harassed by her in-laws and husband. Vandana told him that husband Pramod, father-in-law Brahma Shanker, mother-in-law Siya Rani and brother-in-law Govind Kumar were harassing her and did not allow her to talk with her parents. PW-4 stated that Vandana was turned out from her matrimonial house by accused persons on many occasions after which she used to come to his house.

10. PW-4 further deposed that Vandana was residing with them for about 6 months prior to her death. He stated that on 23.10.2012, accused Pramod took Vandana to the matrimonial house. Accused Pramod had assured them to take good care of Vandana. He stated that accused persons did not inform them regarding death of Vandana. Rather, his co-brother namely Shyam Babu informed him about the same on 23.10.2012. Shyam Babu had asked PW- 4 to reach the Office of SDM, Shastri Park. PW-4 went there and SDM recorded his statement which is Ex.PW3/A. He deposed that police arrested accused Pramod and Govind vide arrest memos Ex.PW4/A and B. Their personal search was conducted vide memos Ex.PW4/C and D. He deposed about identifying dead body of Vandana vide Ex.PW3/E and received dead body after postmortem vide memo Ex.PW4/E. He also stated about handing over lagan patrika of marriage of Vandana which was seized by the IO vide memo Ex.PW4/F. The lagan patrika is Ex.PW4/G. PW-4 stated in the witness box that he was receiving threats from some MLA namely Joginder and Rameshwar on behalf of accused persons to compromise the matter or to face dire consequences.

11. In cross-examination, it has come that PW-4 was not present when accused Pramod had come to village to take back Vandana. He did not know when accused Pramod had gone to his village to bring back Vandana. It has come that PW-4 did not lodge any complaint with the police or any other authority about harassment caused to Vandana prior to 23.10.2012.

12. PW-4 did not know name of daughter of Vandana nor her date of birth. He could not confirm whether name of the said child was Laxmi or not. He denied the suggestion that it were they who used not to send Vandana to her matrimonial house or that they used to pressurize Pramod to live separately from his family. He denied that marriage of Vandana was performed by his jija as he himself was suffering from mental illness. It has also come that Vandana was more educated than accused Pramod. He denied the suggestion that marriage of Vandana was performed against her wishes or that Vandana used to keep herself away from matrimonial house due to this reason. He denied that Vandana was forcibly sent by his wife on 21.10.2012 against her wishes. He denied that there was no harassment by the accused persons. He also stated that he had not lodged any complaint about receiving threats from any corner.

13. PW-5 Smt. Kusum Devi is mother of the deceased. She also deposed that Vandana visited her parents house after about one month of marriage and stayed with them for about two months. She deposed that Vandana told her that her in-laws and her husband had ill-treated her. Vandana told PW-5 about illegal demand of dowry as her husband was not earning anything. PW-5 deposed that they used to give money to accused persons so that they take good care of Vandana. Accused persons used to keep Vandana well for few days but again they used to start harassing her and dropped her at her parents house. PW-5 deposed about giving money of Rs.10,000/-, Rs.5,000/- and sometimes Rs.1,000/- to accused Pramod without knowledge of Vandana. PW-5 deposed that Vandana also told her that accused persons used to beat her. PW-5 stated that Vandand requested her not to send her to matrimonial house or else she could be killed. She stated that accused Pramod had taken back Vandana to matrimonial house. She deposed that Vandana was not willing to go with Pramod as she was apprehending fear to her life from accused. She stated that Vandana was taken forcibly by accused Pramod.

14. She further deposed that Vandana informed her telephonically that she was again being harassed by accused persons for dowry demands. PW-5 fulfilled demands of the accused persons. She also stated that prior to her death, Vandana stayed in their house with her newly born daughter for about 2 – 3 months. She deposed about receiving information about death of Vandana on the next day of her reaching the matrimonial house. She deposed that Vandana was killed by the accused persons. They also reached Delhi and met the SEM who recorded her statement which is Ex.PW3/B.

15. In cross-examination, she was confronted with many facts stated by her in examination-in-chief but were not there in her previous statements. She denied that she had deliberately made improvement in her statement in the court. She denied that Vandana was married with Pramod against her wishes. PW-5 says that marriage of Vandana was performed by her nandoi as father of Vandana was mentally disturbed during those days. It has come that there was no demand of dowry at the time of marriage. She also has not lodged any complaint against demand of dowry or against cruelty. INVESTIGATION WITNESSES

16. PW-2 is SI U. Balashankaran. He was I/C Crime Team, North- East District. He had visited the site on 23.10.2012 after receiving call at about 2:00 pm. They had gone to H.No. 377, Gali No. 18, G-Block, West Karawal Nagar, Delhi. Ct. Sanjay (PW-8) was with him. He deposed about conducting inspection of scene of crime. He prepared report Ex.PW2/A.

17. In cross-examination, It has come that no chance prints could be retrieved from the plastic bottle which was found at the spot.

18. PW-8 Ct. Sanjay Kumar had taken 15 photographs of the spot from different angles. The photographs are Ex.PW8/P-1 to Ex.PW8/P-15 and negatives are Ex.PW8/P-16 to Ex.PW8/P-30.

19. PW-13 is Ct. Rakesh Kumar. He had taken copy of FIR and original rukka to the spot and gave the same to IO / Insp. Lekh Raj. He witnessed arrest accused Pramod and Uma Shankar @ Govind.

20. PW-14 ASI Yudhvir Singh and Ct. Rajesh (PW-12) were the first police officials who had reached the spot after receiving DD No. 18A. At the ground floor of the house, they found door of the kitchen was closed but not bolted from inside and after opening the same, dead body of a lady was found there in burnt condition. Water was also lying spread in the kitchen. PW-14 informed the SHO and Control Room. He also requested for sending Crime Team. After arrival of Crime Team, inspection was conducted. Photographs were taken. He deposed about collecting burnt clothes, burnt hairs, one matchbox make Patang having some sticks one one plastic bottle having some kerosene oil. He prepared pullanda with seal of YS and seized the same vide memo Ex.PW12/A. He deposed about requesting SDM to reach the spot but he was busy. Thereafter he requested Executive Magistrate but he was also busy. However, the Executive Magistrate had instructed him to bring complainant to his office. He sent up the dead body to mortuary. He produced complainant Satya Prakash before the Executive Magistrate at about 5:00 pm who recorded his statement. He deposed about reaching police station at about 7:00 pm and handed over the statement to Insp. Lekh Raj, SHO. He deposed that SHO made endorsement and gave the same to Duty Officer for registration of FIR.

21. He deposed that he alongwith IO Insp. Lekh Raj and complainant Satya Prakash reached the spot. Husband of the deceased namely Pramod Kumar and brother-in-law Govind met them. Both were arrested. He deposed that during his visit of the spot on 23.10.2012, he did not find any kerosene oil stove or lamp in the said house. Rather, there was gas stove and cylinder in the kitchen.

22. In cross-examination, it has come that one supplementary statement of his was recorded on 02.01.2013 which is Ex.PW14/DA. The said supplementary statement was regarding his visit to the spot on 23.10.2012. It has come that the facts narrated by him in the statement Ex.PW14/DA were in his knowledge on 24.10.2012 when his first statement was recorded. He explained that these facts were left to be mentioned inadvertently. He denied that plastic bottle purportedly containing kerosene oil was planted in one room and, thereafter, photograph was taken.

23. PW-15 Insp. Lekh Raj Singh is the main IO. He deposed about making endorsement Ex.PW15/A on the statement Ex.PW3/A and got registered the case. He deposed about going to the spot and arresting accused Pramod and Uma Shankar. He prepared site plan Ex.PW15/B. He had recordeddisclosure statements of accused Pramod and Govind which are Ex.PW15/C and D. He deposed about other steps taken during investigation. He had got conducted postmortem. He collected SOC report and postmortem report. He got sent exhibits to FSL. He had filed chargesheet against Pramod and Uma Shankar.

24. He also deposed about arresting accused Brahama Shankar and Siya Rani after their surrender vide arrest memos Ex.PW15/E and F. He conducted their personal search vide memos Ex.PW13/G and H. He recorded their disclosure statements Ex.PW15/H1 and H2. He filed supplementary chargesheet. FSL result is Ex.PW15/I.

25. In cross-examination, he stated that he had made local enquiry but nobody came forward. He could neither admit nor deny that accused Brahama Shankar, Pramod and Uma Shankar were in their respective offices at the time of incident. He denied the suggestion that accused Siya Rani had nothing to do with mobile no. 9871312791 from which call was made initially. It has come that PCR officials were not made witnesses by him. He denied that PCR Form Ex.PW15/P is a fabricated document.

MEDICAL WITNESS

26. PW-11 is Dr. Mahesh Kumar. He had conduct postmortem on the dead body of Vandana. Postmortem was conducted on 24.10.2012. Postmortem report is Ex.PW11/A. Inquest papers are Ex.PW3/C, 3/DA, 3/D, 3/E, 1/A, 11/B and 11/C. According to PW-11, cause of death was “shock as a result of antemortem flame burns, involving about 95% of total body surface area”. Time of death was about one day.

FORMAL WITNESSES

27. PW-1 HC Deval is Duty Officer. He had received information at about 1:20 pm on 23.10.2012. He recorded DD No. 18A, copy of which is Ex.PW1/A. He informed ASI Yudhvir Singh accordingly.

28. PW-3 is Sh. Ved Prakash. He was Executive Magistrate/Tehsildar on the relevant date i.e. 23.10.2012. He deposed about receiving information from PS Karawal Nagar at about 3:00 pm regarding death of one Smt. Vandana due to burn injuries within seven years of marriage. He stated that at that time, he was busy in some official work and, therefore, he directed police officials to bring parents of the deceased to his office. Accordingly, parents were produced before him. He made enquiries and recorded statements which are Ex.PW3/A (of Satya Prakash). He made endorsement and forwarded the same to SHO PS Karawal Nagar.

29. He deposed that on the next day i.e. 24.10.2012, he went to mortuary of hospital where he met mother of the deceased and recorded her statement which is Ex.PW3/B. He made endorsement on this statement also and forwarded the same to the SHO. He also prepared inquest papers Ex.PW3/C. He deposed that dead body of Vandana was identified by one Shyam Babu and Satyaprakash vide statements Ex.PW3/D and E.

30. In cross-examination, he denied the suggestion that he did not visit GTB Hospital or documents Ex.PW3/B to E were prepared at his office.

31. PW-6 HC Ramesh is Duty Officer. He received rukka at about 6:10 pm from Ct. Rakesh sent by Insp. Lekh Raj and recorded FIR No. 388/12 u/s 498-A/304-B/34 IPC. Copy of the FIR is Ex.PW6/A. He made endorsement on the rukka which is Ex.PW6/B.

32. This witness was cross-examined by learned Addl. PP as he was not telling the correct facts. In the said cross-examination, he stated that rukka was produced by Insp. Lekh Raj in the police station before him at about 7:10 pm. He also explained that time in the FIR has been wrongly typed as 18:10.

33. In cross-examination, it has come that in the office copy of the FIR brought by him, there was signature of Satya Prakash in column no. 14. He stated that the said signature was not made in his presence. He was not aware how that signature was obtained. Photocopy of the office copy of the FIR is Ex.PW6/DA. He denied that FIR was ante timed or the figure of 6 was overwritten on figure of 7 on Ex.PW6/B.

34. PW-7 Shyam Babu identified dead body of the deceased being relative of deceased. He had also signed on Form 25.35(i)(b).

35. PW-9 HC Chander Bhan was MHC(M). He produced record of deposit and movement of case property. Record is Ex.PW9/A to D.

36. PW-10 is HC Rajender Singh. He had taken case exhibits from malkhana and deposited the same at FSL, Rohini.

COURT WITNESSES

37. Two witnesses were examined as court witnesses also. They were CW-1 Surender Kumar and CW-2 ASI Ravinder Singh.

38. CW-1 Surender Kumar is Nodal Officer of Bharti Airtel. He produced record of mobile phone no. 9871312791. It has come in his evidence that this mobile phone number stands registered in the name of accused Siya Rani. Photocopy of Customer Application Form is Ex.CW1/A. Photocopy of voter ID card is Mark CW1/B. There is no cross-examination.

39. CW-2 ASI Ravinder Singh was posted at PHQ, Control Room on 23.10.2012. He deposed that on that day at about 1:14 pm, he received an information through mobile phone no. 9871312791 that “lady ne aag laga li hai at House No. 377, Gali No. 18, G-Block, West Karawal Nagar, Delhi”. He referred to PCR Form Ex.PW15/P.

40. In cross-examination, he denied that PCR Form was fabricated document.

STATEMENTS OF ACCUSED PERSONS

41. Incriminating circumstances appearing in evidence against all the accused persons were put to them as required u/s 313 CrPC. Accused persons stated that they were innocent and were falsely implicated. Accused Parmod, Rama Shankar and Govind stated that at the time of incident they had left the house for their jobs after taking breakfast. Accused Siya Rani also stated that she had also left the house for her job. They did not examine any witness in defence.

42. Supplementary statements of accused persons were also recorded after examination of court witnesses.

SUBMISSIONS OF THE PARTIES

43. I have heard Sh. D.K. Singh, learned Addl. PP for the State and Sh. Sanjay Kumar Gupta, learned Counsel for the accused persons. I have perused the record including written submissions filed on behalf of accused persons.

44. Learned Addl. PP submitted that prosecution has proved the charge u/s 302/34 IPC as well as in the alternative u/s 304-B/34 IPC alongwith Sec. 498- A/34 IPC against all the accused persons. He submitted that deceased Vandana had died due to burn injuries within seven years of her marriage with accused Parmod. He contended that deceased was subjected to cruelties and harassment in connection with dowry demands. He argued that accused persons deserve conviction.

45. On the other hand, learned Counsel for the accused persons contended that prosecution has miserably failed to prove the charges. He submitted that evidence of parents of the deceased is not reliable. There are various contradictions and discrepancies in the same. He pointed out that none of the accused was present in the house at the time of the incident. He emphatically contended that it is a case of suicide as the deceased was sent to matrimonial house by her parents forcibly. He submitted that deceased was not happy with the marriage with accused Parmod who was less educated than her and there were temperamental differences between the two. He also argued that there was no cruelty or harassment ever meted out to deceased. He prayed for acquittal.

46. Ld. Counsel for accused persons relied upon:

a). 2000(4) Crimes 283 (SC) titled Anil Kumar vs. State of Punjab;

b). 2000(4) Crimes 260 (SC) titled Tarun @ Gautam Mukherjee vs. State of West Bengal;

c). AIR 2012 SC 3157 titled Rai Sandeep @ Deepu v. State of NCT of Delhi;

d). 2012 (2) RCR (Criminal) 231 in Crl. Appeal No. 1950 of 2009 D/d. 02.03.2012 titled Sampath Kumar vs. Insp. of Police, Krishangiri;

e). 2014 (1) LRC 378 (Del) titled Ahmed Sayeed vs. State;

f). 2013 Cri.L.J. 2095 titled Vipin Jaiswal vs. State of A.P.;

g). AIR 1997 SC 1873 titled Sham Lal vs. State of Haryana;

h). 2011 [4] JCC 2515 titled State vs. Lal Mani & Ors.;

i). 2015 (3) LRC 308 (Del)(DB) titled State vs. Sudesh Gulati & Ors.;

j). 2009(3) RCR (Criminal) in Crl. Appeal No. 383 of 2002 D/d. 24.09.2009 titled Nepal Singh vs. State of Haryana;

k). 2008 (4) RCR (Criminal) 527 titled State of U.P. vs. Awdhesh;

l). 2014 (3) LRC 88 (SC) titled Vijay Kumar vs. State of Rajasthan;

m).2015 (3) LRC 335 (Del) titled Kanwar Pal vs. Shakuntala & Ors.;

n). 2015 (3) LRC 380 (Del)(DB) titled State vs. Sunil Kumar @ Sagar @ Rahul & Ors.;

o). 2011 [3] JCC 1814 titled Parminder Singh Sethi & Anr. vs. State & Anr.;

p). Criminal Appeal No. 937 of 2006 D/d. 03.07.2013 titled S. Anil Kumar @ Anil Kumar Ganna vs. State of Karnataka;

q). 2013 (6) LRC 207 (Del) titled Dharampal vs. State of NCT Delhi;

r). 2012 [2] JCC titled Shiv Kumar vs. State;

s). 2013 (5) LRC 203 (Del) titled Krishna & Anr. vs. State of Delhi; and

t). 2013 (6) LRC 213 (Del) titled Mahesh Kumar & Ors. vs. State.

47. I have considered the submissions.

FINDINGS

48. From the submissions of the learned Counsels, the following points for determination arise in the present case:

a). Whether deceased Vandana committed suicide or was she murdered?

b). If she was murdered, who caused the said murder?

c). If it was suicide, whether accused persons are responsible for such suicide in any manner?

49. Deceased Vandana was married with accused Parmod on 11.07.2008. She died because of burn injuries on 23.10.2012.

50. Postmortem report Ex.PW11/A leaves no room for any doubt that deceased had died because of burn injuries. PW-11 has opined cause of death as “shock as a result of antemortem flame burns involving about 95% of total body surface area”. From photographs Ex.PW8/A-P1 to P15 as well, it is apparent that deceased died because of burn injuries. Thus, death of deceased Vandana was due to burns.

51. Whether it is case of murder or dowry death or whether it is case of suicide is the next aspect to be considered.

Whether it is case of dowry death?

52. Ingredients of the offence u/s 304-B IPC are:

a). the death of a woman should be caused by burns or bodily injury or otherwise than under normal circumstances;

b). such death should have occurred within seven years of her marriage;

c). she must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband;

d). such cruelty or harassment should be for or in connection with demand of dowry;

e). such cruelty or harassment is shown to have been meted out to the woman soon before her death.

53. As already noticed earlier, death of deceased Vandana has taken place due to burns and within seven years of her marriage. These two ingredients have been fulfilled.

54. As far as the other ingredients are concerned, prosecution has relied upon testimony of PW-4 Satya Prakash who is father of deceased and PW- 5 Kusum Devi who is mother of the deceased.

55. PW-4 claims that after marriage Vandana visited her parents house after about three months. He has stated that Vandana told him that her husband and in-laws were harassing her. He claims that Vandana told him that they even did not allow her to talk to her parents. Vandana was staying with them for about six months prior to 23.10.2012. She left her parents house in the early hours of 23.10.2012 and reached matrimonial house at Karawal Nagar at about 7:00 am. PW-4 has alleged that the accused persons did not inform him about death of Vandana.

56. However, it has also come in his evidence that Vandana used to discuss most of her problems with her mother. PW-4 denied that he was mentally ill at the time of marriage of Vandana. But PW-5 i.e. his wife has clearly admitted that he was suffering from mental illness at the time of marriage of Vandana. It has come in cross-examination that PW-4 was not present at his native village where accused Parmod had come to take back Vandana. PW-4 is even ignorant of the name of daughter of Vandana. He could not tell whether name of the child was Laxmi or not. PW-4 was even unaware of date of birth of the said child. He was confronted with his previous statement given to SEM which was Ex.PW3/A wherein he had not told that Vandana used to discuss most of her problems with her mother. It was also not mentioned that Parmod had assured to take good care of Vandana when he came to take her back. Thus, PW-4 made material improvements in this regard. It has also come that PW-4 never lodged any complaint with the police or any other authority regarding harassment caused to Vandana by accused persons prior to 23.10.2012. It has come that Vandana was more educated than accused Parmod. PW-4 denied the suggestion that Vandana was married to Parmod against her wishes or due to this reason she used to keep away from matrimonial house. He denied that Vandana was forcibly sent with Parmod on 23.10.2012.

57. PW-5, the mother of the deceased, also deposed that Vandana had told her that she was illtreated by accused persons. PW-5 deposed that Vandana was harassed by accused persons for illegal demand for dowry as Parmod was not earning anything. She deposed that she used to give money to accused persons after which they used to keep her good for some days. She specifically stated that she had paid Rs.10,000/-, Rs.5,000/- and sometimes Rs.1,000/- to Parmod but she had given this money to Parmod without knowledge of Vandana. She stated that Vandana used to tell her that accused persons used to beat her (Vandana) and she used to request PW-5 not to send her to matrimonial house or else she would be killed. She deposed that accused Parmod took Vandana back and she was staying with them for about two months. She stated that Vandana was not willing to go with Parmod as she was fearing for her life but she was forcibly taken by Parmod. It has come that Vandana told PW-5 that she was being harassed for dowry demands.

58. In cross-examination, she was confronted with her previous statement recorded by the SEM which is Ex.PW3/B and statement u/s 161 CrPC which is Ex.PW5/DA wherein she had not stated various facts. It was not mentioned in the said statement that accused Parmod was not earning anything; that she used to give money to Parmod without knowledge of Vandana; that Vandana was taken forcibly after two months of stay or that she informed PW-5 about being ill-treated again. She could not tell date of payment of Rs.10,000/-, Rs.5,000/- or Rs.1,000/-. She admitted that her husband/PW-4 was suffering from mental illness and, therefore, marriage of Vandana was performed by her nandoi. It has come that there was no demand of dowry at the time of marriage. She denied that she had sent Vandana forcibly with accused Parmod. She denied that she had called Parmod to take Vandana back. It has come that she did not lodge any complaint any such harassment as alleged by her.

59. Thus, it can be seen that only these two witnesses have been produced to show that deceased was subjected to cruelties in connection with dowry demands. However, evidence of these two witnesses is not much inspiring. Evidence of PW-4 needs to be rejected in entirety. PW-4 had concealed about fact of his mental illness at the time of marriage of Vandana with accused Parmod. It has not been shown as to when PW-4 recovered from that illness. Moreover, perusal of his testimony clearly shows that he was not aware even about the date of birth of daughter of Vandana or her name. A person with so much ignorance cannot be believed when he alleges that deceased was subjected to cruelties and harassment. Further, in the evidence of PW-4, there is nothing which shows that there was any dowry demand. His evidence is confined to only show that deceased was subjected to some ill-treatment and cruelties. PW-4 did not make any complaint at all at any earlier point of time. The allegations have sprung up all of a sudden. The allegations are general and unspecific. Thus, these allegations cannot be believed.

60. Evidence of PW-5 is also not of much help. She has alleged making payment of some money but she had miserably failed to tell any particular date on which such payments were made. She had made various improvements from her previous statements. These improvements were material one and, therefore, adversely affected her evidence. There could be no reason for not mentioning these facts earlier. The improvements made by PW-5 must be taken adversely to the prosecution case. Reference may be made to case of Anil Kumar (supra) and Tarun (supra).

61. PW-5 too did not make any complaint earlier against any such harassment or cruelties caused to Vandana. Allegations made by PW-5 are also vague, unspecific and uncertain. It is difficult to believe these allegations. Reliance is placed upon the case of Ahmad Saeed (supra) and Vipin Jaiswal (supra).

62. The remaining ingredients thus have remained unfulfilled. Charge u/s 498-A/304-B/34 IPC is bound to fail.

Whether it is case of murder?

63. Deceased Vandana died of burn injuries. There is no direct evidence of the offence. The prosecution relies upon circumstantial evidence in this regard.

64. The law regarding cases based on circumstantial evidence is well settled. The famous case of Sharad Birdhi Chand Sarda v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1984 SC 1622 is the guiding judgment. The five golden principles reiterated in the said judgment may be noted as below:

a). the circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn should be fully established;

b). the facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused, that is to say, they should not be explainable on any other hypothesis except that the accused is guilty;

c). the circumstances should be of a conclusive nature and tendency;

d). they should exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be proved; and

e). there must be a chain of evidence so complete as not to leave any reasonable ground for the conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused and must show that in all human probability the act must have been done by the accused.

65. It is an admitted position that deceased Vandana had come back to her matrimonial house in the morning of 23.10.2012. The incident took place around 1:20 pm. Prosecution was required to show that accused persons were present in the matrimonial house at the time of the incident.

66. Accused Parmod, Govind and Brahma Shankar have all taken the plea that they had gone to their respective jobs. As it was afternoon time, it is highly possible that these accused persons were away to their work. Prosecution did not bring any witness to show that these three accused persons were present at the place of incident. The IO did not collect any concrete evidence to show their presence at the spot.

67. As far as accused Siya Rani is concerned, she was shown to be present in the house where the incident took place. However, accused Siya Rani has taken the defence that she had gone out with the child of the deceased i.e. her grand-daughter as she was sent away by Vandana. Only after she came back, she came to know that Vandana had put herself to fire.

68. Again, prosecution did not bring any witness who says that accused Siya Rani was also in the house at the time of the offence. Prosecution has relied upon making of mobile phone call from mobile no. 9871312791 to 100 number. This mobile phone number is existing in the name of accused Siya Rani. Merely from making of call, prosecution does not establish that accused Siya Rani committed murder of Vandana. The call was made at around 1:14 pm. It was to the effect, “lady ne aag laga li hai at house no. 377, gali no. 18, G-block, West Karawal Nagar, Delhi”. The information conveyed through this call only corroborates version of accused Siya Rani that she had come back after some time and found that Vandana had put fire to herself.

69. Learned Addl. PP submitted that some plastic can is appearing in photograph which is purportedly containing kerosene oil in large amount. He submits that it was kept at some other place in the house. He thus contends that possibility of accused persons pouring kerosene oil upon deceased and setting her ablaze cannot be ruled out.

70. Accused persons have explained that some kerosene oil was kept in the house in routine manner.

71. Keeping kerosene oil in a house is a normal thing. Merely because kerosene bottle is seen in the room other than kitchen does not prove that accused persons put deceased on fire. No finger print could be detected on the bottle.

72. As far as the other container which is seen in photograph is concerned, it is to be noticed that said container was not seized by the IO during investigation. Contents of the container were also never seized. Therefore, it will be impossible to comment any further on this issue.

73. Learned Addl. PP also submitted that accused Brahmanand and Siya Rani were absconding after the incident which conduct must be taken adversely against them. He contended that from this conduct, it appears that both the accused had committed the offence and only for this reason, they had absconded.

74. I do not find any substance in this submission. Merely from abscondance of accused, prosecution cannot prove the charge. Reference may be made to (2011) 11 SCC 754 titled SK. Yusuf vs. State of WB. It was observed as under:

“31. …. It is a settled legal proposition that in case a person is absconding after commission of offence of which he may not even be the author, such a circumstance alone may not be enough to draw an adverse inference against him as it would go against the doctrine of innocence. It is quite possible that he may be running away merely being suspected, out of fear of police arrest and harassment. (Vide: Matru @ Girish Chandra v. The State of U.P., AIR 1971 SC 1050; Paramjeet Singh @ Pamma v. State of Uttarakhand AIR 2011 SC 200; and Rabindra Kumar Pal @ Dara Singh v. Republic of India, (2011) 2 SCC 490)”

75. There can be any number of reasons for an accused to abscond and conceal himself. This circumstance alone is not sufficient at all to prove the charge u/s 302 IPC.

76. Various circumstances have remained not proved. The chain of the circumstances is not complete. There are wide gaps in the same.

77. Prosecution having failed to prove presence of any of the accused at the spot at the time of the incident, charge u/s 302/34 IPC is also bound to fail.

78. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, it appears to be a case of suicide.

Whether accused persons have any role in commission of the suicide by the deceased?

79. Nothing has come on record which shows that accused persons abetted the said suicide. Deceased was living at her parents house for the last at least three months prior to 23.10.2012. There is no act or omission on the part of accused persons which can be said to have abetted Vandana to commit suicide.

80. On the contrary, it is appearing from record that deceased Vandana was more educated than accused Parmod. It has come that deceased had been intermittently leaving matrimonial house and staying at her parents house. As no complaint was ever made by deceased or her parents against accused persons, such stay of deceased at her parents house appears to be voluntary on the part of deceased. There was something with which deceased was not happy. It appears that she could not adjust with accused Parmod. This might be due to educational difference between them. There might be other reasons as well. Deceased was certainly having some frustration. For all these reasons deceased might have committed suicide. This possibility cannot be ruled out.

81. Prosecution fails to prove any of the charges against the accused persons. Therefore, all the accused persons namely Parmod, Brahma Shankar, Siya Rani and Govind @ Uma Shankar are hereby acquitted of the charges framed against them in this case.

82. Accused are required to furnish bail bonds as per Sec. 437-A CrPC. At request of the accused persons, bonds already furnished by them are accepted for a period of six months for the purposes of Sec. 437-A CrPC.

83. File be consigned to Record Room.

Announced in the open court on 2nd day of February, 2018 (Sanjay Bansal) Special Judge (NDPS)/ASJ/ NE/KKD Courts/Delhi.

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