Delhi District Court
State vs . Arvind Sharma And Ors. on 1 February, 2019
                                                          FIR No. 232/2015
                                                              PS Begum Pur
                                           State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.


IN THE COURT OF SHRI DEEPAK GARG:ADDL. SESSIONS JUDGE­II
          (NORTH­WEST): ROHINI COURTS: DELHI

Sessions Case No. 52595/2016
CNR No. DLNW01­001260­2015

State

Vs

1.      Arvind Sharma
        s/o Sh. Gopal Sharma
        r/o H.No. D­4/5, Rama Vihar
        Begum Pur, Delhi

2.      Anita
        w/o Sh. Gopal Sharma

3.      Gopal Sharma
        s/o Late Sh. Kailash Chand

4.      Arun Sharma
        s/o Sh. Gopal Sharma

5.      Mamta Sharma
        w/o Sh. Arun Sharma

        All r/o H.No. D­6/33, Rama Vihar
        Begum Pur, Delhi

6.      Devki
        w/o Ram Kumar

7.      Soniya
        w/o Sh. Hari Om



                                                              Page 1 of 30
                                                                  FIR No. 232/2015
                                                                     PS Begum Pur
                                                  State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.


8.        Ram Kumar
          s/o Sh. Kanhiya Lal

9.        Hari Om
          s/o Sh. Kanhiya Lal

          All r/o H.No. 91, Gali no. 5
          Rajeev Nagar, Bhlaswa Dairy
          Delhi

FIR No.              :        232/2015
Police Station       :        Begum Pur
Under Section        :        498A/304B/34 IPC

Date of Institution in Sessions Court         :      13.07.2015
Date when judgment reserved                   :      29.01.2019
Date when judgment pronounced                 :      01.02.2019


JUDGMENT

1. This is the case under section 498A/304B/34 of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

2. Present FIR was registered on the complaint of Smt. Bimlesh who is the mother of deceased Pinki. She has alleged in her complaint that she had married her daughter Pinki (deceased) with Arvind Sharma on 15/12/2014 and at the time of marriage there was no demand by the in laws of her daughter, however, she had given a motor cycle, furniture, clothes and FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

jewellery articles to them as per her status. After sometime of marriage, Arvind, his mother Anita, his father Gopal Sharma, jeth Arun Shama, jethani Mamta Sharma, Nandoi Ram Kumar, Hari Om, Nanad Devki and Sonia started demanding cash of Rs. 12,00,000/­ from her daughter Pinki. She refused to give such huge amount upon which they reduced their demand upto Rs.Six lakhs. On 25/2/2015 her daughter made her telephone call and told that Arvind and his family are quarreling with her and harassing her on demand of Rs. 12 lakhs. On the next morning at about 4:00 a.m. Arvind made her a call and told that Pinki was not speaking and she had hanged herself. She immediately informed her elder son Jitender and instructed him to reached at the matrimonial home of her daughter and she along with her younger son Manish reached there. She had suspicion that Arvind, his mother Smt. Bimlesh his father Gopal Sharma, brother Arun Shama, sister in law Mamta Sharma, Jija Ram Kumar, Hari Om, sisters Devki and Sonia could be responsible for death of her daughter. On the complaint of the complainant made before the Executive Magistrate, present FIR was registered. Investigation was carried out and accused persons were arrested. On completion of the investigation, charge­sheet was filed in the Court.

3. On compliance of Section 207 Cr.P.C, the charge­sheet FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

was committed to this Court by the Court of Ld. MM.

4. Charge under Sections 498A/304B/34 IPC was framed against all the accused persons by my Ld. Predecessor dated 18/8/2015, to which they pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

5. In order to prove its case, the prosecution has examined in total 16 witnesses.

PUBLIC WITNESSES

6. PW8 Sh. Jitender Kumar brother of the deceased, PW10 Smt. Bimlesh is the complainant/mother of the deceased and Sh. PW11 Prabhuath Mishra (mediator). Their testimony shall be discussed in the later part of the judgment.

POLICE WITNESSES

7. PW1 HC Shashi Kala has tendered her examination in chief by way of affidavit ExPW1/ A and she has affirmed that on the intervening night of 25/26.02.2015 she was posted as operator at channel no. 105, CPCR, PHQ, New Delhi and at about 03:20 AM, an information was received from mobile number 9999173364 that “Rama Vihar D­4/5, Near Bharti FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

School, meri bahu ne fansi laga li hai”. She filled up this information in a prescribed proforma and it was dispatched to Outer 2 wireless operator. She proved PCR form as ExPW1/B.

8. PW2 ASI Karambir was the mobile crime team incharge.

He has tendered his examination in chief by way of affidavit ExPW2/A and he has affirmed that on the fateful day, he alongwith photographer HC Satender reached at the spot and he conducted inspection of the site and prepared detailed report. He proved his detailed report ExPW2/B.

9. PW3 HC Satender was the photographer, Crime team. He has tendered his examination in chief by way of affidavit ExPW3/A and he has affirmed that he was part of mobile crime team and he took 11 photographs at the spot and the said photographs alongwith their negatives are Ex. PW3/X colly.

10. PW4 ASI Vijay Kumar was the duty officer. He has tendered his examination in chief by way of affidavit ExPW4/A and he has affirmed that on the night of 25/26.02.2015, an information was received through WT message from PCR that wife of the caller had committed suicide by hanging at H.No. D­ 4/5, Rama Vihar, near Bharti School and it was reduced in writing vide DD No. 4A Ex. PW4/B and it was handed over to FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

ASI Satyavir Singh for necessary action.

11. PW5 HC Pushpa Rani was the duty officer. She has tendered her examination in chief by way of affidavit ExPW5/A bearing her signatures at point A and B. She has proved copy of FIR, endorsement and certificate u/s 65B of Indian Evidence Act as ExPW5/B, ExPW5/C and ExPW5/C respectively.

12. PW6 Ct. Ram Bhajan has tendered his examination in chief by way of affidavit ExPW6/A and he has affirmed that on the intervening night of 25/26 February, 2015 on the instructions of duty officer HC Vijay Kumar, he had handed over copy of DD no. 4A to ASI Satyavir Singh.

13. PW12 Ct. Deshraj has deposed in sync with PW15 SI Satyavir Singh with whom he remained in the investigation.

14. PW14 Ct. Rajesh has deposed that on the intervening night of 25­26, February, 2015 he along with Ct. Praveen was on patrolling duty and on receipt of information from duty officer regarding suicide of a lady by hanging, they reached the spot and found ASI Satyavir Singh and Ct. Deshraj present there. Thereafter he has deposed in sync with PW15 SI Satyavir Singh with whom he remained in the investigation.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

15. PW15 SI Satyavir Singh has deposed that on the intervening night of 25­26 February, 2015 on receipt of DD No. 4A ExPW4/B he along with Ct. Desh Raj reached at First floor, D­4/5, Rama Vihar, Delhi where they noticed that the dead body of deceased Pinki was lying on the door of attached bathroom of the bedroom. One chunni having green and black colour flower and leaves also having knot on its one side was lying near the dead body and one broken latch was lying inside the door of the bathroom. SDM and crime team was called. The body was inspected by the SDM and SHO and crime team inspected the spot and took the photographs. He proved the seizure memo of chunni and broken latch as ExPW12/A and EPW12/B respectively. SDM handed him over statement of Smt. Bimlesh and Jitender Kumar and the inquest papers along with brief facts and he made endorsement ExPW15/A on the same and got the case registered. Thereafter he has deposed in sync with PW16 Insp. Ramesh Singh with whom he remained in the investigation.

16. PW16 Insp. Ramesh Singh has deposed that on 26.02.2015, ASI Stayavir informed him that a lady who had been married since last two months had hanged herself. On the receipt of the information, he went to the spot and met with ASI FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

Satyavir, Ct. Deshraj, Ct. Rajesh and Ct. Praveen. Crime team and SDM Rohini, had also arrived at the spot and both of them conducted the necessary proceedings. SDM concerned sent the dead body to SGM Hospital mortuary to be preserved over there. Ct. Rajesh went with the dead body for getting the dead body preserved. The SDM concerned and ASI Satyavir also followed Ct. Rajesh and reached at SGM Hospital mortuary. He also came back from the spot. After registration of the FIR, he took over the investigation. Thereafter, he alongwith ASI Satyavir and Ct. Kuldeep reached at the spot i.e. D­4/7, First Floor, Rama Vihar, Delhi and prepared the site plan at the instance of ASI Satyavir which is Ex. PW­16/A and thereafter he alongwith ASI Satyavir and Ct. Kuldeep went to H.No. D­6/33, Rama Vihar, Delhi, where they met Arvind, the husband of the deceased and interrogated him and he was arrested vide arrest memo Ex. PW­ 16/B and his personal search was carried out vide memo Ex. PW­16/C. He seized the photographs and card of the marriage and list of articles given in the marriage vide seizure memo Ex. PW­8/D. he conducted interrogation of the other alleged persons namely Sonia (nanad), Anita (Saas), Gopal Sharma (Sasur), Mamta (Nanad), Arun Sharma (Jeth), Ram Kumar (Nandoi), Hari Om (Nandoi) and Devaki (Nanad) vide interrogation papers Ex. PW­16/E, Ex. PW­16/F, Ex. PW­16/G, Ex. PW­16/H, Ex. PW­ 16/I, Ex. PW­16/J, Ex. PW­16/K and Ex. PW­16/L respectively.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

He obtained the subsequent opinion.

MEDICAL EVIDENCE

17. PW7 Dr. Manoj Dhingra, MOIC, SGM Hospital, Mangol Puri, Delhi had conducted the post mortem on the body of Pinki. He proved PM report as ExPW9/A. As per his opinion, the cause of death was due to asphyxia as a result of hanging and all the injuries were ante mortem in nature. He has further deposed that on 26/3/2015 he received an application along with sealed parcel containing one chunni for taking subsequent opinion and he gave his opinion that the hanging can occur by that chunni o similar such chunni and the said subsequent opinion has been proved as ExPW16/N.

OTHER WITNESSES

18. PW9 Sh. Dinesh Kumar Gautam was the owner of flat no.D­4/5, Rama Vihar, Delhi and he has deposed that he let out the said flat to accused Arvind Sharma from 10/12/2014 @ Rs.3500/­ p.m. and Arvind was residing with his wife in the said flat.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

19. PW13 Sh. Manoj Kumar Sharma, the then SDM,Rohini, Delhi has deposed that on 26/2/2015, on the basis of the call received from ASI Satyaveer Singh, he went to the spot i.e. H.No.D­4/5, Rama Vihar, near BM Bharti Public School, Delhi and noticed that the body of Pinki was lying on the floor and th crime team and police officials including IO were present there. He directed the IO to seize the broken latches and chunni and sent the dead body of deceased to mortuary. He recorded statement of Bimlesh and Jitender kumar i.e. the mother and brother of deceased respectively and prepared brief facts of the proceedings ExPW13/A conducted by him. He conducted the inquest proceedings and prepared the death report as ExPW13/B and also moved an application for preservation and post mortem of the dead body as ExPW13/C.

STATEMENT OF ACCUSED PERSONS

20. After the conclusion of prosecution evidence, statement of all the accused persons were recorded u/s 313 Cr.P.C in which all the incriminatory facts and circumstances appearing in evidence against them were put to them which have been denied by them in toto. All of them stated they are innocent and they were falsely implicated in the present case. There was no demand of dowry as alleged and deceased Pinki was never FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

tortured physically or mentally in the matrimonial house by anyone. She was kept with all love and care. On 25/2/2015 in the evening one lady Chitra and Arun Shrma had seen Pinki in the car of one neighbour namely, Shiva and it came to the notice of Pinki and hence due to fear that her husband i.e. Arvind and family members of both sides/society would come to know about her illicit relations with the said Shiva, she committed suicide in late hours.

21. All the accused persons in their defence examined their neighbour Smt. Chitra, as DW1. She has deposed that Arvind Sharma was residing separately at D­4/5 Rama Vihar, Delhi. She has further deposed that on 25/2/2015 at about 9:30 p.m. while she was returning from shop in the neighbourhood, she saw Pinki getting down from the car of Shiva near B.M. Bharti School. She knew Shiva as he was also residing in the same locality and in the adjoining house of Arvind Sharma. At that time, Arun was also present who was taking stroll with his dog. She further deposed that she never saw or heard any quarrel between deceased Pinki and Arvind Sharma or other family members.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

ARGUMENTS OF BOTH THE SIDES

22. It is argued by the Ld. Counsel for the defence that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubts. It is stated that in the testimony of all the material witnesses i.e. PW8 Sh. Jitender Kumar brother of the deceased and PW10 Smt. Bimlesh, complainant/mother of the deceased, the allegations against the accused persons are very vague and it has come in the cross examination of the said witnesses that Arvind and Pinki were residing separately since the beginning of marriage and all the articles which were presented in their marriage, had straight gone to their rented accommodation. It is further argued that there is nothing on record to prove that the deceased was subjected to cruelty or harassment either by her husband Arvind or by any other family member and hence the prosecution has failed to prove its case. Reliance is placed upon Ramesh Chander vs. State of Delhi 2017 (1) JCC 145; Monju Roy and ors. vs. State of West Bengal2015 V AD (SC) 164 and Durga Prasad and ors. vs. State of M.P. 2010 (3) CGLJ 22.

23. Per contra, Ld. Addl. PP for the State has argued that the prosecution has been able to establish its case beyond any shadow of doubt. It is contended that having regard to the FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

testimony of PW 8 Sh. Jitender Kumar, PW10 Smt. Bimlesh and PW11 Sh. Prabhunath Mishra, whose testimony is truthful and reliable and is of sterling quality coupled with the other evidence on record in the form of investigation conducted by the police, the prosecution has been able to prove its case. Reliance is placed on Arun Garg vs. State of Punjab and anr. 2004 IX AD (SC) 571, Devinder Singh and others vs. State of Punjab (2005) 12 SCC 104, Pawan Kumar and others vs. State of Haryana (1998) 3 SCC 309; Uday Chakraborty and others vs. State of West Bengal (2010) 7 SCC 518.

FINDING OF THE COURT

24. After hearing, Ld. Counsels for the defence and Ld. Addl.

PP for the State, the court is giving its findings, in the following paragraphs.

25. As stated above, the accused persons are facing trial for the offence u/s 498A/304B/34 IPC.

26. Section 304B IPC punishes “dowry death” and it provides that where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

that soon before death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.

27. Section 498 A IPC is much wider in nature. It makes an offence when the husband or the relatives of the husband of a woman, subject such woman to cruelty. The term “Cruelty” means not only harassment to the woman with a view to coerce her to meet any unlawful demand for any properly or valuable security but it would also include any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injuries herself.

28. It shall be relevant to examine the testimony of PW8 Sh.

Jitender Kumar brother of the deceased and PW10 Smt. Bimlesh, complainant/mother of the deceased and PW11 Sh. Prabhunath Mishra (Mediator) because they are only witnesses who could have proved about the factum of cruelty or harassment caused to the deceased, if any, for the demand of dowry soon before her death or otherwise.

29. Since the prosecution is placing its heavy reliance on the FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

testimony of the said witnesses, hence it is necessary for this Court to first determine whether what they have deposed is reliable and truthful. It is settled law that in a case where the testimony of a witness is found to be reliable, the conviction can be based even on the sole testimony of such a truthful and trustworthy witness. The Hon’ble Apex Court has time and again determined the parameters on the basis of which the credibility/ truthfulness of a witness can be ascertained. In the case of Bankey Lal vs. State of UP reported in AIR 1971 SC 2233 it was observed by the Hon’ble Apex Court that in a case where prosecution witnesses are proved to have deposed truly in all respects then their evidence is required to be scrutinized with care. Further, in the case of Kacheru Singh Vs. State of UP reported in AIR 1956 SC 546 it was observed by the Hon’ble Apex Court whether the witness should be or should not be believed is required to be determined by the Trial Court. It is therefore evident that Eye witnesses’ account would require a careful independent assessment and evaluation for their credibility which should not be adversely prejudged making any other evidence, including medical evidence, as the sole touchstone for the test of such credibility. The evidence must be tested for its inherent consistency and the inherent probability of the story; consistency with the account of other witnesses held to be credit­worthy; consistency with the undisputed facts the FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

‘credit’ of the witnesses; their performance in the witness­box; their power of observation etc. Then the probative value of such evidence becomes eligible to be put into the scales for a cumulative evaluation. (Ref.: Krishnan Vs. State reported in AIR 2003 SC 2978).

30. PW10 Smt. Bimlesh, (mother of the deceased) has admitted in her statement that at the time of marriage, there was no demand by the in laws of her daughter Pinki but she has alleged that after sometime of marriage, all the accused persons i.e. Arvind, his mother Anita, his father Gopal Sharma, Jeth Arun Sharma, Jethani Mamta Sharma, both the Nandoi Ram Kumar and Hari Om and both the nanad Devki and Sonia started demanding cash of RS. 12 lakhs from her daughter Pinki and this was conveyed to her by her daughter Pinki and when she conveyed her inability to give the said amount and refused to give such huge amount, accused persons reduced their demand to Rs.six lakhs. She has further deposed that Arvind, his mother Anita and his father Gopal came to her house and pressurised her to give Rs.six lakhs to them and they also told her to take loan of Rs. Six lakhs for fulfilling their demands and when she approached the mediator namely, Sh. Mishra, he scolded the accused persons for making the said demands.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

31. It is relevant here to state that 9 accused persons namely, Arvind (husband), Anita (mother in law), Gopal Sharma (father in law), Arun Sharma (jeth), Mamta Sharma (jethani), Ram Kumar (Nandoi), Hari Om (Nandoi), Devki (nand) and Sonia (Nand) are facing trial in the present case and as far as the demand of cash of Rs. 12 lakhs from Pinki is concerned, PW10 Smt. Bimlesh, in her testimony, has attributed the role of demand of cash of Rs. 12 lakhs upon all the said family members. Nothing has been specified how each of them individually or collectively raised the said demand of Rs. 12 lakhs from Pinki. Similarly, PW10 in her statement has attributed the role of reducing the amount to Rs.six lakhs upon all the abovesaid nine family members without specifying their roles in this regard. It is not possible that all of them together demanded the said amount from Pinki or together reduced the said amount, when her mother showed her inability to pay the higher amount. No date and time has been mentioned as to when all the accused persons made the said demand or reduced the amount. In this respect, her testimony is very vague describing who all were the actual culprits responsible for raising the said demand or harassing Pinki in the matrimonial house for the said demand and the allegations against them are not spcific and very general in nature.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

32. Here it is important to mention that the testimony of her son PW8 Sh. Jitender Kumar is also of not much help to the prosecution in this regard because he has also failed to specify such persons and his knowledge was also derived from the information given to him by her mother and he has admitted so in his examination in chief (See page no.1 of his examination in chief).

33. It is not out of place here to mention that Pinki was residing with Arvind at the matrimonial house i.e. house bearing no. D­4/5, Rama Vihar, Delhi and all the other accused persons were residing separately at their respective places and there is nothing on record what was the frequency of their coming to the matrimonial house of Pinki and raising the said demands or inciting her immediate family members to raise the said demands. It is admitted by PW8 Sh. Jitender Kumar that father in law, mother in law, jeth and jethani were residing at D­6/33, Rama Vihar, Delhi. He further admitted that nand Devki and Sonia along with their husbands were residing at H.No. 91, Gali no. 5, Rajiv Nagar, Delhi and he further admitted that their marriage had taken place around 13 years prior to the marriage of his sister. He further admitted that neither he nor his mother filed any complaint to the police regarding harassment and demand of money made by the in laws of his sister Pinki.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

34. After perusing the evidence of prosecution witnesses, it appears that an attempt has been made to involve the entire family of the husband as far as the demand of money is concerned and hence possibility of naming all the family members by way of exaggeration is not ruled out.

35. It has been held in Kansraj Vs. State of Punjab and ors.

2000 (5) SCC 207 that:

“5….. a tendency has, however, developed for roping in all relations of the in laws of the deceased wives in the matter of dowry deaths which, if not discouraged, is likely to affect the case of the prosecution even against the real culprits. In their over enthusiasm and anxiety to seek conviction maximum people, the parents of the deceased have been found to be making efforts for involving other relations which ultimately weaken the case of the prosecution even against the real accused as appears to have happened in the instant case.”

36. It has also been recently held by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in case K. Subba Rao and ors. vs. State of Telangana Crl. Appeal no. 1045/2018 arising out of SLP Crl No. 3286/2016 that the relative of the husband should not be roped in on the basis of omnibus allegations unless specific instances of their involvement in the crime are made out.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

37. In view of the above, in my view, prosecution has miserably failed to prove the allegations u/s 498A IPC against accused Arun Sharma, Mamta Sharma, Devki, Soniya, Ram Kumar and Hari Om and therefore they are acquitted u/s 498A IPC.

38. As far as the role of accused Arvind (husband), Anita (mother in law) and Gopal (father in law) is concerned, in my view the position is different.

39. It has been held in Monju Roy & Ors. Vs. State of Bengal 2015 V AD (SC) 164 that the court has to adopt pragmatic view and when a girl dies an unnatural death, allegations of demand of dowry or harassment which follows cannot be weighed in golden scales. At the same time, omnibus allegations against all family members particularly against brothers and sisters and other relatives do not stand on same footing as husband and parents.

40. PW10 Smt. Bimlesh has further alleged that when the said demand of cash was raised and she was asked to take loan of Rs.six lakhs as she was govt. servant and could easily get loan in her name, she informed the mediator Sh. Prabhunath Mishra, in this regard who scolded the accused persons.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

41. Here, it is important to discuss the testimony of the said mediator Sh. Prabhunath Mishra who has been examined as PW11 by the prosecution.

42. PW11 Sh. Prabhunath Mishra (he clarified on 8/4/2016 that his name was inadvertently typed as Raghunath Mishra instead of Prabhunath Mishra) has deposed that after about 1 ½ months of the said marriage, some quarrel arose between Pinki and her in laws and he along with Bimlesh went to the matrimonial house of Pinki and it was decided that Arvind along with is wife Pinki would reside separately at a rented accommodation and hence Arvind along with Pinki started residing separately on rented accommodation at some distance from his paternal house. He has further deposed that when he was at Gorakhpur, he received a call from Anita as well as from Smt. Bimlesh that there was some fight between Pinki and her in laws and when he came back to Delhi, Smt. Bimlesh told her that in laws of Pinki were asking her to give Rs 3­4 lakhs as loan. He further deposed that both Anita and Smt.Bimlesh came to her for settlement and Anita told him that she had asked Rs. 3­4 lakhs as a loan from Smt. Bimlesh but she refused to give. He further deposed that he told Bimlesh not to give money as loan to Anita and he also told Anita not to take loan from Bimlesh. This witness has been cross examined by Ld. Counsel for the FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

defence but nothing much could come out. His testimony has remained firm.

43. In view of his testimony, it is proved that the matrimonial life of Pinki was disturbed and her mother Smt. Bimlesh was being forced to take loan of Rs.3­4 lakhs and hand over the said amount to them. The mediator has specifically averred that Smt. Anita (mother in law of deceased) had herself told him that he had asked Rs. 3­4 lakhs as loan from Smt. Bimlesh but she refused to give the same and that he had told Bimlesh not to give any loan to Anita and he also told Anita not to take any loan from Bimlesh.

44. Here it is important to mention that although the amount of Rs. Six lakhs has come in the testimony of PW10 Smt. Bimlesh for which she was being forced to take loan whereas in the testimony of mediator PW11 Sh. Prabhunath Mishra this amount has come at Rs. 3­4 lakhs but the difference in the amount is not much of significance. It is proved that PW10 Smt. Bimlesh was being forced to take loan and hand over the said amount to the accused persons may be it was Rs.3­4 lakhs or Rs.6 lakhs and Pinki was being pressurised due to the said amount.

45. When Pinki was being harassed and pressurised for the said demand in her matrimonial house, her husband Arvind has FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

to shoulder the responsibility for the said act specifically when PW10 Smt. Bimlesh has deposed that he used to force her daughter to demand money from her and he accompanied his parents when they claimed to her house and pressurised her to give the said amount of Rs. Six lakhs or to take loan of the said amount for fulfilling their demands.

46. Here, it is worthwhile to mention that although Smt. Bimlesh has attributed role for the said demand upon accused Gopal Sharma (father in law of Pinki) but in my view, since PW11 Sh. Prabhunath Mishra is silent about his act and has not deposed anything about his role in that regard, he is entitled to benefit of doubt and hence accused Gopal Sharma is acquitted of the offence u/s 498A IPC.

47. In view of the above, it is proved that Pinki was being subjected to cruelty in her matrimonial house and she was harassed with a view to coerce her and her mother to meet the said unlawful demand of money and hence accused Arvind and Anita are convicted for the offence u/s 498A IPC. Remaining accused are acquitted for the offence u/s 498A IPC.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

ALLEGATIONS AGAINST ACCUSED PERSONS U/S 304B IPC

48. It has been held in Kaliayaperumal Vs. State of TN (2004) 9SCC 157 that the essential ingredients for constituting an offence u/s 304­B IPC are under:

(1) The death of a woman must have been caused by burns or bodily injury or otherwise than under normal circumstances;

(2) Such death must have occurred within seven years of her marriage;

(3) Soon before her death, the woman must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband;

(4) Such cruelty or harassment must be for, or in connection with, demand for dowry.

49. From the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased got married to accused Arvind Sharma on 15/12/2014 and she died on 26/02/2015. Thus, the period of marriage between the deceased and Arvind Sharma was around 2 ½ months ie. less than seven years.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

50. As stated above PW7 Dr. Manoj Dhingra, MOIC, SGM Hospital, Mangol Puri, Delhi had conducted the postmortem on the body of deceased Pinki and the PM report has been proved as Ex. PW­7/A. As per his opinion the cause of death is due to asphyxia as a result of hanging and all the injuries were ante mortem in nature

51. Dr. Manoj Dhingra (PW7) had also given subsequent opinion regarding chunni and after going the PM report he gave his opinion “the hanging can occur by this chunni or similar such chunni” and the opinion has been proved as Ex.PW16/N.

52. There is nothing on record to controvert the above medical evidence.

53. In view of the above, it is clear that it was a case of hanging and hence deceased died an unnatural death.

54. The two ingredients of Section 304B IPC having being satisfied, this court is now required to advert to remaining two ingredients i.e. (i) whether the deceased was subjected to cruelty or harassment by the accused for or in connection with any demand of dowry and (ii) whether soon before her death, she was subjected to such cruelty or harassment by them.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

55. The court has to see whether these ingredients are proved or not in the present case?

DOWRY

56. It is the essential requirement of Section 304B IPC that the cruelty or harassment must be for, or in connection with demand for dowry.

57. “Section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act defines dowry as under:

Definition of ‘dowry’­ In this Act, ‘dowry’ means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly­

(a) by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or

(b) by the parents of either party to a marriage or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or to any other person, at or before or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies. Explanation II.­ The expression ‘valuable security’ has the same meaning as in Section 30 of the Indian Penal Code.”

58. The term ‘Dowry’ has also been explained by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of S. Goptal Reddy Vs. State of Andhra FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

Pradesh, III (1996) CCR 39 (SC)=AIR 1996 SC 2184, wherein it was held that “property or valuable security so as to constitute dowry within the meaning of the Act must, therefore, be given or demanded as consideration for marriage.” Therefore, the term ‘consideration’ assumes importance because if any article is not given as a consideration for marriage, then it would not be covered with definition of dowry.

59. The terms ‘dowry’ was dealt with by Hon’ble Supreme Court in another case of Appasaheb & Anr. Vs. State of Maharashtra, I (2007) SLT 188 wherein it was held as under.

“9. In view of the aforesaid definition of the word ‘dowry’ any property or valuable security should be given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly at or before or any time after the marriage and in connection with the marriage of the said parties. Therefore, the giving or taking of property or valuable security must have some connection with the marriage of the parties and a correlation between the giving or taking of property or valuable security with the marriage of the parties is essential. Being a penal provision it has to be strictly constructed. Dowry is a fairly well known social custom or practice in India. It is well settled principle of interpretation of Statute that if the Act is passed with reference to a particular trade, business or transaction and words are used which everybody conversant with that trade, business or transaction knows or understands to have a particular meaning in it, then the words are to be construed as having that particular meaning.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

60. In view of the same, a demand for money on account of some financial stringency or for meeting some urgent domestic expenses or for purchasing manure was not termed as a demand for dowry in the said Appasaheb case (Supra). In the said case it was further held that the evidence adduced by the prosecution does not, therefore, show that any demand for ‘dowry’ as defined in Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act was made by the appellants as what was allegedly asked for was some money for meeting domestic expenses and for purchasing manure. Since an essential ingredient of Section 304 B IPC viz. Demand for dowry is not established the conviction of the appellants cannot be sustained.

61. A careful analysis of the above­referred definitions would show that dowry would include that property or valuable security which is actually given or which is agreed to be given, in relation to the marriage of person in question. The property or valuable security may be given or may be agreed to be given before marriage or at the time of marriage or at any time after the marriage, so long as it is connected with the marriage. But there has to be a link between the property given or agreed to be given at the time of marriage, which is missing in the present case.

62. In the present case, it is admitted by PW10 Smt.Bimlesh that at the time of marriage, there was no demand from the side of accused persons.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

63. A careful analysis of the above­referred definitions would show that the demand of money which has been proved in the present case, would not come within the definition of word “Dowry” within the meaning of Section 304B of IPC as it was not given or agreed to be given in connection with the marriage of the said parties within the meaning of Section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act.

64. The mere fact that the person demanding was husband and mother in law would not suffice to bring the said demand within the meaning of Section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act. The said demand was not for consideration of marriage within the meaning of the said Act. The only fact that the parties are related to each other through marriage is not a ground to invoke Section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act in the circumstances of the case.

65. Hence, in view of the above discussion, it is proved that the prosecution has failed to prove its case against all the accused persons u/s 304B of IPC and hence they are acquitted for the said offence.

IN NUTSHELL

66. In nutshell, accused Arvind and Anita are convicted for the offence u/s 498A/34 IPC and they are acquitted for the offence u/s 304B/34 IPC. Remaining accused persons i.e. Gopal, Arun Sharma, Mamta Sharma, Devki, Soniya, Hari Om and Ram Kumar are acquitted for the offence u/s 498A/304B/34 IPC.

FIR No. 232/2015 PS Begum Pur State vs. Arvind Sharma and ors.

67. All the accused persons are directed to furnish bond u/s 437A CrPC in the sum of Rs. 10,000/­ with one surety each of like amount. Requisite bonds have been furnished onbehalf of all the accused except accused Arvind Sharma and Anita on whose behalf time is sought for furnishing the bonds.

68. Put up for hearing on sentence and for furnishing bond u/s 437A Cr.P.C on behalf of accused Arvind Sharma and Anita on 02/02/2019.

                                                                 Digitally
                                                                 signed by
                                                                 DEEPAK
                                                  DEEPAK         GARG
                                                  GARG           Date:
Announced in the open court                                      2019.02.01
                                                                 15:22:58
                                                                 +0530
on this 1st day of February, 2019.
                                                (DEEPAK GARG)
                                              ASJ­02, NORTH­WEST
                                                ROHINI, DELHI





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