Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Quash 498a’

CALCUTTA HC:- Coming with unclean hands – disqualifies litigant from obtaining any relief

September 24, 2014 Leave a comment

“….the contesting respondent has come to the High Court with unclean hands and withholds a vital document in order to gain advantage on the other side. In our opinion, he would be guilty of playing fraud on the Court as well as on the opposite party. A person whose case is based on falsehood can be summarily thrown out at any stage of the litigation. We have no hesitation to say that a person whose case is based on falsehood has no right to

approach the Court and he can be summarily thrown out at any stage of the litigation…………”

Pls refer the entire Judgment below

IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA

Criminal Revisional Jurisdiction Appellate Side

PRESENT:THE HON’BLE MR JUSTICE KALIDAS MUKHERJEE

CRR NO. 999 OF 2006

Md. Ashiruddin & Anr.
Vs.
State of West Begal & Anr.

For the Petitioner :Mr. Milon Mukherjee, Sr. Adv. Mr. Lutful Haque,Ms. Ameena Kabir

For the State : Mrs. Krishna Ghosh

HEARD ON: 18.03.2008.

JUDGMENT ON:25.03.2008

KALIDAS MUKHERJEE, J.:

1. This is an application under Section 482 read with Section 300 Cr.P.C. praying for quashing of Hanskhali P.S. Case No. 281 dated 06.12.2005 under Section 498A/34 I.P.C. pending in the Court of learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ranaghat, District – Nadia.

2. The petitioner No. 1 is a retired Sub-Inspector of Police and the petitioner No. 2 is a Constable. The first wife of petitioner No. 1 died and thereafter he again married O.P. No. 2 Rojina Bibi on 25.06.2004 according to Muslim Shariat Laws and both of them were leading conjugal life in village Murcha, P.S. Khargram, District – Murshidabad. O.P. No. 2 was a widow at the time of her marriage with petitioner No. 1 and had a son and two daughters out of her previous marriage. The petitioner No. 1 used to reside in Krishnanagar where he was posted and the O.P. No. 2 was residing in village Morcha. There was difference of opinion between the spouses. O.P. No. 2 filed a case against the petitioner No. 1 under Section 498A/325 I.P.C. being Kotwali P.S. Case No. 95/2005 dated 06.4.2005. Charge sheet was issued on 15.4.2005 being C.S. No. 80/2005 under Section 498A I.P.C. The O.P. No. 2 complained of mental and physical torture. On 11.4.2005 O.P. No. 2 made an affidavit before the learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Krishnanagar stating that she had no complaint against her husband whatsoever. In the affidavit she stated that when she went to Krishnanagar, a person took her signatures on some blank sheets and taking advantage of that filed a case against her husband. She also stated that her husband never committed torture upon her physically or mentally and that they had been leading a happy conjugal life. On 9th June, 2005 the petitioner No. 1 was discharged by the learned S.D.J.M., Krishnanagar on the basis of affidavit made on 11.4.2005. Thereafter the petitioner No. 1 divorced to the O.P. No. 2 on 04.8.2005 and communicated the same by registered post with A.D. dated 13.8.2005 and 18.8.2005, but, the registered letter dated 18.8.2005 came back to the petitioner as ‘refused’ by the O.P. No. 2. O.P. No. 2 filed a case in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Krishnanagar on 29.8.2005 under Section 498A/34 I.P.C. against the petitioners, but, no effective step was taken thereof. The O.P. No. 2 also filed a case in the Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Krishnanagar against the petitioner No. 1 under Section 125 Cr.P.C. being case No. 481 of 2004. The O.P. No. 2 also filed another case under Section 498A/34 I.P.C. (G.R. No. 1343 of 2005) Hnaskhali P.S. Case No. 281 dated 06.12.2005, in the Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ranaghat. The allegations raised against the petitioners are false and concocted. The continuance of proceeding under Section 498A/34 I.P.C. in Hanskhali P.S. Case NO. 281 dated 06.12.2005 is unwarranted and will be the abuse of the process of the Court. In view of the discharge of the petitioner No. 1 from earlier case being Kotwali P.S. Case No. 95 of 2005, the instant case being Hanskhali P.S. Case No. 281 dated 06.12.2005 under Section 498A/34 I.P.C. cannot proceed and the same is not maintainable. Under the circumstances, the petitioner has filed the instant application praying for quashing of the proceeding under Section 482 Cr.P.C.

3. Mr. Mukherjee appearing on behalf of the petitioners submits that the earlier case ended in discharge on 09.6.2005 passed by learned S.D.J.M., Krishnanagar in G.R. Case No. 408 of 2005, Kotwali P.S. Case No. 95 of 2005. Mr. Mukherjee submits that the divorce was effected on 04.8.2005 when the factum of divorce was communicated to O.P. No. 2 herein. Mr. Mukherjee contends that same allegation as made in the earlier complaint was raised against the petitioner No. 1 herein in the subsequent petition of complaint which was sent to P.S. under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. on 06.12.2005 bearing Hanskhali P.S. Case No. 281 dated 06.12.2005. Mr. Mukherjee contends that there is no allegation under Section 406 I.P.C. in the instant case and, moreover, there is suppression of material facts in the subsequent complaint being Hanskhali P.S. Case No. 281 date 06.12.2005. Mr. Mukherjee contends that when the petitioner No. 1 was discharged in the earlier case which ended in his discharge on 09.6.2005, the subsequent case on the same allegations bearing Hanskhali P.S. Case No. 281 dated 06.12.2005 is not maintainable. Regarding the suppression of material facts viz. discharge of the petitioner No. 1 in the earlier case, Mr. Mukherjee has referred to and relied on the decisions reported in 2005 SCC (Cri)1322 [MCD Vs. State of Delhi and another] para 21 and (2004)7 SCC 166 [S.J.S. Business Enterprises (P) Ltd. V. State of Bihar and others] para 13.

4. Mrs. Ghosh appearing on behalf of the State submits that the petitioner No. 1 herein was the Sub-Inspector of Police and regarding the alleged torture meted out to O.P. No. 2, there are medical reports and statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. It is contended that it is not clear whether there was divorce or not by way of Talaknama. As regards the allegation of torture under Section 498A I.P.C. on the same facts in the subsequent case, Mrs. Ghosh contends that the manner of alleged torture upon O.P. No. 2 in the second case was different and there is added period of alleged torture. Mrs. Ghosh contends that O.P. No. 2 was assaulted by the petitioner No. 1 as per allegation and in view of the medical reports and the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C., there is no ground to quash the proceedings pending in the learned Court below. Mrs. Ghosh contends that the petitioner No. 1 herein can raise such question in the Trial Court at the appropriate stage, but, not in the instant application under Section 482 Cr.P.C.

5. From the F.I.R. of Kotwali P.S. Case No. 95 of 2005 dated 06.4.2005 G.R. No. 408 of 2005 it appears that the occurrence of the alleged offence was after the marriage till the date of lodging the F.I.R. i.e. 06.4.2005. It further appears that the said case bearing No. 408 of 2005 ended in the discharge of the accused under Section 245 Cr.P.C. The learned Magistrate considered the affidavit filed by the defacto-complainant in the said case wherein it was stated that she was leading her conjugal life happily with her husband. On hearing the defacto-complaint and considering the contentions raised in the affidavit, the learned Magistrate recorded the order of discharge under Section 245 Cr.P.C. Subsequently, the instant case bearing Hanskhali P.S. Case No. 281 dated 06.12.2005 was started. The petition of complaint was sent to the P.S. under Section 156(3) Cr.P.C. and the F.I.R. was registered bearing No. 281 dated 06.12.2005. In the said petition of complaint the occurrence of the alleged offence was after marriage extending up to 24.8.2005. It is, therefore, clear that the period of alleged torture as per the subsequent complaint also includes the period of torture as raised in the earlier complaint which ended in discharge of the accused. By filing the affidavit stating that she was living happily with her husband which enabled the Court to record order of discharge, the defacto complainant put an end to the allegation of torture as raised in the earlier petition of complaint and, as such, the same allegation over the same period cannot be reopened.

6. Secondly, in the second petition of complaint there is no whisper about the contention raised in the earlier complaint and the order of discharge made therein. Mr. Mukherjee in this connection has referred to the decision reported in 2005 SCC (Cri) 1322 para 21 (Supra). The observation of the Hon’ble Apex Court made in para 21 of the aforesaid decision is quoted hereunder:-

“This apart, the respondent did not also disclose the fact in the criminal revision filed before the High Court that he has also been convicted in another Criminal Case No. 202 of 1997 by the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House, New Delhi. Thus, the contesting respondent has come to the High Court with unclean hands and withholds a vital document in order to gain advantage on the other side. In our opinion, he would be guilty of playing fraud on the Court as well as on the opposite party. A person whose case is based on falsehood can be summarily thrown out at any stage of the litigation. We have no hesitation to say that a person whose case is based on falsehood has no right to

approach the Court and he can be summarily thrown out at any stage of the litigation…………”

The observation of the Hon’ble Apex Court made in the decision reported in (2004)7 SCC 166 para 13 (Supra) is quoted hereunder:- “As a general rule, suppression of a material fact by a litigant disqualifies such litigant from obtaining any relief. This rule has been evolved out of the need of the Courts to deter a litigant from abusing the process of Court by deceiving it. But the suppressed fact must be a material one in the sense that had it not been suppressed it would have had an effect on the merits of the case…………”

7. Since in the subsequent petition of complaint there is no whisper about the earlier petition of complaint followed by the order of discharge of the accused persons, such non-disclosure amounts to suppression of material facts, inasmuch as, had it not been suppressed, it would have an effect on the merits of the case. Following the ratio of the aforesaid decisions, I find that it is a fit case for quashing of the proceedings in the exercise of the jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. The application under Section 482 read with Section 300 Cr.P.C. is allowed. Accordingly, the proceedings of Hanskhali P.S. Case No. 281 dated 06.12.2005 under Section 498A/34 I.P.C. pending in the Court of learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ranaghat stand quashed.

8. Let a copy of this order be sent to the learned Court below immediately.

9. Urgent Xerox certified copy of this order, if applied for, be handed over to the parties as early as possible.

( Kalidas Mukherjee, J. )

Advertisements

SC- Family members acquitted u/s 498a and 304B of IPC.

What is a little disturbing about this case is that it is illustrative of the slow movement of the wheels of criminal justice delivery. The dowry death took place on 6th September, 1989. The Trial Court pronounced its decision on
3rd December, 1991 within two years of Janki Devi’s death.

The first appeal was decided by the High Court on 5th July, 2004 which is more than twelve years later. A petition for
special leave to appeal was filed in this Court in 2004 and  leave was granted only after a gap of four years in 2008.
Thereafter this appeal was listed for hearing as if it is an  appeal of 2008 rather than a petition of 2004 thereby wiping
away four years of its age in this Court. And even then, it has taken another five years for its disposal, making a total of nine years spent in this Court. It is high time those of us who are judges of this Court and decision makers also become policy makers.

 

 

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1022 OF 2008

Bhola Ram …..Appellant
Versus
State of Punjab …..Respondent
J U D G M E N T
Madan B. Lokur, J.

1. The question for consideration is whether the appellant  Bhola Ram was rightly convicted by both the Trial Court and
the High Court for having caused the dowry death of Janki  Devi, an offence punishable under Section 304-B and Section
498-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In our opinion, Bhola Ram deserves an acquittal since there is no evidence inculpating him.

The facts:
2. Darshan Ram married Janki Devi on 30th June, 1986  after which they resided in Darshan Ram’s house in village
Mehma Sarja. The couple has a female child.

3. At the time of their marriage, Janki Devi’s family gave  dowry within their means to Darshan Ram and his family.
But according to the prosecution, his brothers Parshottam  Ram and Bhola Ram (the appellant) and his sister Krishna
Devi and mother Vidya Devi demanded more dowry from time to time.

4. Janki Devi’s family was unable to fulfill the additional  demands for dowry and, according to the prosecution, she
was humiliated and cruelly treated by Darshan Ram’s family  for their incapacity. Being unable to face the harassment,
cruelty and humiliation meted out by Darshan Ram’s family,  Janki Devi consumed poison and thereby committed suicide
on 6th September, 1989.

5. About one and a half months before her death, a  demand for Rs. 10,000/- was made by Janki Devi’s in-laws for
the purchase of a car. Janki Devi’s father PW-2 Nath Ram  borrowed this amount from PW-1 Nirbhai Singh for meeting
the dowry demand. The amount was then handed over by  him to Darshan Ram in the presence of other members of his
family.

6. Unfortunately, Darshan Ram’s family was not fully  satisfied with this payment. According to the prosecution,  about a fortnight before her death, Janki Devi came to her  father and told him that there was a further demand for an  amount of Rs. 30,000/- for purchasing some articles for a  service station proposed to be run by Darshan Ram and Bhola Ram. Thereupon, Nath Ram accompanied Janki Devi to her matrimonial home and informed Darshan Ram and the other accused that he would not be able to pay this amount.
On this, Darshan Ram’s family informed him that he should pay the amount failing which he could take Janki Devi back
with him. Nath Ram requested the family not to insist on the demand and left Janki Devi at her matrimonial home in
village Mehma Sarja.

7. On 3rd September, 1989 PW-3 Des Raj, the brother of Nath Ram’s wife, informed Nath Ram about Janki Devi being
ill-treated on account of Nath Ram’s inability to meet the additional demand for dowry. Again on 5th September, 1989
Des Raj informed Nath Ram that Janki Devi wanted to meet Nath Ram and was weeping in his presence.

8. On receiving this information, Nath Ram went to village Mehma Sarja along with his brother PW-4 Sukhdev Ram.
When they reached the bus stand in the village they were informed that Janki Devi had consumed poison and had
taken her life, having suffered more than enough cruelty at the hands of the family of Darshan Ram. Nath Ram and
Sukhdev Ram then proceeded to Janki Devi’s matrimonial home and found her lying there but no one from Darshan
Ram’s family was present in the matrimonial home.

9. Nath Ram then lodged a First Information Report (FIR) in Police Station Nehianwala. On the basis of the FIR PW-7
Manminder Singh prepared an inquest report in the presence of Sukhdev Ram. On the next day, that is 7th September,
1989 PW-5 Dr. Tirath Goyal performed an autopsy on the dead body of Janki Devi. He noted that froth was coming out
from her nose and mouth. Her viscera were sent to the Chemical Examiner who reported that Janki Devi had died due to having consumed an organo phosphorus insecticide which was poisonous and sufficient to cause death in the
ordinary course of nature.

10. On the basis of the above details and further investigations, a charge sheet was filed against Darshan Ram and four members of his family (including Bhola Ram) under Section 304-B and Section 498-A of the IPC for causing the dowry death of Janki Devi.

11. The accused pleaded not guilty and were tried by the Sessions Judge at Bathinda.Decision of the Trial Judge

12. In his Judgment and Order dated 3rd December, 1991 the Sessions Judge at Bathinda in Sessions Case No. 35 of
15th May, 1990 held that Section 304-B of the IPC required the prosecution to establish four ingredients, namely: (i) the
death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances, (ii) such
death should have occurred within seven years of her marriage, (iii) soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband, and (iv) such cruelty or harassment should be for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry. In the present case, all four ingredients were established by the prosecution.

13. It was further held that Darshan Ram, Bhola Ram and  their mother Vidya Devi were living together in the same
house at village Mehma Sarja and that they had demanded additional dowry from Janki Devi’s family. However,
Parshottam Ram and Krishna Devi were living separately and they could not be said to have caused the dowry death of
Janki Devi. Consequently, Parshottam Ram and Krishna Devi were found not guilty of the charges framed against them
and they were acquitted. However, the Sessions Judge found that Darshan Ram, Bhola Ram and Vidya Devi, by their
attitude and behaviour, caused Janki Devi to take the extreme step of taking her own life. These three accused were accordingly convicted for offences punishable under Section 304-B and Section 498-A of the IPC and sentenced to
undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 7 years with fine for the offence under Section 304-B of the IPC and 2 years rigorous imprisonment for the offence under Section 498-A of the IPC.

14. The accused preferred two appeals (one by Vidya Devi and the other by Darshan Ram and Bhola Ram) against their
conviction and sentence in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. Decision of the High Court

15. In so far as Vidya Devi is concerned, her conviction was upheld by the High Court and she preferred a Special Leave
Petition in this Court. She was granted special leave to appeal but during the pendency of her appeal she passed
away and accordingly her appeal was disposed of.

16. Darshan Ram and Bhola Ram preferred a joint appeal in the High Court being Criminal Appeal No. 25 SB of 1992.
This appeal was heard by a learned Single Judge who by his Judgment and Order dated 5th July, 2004 upheld their
conviction and sentence.

17. The High Court held that Vidya Devi, Darshan Ram and Bhola Ram were all residing together in the same house at
village Mehma Sarja. It was held that the amount of Rs. 10,000/- initially taken from Nath Ram was used to purchase
a car for Darshan Ram and that car was being plied as a taxi by him. It was also held that a service station was at the
initial stages of being established by Darshan Ram and Bhola Ram and that they needed Rs. 30,000/- for expenses in
connection with that venture. Since all three convicts were residing together at village Mehma Sarja, they were equally
responsible for demanding additional dowry from Janki Devi and her father and thereby compelling her to take her life.

18. It appears that Darshan Ram has not challenged the  Judgment and Order of the learned Single Judge and his
conviction and sentence have attained finality.

19. We are, therefore, only concerned with the appeal filed  by Bhola Ram who challenged his conviction and sentence in
this Court and was granted special leave to appeal on 8th July, 2008. He was also granted bail by this Court on the
same day and we are told that even today, he is on bail.

Discussion
20. Learned counsel for Bhola Ram submitted that in fact there is no specific allegation against him. The statements of all the witnesses are omnibus or generic in nature and Darshan Ram and other members of his family have been generally accused of having demanded additional dowry from Janki Devi’s family. It is submitted that in the absence of any particular allegation, demands for dowry made by Darshan Ram cannot be attributed to Bhola Ram and under these circumstances, there is really no evidence to uphold his conviction.

21. On the other hand, it was submitted by learned counsel for the State that the three convicts were jointly and directly
concerned with the demands of additional dowry made on Janki Devi and her family. Consequently, it is not possible to
segregate the case of Bhola Ram from that of the other two convicts.

22. We are unable to accept the contention of learned counsel for the State. The Sessions Judge found that there was no evidence that Parshottam Ram and Krishna Devi made demands for additional dowry from Nath Ram. Accordingly, they were acquitted at the trial stage itself.  Therefore, the segregation process, based on the evidence on record, had begun at the trial stage. This is clearly because in a dowry death, some actors play an active role while others play a passive role. Consequntly, to sustain the conviction of Bhola Ram, there must be some suggestive evidence and not generic evidence implicating him in the demand for additional dowry from Nath Ram.

23. As observed by the Law Commission of India (LCI) in its 91st Report of 10th August, 1983 (in paragraph 1.8) the truth
may not come in a dowry death case due to the sequestered nature of the offence. This is what the LCI said:
“Those who have studied crime and its incidence know
that once a serious crime is committed, detection is a
difficult matter and still more difficult is successful
prosecution of the offender. Crimes that lead to dowry
deaths are almost invariably committed within the safe
precincts of a residential house. The criminal is a
member of the family; other members of the family (if
residing in the same house) are either guilty associates
in crime, or silent but conniving witnesses to it. In any
case, the shackles of the family are so strong that truth
may not come out of the chains. There would be no
other eye witnesses, except for members of the
family.”

24. This passage also clearly brings out that in a case of a dowry death, every member of the family may not be fully and equally guilty. The degree of involvement may differ – as an associate, as a silent witness, as a conniving witness and
so on.

25. So far as this case is concerned, we have gone through the evidence of all the witnesses on record and while there is
no doubt that Janki Devi died an unnatural death within a few years of her marriage to Darshan Ram, no definite
allegation has been made by any of the witnesses including Nath Ram or anybody from his family that Bhola Ram had
demanded any additional dowry from him or anybody in his family or had treated Janki Devi with cruelty or in a
humiliating manner so as to make him complicit in the dowry death.

26. In Kans Raj v. State of Punjab, (2000) 5 SCC 2007  the ingredients of an offence under Section 304-B of the IPC
were held to be as follows:
“In order to seek a conviction against a person for the
offence of dowry death, the prosecution is obliged to
prove that:
(a) the death of a woman was caused by burns or
bodily injury or had occurred otherwise than under
normal circumstances;
Crl. Appeal No.1022 of 2008 Page 11 of 17Page 12
(b) such death should have occurred within 7
years of her marriage;
(c) the deceased was subjected to cruelty or
harassment by her husband or by any relative of
her husband;
(d) such cruelty or harassment should be for or in
connection with the demand of dowry; and
(e) to such cruelty or harassment the deceased
should have been subjected soon before her
death.”
27. It is true that there was a demand of dowry of Rs.10,000/- which was paid by Nath Ram by borrowing this amount from Nirbhai Singh, but that demand was for the purchase of a car for use by Darshan Ram. Under the circumstances, it can safely be presumed that Darshan Ram made the demand for additional dowry for his benefit. Bhola Ram may have been a silent or a passively conniving participant, but there is nothing on record to suggest that he had either actively made such a demand or that the demanded amount was sought to be utilized for his benefit either directly or indirectly.

28. Similarly, the evidence on record does not show that the demand of another amount of Rs.30,000/- from Nath Ram just a fortnight before Janki Devi took her life was made by Bhola Ram to purchase articles for the service station being set up by him and Darshan Ram at village Nehianwala.
At best, it could be said that this amount was intended for use for the joint business venture of Bhola Ram and Darshan
Ram. Given that the earlier demand for additional dowry was made for the benefit of Darshan Ram, it is more than likely
that this demand was also made by him. In any event, there is again nothing to suggest that Bhola Ram was in any
manner actively concerned in making the demand directly or indirectly from Nath Ram.

29. Consequently, we do not find any evidence to suggest any active complicity of Bhola Ram in demanding any additional dowry from Nath Ram either for himself or for Darshan Ram or his proposed business venture.

30. Merely making a demand for dowry is not enough to bring about a conviction under Section 304-B of the IPC. As
held in Kans Raj a dowry death victim should also have been treated with cruelty or harassed for dowry either by her husband or a relative. In this case, even assuming the silent or conniving participation of Bhola Ram in the demands for
dowry, there is absolutely no evidence on record to suggest that he actively or passively treated Janki Devi with cruelty
or harassed her in connection with, or for, dowry. The HighCourt has, unfortunately, not adverted to this ingredient of
an offence punishable under Section 304-B of the IPC or even considered it.
31. The High Court has relied on the presumption available under Section 113-B of the Evidence Act, 1872 to conclude
that Janki Devi’s death was a dowry death. However, this presumption cannot be stretched to implicate all and sundry
in Darshan Ram’s family in demanding additional dowry from Janki Devi’s family and harassing her and treating her with
such cruelty that she had to resort to taking her life. As mentioned above, there is a possibility of members of the  family having varying roles, active and passive. Depending on the nature and extent of involvement, a person may be
punished for an offence under Section 498-A or Section 304-B or Section 306 of the IPC or Section 4 of the Dowry
Prohibition Act, 1961. A dowry death will not ipso facto suck the husband with all his relatives into the net of Section 304-
B of the IPC.

32. It was contended by learned counsel for the State that Darshan Ram, Bhola Ram and Vidya Devi were living
together at village Mehma Sarja and so their active involvement in the dowry death cannot be ruled out. While these persons may be staying together, it does not lead to any positive conclusion that each one of them was actively involved in demanding additional dowry from Janki Devi and also behaving in a cruel or humiliating manner towards her resulting in her consuming poison to end her life. In cases of this nature which attract a reverse onus of proof, the least that is expected of the prosecution to bring home a charge under Section 304-B of the IPC is to adduce some evidence to suggestively implicate a relative, in this case, to suggestively implicate Bhola Ram both in the demands for additional dowry and harassment or cruelty. Such evidence is not available on record and so the mere fact that all the members of Darshan Ram’s family were living together at village Mehma Sarja, would not alter the factual situation.

33. Consequently, in the absence of the prosecution proving the ingredients of Section 304-B of the IPC, the initial burden cast on it has not been discharged. Therefore, the presumption under Section 113-B of the Evidence Act cannot be attracted.
Conclusion
34. Based on the evidence available on record (or the lack of it) we have no doubt that the appeal filed by Bhola Ram
ought to be allowed. It is accordingly allowed and he is acquitted of the charges against him under Section 304-B and Section 498-A of the IPC in relation to the death of Janki Devi.

35. The appeal is allowed and the conviction and sentence of Bhola Ram is set aside.

Post script
36. What is a little disturbing about this case is that it is illustrative of the slow movement of the wheels of criminal
justice delivery. The dowry death took place on 6th September, 1989. The Trial Court pronounced its decision on 3rd December, 1991 within two years of Janki Devi’s death.

The first appeal was decided by the High Court on 5th July, 2004 which is more than twelve years later. A petition for
special leave to appeal was filed in this Court in 2004 and leave was granted only after a gap of four years in 2008.
Thereafter this appeal was listed for hearing as if it is an appeal of 2008 rather than a petition of 2004 thereby wiping
away four years of its age in this Court. And even then, it has taken another five years for its disposal, making a total of
nine years spent in this Court. It is high time those of us who are judges of this Court and decision makers also become
policy makers.

….…….……………………..J.
(Ranjana Prakash
Desai)
….…….……………………..J.
(Madan B. Lokur)
New Delhi;
November 11, 2013

Categories: 498A Tags: ,

Supreme Court:- Wife, separated for years, cannot sue husband for torture.

September 2, 2013 1 comment

“Issue no. 2 relates to the applicability of 498A I.P.C. As it has been alleged by the complainant that she had been given physical and mental torture by the appellant and it was not possible for her to stay with the appellant after 1993 though she was having seven months’ pregnancy at that time. She gave birth to a male child in the hospital and the appellant did not even come to see the child. The question would arise as to whether in the facts and circumstances where the complainant had left the matrimonial home and started living with her father in 1993, could a case be registered against the appellant under Section 498A I.P.C. in 1997?”

 

 

Reportable

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 299 OF 2003

MANJU RAM KALITA …. Appellant

Versus

STATE OF ASSAM …. Respondent

 

J U D G M E N T

 

Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.

 

1. This Appeal has been preferred against the Judgment and Order dated 21 December, 2001 of the High Court of Gauhati in Criminal Revision (P) No. 578 of 2000 by which the High Court concurred with the finding of facts, recorded by the Trial Court dated 22.12.1999 passed by the Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kamrup, Guwahati in Case No. G.R.1957/1997; and of the Appellate Court, the Sessions Judge, Kamrup dated 13.10.2000 passed in Criminal Appeal No.3 of 2000 that the appellant was guilty of committing the offences under Sections 494 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code (in short “I.P.C”) and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 2 years u/S 498A and for 3 years u/S 494 I.P.C. However, both the sentences were directed to run concurrently.

 

2. The facts and circumstances giving rise to this appeal are that the appellant, a Government servant, got married with Smt. Minati Das (Kalita), the complainant on 5.2.1992 as per Hindu rites. Smt. Minati Das (Kalita) gave birth to a male child on 10.3.1993. However, the relationship between the husband and wife were not cordial as it was alleged by the wife that she was being tortured mentally and physically by the Appellant. She left the matrimonial home and started living with her father and was residing therein since 1993. In 1997, she came to know that the appellant got married with one Ranju Sarma on 2.2.1997 at Tukeswari Temple. Thus, she filed an FIR against the appellant.

 

3. The appellant was charged under Sections 498A/494 IPC by CJM, Guwahati. The appellant defended himself before the Trial Court denying all the charges. However, considering the evidence on record, the Trial Court found both the charges proved against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt and after convicting him, for the said offences, awarded the sentences as mentioned here-in- above, vide judgment and order dated 22.12.1999. (Annexure P-12)

 

4. Being aggrieved, the appellant preferred Appeal No.3 of 2000 which was dismissed by the Appellate Court vide Judgment and Order dated 13.10.2000 (Annexure P-13).

 

5. The appellant further approached Gauhati High Court by filing Criminal Revision (P) No. 578 of 2000 which has been dismissed by the impugned Judgment and Order dated 21 st December, 2001. Hence, this Appeal.

 

6. Shri S.K. Bhattacharya, learned counsel appearing for the appellant has raised all the contentions which the appellant has raised before the courts below, inter alia, that there was no valid marriage with Smt. Ranju Sarma as the marriage had taken place before a Hindu Deity and that there was no case of mental or physical torture to bring home the charges under Section 498A IPC. Thus, the appeal deserved to be allowed.

 

7. On the contrary, Mr. Riku Sharma, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent State submitted that there are concurrent finding of facts by three courts below so far as the issue of marriage of the appellant with Smt. Ranju Sarma is concerned. This Court should not interfere with the findings so recorded, being the fourth court entertaining this matter. So far as the attraction of the provisions of Section 498 A is concerned, it was submitted that the appellant subjected the complainant (legally wedded wife) to physical and mental torture and agony; thus the charges have rightly been found proved against him by all the three courts. Therefore, there is no occasion for this Court to interfere in the matter. The appeal is liable to be dismissed.

 

8. We have considered the rival submissions made by learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.

 

9. So far as issue no. 1 is concerned i.e. as to whether the appellant got married with Smt. Ranju Sarma, is a pure question of fact. All the three courts below have given concurrent finding regarding the factum of marriage and its validity. It has been held to be a valid marriage.

 

10. It is settled legal proposition that if the courts below have recorded the finding of fact, the question of re-appreciation of evidence by the third court does not arise unless it is found to be totally perverse. The higher court does not sit as a regular court of appeal. It’s function is to ensure that law is being properly administered. Such a court cannot embark upon fruitless task of determining the issues by re-appreciating the evidence. This Court would not ordinarily interfere with the concurrent findings on pure questions of fact and review the evidence again unless there are exceptional circumstances justifying the departure from the normal practice. The position may undoubtedly be different if the inference is one of law from the facts admitted and proved or where the finding of fact is materially affected by violation of any rule of law or procedure. (Vide Firm Sriniwas Ram Kumar Vs. Mahabir Prasad & Ors.; AIR 1951 SC 177; M/s. Tulsi Das Khimji Vs. The Workmen, AIR 1963 SC 1007; and Pentakota Satyanarayana & Ors. Vs. Pentakota Seetharatnam & Ors., AIR 2005 SC 4362).

 

11. Where the court below considered the material facts and did not take into consideration any inadmissible evidence etc., the interference is not required by court on third instance. (vide Madhavan Nair vs. Bhaskar Pillai, (2005) 10 SCC 553.)

 

12. Thus, it is evident from the above that this Court being the fourth Court should not interfere with the exercise of discretion by the courts below as the said courts have exercised their discretion in good faith giving due weight to relevant material and without being swayed by any irrelevant material. Even if two views are possible on the question of fact, we, being the fourth court, should not interfere even though we may exercise discretion differently had the case come before us initially.

 

13. In view of the above, we are not inclined to interfere with the finding of fact so far as the issue of bigamy is concerned nor the quantum of punishment on this count required to be interfered with.

 

14. Issue no. 2 relates to the applicability of 498A I.P.C. As it has been alleged by the complainant that she had been given physical and mental torture by the appellant and it was not possible for her to stay with the appellant after 1993 though she was having seven months’ pregnancy at that time. She gave birth to a male child in the hospital and the appellant did not even come to see the child. The question would arise as to whether in the facts and circumstances where the complainant had left the matrimonial home and started living with her father in 1993, could a case be registered against the appellant under Section 498A I.P.C. in 1997?

 

15. The provisions of Section 498A IPC read as under:

“498A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty. – Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation. – For the purposes of this section ‘cruelty’ means–

(a) any welful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman;

(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her to any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.”

Cruelty has been defined by the explanation added to the Section itself. The basic ingredients of Section 498A I.P.C. are cruelty and harassment. In the instant case, as the allegation of demand of dowry is not there, we are not concerned with clause (b) of the explanation. The elements of cruelty so far as clause (a) is concerned, have been classified as follows:

(i) any ‘wilful’ conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide; or

(ii) any ‘wilful’ conduct which is likely to cause grave injury to the woman; or

(iii) any ‘wilful’ act which is likely to cause danger to life, limb or health, whether physical or mental of the woman.

 

16. In S. Hanumantha Rao v. S. Ramani, AIR 1999 SC 1318, this Court considered the meaning of cruelty in the context of the provisions under Section13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and observed that:

“mental cruelty broadly means, when either party causes mental pain, agony or suffering of such a magnitude that it severs the bond between the wife and husband and as a result of which it becomes impossible for the party who has suffered to live with the other party. In other words, the party who has committed wrong is not expected to live with the other party.”

 

17. In V. Bhagat v. Mrs. D. Bhagat, AIR 1994 SC 710, this court, while dealing with the issue of cruelty in the context of Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, observed as under:

“17. …….It is not necessary to prove that the mental cruelty is such as to cause injury to the health of the petitioner. While arriving at such conclusion, regard must be had to the social status, educational level of the parties, the society they move in, the possibility or otherwise of the parties ever living together in case they are already living apart and all other relevant facts and circumstances which it is neither possible nor desirable to set out exhaustively. What is cruelty in one case may not amount to cruelty in another case. It is a matter to be determined in each case having regard to the facts and circumstances of that case. If it is a case of accusations and allegations, regard must also be had to the context in which they were made……….. The context and the set up in which the word ‘cruelty’ has been used in the section seems to us, that intention is not necessary element in cruelty. That word has to be understood in the ordinary sense of the term in matrimonial affairs. If the intention to harm, harass or hurt could be inferred by the nature of the conduct or brutal act complained of, cruelty could be easily established. But the absence of intention should not make any difference in the case, if by ordinary sense in human affairs, the act complained of could otherwise be regarded as cruelty.”

 

18. In Mohd. Hoshan v. State of A.P.; (2002) 7 SCC 414, this Court while dealing with the similar issue held that mental or physical torture should be “continuously” practiced by the accused on the wife. The Court further observed as under :

“Whether one spouse has been guilty of cruelty to the other is essentially a question of fact. The impart of complaints, accusations or taunts on a person amounting to cruelty depends on various factors like the sensitivity of the individual victim concerned, the social background, the environment, education etc. Further, mental cruelty varies from person to person depending on the intensity of sensitivity and the degree of courage or endurance to withstand such mental cruelty. In other words, each case has to be decided on its own facts to decide whether the mental cruelty was established or not.”

 

19. In Smt. Raj Rani v. State (Delhi Administration); AIR 2000 SC 3559, this Court held that while considering the case of cruelty in the context to the provisions of Section 498A I.P.C., the court must examine that allegations/accusations must be of a very grave nature and should be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

 

20. In Sushil Kumar Sharma vs. Union of India, AIR 2005 SC 3100, this Court explained the distinction of cruelty as provided under Section 306 and 498A IPC observing that under Section 498A cruelty committed by the husband or his relation drive woman to commit suicide etc. while under Section 306 IPC, suicide is abated and intended. Therefore, there is a basic difference of the intention in application of the said provisions.

 

21. In Girdhar Shankar Tawade v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 2002 SC 2078; this Court held that “cruelty” has to be understood having a specific statutory meaning provided in Section 498A I.P.C. and there should be a case of continuous state of affairs of torture by one to another.

 

22. “Cruelty” for the purpose of Section 498-A I.P.C. is to be established in the context of S. 498-A IPC as it may be a different from other statutory provisions. It is to be determined/inferedby considering the conduct of the man, weighing the gravity or seriousness of his acts and to find out as to whether it is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide etc. It is to be established that the woman has been subjected to cruelty continuously/persistently or at least in close proximity of time of lodging the complaint. Petty quarrels cannot be termed as ‘cruelty’ to attract the provisions of Section 498-A IPC. Causing mental torture to the extent that it becomes unbearable may be termed as cruelty.

 

23. The instant case required to be examined taking into consideration the aforesaid settled legal provisions. Undoubtedly, there had been complaint by the wife of physical and mental torture upto 1993 when she left the matrimonial home and started living with her father. The complaint of cruelty was lodged by filing an FIR on 23.5.1997 i.e. after four years of leaving the matrimonial home. More so, 11 the mental or physical torture was not continuous on the part of the appellant as there is no complaint against him between 1993 to 1997 i.e. leaving the matrimonial home by the wife and performing the second marriage by the husband.

 

24. The complainant Smt. Minati Das (Kalita) P.W.3 deposed that she had been tortured physically and mentally but there was no allegation that she was subjected to physical or mental torture after the birth of the child in 1993. Similarly, Shri Lakhi Kt. Das (P.W.1), the father of the complainant has not mentioned any incident of physical or mental torture after 1993. None of the witnesses examined in this respect deposed that there was a continuous physical or mental torture and some untoward incident occurred between the husband and wife after 1993.

 

25. The Trial Court, after considering the depositions, came to the conclusion that the appellant being husband of the complainant subjected her to cruelty both mental and physical. But it further held as under:

“No doubt there is no evidence on the record to show that the accused committed harassment on P.W.3 with a view to force her to commit suicide or to fulfil illegal demands of him. The continuous harassment, both physical and mental by the accused made her life miserable and forced her to live separately from her husband.” (Emphasis added)

 

26. The Appellate Court dealt with the issue as under:

“Her specific evidence is that the cruelty both physical and mental was meted to her by her husband after the marriage and this has been well supported by the evidence of the witnesses as discussed above. Her mental torture had reached to such an extent that she had to leave her matrimonial home along with the baby in the womb and this has been well testified in the evidence on record.” (emphasis added)

 

27. The High Court considered the issue and reached the conclusion:

“ The offence u/S 498 A IPC is punishable with imprisonment upto three years only and as such the prosecution is barred u/S468, Cr.P.C. In view of the catena of decisions of the Apex Court, the law is well settled that offence of cruelty to wife is a continuing offence. Hence the fact that the wife was not living with the husband since 1993 is immaterial and mental and other cruelty may be committed even after the parties living separately.”

The High Court further held that during the subsistence of the marriage, the appellant contracted second marriage and started living with the another woman that itself was a cruelty and therefore he was liable for the punishment under Section 498 A.

 

28. Thus, from the above, it is evident that the Trial Court itself had been of the view that there was no evidence of cruelty on the part of the appellant with a view to drive the complainant to commit suicide. The appellate Forum reached the conclusion that mental torture was of the magnitude that the complainant had to leave her matrimonial home during her pregnancy. The Revisional court did not find that the complainant had been subjected to cruelty continuously.

 

29. Thus, in our opinion, all the three courts below erred in not considering the case in correct perspective. The findings so recorded by the Courts below may be relevant for granting the relief in a matrimonial dispute i.e. divorce etc. but could not bring home the charge under Section 498-A IPC.

 

30. Thus, in view of the aforesaid, conviction of the appellant under Section 498-A IPC and punishment for the said offence awarded by the courts below are set aside. However, conviction and sentence under Section 494 IPC are maintained.

 

31. Appeal succeeds to the said extent and disposed of accordingly.

 

New Delhi;

….…………………………….J.

(Dr. Mukundakam Sharma)

…….…………………………….J.

(Dr. B.S. Chauhan)

29 th May, 2009.

Supreme Court: In dowry death cases, the trial courts should not mechanically frame a murder charge against the accused unless there is prima facie evidence supporting the finding.

“The question whether it is murder punishable under Section 302 IPC or a dowry death punishable under Section 304B IPC depends upon the fact, situation and the evidence in the case,” said the apex court bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai in a recent judgment.

“If there is evidence whether direct or circumstantial to prima facie support a charge under Section 302 IPC, the trial court can and indeed ought to frame a charge of murder punishable under Section 302 IPC, which would then be the main charge and not an alternative charge as is erroneously assumed in some quarters,” said Justice Thakur pronouncing the judgment.

If the main charge of murder was not proved against the accused at the trial, the court could look into the evidence to determine whether the alternative charge of dowry death punishable under Section 304B was established, the apex court said.

The ingredients constituting the two offences were different, thereby demanding appreciation of evidence from the perspective relevant to such ingredients, the bench said.

A charge under Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was not a substitute for a charge of murder punishable under Section 302 of the IPC, the court said.

The court said this while clarifying its earlier order of Nov 22, 2010, which was being “mechanically” read to invoke the charge of murder in every dowry death case.

The apex court by its interim order had directed all trial courts to ordinarily add Section 302 of the IPC to the charge under Section 304B “so that death sentences could be imposed in such heinous and barbaric crimes against women”.

Setting aside a Delhi High Court order upholding the addition of murder charges by the trial court in pursuance to the apex court’s Nov 22, 2010, interim order, Justice Thakur and Justice Desai said: “That was not, in our opinion, the true purport of the order passed by this court.”

Clarifying the Nov 22, 2010, interim order, the apex court said: “The direction was not meant to be followed mechanically and without due regard to the nature of the evidence available in the case.”

“All that this court meant to say was that in a case where a charge alleging dowry death is framed, a charge under Section 302 can also be framed if the evidence otherwise permits,” the judgment said.

It is common ground that a charge under Section 304B IPC is not a substitute for a charge of murder punishable under Section 302.

The court said this while addressing the question whether the high court was justified in affirming the trial court decision to add murder charge against Jasvinder Saini and others who were under penal provisions for punishment for cruelty against woman by her husband and his relatives, dowry death and criminal breach of trust.

Initially while framing the charges, the trial court did not find any evidence to invoke the murder charge but added it after the apex court’s Nov 22, 2010, interim order.

Saini and his relatives were named as accused in the case of his wife Chandni’s death under unnatural circumstance.

 

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 819 OF 2013
(Arising out of S.L.P (Crl.) No.8738 of 2011)
Jasvinder Saini & Ors. …Appellants

Versus

State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi) …Respondent

 

REPORTABLE

 
J U D G M E N T

T.S. THAKUR, J.

 
1. Leave granted.

2. The short question that falls for consideration in this appeal by special leave is whether the trial Court was justified in framing a charge under Section 302 of the IPC against the appellants and whether the High Court was justified in affirming that order of the trial Court and dismissing the writ petition filed by the writ petitioners against the same. The question arises in the following background.

3. FIR No. 765/2007 was registered against the appellants alleging commission of offences punishable under Sections 498A, 304-B, 406 and 34 of IPC in connection with the demise in unnatural circumstances of Ms. Chandni wife of appellant No.1-Mr. Jasvinder Saini. The case was registered on a complaint filed Ajay Gautam, father of the deceased. The matter was investigated and a charge sheet filed before the Jurisdictional Magistrate alleging commission of offences mentioned above against the appellants 1 to 4. A supplementary charge sheet followed in which appellants 5 to 8 were also implicated in the case to which Section 302 was also added by the Investigating Officer.
4. The case was soon committed to the Sessions and assigned to the Additional Sessions Judge, Rohini, Delhi, who heard the matter for framing of charges and came to the conclusion that there was no evidence or material on record to justify framing of a charge under Section 302 IPC. Charges were accordingly framed against the appellants under Sections 498A, 304B read with Section 34 IPC.

5. At the trial the prosecution had examined as many as eighteen witnesses, when a two-Judges Bench of this Court passed an order on 22nd November 2010 in Rajibir @ Raju & Anr. v. State of Haryana AIR 2011 SC 568 by which this Court directed all trial Courts in India to add Section 302 in every case alleging commission of an offence punishable under Section 304B of the IPC. This direction, it appears, came because the Court felt strongly about the commission of heinous and barbaric crimes against women
in the country.

6. In Rajbir’s case (supra) the appellant had been convicted under Section 304-B IPC and sentenced to imprisonment for life by the trial Court apart from offences under other sections. The High Court had, however, reduced the sentence to ten years rigorous imprisonment in so far as Rajbir was concerned and to two years rigorous imprisonment in the case of his mother Appellant No.2 in that case. This Court on a prima facie basis felt that the reduction in the sentence was not justified. Relying upon an earlier decision rendered in Satya Narayan Tiwari @ Jolly & Anr. v. State of U.P. (2010) 13 SCC 689, Criminal Appeal No.1168 of 2005 decided on 28th October, 2010 this Court issued notice to Rajbir to show cause why his
sentence be not enhanced to life imprisonment as awarded by the trial Court.

7. It was in the above background, that this Court in para 11 of the interim order passed by it directed all the trial Courts in India to ordinarily add Section 302 to the charge under Section 304B “so that death sentences could be imposed in such heinous and barbaric crimes against women.” Para 11 may be extracted at this stage:
“We further direct all trial Courts in India to ordinarily add Section 302 to the charge of Section 304B, so that death sentences can be imposed in such heinous and barbaric crimes
against women.”

8. In the case at hand the trial Court noticed the above direction and considering itself duty bound to abide by the same added a charge under Section 302 IPC to the one already framed against the appellant. While doing so, the trial Court simply placed reliance upon Section 216 of Cr.P.C. which empowers the Court to add or alter the charge at any stage and the direction of this Court in Rajbir’s case (supra). This is evident from the following passage from the order passed by the trial Court:
“… I have considered the submissions made before me. It is
settled law that charges can be modified/amended at any stage of
the proceedings and even if at the initial stage the Court is of
the view that there is no material for framing the charge under
Section 302 IPC. The same can be added/altered at any later
stage (Section 216 Cr.P.C.) which cannot be termed as a review
of the earlier order. Even otherwise, the directions of the
Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Rajbir @ Raju & Anr. Vs. State
of Haryana in Special Leave Petition bearing No. 9507/2010
decided on 22-11-2010 duly circulated vide No. 33760-
69/DHC/Gaz/G-X/SCJ/2010 dated 3-12-2010, specific directions
have been issued to all the subordinate Courts in India to
ordinarily add Section 302 IPC to the charge under Section 304B
IPC.
Therefore, this being the background, charge under Section 302 IPC is being framed in alternative against the accused persons against whom charge under Section 304 B IPC had been framed. The accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.”

9. Aggrieved by the above direction, the appellant preferred Writ Petition (Crl.) No.413 of 2011 before the High Court of Delhi which failed and was dismissed by the High Court in terms of the order impugned in the present appeal. Placing reliance upon Section 216 of Cr.P.C. the High Court observed that appearance of additional evidence at the trial was not essential for framing of an additional charge or altering a charge already framed though it may be one of the grounds to do so. The High Court apart from placing reliance upon the order passed by this Court in Rajbir’s case (supra) held that a perusal of the Autopsy Surgeon’s Report provided prima facie evidence to the effect that the death of the deceased “could be homicidal” in nature and that the earlier order passed by the trial Court holding that no case for offence under Section 302 IPC was made out did not constitute any impediment for the trial Court to take a different view at a later stage. The present appeal assails the correctness of the above orders.

10. Section 216 of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with alteration or addition of any charge and empowers the Court to do so at any time before the judgment is pronounced. The section runs as follows:

“216. Court may alter charge –

(1) Any Court may alter or add to any charge at any time before judgment is pronounced.

(2) Every such alteration or addition shall be read and explained to the accused.

(3) If the alteration or addition to a charge is such that proceeding immediately with the trial is not likely, in the opinion of the Court, to prejudice the accused in his defense or the prosecutor in the conduct of the case, the Court may, in its discretion, after such alteration or addition has been made, proceed with the trial as if the altered or added charge had been the original charge.

(4) If the alteration or addition is such that proceeding immediately with the trial is likely, in the opinion of the Court, to prejudice the accused or the prosecutor as aforesaid, the Court may either direct a new trial or adjourn the trial for such period as may be necessary.

(5) If the offence stated in the altered or added charge is one for the prosecution of which previous sanction is necessary, the case shall not be proceeded with until such sanction is obtained, unless sanction has been already obtained for a prosecution on the same facts as those on which the altered or
added charge is founded.”

11. A plain reading of the above would show that the Court’s power to alter or add any charge is unrestrained provided such addition and/or alteration is made before the judgment is pronounced. Sub-sections (2) to (5) of Section 216 deal with the procedure to be followed once the Court decides to alter or add any charge. Section 217 of the Code deals with the recall of witnesses when the charge is altered or added by the Court after commencement of the trial. There can in the light of the above be no doubt about the competence of the Court to add or alter a charge at any time before the judgment. The circumstances in which such addition or alteration may be made are not, however, stipulated in Section 216. It is all the same trite that the question of any such addition or alternation would generally arise either because the Court finds the charge already framed to be defective for any reason or because such addition is considered necessary after the commencement of the trial having regard to the evidence that may come before the Court. In the case at hand the evidence assembled in the course of the investigation and presented to the trial Court was not found sufficient to call for framing a charge under Section 302 IPC. The trial Court recorded a specific finding to that effect in its order dated 18th March 2009 while framing charges against the appellants before us. The trial Court said:
“The two witnesses Kiran Devi and Smt. Dharam Kaur were at
the spot when the deceased fell down from the second floor and
did not notice anyone on the roof of the house. Thus there is no
material for framing of charge Under Section 302 IPC against the
accused persons. However, there are specific allegations of
dowry demand and torture in the statement given by Sh. Ajay
Gautam to the SDM and as also in the statements given by his
wife Manisha Gautam and his son Vishal Gautam. The deceased had
died under unnatural circumstances. Her death took place at her
matrimonial home within seven years of her marriage. There is a
presumption Under Section 113-B of the Indian Evidence Act of
dowry death. Hence on the basis of material on record, I am of
the view that prima facie offence Under Section 498A/304B/34 IPC
is made out against all the accused persons.”
12. A reading of the order which the trial Court subsequently passed on 23rd February 2011 directing addition of a charge under Section 302 IPC makes it abundantly clear that the addition was not based on any error or omission whether inadvertent or otherwise in the matter of framing charges against the accused. Even the respondents did not plead that the omission of a charge under Section 302 IPC was on account of any inadvertent or other error or omission on the part of the trial Court. The order passed by the trial Court, on the contrary directed addition of the charge under Section 302 IPC entirely in obedience to the direction issued by this Court in Rajbir’s case (supra). Such being the position when the order passed by the trial Court was challenged before the High Court the only question that fell for determination was whether the addition of a charge under Section 302 IPC was justified on the basis of the direction issued by this Court in Rajbir’s case (supra). The High Court has no doubt adverted to that aspect and found itself to be duty bound to comply with the direction in the same measure as the trial Court. Having said so, it has gone a step further to suggest that the autopsy surgeon’s report was prima facie evidence to show that the offence was homicidal in nature. The High Court has by doing so provided an additional reason to justify the framing of a charge under Section 302 IPC.

13. Be that as it may the common thread running through both the orders is that this Court had in Rajbir’s case (supra) directed the addition of a charge under Section 302 IPC to every case in which the accused are charged with Section 304-B. That was not, in our opinion, the true purport of the order passed by this Court. The direction was not meant to be followed mechanically and without due regard to the nature of the evidence available in the case. All that this Court meant to say was that in a case where a charge alleging dowry death is framed, a charge under Section 302 can also be framed if the evidence otherwise permits. No other meaning could be deduced from the order of this Court. It is common ground that a charge\ under Section 304B IPC is not a substitute for a charge of murder punishable under Section 302. As in the case of murder in every case under Section 304B also there is a death involved. The question whether it is murder punishable under Section 302 IPC or a dowry death punishable under Section 304B IPC depends upon the fact situation and the evidence in the case. If there is evidence whether direct or circumstantial to prima facie support a charge under Section 302 IPC the trial Court can and indeed ought
to frame a charge of murder punishable under Section 302 IPC, which would then be the main charge and not an alternative charge as is erroneously assumed in some quarters. If the main charge of murder is not proved against the accused at the trial, the Court can look into the evidence to determine whether the alternative charge of dowry death punishable under Section 304B is established. The ingredients constituting the two offences are different, thereby demanding appreciation of evidence from the
perspective relevant to such ingredients. The trial Court in that view of the matter acted mechanically for it framed an additional charge under Section 302 IPC without adverting to the evidence adduced in the case and simply on the basis of the direction issued in Rajbir’s case (supra). The High Court no doubt made a half hearted attempt to justify the framing of the charge independent of the directions in Rajbir’s case (supra), but it would have been more appropriate to remit the matter back to the trial Court for fresh orders rather than lending support to it in the manner done by the High Court.

14. In the light of what we have said above, the order passed by the trial Court and so also that passed by the High Court are clearly untenable and shall have to be set aside. That would not, however, prevent the trial Court from re-examining the question of framing a charge under Section 302 IPC against the appellant and passing an appropriate order if upon a prima facie appraisal of the evidence adduced before it, the trial Court comes to the conclusion that there is any room for doing so. The trial Court would in that regard keep in view the decision of this Court in Hasanbhai Valibhai Qureshi v. State of Gujarat and Ors. (2004) 5 SCC 347 where this Court has recognized the principle that in cases where the trial Court upon
a consideration of broad probabilities of the case based upon total effect of the evidence and documents produced, is satisfied that any addition or alteration of the charge is necessary, it is free to do so. Reference may also be made to the decisions of this Court in Ishwarchand Amichand Govadia and Ors. v. State of Maharashtra and Anr. (2006) 10 SCC 322 and the decision of the Calcutta High Court in Rajendra Singh Sethia v. State and Ors. 1989 Cri.L.J. 255 and that delivered by the Allahabad High Court in Shiv Nandan and Ors. v. State of U.P. 2005 Cri. L.J 3047 which too are to the same effect. In any such fresh exercise which the trial Court may undertake, it shall remain uninfluenced by the observations made by the High Court on merits of the case including those touching the probative value of the autopsy surgeon’s opinion.

15. In the result, we allow this appeal, set aside the order passed by
the High Court and that passed by the trial Court framing the charge under
Section 302 IPC and remit the matter back to the trial Court for a fresh
order keeping in view the observations made above. No costs.

 
………………………………………………J.
(T.S. THAKUR)

 

………………………………………………J.
(RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI)
New Delhi
July 2, 2013

Supreme Court of India: Denial of an opportunity to recall the witnesses for cross-examination would amount to condemning the appellant without giving him the opportunity to challenge the correctness of the version and the credibility of the witnesses.

January 21, 2013 1 comment

“The principle of law that emerges that the criminal court has ample power to summon any person as a witness or recall and re-examine any such person even if the evidence on both sides is closed and the jurisdiction of the court must obviously be dictated by exigency of the situation, and fair-play and good sense appear to be the only safe guides and that only the requirements of justice command and examination of any person which would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case.”

Supreme Court of India

P.Sanjeeva Rao

vs

State Of A.P.

on 2 July, 2012

Author: T Thakur

Bench: H.L. Dattu, Chandramauli Kr. Prasad

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 874-875 OF 2012

(Arising out of S.L.P (Crl.) Nos.4286-87 OF 2011)

P. Sanjeeva Rao …Appellant

Versus

The State of A.P. …Respondent

J U D G M E N T

T.S. THAKUR, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. These appeals arise out of an order dated 29th March, 2011, passed by the High Court of Judicature for Andhra Pradesh whereby Criminal Revision Petitions No.534 and 710 of 2011 filed by the appellant have been dismissed and order dated 22nd January, 2011 passed by the Special Judge for CBI cases at Hyderabad in Crl. M.P. Nos.18 and 19 of 2011 upheld.

3. The appellant is being prosecuted for offences punishable under Sections 7 & 13 (1) read with Section 13(1)(D) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, before the Special Judge for CBI cases at Hyderabad. Around the time the prosecution concluded its evidence, the appellant filed Crl. Misc. Petitions No.18 and 19 of 2011 under Sections 242 and 311 Cr.P.C. for recall of prosecution witnesses No.1 and 2 for cross-examination. The appellant’s case in the said Criminal Misc. Petition No.18 of 2011 was that cross-examination of PWs 1 and 2 had been deferred till such time the Trap Laying Officer (PW 11) was examined by the prosecution and since the said officer had been examined, PWs 1 and 2 need be recalled for cross- examination by counsel for the accused-appellant. In Crl. Misc. Petition No.19 of 2011 the petitioner made a prayer for deferring the cross- examination of Investigating Officer (PW12) in the case till such time PWs 1 and 2 were cross-examined.

4. Both the applications mentioned above were opposed by the prosecution resulting in the dismissal of the said applications by the Trial Court in terms of its order dated 22nd January, 2011. The Trial Court observed:

”For what ever be the reasons the cross-examination of
PWs 1 and 2 has been recorded as “nil”. There is
nothing to show on the record that the petitioner had
reserved his right to cross examine the witnesses at a
later point of time. The dockets of the Court do not
reflect any such intention of the petitioner.”

5. The Trial Court also held that recall of PWs 1 and 2 for cross- examination more than 3 and half years after they had been examined in relation to an incident that had taken place 7 years back, was bound to cause prejudice to the prosecution. The Trial Court was of the view that the appellant had adopted a casual and easy approach towards the trial procedure and that he could not ask for the recall of any witness without cogent reasons.

6. Aggrieved by the order passed by the Trial Court the appellant filed two revision petitions before the High Court which, as noticed earlier, have been dismissed by the High Court in terms of the order impugned in these appeals. The High Court took the view that PWs 1 and 2 had been examined on 13th June, 2008 and 31st July, 2008 respectively followed by examination of nearly one dozen prosecution witnesses. The High Court held that since this was an old case of the year 2005 and the matter was now coming up for examination of the appellant-accused under Section 313 Cr.P.C., there was no justification for recall of the prosecution witnesses No.1 and 2. The revision petitions were accordingly dismissed.

7. Appearing for the appellant Mr. A.T.M Ranga Ramanujan, learned senior counsel, contended that the Trial Court as also the High Court had taken a hyper technical view of the matter without appreciating that grave prejudice will be caused to the appellant if the prayer for cross- examination of PWs. 1 and 2 was not granted and the recall of the witnesses for that purpose declined. He submitted that counsel for the appellant before the Trial Court was under a bona fide belief that the cross- examination of the prosecution witnesses PWs. 1 and 2, who happened to be the star witnesses, one of them being the complainant and the other a witness who allegedly heard the conversation and observed the passing of the bribe to the accused could be conducted after PW-11 had been examined. It was contended that the lawyer appearing before the Trial Court had also filed a personal affidavit stating that PWs. 1 and 2 had not been cross-examined by him under a bona fide impression that he could do so after the evidence of the Trap Laying Officer (PW-11) had been recorded. Mr. Ramanujan urged that while the lawyer may have committed a mistake in presuming that the prosecution witnesses No. 1 and 2 could be recalled for cross-examination at a later stage without the Trial Court granting to the accused the liberty to do so, such a mistake should not vitiate the trial by denying to the appellant a fair opportunity to cross-examine the said witnesses. Heavy reliance was placed by learned counsel on the decision of this Court in Rajendra Prasad Vs. Narcotic Cell [1999 SCC (Cri) 1062], in support of his submission that no party to a trial can be denied the opportunity to correct errors if any committed by it. If proper evidence was not adduced or the relevant material was not brought on record due to any inadvertence, the Court should be magnanimous in permitting such a mistake to be rectified.

8. Appearing for the respondent Mr. H.P. Rawal, learned Additional Solicitor General, contended that while cross-examination of PWs. 1 and 2 could be deferred at the option of the accused to a later stage, the Court record does not show any such request having been made or any liberty being reserved to the accused. It was, according to Mr. Rawal, a case where an opportunity to cross-examine had been given to the accused and his counsel but they had chosen not to avail of the same, in which case a belated request for recall of the witnesses to exercise the right to cross-examine could and has been rightly rejected by the Trial Court and that rejection affirmed by the High Court. It was also submitted that the recall of the prosecution witnesses, who have gone without cross-examination at an earlier stage, is likely to prejudice the prosecution inasmuch as the incident in question is as old as of the year 2005, while the request for recall was made only in the year 2011, nearly four years after the framing of the charges against the appellant.

9. The appellant who was working as Sub Divisional Officer in the B.S.N.L., Karimnagar, is accused of having demanded and received a bribe of Rs.3,000/- from the complainant who was examined as PW1 at the trial. The trap led by the CBI in which PW2 was associated as an independent witness is said to have succeeded in catching the petitioner red-handed with the bribe money eventually leading to the filing of a charge-sheet against him before the Court of Special Judge for CBI cases at Hyderabad in March, 2005. Charges were framed against the petitioner on 7th December, 2006. While PW1, the complainant in the case, was examined on two different dates i.e. 3rd March, 2008 and 13th June, 2008, prosecution witness No.2 was similarly examined on 18th July, 2008 and 31st July, 2008. It is common ground that both the witnesses have stood by the prosecution case for they have not been declared hostile by the prosecution. This implies that the depositions of the two witnesses are incriminating against the appellant and in the absence of any cross-examination their version may be taken to have remained unchallenged. It is also common ground that PWs. 3 to 11 were examined during the period 31st July, 2008 and 28th December, 2011. The Trap Laying Officer (PW 11) was examined on 18th February, 2010 and on 1st April, 2010. The two applications referred to earlier were filed before the Trial Court at that stage, one asking for recall of PWs. 1 & 2 for cross-examination and the other asking for a deferring that the cross- examination of PW 12 till PWs. 1 and 2 are recalled and cross-examined.

10. The only question that arises in the above backdrop is whether the decision not to cross-examine PWs 1 and 2 was for the reasons stated by the petitioner or for any other reason. There is no dispute that no formal application was filed by the petitioner nor even an oral prayer made before the Trial Court to the effect that the exercise of the right to cross- examine the two witnesses was being reserved till such time the Trap Laying Officer was examined. This is precisely where counsel for the appellant has stepped in and filed a personal affidavit in which he has stated that even though there is no formal prayer made to that effect he intended to cross-examine the two witnesses only after the deposition of the Trap Laying Officer was recorded. In the peculiar circumstances of the case, we feel that the version given by the counsel may indeed be the true reason why two witnesses were not cross-examined on the conclusion of their examination-in-chief. We say so primarily because no lawyer worth his salt especially one who had sufficient experience at the Bar like the one appearing for the appellant would have let the opportunity to cross-examine go unavailed in a case where the witnesses had supported the prosecution version not only in regard to the demand of bribe but also its payment and the success of the trap laid for that purpose. There is no gainsaying that every prosecution witness need not be cross-examined by the defence. It all depends upon the nature of the deposition and whether the defence disputes the fact sought to be established thereby. Formal witnesses are not at times cross-examined if the defence does not dispute what is sought to be established by reference to his/her deposition. The decision to cross- examine is generally guided by the nature of the depositions and whether it incriminates the accused. In a case like the one at hand where the complainant examined as PW1 and the shadow witness examined as PW2 had clearly indicted the appellant and supported the prosecution version not only regarding demand of the bribe but also its receipt by the appellant there was no question of the defence not cross-examining them. The two witnesses doubtless provided the very basis of the case against the appellant and should their testimony have remained unchallenged, there was nothing much for the appellant to argue at the hearing. The depositions would then be taken to have been accepted as true hence relied upon. We may, in this connection, refer to the following passage from the decision of this Court in Sarwan Singh v. State of Punjab (2003) 1 SCC 240:

“It is a rule of essential justice that whenever the
opponent has declined to avail himself of the
opportunity to put his case in cross-examination it
must follow that the evidence tendered on that issue
ought to be accepted.”

11. We are, therefore, inclined to believe that the two prosecution witnesses were not cross-examined by the counsel for the appellant not because there was nothing incriminating in their testimony against the appellant but because counsel for the appellant had indeed intended to cross-examine them after the Trap Laying Officer had been examined. The fact that the appellant did not make a formal application to this effect nor even an oral prayer to the Court to that effect at the time the cross- examination was deferred may be a mistake which could be avoided and which may have saved the appellant a lot of trouble in getting the witnesses recalled. But merely because a mistake was committed, should not result in the accused suffering a penalty totally disproportionate to the gravity of the error committed by his lawyer. Denial of an opportunity to recall the witnesses for cross-examination would amount to condemning the appellant without giving him the opportunity to challenge the correctness of the version and the credibility of the witnesses. It is trite that the credibility of witnesses whether in a civil or criminal case can be tested only when the testimony is put through the fire of cross-examination. Denial of an opportunity to do so will result in a serious miscarriage of justice in the present case keeping in view the serious consequences that will follow any such denial.

12. The nature and extent of the power vested in the Courts under Section 311 Cr.P.C. to recall witnesses was examined by this Court in Hanuman Ram v. The State of Rajasthan & Ors. (2008) 15 SCC 652. This Court held that the object underlying Section 311 was to prevent failure of justice on account of a mistake of either party to bring on record valuable evidence or leaving an ambiguity in the statements of the witnesses. This Court observed:

“This is a supplementary provision enabling, and in
certain circumstances imposing on the Court, the duty
of examining a material witness who would not be
otherwise brought before it. It is couched in the
widest possible terms and calls for no limitation,
either with regard to the stage at which the powers of
the Court should be exercised, or with regard to the
manner in which it should be exercised. It is not only
the prerogative but also the plain duty of a Court to
examine such of those witnesses as it considers
absolutely necessary for doing justice between the
State and the subject. There is a duty cast upon the
Court to arrive at the truth by all lawful means and
one of such means is the examination of witnesses of
its own accord when for certain obvious reasons either
party is not prepared to call witnesses who are known
to be in a position to speak important relevant facts.

The object underlying Section 311 of the
Code is that there may not be failure of justice on
account of mistake of either party in bringing the
valuable evidence on record or leaving ambiguity in
the statements of the witnesses examined from either
side. The determinative factor is whether it is
essential to the just decision of the case. The
section is not limited only for the benefit of the
accused, and it will not be an improper exercise of
the powers of the Court to summon a witness under the
Section merely because the evidence supports the case
of the prosecution and not that of the accused. The
section is a general section which applies to all
proceedings, enquires and trials under the Code and
empowers the Magistrate to issue summons to any
witness at any stage of such proceedings, trial or
enquiry. In Section 311 the significant
expression that occurs is "at any stage of
inquiry or trial or other proceeding under this
Code". It is, however, to be borne in mind that
whereas the section confers a very wide power on the
Court on summoning witnesses, the discretion conferred
is to be exercised judiciously, as the wider the power
the greater is the necessity for application of
judicial mind.”

(emphasis supplied)

13. Grant of fairest opportunity to the accused to prove his innocence was the object of every fair trial, observed this Court in Hoffman Andreas v. Inspector of Customs, Amritsar (2000) 10 SCC 430. The following passage is in this regard apposite:

“In such circumstances, if the new Counsel thought to

have the material witnesses further examined, the
Court could adopt latitude and a liberal view in the
interest of justice, particularly when the Court has
unbridled powers in the matter as enshrined in
Section 311 of the Code. After all the trial
is basically for the prisoners and courts should
afford the opportunity to them in the fairest manner
possible.”

(emphasis supplied)

14. The extent and the scope of the power of the Court to recall witnesses was examined by this Court in Mohanlal Shamji Soni v. Union of India & Anr. 1991 Supp (1) 271, where this Court observed:

“The principle of law that emerges from the views
expressed by this Court in the above decisions is that
the criminal court has ample power to summon any
person as a witness or recall and re-examine any such
person even if the evidence on both sides is closed
and the jurisdiction of the court must obviously be
dictated by exigency of the situation, and fair-play
and good sense appear to be the only safe guides and
that only the requirements of justice command and
examination of any person which would depend on the
facts and circumstances of each case.”

(emphasis supplied)

15. Discovery of the truth is the essential purpose of any trial or enquiry, observed a three-Judge Bench of this Court in Maria Margarida Sequeria Fernandes v. Erasmo Jack de Sequeria through LRs. 2012 (3) SCALE 550. A timely reminder of that solemn duty was given, in the following words:

“What people expect is that the Court should discharge
its obligation to find out where in fact the truth
lies. Right from inception of the judicial system it
has been accepted that discovery, vindication and
establishment of truth are the main purposes
underlying the existence of the courts of justice.”

16. We are conscious of the fact that recall of the witnesses is being directed nearly four years after they were examined in chief about an incident that is nearly seven years old. Delay takes a heavy toll on the human memory apart from breeding cynicism about the efficacy of the judicial system to decide cases within a reasonably foreseeable time period. To that extent the apprehension expressed by Mr. Rawal, that the prosecution may suffer prejudice on account of a belated recall, may not be wholly without any basis. Having said that, we are of the opinion that on a parity of reasoning and looking to the consequences of denial of opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses, we would prefer to err in favour of the appellant getting an opportunity rather than protecting the prosecution against a possible prejudice at his cost. Fairness of the trial is a virtue that is sacrosanct in our judicial system and no price is too heavy to protect that virtue. A possible prejudice to prosecution is not even a price, leave alone one that would justify denial of a fair opportunity to the accused to defend himself.

17. In the result, we allow these appeals, set aside the orders passed by the Trial Court as also the High Court and direct that the prosecution witnesses No.1 and 2 shall be recalled by the Trial Court and an opportunity to cross-examine the said witnesses afforded to the appellant. In fairness to the counsel for the appellant, we must record that he assured us that given an opportunity to examine the witnesses the needful shall be done on two dates of hearing, one each for each witness without causing any un-necessary delay or procrastination. The Trial Court shall endeavour to conclude the examination of the two witnesses expeditiously and without unnecessary delay. The parties shall appear before the Trial Court on 6th August, 2012.

……………………….……..……J.

(T.S. THAKUR)

………………………….…..……J.

(GYAN SUDHA MISRA)

New Delhi
July 2, 2012

Bombay High Court- Acquitted Husband & In-laws as the Witnesses of Prosecution were exaggerating and lied at least on some aspects of the matter.

January 11, 2013 Leave a comment
All R/O Sarangpur, Tq. Gangapur vs State Of Maharashtra on 29 March, 2012
Bench: A.M. Thipsay

 

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY BENCH AT AURANGABAD

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 398 OF 2011

1. Bandu S/o Bhagchand Jadhav

Aged : 27 years, Occ : Labourer,

2. Subhandrabai W/o Bhagchand Jadhav Age : 72 years, Occ : Household,

3. Raju S/o Bhagchand Jadhav

Age : 32 years, Occ : Labourer,

4. Sangita W/o Raju Jadhav

Age : 30 years, Occ : Household,

All R/o Sarangpur, Tq. Gangapur,

District Aurangabad.

…Appellants

Versus

State of Maharashtra

through Police Station

Gangapur, Dist. Aurangabad.

…Respondent

…..

Mr. Sanchin Deshmukh, advocate for the appellants Mr. N.R. Shaikh, A.P.P. for respondent. …..

CORAM : A.M. THIPSAY, J.

DATED : 29th March, 2012

ORAL JUDGMENT :

1 Being aggrieved by the judgment and order delivered by the Additional Sessions Judge, Aurangabad, in Sessions Case No. 161 of 2009, convicting the appellants, who were the accused in the said case, of offences punishable under Section 306 of IPC r/w Section 34 of IPC, 304B of IPC r/w Section 34 of IPC and 498A of IPC r/w Section 34 of IPC, the appellants have approached this Court by filing the present Appeal. The learned Additional Sessions Judge sentenced the appellants as follows :-

1. For the offence : R.I. for five punishable under years and to pay a Section 306 of the fine of Rs. 500/- IPC r/w Section 34 each, in default, of the IPC to suffer further R.I. for one month.

2. For the offence : R.I. for seven punishable under years and to pay a Section 304B of the fine of Rs. 500/- IPC r/w Section 34 each, in default, of the IPC to suffer further R.I. for one

month.

3. For the offence : R.I. for two years punishable under and to pay a fine Section 498A of the of Rs. 200/- each, IPC r/w Section 34 in default to of the IPC suffer further R.I. for 15 days.

2. The learned Additional Sessions Judge directed that the sentences shall run concurrently. The appellants were also charged of having committed offences punishable under Sections 323 of IPC, Section 504 of IPC and Section 506 of IPC r/w Section 34 of IPC, but the learned Additional Sessions Judge acquitted them of the said offences.

3. The prosecution case, in brief, was as follows :

Manisha, daughter of Appasaheb Khomne (PW-1), a resident of village Shekta, was married to the appellant no.1 Bandu. The appellant no.2 Subhadrabai is the mother of the appellant no.1 and the appellant no.3 Raju is his brother. The appellant no.4 Sangita is the wife of the appellant no.3.

After her marriage, Manisha started residing in the matrimonial home at village Sarangpur, where her husband was residing with the other appellants. Manisha was treated properly for about 8 to 9 months after the marriage, but thereafter the appellants started illtreating Manisha. The appellants stated demanding Rs.25,000/- from her for purchasing motorcycle. This was told by Manisha to her parents, when she had come to her parents house on the occasion of Padava Festival. That, Manisha was weeping at that time. She told that the appellants were beating and abusing her and not providing food to her and that, they were also threatening to kill her. Appasaheb told Manisha that, at that time, he was not having money to pay and that, he would pay the same later on. He had then dropped Manisha to the matrimonial house. That, about 20 days prior to the incident, Manisha informed the brother of Appasaheb on telephone that the appellants were illtreating her for the demand of Rs. 25,000/- and told the said brother to inform the said fact to Appasaheb. Appasaheb then went to the house of Manisha and brought her to his house. Manisha stayed with her parents for about 10 to 15 days and during this period, Manisha told Appasaheb that the appellants were illreating her for the demand of Rs. 25,000/- and that, they would kill her, if Rs. 25,000/- were not paid. That, on 05.07.2008, Appasaheb dropped Manisha to her matrimonial house and requested the appellants not to illtreat her. He told the appellants that he would pay the amount to them, when he would be in a position to pay the same. Thereafter, he came back to his house. On the next day, when he was in field, his brother received a telephone call from the brother- in-law of Manisha that Manisha had got herself burnt and that, she had been admitted in GHATI hospital, Aurangabad. Appasaheb’s brother immediately rushed to GHATI hospital and later on Appasaheb, his wife and some other relatives also went to GHATI hospital. Manisha was admitted in the ward. Appasaheb and others met Manisha and asked her why she got herself burnt. Manisha told that as Appasaheb had not paid money to the appellants, they illtreated her. That, they had beaten her in the night and that, therefore, in the early morning, she had poured kerosene on her person and got herself burnt.

 

On the next date, after the last rites on the dead body were performed in the afternoon, Appasaheb went to Gangapur Police Station and lodged a report (Exhibit-25), on the basis of which, a case in respect of the aforesaid offences was registered against the appellants, the matter was investigated into and the appellants came to be prosecuted and convicted as aforesaid.

4. The prosecution examined five witnesses during the trial. The first witness is Appasaheb himself. The second witness is Shivaji Khomane, uncle of Manisha and the third witness is Mandabai, the mother of Manisha. The fourth witness is one Meenabai Ganesh Gharge, a resident of village Shekta, who was a friend of Manisha. The fifth and last witness is Kashinath Aher – Sub Inspector of Police, – who is the Investigating Officer in the matter.

5. In addition to oral evidence of these witnesses, certain documents, including the report of the postmortem examination (Exhibit-34) were tendered in evidence, marked and exhibited.

6. It is contended by Mr. Sachin Deshmukh, the learned advocate for the appellants that the impugned judgment is not proper and legal. According to him, there was no satisfactory evidence to establish the charges against the appellants; and that, they should have been acquitted. He submitted that the testimony of the prosecution witnesses 1, 2, 3 and 4, who all were interested witnesses, was vague and unreliable. He also submitted that witnesses 1, 2 and 3 have falsely stated about Manisha having made a dying declaration to them, when the entire evidence on record was clearly indicating that she was unable to speak or make any statements.

7. As against this, Mr. N.R. Shaikh, the learned A.P.P. submitted that the evidence of Manisha’s father Appasaheb (PW-1), her uncle – Shivaji Khomne -(PW-2) and her mother – Mandabai Khomne – (PW-3) has been rightly believed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, and when so believed, it was sufficient to hold the appellants guilty of the offences in question.

8. With the assistance of the learned counsel, I have gone through the entire evidence adduced during the trial and perused the record of the case.

9. There is no dispute that Manisha, indeed, died an unnatural death due to burn injuries. It is also not in dispute that she had sustained 100% burn injuries.

10. The prosecution evidence can be classified in two categories. The first is, the evidence of cruelty generally, as spoken to about by Appasaheb (PW-1), Shivaji (PW-2), Mandabai Khomne (PW-3) and Meenabai Barge (PW-4). The other is of the dying declaration made by Manisha to Appasaheb (PW-1), Shivaji (PW-2) and Mandabai Khomne (PW-3).

11. The evidence of Appsaheb and Mandabai shows that the marriage of Manisha had taken place on 14.05.2007 and her death occurred on 06.07.2008. During this span, Manisha was, admittedly, treated properly for about eight to nine months. During this span, Manisha had, admittedly, visited the house of her parents and had stayed there on a number of occasions. The evidence also shows that from 21.06.2008 to 05.07.2008, i.e. till one day before her death, Manisha was staying in the house of her parents. Now, though Shivaji (PW-2) in his evidence states that `as and when Manisha used to come to her father’s house, she used to disclose about the demand by the accused to bring money and that, for that purpose, they were illtreating her, that they used to abuse and beat Manisha for a demand of Rs. 25,000/-, it is quite obvious that this must be exaggerated version, in as much as, Manisha’s married life was of less than 14 months. If the period of nine months during which she was, admittedly, treated properly, is excluded, there would be only about four months period and it is not likely that in these four months Manisha made several visits to the house of her parents and complained them on several occasions, as is sought to be projected. Thus, going by the version of Appasaheb (PW-2) and Mandabai (PW-3), at the most it can be said that such a complaint was made by Manisha twice, once when she had come to their house for Padva and on the other occasion, when she had come to reside with them immediately before her death. According to Appasaheb, though Manisha stated that the appellants were illtreating her for a demand of Rs. 25,000/-, and that, they threatened to kill her if the amount of Rs. 25,000/- was not paid, Appasaheb still dropped Manisha at her matrimonial house on 05.07.2008. Manisha sustained burn injuries in the morning of 06.07.2008. There is no evidence that any such grave incident took place in the night between 05.07.2008 and 06.07.2008, which compelled Manisha to commit suicide. On the contrary the evidence indicates that, if Manisha was unwilling to return to her matrimonial house (and had, indeed, told her parents that the appellants were likely to kill her), and if she had committed suicide, as is the case of prosecution, then that is attributable more to unhappiness and sorrow in her mind due to the act of her parents in disregarding what she said and compelling her to stay with her husband, rather than the alleged cruel treatment given to her by the appellants earlier. From the evidence, if believed, it appears more probable that the cause of suicide was the insistence of her parents that she should go back to her matrimonial house and their dropping her there against her wish; and not the happening of any events after she had gone there. The reliability of the version of Appasaheb (PW-1) and Mandabai (PW-3) as also, of Shivaji (PW-2) with respect to the cruel treatment, allegedly, given to Manisha, therefore, needs to be carefully judged in the light of their entire evidence.

13. Appasaheb (PW-1), Shivaji (PW-2) and Mandabai (PW-3) have all stated about Manisha having made a dying declaration to them. Their version is that when they received a telephonic message that Manisha had got herself burnt and that, she was admitted in GHATI hospital, they all went to GHATI hospital and saw Manisha. According to them, Manisha made a certain declaration before them.

 

14. It may be recalled in this context, that it has been specifically contended by Mr. Sachin Deshmukh, the learned advocate for the appellants that the story of Manisha having made a dying declaration to these witnesses, can not be accepted as Manisha was not in a position to make any statement. Indeed, this aspect needs examination. The evidence of Kashinath Aher – the Investigating Officer – (PW-5) clearly shows that on getting information about the Medico Legal case relating to Manisha, he went to GHATI hospital and inquired in the matter. He has clearly stated that he was intending to record statement of Manisha, but she was not in a position to give statement, as she had sustained 100% burn injuries. This evidence of the Investigating Officer finds corroboration from the document which has been marked as Exhibit-47. This document is a communication made by the Sub- Inspector of Police, Gangapur Police Station to the Medical Officer, GHATI hospital, Aurangabad, in which it is stated that the dying declaration of Manisha was intended to be recorded and that, the remark as to whether she was in a position to make a statement might be given. Below this, there is an endorsement purporting to be of a Doctor, which is to the effect that ‘the patient was unconscious and not in a fit state of mind and in condition to make a valid statement’. In Marathi, there is an endorsement “tckc ns.ks fLFkrhr ukgh” (Jabab Dene Sthitit Nahi). This document, which is a record of the actions of public servants, has been admitted in evidence without any protest or objection. As a matter of fact, this document has been tendered in evidence by the prosecution itself and its receipt in evidence, was not objected on behalf of the appellants. This document also shows that this endorsement by the doctor on the said document was made at 3 p.m. on 06.07.2008.

15. Mr. Sachin Deshmukh pointed out that according to Appasaheb (PW-1), Shivaji (PW-2) and Mandabai (PW-3), the dying declaration was made to them by Manisha at about the same time. He has pointed out that the witnesses claimed to have reached GHATI hospital at about 3 to 3.30 p.m. There is substance in the contention of the learned Advocate that when Manisha was opined to be not fit to make a statement by the Medical Officer and when the Investigating Officer was unable to record her statement, how can it be easily believed that she spoke and made a statement before Appasaheb (PW-1), Shivaji (PW-2) and Mandabai (PW-3). This is particularly so because, Manisha had reportedly sustained 100% burn injuries as per the version of these witnesses and even the notes of postmortem examination (Exhibit-34) show that she had sustained 93% burn injuries. The head, neck and face of Manisha was, apparently, fully burnt.

16. It is difficult to believe that when Manisha could not make statement before the Investigating Officer and when Medical Officer opined that she was unfit to make any statement, she had made a statement before these witnesses at about the same time. This is particularly so, because the First Information Report was lodged by Appasaheb not immediately thereafter, but only on the next day. It might be said that the delay in reporting the matter to the Police, is not much but what is significant is that the funeral ceremony took place and the last rites of Manisha were performed at Sarangpur, which is the village of appellants. Appasaheb has admitted in his evidence that at the time of funeral, many villagers and relatives of Manisha and Appasaheb were present and the Police from Gangapur Police Station were also present. It is not possible to believe that if Manisha had, indeed, made a dying declaration to Appasaheb, Shivaji and Mandabai as claimed by them, Appasaheb would have been failed to mention the matter to the Police. This aspect may not be decisive or conclusive, but coupled with the other aspects viz.:- the inability of Manisha to make a statement, as certified by the Medical Officer and inability of the Investigating Officer to record her statement, casts a serious doubt on the version of these witnesses about Manisha having made a dying declaration to them.

17. Even otherwise, the version of these witnesses is not uniform with respect to what was actually stated by Manisha to them. It is clear that all these witnesses were together, when Manisha made the statement and thus, the oral dying declaration about which the witnesses are speaking, is one and the same. Inspite of this, there are variations in the account of dying declaration as given by these witnesses. Appasaheb has stated the version of Manisha as that ‘as he had not paid money to the appellants, they illtreated her, they all beat her in the night and so in the early morning, Manisha poured kerosene on her person and got burnt’. According to Shivaji (PW-2), Manisha said that ‘her husband said to her that she should not stay in the house and go back to her parents, as she had not brought money and that, therefore, due to the illtreatment of her husband, mother-in- law and sister-in-law, she had set herself on fire.’ Thus, Shivaji does not speak about any incident of beating and Appasaheb does not speak of Manisha being told not to stay in the house. Mandabai (PW-3) also stated that Manisha told them that ‘her husband (Manisha’s husband) had told her that not to reside with him.’ The variation may, when superficially looked at not seem to be of much significance, but when considered from the angle that this variation is about the reason for ending her life, as allegedly stated by Manisha, it assumes significance. Moreover, this to be viewed in the background of the fact that the Investigating Agency was not able to record any statement of Manisha and that, she was not in a position to speak, is specifically stated by the Investigating Officer, which evidence of Investigating Officer is supported by the endorsement of Medical Officer and by the extent of injuries sustained by Manisha.

18. Under these circumstances, it is not possible to believe the testimony of Appasaheb, Shivaji and Mandabai about the oral dying declaration made by Manisha. Infact, this indicates that they certainly can not be considered as wholly reliable witnesses, and therefore, their allegations of Manisha having been treated with cruelty by the appellants and that, Manisha herself having told them so before the incident, being vague and general, are open to a serious doubt. The circumstances indicate that within a short span of four months, Manisha was not likely to have an opportunity to make repeated visits to her parents and her telling them `repeatedly’ about the illtreatment. Further, the version that Manisha had told her parents that the appellants would kill her cannot be believed, firstly because in that case Appasaheb would not have dropped her at the matrimonial house, without at least talking to the appellant No. 1 not to do so. Secondly, assuming he did this seemingly unlikely thing, then, after learning about Manisha’s death, he would have immediately suspected the appellants of having killed her; and at any rate, would have lodged a report with the police immediately, without waiting for one day.

19. The concept of `Cruelty’ has been in existence in Matrimonial Law, but such a concept was introduced into Criminal Law for the first time by the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 1983 and by the Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1986, by inserting certain sections in the Indian Penal Code and the Indian Evidence Act and by making consequential amendments to the Code. Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code and Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act were inserted by the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 1983 and the relevant provisions came in force w.e.f. 25.12.1983. By Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1986, section 304B was inserted in the Indian Penal Code and section 113B of the Indian Evidence Act. The relevant provisions were brought in force with effect from 19.11.1986. The reasons for introducing these provisions in the Criminal Law were to effectively check the social evils of the dowry system, the cruelty with which some married women were being treated by their husbands and in- laws and the culmination of such cruel treatment into suicides and dowry deaths of such women. It was felt that these social evils could not be effectively checked under the Criminal Law, as was existing before the insertion of the said provisions, and that is why the relevant provisions were introduced.

20. Though under the Matrimonial Statutes, the necessity of defining the term `Cruelty’ was not felt, when it was made an offence punishable under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, the term `Cruelty’ could not be left to be undefined for obvious reasons. The term `cruelty’ has been defined in the explanation appended to Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, which reads as under :- Section 498A. —–

Explanation. – For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means –

(a) any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or

(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.

21. The terms `willful conduct’, `likely to’ and `injury’ as used in clause (a) and the terms `harassment’ and `unlawful demand’ as used in clause (b) emphasize the scope, import and the ambit of the said clauses. It is not every type of cruelty that is made punishable under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. The conduct, which is alleged to be cruel must be `willful’, and it must be of such a gravity as is `likely’ to drive the woman to commit suicide, or to cause grave injury to the life, limb or health. The word `likely’ has been interpreted to show `probability’ and stands on a higher footing than a mere `possibility’.

22. Gathering proof of cruelty, in cases of offence punishable under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, simplicitor, where the evidence of the wife would be available, would be considerably easier than gathering such proof in cases of offences punishable under Sections 306 and 304B of the Indian Penal Code, where the evidence of the wife would not be available.

23. That, Manisha indeed committed suicide has to be accepted, but the precise cause behind her deciding to take her own life, is not clear. Simply because she committed suicide, it can not be presumed that she must have been treated with cruelty, as contemplated under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. As a matter of fact, the evidence itself indicates that she was not willing to return to appellants and apparently, against her wish her father dropped her at her matrimonial house; and it is on the very next day, in the early morning, Manisha committed suicide. If the reluctance of Manisha to stay with the appellants has resulted in commission of suicide by Manisha, the appellants can not be guilty of `willful conduct’, which was `likely to’ drive Manisha to commit suicide.

24. Considering the entire evidence adduced by the prosecution, the story of Appasaheb (PW-1), Shivaji (PW-2) and Mandabai (PW-3) is not believable. In any case, the witnesses are, apparently, exaggerating and lying at least on some aspects of the matter. It was, therefore, not safe to accept their testimony and hold the case as proved against the appellants. The appreciation of evidence, as done by the learned Additional Sessions Judge and the conclusion arrived at him, is not proper and legal. The learned Judge was, apparently, carried away by a feelings of sympathy towards the victim and her parents and by the prejudice, which one instantly feels against the husband and in laws of newly married woman, when she commits suicide. This has prevented the learned Judge from analyzing the evidence objectively and by keeping in mind the cardinal principles of criminal jurisprudence.

25. In my opinion, this was a case, where the prosecution had failed to prove the charges against the appellants and the appellants were entitled to be acquitted.

26. The appeal is allowed.

27. The impugned Judgment of conviction and sentences imposed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Aurangabad are set aside.

28. The appellants are acquitted.

29. The appellant no.1 be set at liberty forthwith, unless required to be detained in connection with some other case. The bail bonds of other appellants are discharged.

30. Fine if paid, be refunded to the appellants respectively.

Sd/-

( A. M. THIPSAY, J.)

 

http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/195473717/

SC: Allegations against family members in 498A generall, reckless and vague hence FIR Quashed

December 27, 2012 1 comment

Supreme Court of India

Chandralekha vs State Of Rajasthan & Anr on 14 December, 2012
Author: ……………………………………………..J.
Bench: Aftab Alam, Ranjana Prakash Desai

, , , ,

NON-REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 2070 OF 2012

[Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.9092 of 2011]

CHANDRALEKHA & ORS. … APPELLANTS

Vs.

STATE OF RAJASTHAN & ANR. … RESPONDENTS

O R D E R

1. Leave granted.

2. This appeal, by special leave, challenges order dated 14/9/2011 passed by the Rajasthan High Court dismissing the petition filed by one Rajeev Bhandari and appellants 1, 2 and 3 herein (original petitioners 2, 3 and 4 in the Special Leave Petition No.9092 of 2011) under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 praying for quashing of FIR lodged by respondent 2 against them under Sections 498A and 406 of the Indian Penal Code.

2. Rajeev Bhandari is the husband of respondent 2. Appellant 1 is the mother-in-law and appellants 2 and 3 are the sisters-in-law of respondent

2.

3. In the special leave petition, Rajeev Bhandari was arraigned as petitioner 1. However, on 9/12/2011, this court dismissed the special leave petition insofar as Rajeev Bhandari is concerned. Therefore, today, the challenge to the impugned order can be said to be raised only by appellants 1, 2 and 3.

4. It is necessary to give a gist of the facts. On 1/4/2009, respondent 2 lodged the FIR in question at Thana Mahila, District Jodhpur against Rajeev Bhandari, his father Meghraj Bhandari and appellants 1, 2 and 3 alleging offences under Sections 498A and 406 of the IPC. In the FIR, she stated that she got married to Rajeev Bhandari on 9/7/2002 at Jodhpur; her father gave cash of Rs.1,25,000/- and gold and silver ornaments, other articles, clothes, household utensils, etc. to her husband’s family; she resided at Ahmedabad with her husband after her marriage; her husband behaved well for about two and half months; after that, the behaviour of Rajeev Bhandari, his father and the appellants 1, 2 and 3 changed; they started harassing her because she had brought less dowry; they did not give her sufficient food to eat; in her absence, appellants 1, 2 and 3 used to scatter her clothes and belongings and they demanded cash of Rs.6 lakhs. It is further stated in the complaint that on 26/1/2003, all of them harassed her and asked her to bring Rs.6 lakhs and gold and silver items from her father and threatened her that if she does not bring them, she will suffer. According to her, she suffered mental shock because of this behaviour and, hence, she left the matrimonial home in the morning of 27/1/2003. Then, her husband Rajeev Bhandari came searching for her and assured that there will be no demand of dowry. Due to this assurance, she again went to the matrimonial home. However, there was no difference in the behaviour of Rajeev Bhandari and appellants 1, 2 and 3. The dowry demand persisted. She, therefore, phoned her father and told him to come to Ahmedabad. On 14/2/2003, her father came to Ahmedabad and took her to Jodhpur on 15/2/2003. Since then, she has been staying with her parents. According to her, her husband Rajeev Bhandari and appellants 1, 2 and 3 have not contacted her thereafter. She contacted them and asked them to return her original degree certificate, silver and gold ornaments and other articles. But, they ignored her request. She, therefore, requested the police to take legal action against her husband Rajeev Bhandari, her father- in-law Meghraj Bhandari and appellants 1, 2 and 3. It must be stated here that during the pendency of the proceedings, Meghraj Bhandari died.

5. Before the Rajasthan High Court, it was submitted that a perusal of the FIR shows that respondent 2 had left her matrimonial home in the year 2003 and was residing in Jodhpur. No offence can be said to have been committed by the appellants in the territorial jurisdiction of Jodhpur. Hence, registration of FIR at Mahila Thana, Jodhpur is illegal. It was also urged that there is delay in lodging the FIR. On these grounds, it was prayed that the FIR be quashed. The Rajasthan High Court was of the view that part of cause of action had accrued at Jodhpur. It was held that since the offence is a continuous offence, FIR cannot be quashed on the ground of jurisdiction. The High Court also refused to quash the FIR on the ground of delay.

6. Before we refer to the submissions of learned counsel for the appellants, we must note that office report dated 16/8/2012 indicates that respondent 2 has been served. However, she has not engaged any counsel. We, therefore, requested Ms. Asha Nair to assist us on her behalf as amicus curiae. Ms. Nair has accordingly assisted us.

7. Learned counsel for the appellants submitted that respondent 2 left the matrimonial home on 15/2/2003 and the FIR was filed on 1/4/2009 after six years. Counsel submitted that the allegations made in the FIR are of general nature and extremely vague. The FIR, therefore, deserves to be quashed. Ms. Nair, on the other hand, has supported the order of the High Court.

8. We must, at the outset, state that the High Court’s view on jurisdiction meets with our approval and we confirm the view. However, after a careful perusal of the FIR and after taking into consideration the attendant circumstances, we are of the opinion that the FIR lodged by respondent 2 insofar as it relates to appellants 1, 2 and 3 deserves to be quashed. The allegations are extremely general in nature. No specific role is attributed to each of the appellants. Respondent 2 has stated that after the marriage, she resided with her husband at Ahmedabad. It is not clear whether appellants 1, 2 and 3 were residing with them at Ahmedabad. The marriage took place on 9/7/2002 and respondent 2 left her matrimonial home on 15/2/2003 i.e. within a period of seven months. Thereafter, respondent 2 took no steps to file any complaint against the appellants. Six years after she left the house, the present FIR is lodged making extremely vague and general allegations against appellants 1, 2 and 3. It is important to remember that appellant 2 is a married sister-in-law. In our opinion, such extra ordinary delay in lodging the FIR raises grave doubt about the truthfulness of allegations made by respondent 2 against appellants 1, 2 and 3, which are, in any case, general in nature. We have no doubt that by making such reckless and vague allegations, respondent 2 has tried to rope them in this case along with her husband. We are of the confirmed opinion that continuation of the criminal proceedings against appellants 1, 2 and 3 pursuant to this FIR is an abuse of process of law. In the interest of justice, therefore, the FIR deserves to be quashed insofar as it relates to appellants 1, 2 and 3.

9. Hence, impugned judgment and order dated 14/9/2011 passed by the Rajasthan High Court in S.B. Criminal Misc. Petition No.1935 of 2009 is quashed and set aside insofar as it refuses to quash the FIR in question against appellants 1, 2 and 3. FIR No.66 of 2009 lodged at Mahila Thana, District Jodhpur, Rajasthan is quashed insofar as it relates to appellants 1, 2 and 3 viz. Smt. Chandralekha, Vandana and Vinita respectively. We make it clear that so far as Rajeev Bhandari s/o. Meghraj Bhandari is concerned, the proceedings shall go on in accordance with law. We have not quashed FIR No.66 of 2009 insofar as it relates to Rajeev Bhandari. Needless to say that the court seized of the complaint shall deal with Rajeev Bhandari’s case independently, without being influenced by anything said by us on the merits of the case and in accordance with law.

10. The appeal is disposed of in the aforestated terms.

……………………………………………..J.

(AFTAB ALAM)

……………………………………………..J.

(RANJANA PRAKASH DESAI)

NEW DELHI,

DECEMBER 14, 2012.

———————–

 

Fight for Justice

A crusaders blog for inspiring thought.

Stand up for your rights

Gender biased laws

MyNation Foundation - News

News Articles from MyNation, india - News you can use

498afighthard's Blog

Raising Awareness About Gender Biased Laws and its misuse In India

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.