17 June 2024


Judgments

High Court of Delhi

Kaushal Kishore Vs. State NCT of Delhi

MANU/DE/1818/2019

28.05.2019

Criminal

An acquittal or discharge under Section 306 of IPC would not ipso facto amount to an acquittal or discharge under Section 498A of IPC

In instant case, Petitioner impugns order whereby charge has been framed against the Petitioner under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). The Petitioner contends that, Charge Sheet was filed both under Section 306 and Section 498A of IPC, however, the Trial Court found insufficient material to proceed under Section 306 of IPC. He submits that, cruelty under Section 498A of IPC is to be of such a nature which is likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury etc. and as the Trial Court found insufficient material to proceed under section 306 of IPC, on the same analogy, there was insufficient material to even frame a charge under Section 498A of IPC.

The Trial Court was of the view that, the suicide note exonerated the Petitioner and stated that, the deceased was taking the step voluntarily. The Trial Court was of the view that, since the suicide note exonerated the Petitioner, there was insufficient material against him insofar as the offence under Section 306 of IPC was concerned. However, the Trial Court found that, there were specific allegations made in the statements of mother of the deceased and brothers of the deceased that, the Petitioner had maltreated the deceased and committed physical and mental cruelty.

In Ramesh Kumar vs. State of Chhattisgarh, the Supreme Court has further held that, Sections 498A and Section 306 of IPC are independent and constitute different offences. Depending on the facts and circumstances of an individual case, subjecting a woman to cruelty may amount to an offence under Section 498A and may also if a course of conduct amounting to cruelty is established leaving no other option for the woman except to commit suicide, amount to abetment to commit suicide.

In the present case, Trial Court found insufficient material to charge the Petitioner for an offence under Section 306 IPC but after examination of the material on record was of the view that, there is sufficient material to frame a charge under Section 498A of IPC.

An acquittal or discharge under Section 306 of IPC would not ipso facto amount to an acquittal or discharge under Section 498A of IPC. Ingredients of both the Sections are different. Though, there may be an overlap with regard to cruelty being meted out to the deceased in both the Sections, however, the degree of cruelty to constitute abetment under Section 306 of IPC would be of higher than the degree of harassment and cruelty to constitute an offence under Section 498A of IPC. It cannot be held that because Petitioner has been discharged of an offence under Section 306 of IPC, it would automatically lead to a discharge of the offence under Section 498A of IPC.

In the present case, there is sufficient material on record in the form of the statements of the mother as well as the brothers of the deceased, alleging both physical and mental harassment by the petitioner of the deceased. There are specific allegations that, Petitioner had maltreated the deceased and committed physical and mental cruelty on her and even made demands for money to purchase a plot. There is sufficient material on record to give rise to grave suspicion against the petitioner for framing a charge under Section 498A of IPC.

At the stage of framing of charge, the Court is not to look into the probable explanation or defence of the accused but is to examine the material collected by the prosecution at the time of investigation. Explanations with regard to the allegations or the statements of neighbours with regard to their observation of the behaviour of the petitioner with the deceased, relied on by learned counsel for the Petitioner, is material which would be proved by the Petitioner by leading his defence evidence. There is no infirmity in the view taken by the trial Court in framing a charge against the Petitioner for an offence under Section 498A of IPC. The petition is, accordingly, dismissed.

Relevant

Ramesh Kumar vs. State of Chhattisgarh MANU/SC/0654/2001

Tags : Charge Framing of Legality

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