10 June 2024


High Court of Delhi

Gajender Singh Vs. The State (GNCT of Delhi) and Ors.




For framing of a charge against the accused, not only suspicion but grave suspicion that accused is likely to have committed the offence is required

Petitioner impugns order, whereby, the Trial Court has discharged Respondent No. 2 of all charges. Deceased - was married to son of Respondent No. 2. In the intervening night, she committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan. Respondent No. 2 is the mother-in-law of the deceased. Incident was reported to the Police Station and inquest proceedings were conducted by the Executive Magistrate and as per the post mortem, the cause of death was asphyxia as a result of ante-mortem hanging.

FIR was registered under Sections 498A/304B/34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). Husband of the deceased, Brother-in-law of the deceased and mother-in-law-respondent No. 2 were arrayed as accused. After investigation, charge sheet was filed. By the impugned order, the Trial Court has discharged Akash, Vikash, Neelam and Respondent No. 2-Smt. Savitri Devi for the offences under Section 498A and 304B of IPC. However, charge has been framed against Akash under Section 306 of IPC.

Subject petition has been filed by the father of the deceased impugning the order-on-charge in so far as Respondent No. 2-Smt. Savitri Devi is concerned and contending that, there was sufficient material against respondent No. 2-Savitri Devi for framing of charges.

Trial Court in the impugned judgment has noticed the provisions of Section 304B of IPC and held that to bring home the guilt under Section 304B of IPC, prosecution must prove that: (i) The death of a woman should be caused by burns or bodily injury or otherwise than under normal circumstances; (ii) Such a death must have occurred within seven years of her marriage; (iii) Soon before death, she must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband; (iv) Such cruelty or harassment must be for, or in connection with demand of dowry; and (v) Such cruelty or harassment is shown to have been meted out to the woman soon before her death.

On perusal of the statements relied on by the prosecution, the Trial Court has returned a finding that there was no material inter alia against respondent No. 2 for proceeding against her under Section 498A and Section 304 of IPC. Before present court also, Petitioner has not been able to show any material to suggest that the findings returned by the Trial Court are not substantiated by record.

For framing of a charge against the accused, not only suspicion but grave suspicion that the accused is likely to have committed the offence is required. As noticed by the Trial Court and on perusal of the statement of the witnesses recorded by the prosecution, it is apparent that the there are no specific allegations made against respondent No. 2-Smt. Savitri for either harassing the deceased or treating her with cruelty for, and in connection with any demand for dowry.

Perusal of the record does not show that grave suspicion arises against respondent No. 2, of having committed the offence under Sections 498A or 304B of IPC. Trial Court has rightly appreciated the material and returned a finding that grave suspicion does not arise in the facts and circumstances of the case inter alia against the Respondent No. 2. There is no infirmity in the view taken by the Trial Court in holding that no charge under Section 498A and Section 304B of IPC is liable to be framed against respondent No. 2. The Petition is, accordingly, dismissed.

Tags : Suspicion Discharge Legality

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