26 May 2020


Judgments

High Court of Delhi

Ramesh Chander v. State Of Delhi

MANU/DE/3419/2016

21.12.2016

Criminal

Presumption under Section 113B of Evidence Act can be drawn only where ingredients of Section 304B of IPC are fulfilled

In facts of present case, FIR under Section 304B/34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), was registered on basis of statement made by complainant. After completion of investigation, charge sheet was filed in the Court. Charge under Sections 304B read with Section 34 of IPC was framed against Appellant to which he pleaded not guilty. Appellant was held guilty vide judgment of conviction. Aggrieved by judgment of conviction dated 11th July, 2002 convicting Appellant finding him guilty under Section 304B of IPC and order on sentence vide which Appellant was sentenced to undergo seven years rigorous imprisonment, present appeal is preferred.

In case of Vipin Jaiswal Vs. State of A.P., Apex Court held that prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that, deceased was subjected to cruelty or harassment by accused. In case of Devi Lal vs. State of Rajasthan AIR 2008 SC 332, Hon'ble Supreme Court has observed that, before an accused is found guilty for commission of an offence, Court must arrive at a finding that ingredients thereof have been established. It was held that statement of a witness for said purpose must be read in its entirety. It is not necessary for a witness to make a statement in consonance with wording of the section of a statute. Necessary ingredients of dowry death as provided under Section 304B of IPC are: (i) Deceased was the subject matter of cruelty on account of dowry and culminates into guilt of accused under Section 498A of IPC; (ii) The death should have taken place due to bodily injuries other than normal circumstances; and (iii)Such death was the subject matter of cruelty soon before death.

As far as death of deceased is concerned, it is not in dispute that she died due to burning which shows that, death of the deceased was not under normal circumstances and was due to bodily injuries which fulfill first ingredient for commission of offence under Section 304B of IPC. Second ingredient that death of deceased had taken place within seven years of her marriage with Appellant is established from evidence, as marriage had taken place on 16.08.1986 and her death took place on 02.08.1987 i.e. very next year.

Next important ingredient required to be proved from evidence is that, deceased was subjected to cruelty and harassment on account of demand of dowry by her husband or any relative of her husband and that was done soon before death. It is necessary to establish offence of Section 498A of IPC to prove charges under Section 304B IPC.

Last ingredient is based upon commission of offence under Section 498A of IPC and while committing offence under Section 498A of IPC, if it connects with death, then it would be an offence punishable under Section 304B of IPC. Prosecution has failed miserably to establish beyond reasonable doubt that, any cruelty or harassment was meted out to deceased by Appellant. Testimony of prosecution witnesses to effect that, TV or fridge was demanded per se does not establish cruelty and harassment towards deceased. Evidently, death of deceased had taken place within one year of marriage. Prosecution has failed to establish that after marriage of deceased, there were circumstances of harassment or cruelty that took place on account of demand of dowry which could connect with death of deceased.

Presumption under Section 113B of Evidence Act, 1872 can be drawn only where ingredients of Section 304B of IPC are fulfilled. Prosecution has failed to prove the chain of necessary ingredients to raise the presumption under Section 113B of the Act. From no stretch of imagination, evidence led by prosecution in present case could culminate into conviction of Appellant under Section 304-B read with 34 of IPC. Consequently, judgment of conviction and order on sentence were set aside and Appellant acquitted of charge framed against him. Appellant was already on bail. Bail bonds and surety bonds furnished by Appellant stand discharged.

Relevant

Section 34, 304-B and 498A of Indian Penal Code, 1860, Section 113B of Evidence Act, 1872, Devi Lal vs. State of Rajasthan AIR 2008 SC 332, Vipin Jaiswal Vs. State of A.P. Rep. by Pub. Prosecutor, 2013 STPL 198 SC

Tags : Conviction Evidence Credibility

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