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Criminal Appeal Nos. 17 and 74 of 2000

Decided On: 07.09.2017

Appellants: Purushottam Sitaram Bakal and Ors. Vs. Respondent: The State of Maharashtra

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
R.B. Deo


R.B. Deo, J.

1. The appellants in Criminal Appeal No. 17 of 2000 faced trial for offence punishable under sections 306 and 498-A read with section 34 of Indian Penal Code (for short 'IPC'). They have been acquitted of offence punishable under section 306 read with section 34 of IPC and have been convicted of offence punishable under section 498-A read with section 34 of Indian Penal Code and are sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for two years and to pay fine of Rs. 500/-.

The State is challenging the acquittal of the accused for offence punishable under section 306 of IPC and accused are challenging the conviction under section 498-A read with section 34 of IPC. Criminal Appeal 17 of 2000 and Criminal Appeal 74 of 2000, assailing the judgment dated 20.12.1999, in Session Trial 65 of 1997 delivered by Additional Sessions Judge, Washim, have been heard together and are decided by this common judgment.

2. Heard Shri. S.A. Bramhe, learned counsel for appellants in Criminal Appeal 17 of 2000 and Shri. H.R. Dhumale, learned Additional Public Prosecutor in Criminal Appeal 74 of 2000 for the State.

3. Saraswati, late wife of appellant 1, Purushottam (appellants shall be referred to as 'accused' hereinafter) expired on 22.5.1997 at village Tiwali. The prosecution contends that Sarswati committed suicide by consuming poison. Natthu Jadhav, the father of Sarswati lodged First Information Report (for short 'FIR') (Exh. 23), on 23.5.1997, pursuant to which offence punishable under section 498-A and 306 read with section 34 of IPC was registered at Shirpur Police Station.

4. The gist of the prosecution case is that Sarswati was harassed by the accused to coerce her to fulfil unlawful demand of colour TV, cooler and Rs. 10,000/-. The FIR states that whenever Sarswati used to visit the maternal house, she used to disclose the harassment to which she was subjected, to the informant and other family members.

The investigation led to filing charge-sheet before the learned Magistrate who committed the case to the Sessions Court. The learned Sessions Judge framed charge (Exh. 14). The accused pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried. The prosecution examined six witnesses including the father, mother, uncle and sister of the deceased Sarswati. The defence of the accused is total denial.

5. The learned Sessions Judge has held that the prosecution has not proved that Sarswati committed suicide. The learned APP Shri. H.R. Dhumale, contends that the finding of the learned Sessions Judge is manifestly erroneous and is contrary to the dictum of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Bhupendra v. State of Madhya Pradesh MANU/SC/1159/2013 : (2014) 2 SCC 106. The learned APP contends that the reasoning of the learned Sessions Judge, that in view of the report of the Chemical Analyzer that on examination of viscera, no general and specific ch........