Criminal Appeal No. 36 of 2017 (Arising out of SLP (Crl) No. 6178 of 2016)

Decided On: 05.01.2017

Appellants: Deepak Vs. Respondent: State of Chhattisgarh

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao


1. Leave granted. The Appellant had been convicted for the offences Under Sections 302 read with 34, 304-B, 306 and 498 A of the Indian Penal Code, (For Short, the Indian Penal Code"). The First Additional Sessions Judge, Bilaspur had convicted the Appellant Under Sections 498-A and 304-B of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year with fine of ` 1000/-, with default stipulation Under Section 498-A Indian Penal Code and life imprisonment with fine of ` 5,000/- with default stipulation Under Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code.

2. The High Court converted the conviction of the Appellant Under Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code to one Under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.

3. We have heard learned Counsel for the parties.

4. The Appellant got married on 05.02.1993. In the intervening night of 4th/5th.03.1995 the wife of the Appellant Varsha @ Sadhana was found hanging from a ceiling fan in a room. The Appellant was prosecuted under the aforesaid section and convicted as mentioned above.

5. The main contention advanced by Shri V.A. Mohta, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the Appellant is that a conviction Under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code does not necessarily lead to an inference of the commission of an offence Under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code unless it is established that alleged cruel treatment which is said to have resulted in the death of the deceased, was meted out soon before the death. Shri Mohta, learned Senior Counsel relied upon a judgment of this Court in the case of Bakshish Ram and Anr. v. State of Punjab,   MANU/SC/0243/2013 : 2013 (3) R.C.R. (Criminal) 924 : 2013 (2) Recent Apex Judgments (R.A.J.) 371 : (2013) 4 SCC 131. In paragraph 19 of the aforesaid judgment, this Court observed that "the prosecution is obliged to show that soon before the occurrence, there was cruelty or harassment and only in that case presumption operates".

6. In the present case there is a conviction Under Section 498-A which means that there was cruel treatment to the wife by the husband but there is no credible evidence that there was cruelty meted out to her soon before her death, so as to make the cruelty cause of her death. It is possible that the deceased decided to end her life becaus........