At, High Court of Judicature at Bombay
By, THE HONOURABLE MRS. JUSTICE SADHANA S. JADHAV
For the Appellant: Anand Patil i/b Shekhar A. Ingawale, Advocates. For the Respondent: A.S. Shitole, APP.
1. Appellants are convicted for offence punishable under section 306 r.w. 34 of Indian Penal Code and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 7 years and fine of Rs. 2,000/- i.d. to rigorous imprisonment for 4 months. They are also convicted under section 498 (A), r.w. 34 of Indian Penal Code and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 3 years and fine of Rs. 1,000/- i.d. to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 3 months in Sessions Case No.24/2007 by Adhoc Additional Sessions Judge, Sangli in Sessions Case No.24/2007 vide Judgment and Order dated 07/09/2007. Such of the facts w
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ich are necessary for the decision of this appeal are as follows.2. The accused Sandeep was married to Shubhangi on 11/05/2006. After her marriage, she was residing in the joint family. Appellants were coercing Shubhangi to fetch an amount of Rs. 70,000/- from her parents to purchase an auto-rickshaw. She was insulted and humiliated on account of not being efficient in performing her domestic chores. Shubhangi has disclosed to her father about the ill-treatment to which she was subjected at the hands of present appellants. On 07/09/2006 Shubhangi had disclosed to her father that she was being illtreated and apprehending danger to her life and therefore she requested her father to fetch her. On 08/09/2006 at 12.00 noon, appellant No.2 informed the father of Shubhangi that she had sustained burn injuries while cooking and was admitted in the hospital. Her parents and relatives went to Civil Hospital, Sangli. Upon inquiry, they learnt that Shubhangi had died. A.D. No.53/2006 was registered. Post postmortem report revealed that Shubhangi had sustained 100 % burns. On 09/09/2006 Father of Shubhangi lodged a report at Vita Police Station alleging therein that Shubhangi was being illtreated and was coerced to fetch money from her parents and she has died in her matrimonial home in suspicious circumstances. Crime No.75/2006 was registered against the accused for offences punishable under section3. It is the case of the prosecution that in the course of investigation, it had transpired that Shubhangi had immolated herself and had committed suicide as she could not bear the ill-treatment at the hands of the appellants. The case was committed to the Court of Sessions and registered as Sessions Case No.24/2007. Prosecution examined 4 witnesses to bring home the guilt to the accused.4. P.W. 1 complainant, the father of deceased Shubhangi. He has deposed before the Court that after 15 days of the marriage he had gone to the matrimonial house of the Shubhangi to fetch her. While she was proceeding towards her matrimonial house, she has disclosed to her father that she was being subjected to ill-treatment for fetching Rs. 70,000/- to purchase autorickshaw.5. P.W. 2 Dhanaji happens to be the cousin of P.W. 1 reiterated the allegations levelled by the P.W. 1. It is therefore clear that Shubhangi had disclosed to her father and uncle that she was being harassed and ill-treated by the appellants. Shubhangi had committed suicide within 4 months after her marriage and therefore the learned Sessions Judge has rightly drawn the presumption under section 113(A) of Indian Evidence Act.6. The defence of the accused was a total denial. The accused have demonstrated before the Court that there is no evidence on record as regards demand of dowry either before marriage or at the time of marriage. According to the accused, demand of Rs. 70,000/- was subsequent to the marriage and therefore it cannot be treated as a dowry.7. Learned Sessions Judge has upheld the contention of the accused and recorded the finding that the prosecution has failed to prove that it is a case of dowry death. However, learned Sessions Judge has rightly held that the accused had abetted the commission of suicide by Shubhangi. Learned Sessions Judge has further held that the prosecution has proved that Shubhangi had telephonically contacted her father on the previous day of her death and that she had also expressed her apprehension that there was danger to her life.8. Learned Sessions Judge has rightly not considered the defence of the accused that the possibility of Shubhangi having committed suicide out of frustration and disharmony in marital life cannot be ruled out. Learned Sessions Judge has considered the evidence adduced by the prosecution that the deceased was subjected to cruelty and therefore she committed suicide. Prosecution has established the offence punishable under section 498(A) of Indian Penal Code which would further prove that the accused/appellants have abetted the commission of the suicide by Shubhangi in her matrimonial house within 4 months after marriage. The findings recorded by the learned Sessions Judge are justifiable. There is no perversity. During the pendency of the present appeal, the appellants were not on bail, the appellants were sent to Kolhapur Central Prison on 12/09/2007. The appellants have deposited the fine imposed upon them. The appellant Kisan Shankar Kumbhar was released on 23/10/2012. The accused/ appellant Kamal Kisan Kumbhar was released on 12/12/2012. Pursuant to Government resolution dated 10/01/2006, the appellant No.2 & 3 were more than 65 years old and therefore have been enlarged on 23/10/2012 & 12/12/2012 respectively as it is deemed that they have undergone the sentence.ORDERi) Appeal is dismissed.ii) Appellants No.2 & 3 have undergone the sentence imposed upon them.iii) Sentence passed against appellant No.1 is modified. Appellant No.1 has undergone the substantive as well the default sentence i.e. about six years of substantive sentence and is sentenced to period already undergone. He be released forthwith if not required in any other offence.iv) Office to communicate this order to appellant no.1 through Jail Authority in which he is lodged.
"2014 ALL MR (CRI) 865,"