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Jhanak Lal V/S State of Madhya Pradesh


Company & Directors' Information:- C. LAL LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909HR2012PLC046499

    Criminal Appeal No. 218 of 2000

    Decided On, 13 February 2020

    At, High Court of Chattisgarh

    By, THE HONORABLE JUSTICE: ARVIND SINGH CHANDEL

    For the Petitioner: Ms. Savita Tiwari, Varunendra Mishra, Advocates And For the Respondent: Amit Verma, Panel Lawyer



Judgment Text

1. The instant appeal has been preferred against the judgment dated 12.1.2000 passed by the 5th Additional Sessions Judge, Durg in Sessions Trial No.142 of 1999, whereby the Appellant has been convicted and sentenced as under:

Conviction

Sentence

Under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code

Rigorous Imprisonment for 7 years and fine of Rs.1,000/- with default stipulation


2. Prosecution case, in brief, is that deceased Ranjana was wife of the Appellant. Their marriage was performed by churi form in May, 1998. This was third marriage of the deceased. Her first husband was Sugandas and second husband was Bhaudas. She was socially divorced by both husbands Sugandas and Bhaudas. On 24.2.1999, the Appellant had gone out of home to Bhilai in the morning. In the afternoon, at about 12:30 p.m., he returned home. The door of the house was closed from inside. Even on being knocked, the door was not opened. He called Kotwar and neighbours. On being peeped inside from the window, he saw that his wife Ranjana (deceased) had hanged herself inside the room. Morgue was lodged by him. During morgue inquiry, statements of witnesses were recorded. Thereafter, on the basis of morgue inquiry report, offence was registered. It was found that the Appellant used to suspect on the character of the deceased and for this reason he used to commit marpeet with her. He did not allow her to go out of home and talk to others. It is further alleged that the Appellant used to demand a sum of Rs.25,000/- for his job from his father-in-law through the deceased and for this reason he used to commit marpeet with her. On completion of investigation, a charge-sheet was filed against the Appellant. Charge was framed against him.

3. In support of its case, the prosecution examined as many as 11 witnesses. In examination under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Appellant denied the guilt and pleaded innocence. 4 witnesses have been examined in defence.

4. On completion of the trial, vide the impugned judgment, the Trial Court convicted and sentenced the Appellant as mentioned in the first paragraph of this judgment. Hence, this appeal.

5. Learned Counsel appearing for the Appellant submitted that without there being any clinching evidence on record against the Appellant, the Trial Court has wrongly convicted him. It was further submitted that there is no material on record on the basis of which it could be said that the Appellant instigated or abetted the deceased in any way to commit suicide. There was no report regarding harassment against the Appellant prior to the incident. At the time of inquest proceeding, relatives of the deceased were present, but at that time, they did not make any complaint. From the statement of Kanakdas (PW7), father of the deceased, it is also established that the amount of Rs.20,000/-, which was taken by the Appellant from Kanakdas (PW7), was a loan. There is no evidence on record to show that the Appellant ever committed marpeet with the deceased for bringing any money for his job from her father. There are material contradictions and omissions in the statements of Kanakdas (PW7), father of the deceased, Manglinbai (PW4), mother of the deceased, Prahlad (PW8), brother of the deceased and Banshilal (PW11), nephew of the deceased. Therefore, their statements are not reliable.

6. Learned Counsel appearing for the State/Respondent supported the impugned judgment of conviction and sentence.

7. I have heard Learned Counsel appearing for the parties and perused the record with due care.

8. It is not in dispute that the deceased was married wife of the Appellant. It is also not in dispute that this was a third marriage of the deceased and this marriage had taken place few months prior to the incident. Kotwar Nammuram (PW1) and Kapil Narayan (PW2) have deposed that on the date of incident, the Appellant came to them and told that the door of his house is closed from inside and the deceased is not opening the door. They went to his house and saw inside from window that the deceased had hanged herself.

9. Punnibai (PW3), first wife of the Appellant, has deposed that when she had stayed with the Appellant at his house, he used to consume liquor and suspect on her character and commit marpeet with her. However, she has admitted that she never made any report in any police station in this regard. She has also admitted that she did not know the deceased.

10. Manglinbai (PW4) is mother of the deceased. She has deposed that the Appellant used to suspect on the character of the deceased and commit marpeet with her after consuming liquor. She has further deposed that she had given a sum of Rs.4,000/- to the deceased. The Appellant had spent that amount also in consuming liquor. During cross-examination, this witness has admitted that on the occasion of tija festival, she and her jethani had gone to the matrimonial house of the deceased and had stayed there for 2 days. At that time, the Appellant and his family members had behaved well with them. They had also not made any complaint to the parents and neighbours of the Appellant and other villagers of his village. This witness has further admitted that after the tija festival, the Appellant did not come to the maternal house of the deceased to take her back. On this, the deceased herself had expressed that her husband/Appellant would be alone, therefore, she should be taken to her maternal house. On this, they had taken her to her matrimonial house. This witness has further admitted that later on, after 2-3 months, the Appellant himself had brought the deceased to her maternal house and he had stayed at her maternal house for 2-3 days and thereafter he had taken her back with him. At that time also, no dispute had taken place and the deceased was happily sent back. She has further admitted that on the date of incident, they were present at the time of inquest proceeding, but they did not make any complaint.

11. Naib-Tahsildar S.R. Dhruw (PW5) conducted inquest proceeding vide Ex.P3. Patwari Khamhandas (PW6) prepared spot-map (Ex.P1).

12. Kanakdas (PW7) is father of the deceased. In his Court statement, he has deposed that after 1 month of marriage of the deceased with the Appellant, the deceased had come to her maternal house along with the Appellant. There, when she used to go out to attend the call of nature and take bath, the Appellant used to keep a watch on her and doubt on her character. However, he has admitted that while recording of his statement under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, he did not disclose these facts. Thus, from the above, it is clear that he developed his statement on these points. This witness has further deposed that in the month of July, the Appellant had demanded a sum of Rs.20,000/- from him for passing supplementary examination of 10 th standard. In paragraph 15, this witness has admitted that the Appellant had taken this amount from him as a loan saying that he will repay him on getting a job. This witness has further deposed that in the month of February, the Appellant had again demanded a sum of Rs.20,000/- - 25,000/- from him and on not giving the money he got angry and returned. However, this fact is also not mentioned in his case diary statement. During cross-examination, this witness has also admitted that at the time of inquest proceeding, he did not make any complaint.

13. Prahlad (PW8) is elder brother of the deceased. In his Court statement, he has deposed that the Appellant used to consume liquor and commit marpeet with the deceased and also used to suspect on her character. This witness has also admitted that on the occasion of tija festival, the deceased had come to her maternal house along with the Appellant and they had stayed there for 3-4 days. They were welcomed and treated well and no dispute had arisen at that time. In paragraph 7, this witness has further admitted that they themselves had also gone to the house of the Appellant for 2-3 days. At that time, everything was good and no dispute had taken place.

14. Inspector V.K. Shukla (PW9) is the witness who investigated the offence in question.

15. Dr. P.C. Agrawal (PW10) conducted post mortem examination over the dead body of the deceased and gave report Ex.P11 in which he has reported that mark of hanging was found over the neck of the deceased. It is reported that the death occurred due to asphyxia as a result of hanging. No physical injury was found over the body of the deceased. Mode of death is reported to be suicidal.

16. Banshilal (PW11) is nephew of the deceased. He has deposed that after the tija festival, he had taken the deceased to her matrimonial house and had also stayed there for 1 day. At that time, the Appellant had consumed liquor and had also served him the same. He has further deposed that the deceased gave some prasad to the Appellant, but the Appellant threw away that prasad and committed marpeet with her. In paragraph 6 of his cross- examination, he has further admitted that in his presence, the Appellant did not commit any marpeet with the deceased nor did he say anything to her. The Appellant had only thrown away the prasad given to him by the deceased.

17. In defence, the Appellant examined Johanlal, Dinanath, Trivenibai and Bhaudas as DW1, DW2, DW3 and DW4, respectively. All these defence witnesses have deposed that both the Appellant and the deceased used to live happily. No dispute had taken place between them. No child was being delivered by the deceased and, therefore, she was under depression.

18. On a minute examination of the evidence available on record, it is clear that the Appellant was the 3rd husband of the deceased and it was the second marriage of the Appellant. The deceased resided with the Appellant for few months. It is also clear that within few months of the marriage, the deceased committed suicide by hanging herself. As stated by the defence witnesses, due to not taking birth of any child from the deceased, she was in tension. According to the case of the prosecution, the Appellant used to consume liquor, commit marpeet with the deceased and suspect on her character. Manglinbai (PW4), mother of the deceased has deposed in similar fashion. But, she has admitted that they had visited the house of the Appellant and stayed there for 2 days. At that time, no quarrel or dispute had taken place. They were behaved and treated well there. After tija festival, the deceased herself, saying that the Appellant/husband would be alone at home, expressed to return to her matrimonial house. From the admissions made by Manglinbai (PW4), mother of the deceased and Kanakdas (PW7), father of the deceased, it is also clear that even thereafter the Appellant had taken the deceased to her maternal house and no dispute had taken place at that time. These witnesses have also admitted that though once the Appellant had taken a sum of Rs.20,000/-, that was taken by him as a loan saying that he will repay the same on getting a job. There is nothing on record to establish that the Appellant used to torture or harass the deceased for demand of money. From the statements of both these witnesses, it is also clear that both the families visited each other's houses many times, but no dispute took place between any of them at any point of time. From there statements, it is also established that at the time of inquest proceeding, none of them made any complaint. Prahlad (PW8), brother of the deceased has also admitted that at the time of tija festival, the deceased had come to her maternal house along with the Appellant and they were welcomed and treat

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ed well and no dispute had taken place at that time. This witness has further admitted that when they had visited the house of the Appellant and stayed there for 2-3 days, at that time time also, no dispute had taken place. Though Banshilal (PW11) has deposed that one day, he had visited the house of the Appellant and at that time, the Appellant had committed marpeet with the deceased, but, in his cross-examination, he has denied this fact. There is no evidence on record to establish that the Appellant, after consuming liquor, used to commit marpeet with the deceased regularly, suspect on her character and ill-treat her and a result of which the deceased had no option but to commit suicide. Thus, main ingredient of Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code is missing in this case. Merely on the basis that the deceased committed suicide, it is not established that the Appellant instigated or abetted her in any way to commit suicide. Therefore, the conviction imposed upon the Appellant is not sustainable. 19. Consequently, the appeal is allowed. The impugned judgment of conviction and sentence is set aside. The Appellant is acquitted of the charge framed against him. 20. Record of the Court below be sent back along with a copy of this judgment forthwith for information and necessary compliance.
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