STATE OF GUJARAT Vs. PATEL MAHESHBHAI RANCHHODBHAI
LAWS(GJH)-2008-6-58
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
Decided on June 16,2008

STATE OF GUJARAT Appellant
VERSUS
PATEL MAHESHBHAI RANCHHODBHAI Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) ALL the above mentioned proceedings are preferred challenging the judgment and order delivered by Sessions Judge, Mehsana, on 7th of January, 2005 in Sessions Case No. 249 of 2004.
(2.) IT is stated that justice hurried is justice buried. The present is a glaring example of undue haste by the then Sessions Judge, Mehsana, in disposing of the trial and acquitting the accused for the serious offences punishable under sec. 498a read with Sec. 114 of the Indian Penal Code and Sec. 306 read with Sec. 114 of the Indian Penal Code. Before considering the respective Appeals and the Revision Application on merits, few dates are required to be noted, which will demonstrate the undue haste by the then learned Sessions Judge, mehsana, in disposing of the trial and acquitting the accused and convicting the original accused No. 1 for the offence punishable under Sec. 498a of the indian Penal Code only, and that too, sentencing him to undergo only three days S. I. , possibly knowing that, the said accused No. 1 husband has remained in jail as an undertrial for three days, and therefore, if he is sentenced to undergo three days S. I. , he will not have to go to jail again. The case was committed to the Sessions Court by the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mehsana, on 2-12-2004, under Sec. 209 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as case was sessions triable. It reached the Sessions Court on 16-12-2004. In-charge Sessions Judge, mehsana, on 16-12-2004 transferred the said case to the Court of learned additional Sessions Judge, Sixth Fast Track Court, Shri A. H. Shah. Again the same was transferred to the Court of learned Sessions Judge, Mehsana, who on 20-12-2004, fixed the matter for framing of the charge. The learned Sessions judge framed the charges against all the accused on 29-12-2004 for the offences punishable under Secs. 498a, 306, 201 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code. On the very day, all the accused pleaded not guilty. On 1-1-2005, the prosecution submitted the list of witnesses to be examined on behalf of the prosecution and requested to issue the witness summons to as many as 12 witnesses and the learned Sessions Judge issued the witness summons and the next date was fixed on 7-1-2005. On 7-1-2005 itself, in all five witnesses came to be examined by the Sessions Court and the rest of the witnesses came to be dropped by the prosecution. Out of the five witnesses, two main witnesses i. e. maternal uncle and maternal aunt of the deceased turned hostile. Still, the prosecution submitted closing purshis on the very day i. e. 7-1-2005 and the remaining witnesses against whom witness summons were already issued, came to be dropped. On 7-1-2005, application Exh. 7 was submitted on behalf of the prosecution by which the prosecution submitted list of 17 documents to be produced along with the necessary documents, however, the learned Sessions Judge exhibited only four documents. On 7-1-2005 itself, further statements of the accused under Sec. 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure came to be recorded. On 7-1-2005 itself, the arguments on behalf of the prosecution as well as the defence came to be heard by the learned Sessions Judge, Mehsana, and on the very day i. e. 7-1-2005, the then Sessions Judge, Mehsana, acquitted all the accused for the offences punishable under Secs. 306 read with 114 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code and even acquitted the original accused Nos. 2 to 4 for the offence punishable under Sec. 498a of the Indian Penal Code also and convicted the original accused No. 1-husband for the offence punishable under Sec. 498a of the Indian Penal Code by imposing the punishment of three days simple imprisonment and fine of Rs. 3,000/- only. Being aggrieved and dissatisfied with the aforesaid judgment and order delivered by the learned Sessions judge, Mehsana, on 7th of January, 2005 in Sessions Case No. 249 of 2004, the State is before this Court.
(3.) PROSECUTION case and background details of the case relates to suicide committed by Renukaben Maheshbhai Patel, on 16th of December, 1997, at village Panchot of Mehsana district. Deceased Renukaben had married to maheshbhai Ranchhodbhai, accused No. 1, before two years of the incident and was staying at village Panchot near Ramji Mandir Chowk, Taluka - District mehsana. Deceased belonged to Visnagar. From this wedlock, deceased had a female child, named as Gudi. Accused No. 1-husband of deceased had been serving at Africa and before three months of the incident, he had been to village panchot. According to prosecution case, accused No. 1-husband of deceased renukaben, upon instigation of her mother-in-law i. e. accused No. 3-Patel sharadaben Ranchhodbhai was doubting her character and was executing mental cruelty upon her as well as she was used to beat by her husband. Preceding three days of the incident, accused No. 1-husband Maheshbhai, accused No. 3-Sharadaben Ranchhodbhai - mother-in-law and accused No. 2-Ranchhodbhai hargovanbhai - father-in-law of the deceased were extremely harassing the deceased and upon instigation of accused Nos. 2 and 3, accused No. 1-husband had been beating deceased Renukaben and this continued for last preceding three days of the incident. On account of this and compelling circumstances, on 16th of December, 1997, at about 13-30 hours in her house (in-law house), deceased poured kerosene of the quantity of five litres upon her and ignited herself, so she started burning in flames. Her husband accused No. 1 attempted to quench flames, but Renukaben was burnt in whole body. Thereafter, she was taken to general Hospital at Mehsana in ambulance. She was treated by Dr. A. K. Kapadia and he found burns on whole over her body, deep in nature. The doctor advised to shift Renukaben to Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad for further treatment. In the meantime, Mehsana Taluka Police Station was informed and A. S. I. Hargovanbhai mohanbhai, examined as P. W. . 4 at Exh. 13, reached at Mehsana General hospital. He found that Renukaben was admitted in Emergency Room No. 17 and the doctor who was attending Renukaben requested A. S. I. Hargovanbhai to record the statement of Renukaben. At that time, her treatment was going on. A. S. I. Hargovanbhai Mohanbhai, therefore, through his writer recorded the statement of Renukaben in a manner that he asked questions and Renukaben answered, which he got noted through his writer. In the statement, she narrated the above story that she was harassed by accused Nos. 1, 2 and 3 on account of suspicion on her character and due to mental as well as physical cruelty, she committed suicide. According to Hargovanbhai Mohanbhai, deceased renukaben was in fit mental condition to give answers, and in token of it, doctor-in-charge put his signature on the statement, and thereafter, since the fingers of both the hands of Renukaben were distorted by burning, Hargovanbhai mohanbhai obtained thumb impression of leg of Renukaben. From the above, a crime came to be registered in all against following five persons, vide first c. R. No. 414 of 1997, initially, for the offences punishable under Secs. 498a and 114 of the Indian Penal Code. The accused were (i) Patel Maheshbhai ranchhodbhai, husband; (ii) Patel Ranchhodbhai Hargovanbhai, father-in-law; (iii) Patel Shardaben Ranchhodbhai, mother-in-law and (iv) Patel Ashaben pankajbhai, sister-in-law. The deceased thereafter was shifted to Civil Hospital at Ahmedabad at about 18-00 hours on the same day. She was brought by one chinubhai Naranbhai. During treatment, at about 19-10 hours, Renukaben died, and therefore, O. P. D. In-charge Head Constable, Shahibaug Police Station, informed Police Station In-charge at Shahibaugh and requested Police Surgeon to conduct post mortem and the Executive Magistrate to draw inquest panchnama. The death of Renukaben was informed to Mehsana Taluka Police Station and upon that information, charge under Sec. 306 as well as under Sec. 201 of the Indian Penal Code was added against the accused. Post mortem of the deceased was conducted by P. W. 1 Dr. Sureshbhai Manibhai Nayak of Civil Hospital, ahmedabad, on 17th of December, 1997, at about 11-00 a. m. to 12-00 noon. The cause of death was due to shock, due to extensive burns. The offence thereafter was investigated by the then P. I. of Mehsana Taluka Police Station vikramsinh Arjunsinh Rahevar, P. W. 5. Charge-sheet thereafter came to be submitted against all the four accused in the Court of learned Chief Judicial magistrate, Mehsana, and the said Criminal Case was thereafter committed to the Court of Sessions at Mehsana and was registered as Sessions Case No. 249 of 2004.;


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