(1.) The present Criminal Appeal has been filed to set aside the judgment of conviction and sentence dated 22.09.2014 passed in S.C.No.255 of 2012 by the learned Sessions Judge, Magalir Neethi Mandram, (Fast Track-Mahila Court), Thiruvallur.
(2.) The appellant is the sole accused. He stood charged for the offence under Sections 498-A, 306 and 304-B of IPC. By judgment dated 22.09.2014, the learned Sessions Judge, Magalir Neethimandram, Fast Track Mahila Court, convicted the appellant under Section 498-A of IPC and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years and to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/-, in default to undergo simple imprisonment for six months. The appellant is further convicted for the offence under Section 306 of IPC and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years and to pay a fine of Rs.5,000/-, in default to undergo simple imprisonment for one year. However, he was acquitted for the charges under Section 304-B of IPC. Challenging the conviction and sentence, the accused is before this Court, with the present criminal appeal.
(3.) The case of the prosecution, in brief, is as follows:
(i) PW1-Kalpana, is the mother of the deceased Kavitha. The marriage between the said Kavitha and the accused was solemnised on 22.01.2010. During the time of marriage, 10 sovereigns of gold and one Pulsar bike were given by the parents of the deceased, to the accused. After the marriage, both the accused and the deceased were leading a matrimonial life in Ramapuram. After two months from the date of marriage, the accused, regularly consumed liquour and beaten the deceased. Further, without attending any work, compelled the deceased to bring some money from her parental home. The harassment and the cruelty committed by the accused were all informed to PW1.
(ii) On 13.10.2010, the aunt of the accused informed the death of the deceased to PW3-Saravanan, who is the brother of the deceased. Prior to 15 days from the date of occurrence, marriage of the said Saravanan was performed and at that time, the accused harassed the deceased and compelled to bring some money from PW1. Further, the said harassment committed by the accused was known to PW1 and others.
(iii) Immediately after knowing the death of the deceased, PW1, along with her daughter PW2-Tanuja and son PW3-Saravanan went to the Government Hospital, Royapettah and saw the dead body of the deceased Kavitha. PW1 found that there was an injury in the neck of the deceased and also there was one injury in the eye of the deceased. On seeing the same, PW1, lodged a complaint under Ex.P1, before the police, saying that the deceased committed suicide due to the harassment and cruelty committed by the appellant/accused.
(iv) On receipt of the complaint given by PW1, Mr.K.Rajaram [PW11], the Sub Inspector of Police, R9-Valasaravakkam Police Station registered a case in Crime No.719 of 2010 under Section 174(3) of Cr.P.C. The printed FIR has been marked as Ex.P6. After registration of the case, PW13-Mr.Madasamy, the then Inspector of Police, R9- Valasaravakkam Police Station, took up the case for investigation and on the same day, he sent intimation to the Revenue Divisional Officer for preparing the inquest report.
(v) On receipt of the copy of the FIR, PW12-Mr.Kanthasamy, the then Revenue Divisional Officer, visited the hospital, wherein the dead body is available and after examining the witnesses, he prepared an inquest report under Ex.P7. According to him, due to the demand of dowry made by accused, the deceased committed suicide. After completing the inquest, he sent a requisition to the Doctor for conducting postmortem.
(vi) On receipt of the same, PW9-Dr.V.Dekal, attached with Government Hospital, Royapettah, on 14.10.2010, at about 3.30pm conducted the autopsy and found the following injuries.
1) An incomplete, asymmetrically oblique, well defined, brown ligature abrasion 26 x 3-2.5 cm, on front and sides of upper part of the neck, above the level of thyroid cartilage. The ligature abrasion was 6cm below the chin, 8cm above the suprasternal notch and was 4cm and 5.5cm below right and left mastoid processes respectively; On dissection: The subcutaneous soft tissues underneath the ligature abrasion were pale; Hyoid bone and other laryngeal cartilages were intact.
There were no other external or internal injures anywhere on the body.
Heart: Normal in size: C/S: Chambers contained clotted blood;
Valves: Normal; Coronaries: Patent; Great Vessels: Normal.
Lungs: Normal in size; C/S-Congested. Larynx and Trachea: Empty, Hyoid Bone: Intact.
Stomach: Empty; no definite smell; Mucosa: Congested. Intestines: Contained brown Chyme.
Bladder: Empty. Uterus: Normal in size; C/S-Empty.
Liver, Spleen and Kidney: Normal in size; C/S: Congested.
Pelvis and Spinal column: Intact.
Skull: Intact. Brain: Normal in size and softened; surface vessels were congested.
He issued a post-mortem report under Ex.P5, stating that the deceased would appear to have died of Asphyxia due to hanging.
(vii) In continuation of the investigation, PW13, visited the scene of occurrence, and in the presence of witnesses viz., Balasubramani [PW5] and one Balamurugan, he prepared the observation mahazar under Ex.P2. He had drawn the rough sketch and the same was marked as Ex.P8. He made arrangements for taking photographs in the occurrence place. Further, in the presence of same witnesses, he recovered the dupatta, under the cover of Mahazar, Ex.P3. He examined the witnesses and recorded their statements. After completing the post-mortem, through one Head Constable, he entrusted the dead body to the relatives of PW1. He altered the Section of law from Section 174(3) Cr.P.C. to Sections 498-A, 306 and 304-B of IPC. The alteration report has been marked as Ex.P9.
(viii) On 15.10.2020, PW13 arrested the accused and sent him to remand. He forwarded the material objects to the Court and after examining the Doctor, who conducted post-mortem and the Revenue Divisional Officer, who prepared the inquest report, he came to the positive conclusion that the accused has committed an offence under Sections 498-A, 306 and 304-B of IPC and filed a final report. ;