STATE OF MAHARASHTRA Vs. PRADEEP BABURAO BHOITE
HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY
STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
Pradeep Baburao Bhoite
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(1.) At the outset, Ms. Balasubramanian states that she will be filing joint Vakalatnama with Mr. Sanjeev Kadam for the accused/respondents.
(2.) This is an appeal impugning an order and judgment dated 2nd September 2002 passed by the Asst. Sessions Judge, Satara, acquitting the respondents, who are the original accused, of offences punishable under
Section 498 (A) (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her
to cruelty) and Section 306 (Abetment of suicide), read with Section 34
(Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention ) of the
Indian Penal Code ( IPC ).
(3.) The facts in brief of the prosecution is that accused no.1 was the husband and accused no.2 was the mother-in-law of one Ratnabai, who
committed suicide. Ratnabai was married to accused no.1 for more than
16 years. Ratnabai was cohabiting with the accused in their house at Hingangaon, Taluka Phaltan. Ratnabai and accused no.1 had three children,
a son is the oldest and then two daughters. On 29 th December 2000,
Ratnabai set herself on fire and suffered 84% burn injuries. Due to those
injuries, Ratnabai expired on 2nd January 2001 in Civil Hospital, Satara.
Accused no.1 was working in Mumbai and used to visit the family regularly.
About a year before the incident, accused no.1 lost his job and went back to
Hingangaon. Accused no.1 was unemployed since then. It is the
prosecution's case that accused no.1 and accused no.2 used to suspect the
character of Ratnabai and used to beat her and ill-treat her. It is the
prosecution's case that fed up with such ill-treatment and cruelty and abuses,
Ratnabai poured kerosene on herself at about 6.00 - 6.30 a.m. on 29 th
December 2000 and set herself ablaze. It is also prosecution's case that at
that stage hearing her cry, accused no.1 rushed to her and tried to extinguish
the fire. In the bid, accused no.1 himself also sustained injury. Doctor's
certificate, which is at Exhibit 17, issued on 11 th January 2001 by Shree
Datta Hospital, Lonand, says accused no.1 suffered 17% burn injuries and
the injuries are superficial to deep. It is also admitted position that accused
no.1 rushed Ratnabai to the Hospital and got her admitted. On the day of
admission itself, the Police, through PW-7, recorded the statement of
Ratnabai. In the statement, it is recorded that Ratnabai was annoyed by the
ill-treatment meted out by her husband, who was suspecting her character
and was beating her. Ratnabai also has stated that accused no.2 was abusing
her and insulting her and fed up with all these, she set herself ablaze by
pouring kerosene on her person. On the same day, at about 5.00 p.m., PW-6,
who was appointed as Special Judicial Magistrate at Satara, has also
recorded the statement of Ratnabai. It is recorded in the statement that
Ratnabai informed PW-6 that she had set herself ablaze by pouring kerosene
as she could not bear the ill-treatment meted out to her by her husband and
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