K. Jayachandra Reddy, J. -
(1.)This is a case of dowry death. The deceased by name of Smt. Kailash was the daughter of Hari Bhagwan, P.W. 1 of Jonala. She was married to one Sat Pal of Mundhaliya Village about 9 kilometres away from Jonala. The marriage took place on 18th April, 1987, Sat Pal the husband at. the relevant time was serving in the Army. His father namely the father-in-law of deceased was employed in Railways. Accused No. 1 Smt. Shanti is the mother of Sat Pal, and the mother~in-law of the deceased. The other appellant Smt. Krishna wife of the brother of Sat Pal was another inmate. After marriage the deceased was living in her matrimonial home with accused Nos. 1 and 2, the two appellants herein. It is alleged that these two women were harassing the deceased all the while after the marriage for not bringing Scooter and Television as part of the dowry and she was treated cruelly. The marriage of one Munni, a cousin of the deceased was fixed for 30th April, 1988. Her brother went to Mundaliya village twice for bringing the deceased but the accused only taunted him and sent him away without sending the deceased. Ultimately, P.W. 1, the father himself went to the home of his daughter, the deceased on 25th April, 1988. The two appellants misbehaved with him saying that if he was fond of his daughter he ought to have arranged Scooter and Television as part of the dowry and he was insulted and pushed out of the house. On 26th April, 1988 at about 11 p.m. P.W. 1 came to know that the deceased had been murdered and was cremated by the two ladies with the help of another three persons. A report was given and the police could recover only bones and'ashes. After investigation, the charge-sheet was laid.
(2.)The Additional Sessions Judge, who tried all the five accused convicted the appellants under Section 304B, I.P.C. and sentenced each of them to life imprisonment and under Section 201, I.P.C., sentenced them to undergo imprisonment for one year and to pay a fine of Rs. 2000/- each and also under Section 498-A, I.P.C. to two years rigorous imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs. 3000 / -. The sentences were directed to run concurrently The other accused were acquitted. These two appellants preferred an appeal to the High Court and the same was dismissed. The High Court, however, set aside the conviction under Section 498-A, I.P.C. The present appeal, pursuant to the leave granted by this Court, has been preferred against the judgment of the High Court.
(3.)Mr. Lalit, learned counsel for the appellants submitted that there is no direct evidence in this case and that all the ingredients of an offence under Section 304B, I.P.C. are not made out. According to him, it is not conclusively proved that the two appellants subjected the deceased to cruelty or harassment and the very fact that the High Court has acquitted the appellants of the offence punishable under Section 498-A would itself indicate that the prosecution case regarding cruelty is not accepted and consequently the death cannot be one of "dowry death". On merits, he submitted that in the absence of clear proof of the cause of death one cannot presume that the death occurred in unnatural circumstances.