HIGH COURT OF DELHI
STATE OF DELHI
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(1.)The present petition has been filed by two petitioners, namely, Rani, wife of Mohan Lal and Mohan Lal, who are the sister-in-law and husband of the sister-in-law respectively of the deceased, challenging the order framing of the charges against the petitioners passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge on 15.1.1994. The charges framed read as under:- "That in between 26.11.92 to 5.5.93 at flat No.896/18 Baba Kadak Singh Marg within the jurisdiction of P.S. Parliament Street in furtherance of common intention of you all caused cruelty an harassment to Smt. Lakshmi for demand of dowry and thereby committed an offence punishable u/s 498A read with Section 34 Indian Penal Code within my cognizance. Secondly, that on the aforesaid date, time and place in furtherance of common intention of you all you Ganesh Kumar, being husband, Rani, sister-in-law, Mohan Lal being brother-in-law and Munni Devi being mother-in-law of the deceased Lakshmi caused such cruelty and harassment for demand of dowry as a result of which she committed suicide and died on 5.5.93 within 7 years of her marriage and other than normalic circumstances and thereby committed offence U/s. 304B read with Section 34 Indian Penal Code within my cognizance."
(2.)The facts, briefly state, are as under- That the deceased, Smt. Laxmi was married to Ganesh, one of the accused on 26.1.1992. Laxmi committed suicide by hanging herself on 5.5.1993 in her own father's house. A day before the hanging, Ganesh, accuse suspecting the fidelity of his wife, beat Laxmi badly and also taunted her for dowry and left her at her father's place. On the fateful day, i.e., 5.5.1993. Laxmi admittedly left a suicide note before committing suicide, the suicide note was recovered from the room where the deceased committed suicide by hanging herself. The translation of the suicide note reads as under;- "Ganesh today you have suspected me without any reason as no act of mine is wrong. Papa I cannot live without him as he has turned me out of his house today. If something happens to me my dead body be sent to his house. My last wish is that i be cremated only by my husband. A dying person never tells a lie. Till the last moment, I say that there is no fault of mine. I am leaving this word without doing any wrong. My last wish should be honored. I wish to God that if I am reborn, I should be his wife although he has pained me much. I am angry only because he has suspected me without any basis. There is in my heart no body except him - there was none before and nor will there be any in future. I am also painted that Ganesh has taunted my today for the dowry. Today Ganesh has beaten me badly for the first time. papa your unfortunate daughter Laxmi. Sd/- Laxmi."
(3.)In the suicide note, which is taken to be the dying declaration, there is no mention of any in-laws making any demand for dowry or subjecting the deceased to crue!ty or harassment for any connection with any demand for dowry. It appears from the dying declaration in the suicide note that the husband had taunted her for dowry on that day only and had beaten her badly for the first time. The said dying declaration opens with the words "Ganesh today you have suspected me without any reason as no act of mine is wrong"..."lam angry only because he has suspected me without any basis. There is in my heart no body except him. There was none before and nor will there be any in future." This shows that the reason for maltreatment was suspicion in the mind of husband about wife's fidelity. The further words in the said note read that "I am also pained that Ganesh has taunted me today for the first time." This shows that beating and taunting for dowry took place on that day for the first time. A plain reading of the dying declaration would show that the main allegation which hurt the deceased most, was a suspicion by the husband about her character and she has tried to point out that there was no other person in her life except the husband. From the dying declaration, it also becomes clear that Ganesh had beaten her badly for the first time and had also taunted her for dowry on that date. There is no history of any demand for dowry or allegation of such a demand by the husband or from any of the relations of the deceased, it was only in the course of the investigations that the aunt and the mother of the deceases stated that the deceased had earlier been also taunted by the in-laws or their relations for dowry and that she had come on earlier occasions also and had revealed the fact of such taunts for dowry to her aunt. it is on the basis of those allegations that the proceedings were initiated. The learned ASJ after going into the facts of the case has disclosed in the report under Section 173 that "but whenever daughter used to come to her parent's house, she used to disclose to her mother and aunt that her mother-in-law and sister- in-law and her husband used to tease her for dowry. They used to tell her that she has not brought scooter or colour television and Ganesh, at the instance of her brother-in-law , sister and mother, used to misbehave with her concerning taunts." The Sessions Judge has also noted that "on the day of the marriage, the brother-in- law of ganesh and other relations abused after taking liquor and also quarreled with them." In this quarrel, there is no mention of dowry. The Sessions Judge has, however, wrongly noted in the order that in the suicide note, it was further mentioned that her husband has against teased her for dowry (emphasis supplied). There is no mention of the word again in the suicide note and it appears that this word has been inadvertently supplied by the Sessions Judge. On the question of beating also, the suicide note clearly mentions that she has been beaten by Ganesh badly for the first time. this clearly discounts any earlier beating. Again in para-4 of the impugned order, the learned Sessions Judge has totally misconstrued the suicide note by supplying the words "and by the in-laws". The word "and by the in-laws" do not appear i the suicide note. The learned Sessions Judge has observed that as per the suicide note, she has been beaten and teased for dowry and has also been treated with cruelty by the husband and by the in-laws whereas I find that the main emphasis of the suicide note is on husband's suspicion about her fidelity. In any event, I am not considering or examining the order of framing the charge against the husband or any one other than the present petitioners, who are the sister of the husband and her husband.
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