Decided on July 25,2012

Rajesh Singh And Ors. Respondents


Barin Ghosh, C.J. - (1.) THERE is some delay in preferring the appeal and, accordingly, an Application for condonation of delay has been filed. We have considered the averments made in the Application for condonation of delay and satisfied ourselves that sufficient cause has been made out for delay in filing the appeal. Accordingly, we allow the Application for condonation of delay. Inasmuch as the appeal is by the State against the judgment exonerating the respondents from the charges punishable under Sections 304 -B and 498 -A of the Indian Penal Code, an Application has been filed seeking special leave to prefer appeal. Respondents were charged under Sections 304 -B and Section 498 -A of IPC. It was alleged that the respondents meted out cruelty and harassment to the victim in connection with demand for dowry. The third respondent herein is not a relative of the husband of the deceased. That being the situation, the charge under Sections 304 -B and 498A of IPC against the third respondent is not sustainable. Be that as it may, the prosecution proved that the death has taken place within seven years from the date of marriage of the victim and that she died an unnatural death. The learned Government Advocate submitted that the father and the mother of the victim duly brought on record evidence to the effect that respondent Nos. 1 & 2, namely the husband and the mother -in -law of the deceased, were making a demand for Rs. 10,000/ - on account of dowry and the father and the mother of the victim were unable to meet the said demand. It was submitted further that PW4, Patwari, also gave evidence to the effect that such demand was made. It was submitted that, once the initial onus to prove that demand for dowry was made was discharged by the prosecution, it became obligatory on the part of the defence to disprove the same. The question, in the instant case, is not for demand for dowry, nor for non -fulfillment of such demand. The question in both the cases, i.e. under Section 304B and Section 498 -A, is cruelty meted out for non -fulfillment of such demand. The learned Government Advocate has not been able to draw our attention to any piece of evidence brought on record by the prosecution, which would suggest that there was cruelty or harassment for non -fulfillment of dowry demand. That being the situation, even if the appeal is heard on the evidence on record, there will be no improvement at all. Grant of special leave, in the circumstances, would become an idle formality. We, accordingly, reject the Application for leave to prefer appeal.
(2.) THE learned Government Advocate submitted that, even if the case ultimately does not come within Section 304B of IPC, having regard to the acknowledgement made by the respondents that the victim committed suicide, the respondents may be convicted under Section 306 of IPC, i.e. for abetment. We are of the firm view that, having regard to the nature of the evidence brought on record, there being total absence of any evidence as regards abetment to commit suicide, there is no scope of the Court holding as the learned Government Advocate has submitted. Consequentially, the appeal fails and the same is dismissed.;

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