Decided on November 19,2012

Pratap Singh S/O Late Durlabh Singh Appellant
State Of U P (Now State Of Uttarakhand) Respondents


- (1.) This appeal, preferred under Section 374 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, is directed against judgment and order dated 12.05.2000, passed by learned Sessions Judge, Almora, in Sessions Trial No. 51 of 1996, whereby said court has convicted accused/appellants Pratap Singh and Durga Devi under Section 498A and 306 of I.P.C., and each one of them has been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a period of ten years under Section 306 I.P.C., and rigorous imprisonment for a period of three years under Section 498A I.P.C. The accused/appellant Pratap Singh has been further directed to pay fine of Rs. 10,000/- under Section 306 I.P.C. in default of payment of fine he has been directed to undergo further imprisonment for period of two and half years (During appeal appellant No.2 Durga Devi is reported to have died and her appeal stood abated).
(2.) Heard learned Amicus Curiae for the appellant, and learned Deputy Advocate General, for the State, and perused the lower court record.
(3.) Prosecution story, in brief, is that Smt. Vimla Devi (deceased) got married to accused/appellant Pratap Singh, R/o Bajyula, in the year 1989. After their marriage they used to live in Village Bajyula within the limits of Police Station Baijnath. Accused/appellant No. 2 Durga Devi was mother in law of the deceased, who also used to live with her son accused/appellant No.1 Pratap Singh. In the early hours of 30.05.1996, the body of Smt. Vimla Devi was found hanging from a pine apple tree in the village. The accused/appellant Pratap Singh reported the matter at 10.30 hours about death of his wife to officers of Police Station Baijnath. After making necessary entry in the General Diary, Police proceeded to the village and took the dead body of Smt. Vimla Devi in their possession. The body was sealed and an inquest report (Ex.A3) was prepared. The Police further prepared documents like Police Form No. 13, Sketch of dead body and letter for Chief Medical Officer, requesting for post mortem examination. PW3 Dr. S.S. Pal conducted postmortem examination on the dead body of Smt. Vimla Devi on 30.05.1996, at about 4.45 P.M. The Medical Officer in the autopsy report (Ex. A2) opined that the deceased had died due to asphyxia and shock as a result of hanging (suggesting suicide). On the next day (31.05.1996) PW1 Heera Singh (father of the deceased) lodged First Information Report (Ex. A1) with the Police Station Baijnath against the accused Pratap Singh (husband of the deceased), Durga Devi (mother in law of the deceased) and Kamla Devi (sister in law of the deceased) alleging that they harassed and committed cruelty against the deceased and compelled her to commit suicide. On the basis of said report, Check Report (Ex. A4) was prepared at Police Station relating to offences punishable under Section 498A and 306 of I.P.C., against the accused Pratap Singh, Durga Devi and Kamla Devi. It is pertinent to mention here that earlier District Bageshwar was part of District Almora. The Crime was investigated by PW6 Sub Inspector Lalit Mohan Vishwakarma, who interrogated the witnesses and inspected the spot. After completion of investigation, the Investigating Officer submitted charge sheet (Ex. A8) against the accused Pratap Singh, Durga Devi and Kamla Devi for their trial in respect of offences punishable under Section 498A and 306 of I.P.C., and one punishable under Section 3/4 Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.;

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