Decided on June 28,2013

RITA DEVI Respondents


- (1.) The Government has preferred this appeal against the judgment and order of acquittal dated 22.5.2001, rendered by the Additional Sessions Judge, Dehradun in the Sessions Trial No. 39/2000, State v. Smt. Rita Devi and Ashok Kumar. Learned Judge tried both the accused persons for the offence under Section 302 IPC, pertaining to the police station Sahaspur, Crime No. 686/99, and recorded the finding of acquittal from the charge of said offence.
(2.) Prosecution story, in brief, is that Raghuveer Singh, aged about 35 years, was the husband of accused respondent Smt. Rita Devi. They were wedded a couple of years ago and out of the wedlock, four daughters born out. All were minors at the time of alleged incident. Another accused Ashok Kumar is said to be the paramour of Smt. Rita Devi. FIR was lodged by Balbeer Singh, real brother of the deceased, on 29.12.1999 at 21.15 hours, while the incident occurred in the intervening night of 18/19.12.1999 at 11 PM. It has been stated in the report that Smt. Rita Devi had deserted her husband Raghuveer Singh to accompany her paramour Ashok Kumar and used to reside in the house of Ashok Kumar in his village Prateetpur. All persuasions to restrain Smt. Rita Devi from doing so went in vain and she continued to live with Ashok Kumar. It has been averred that on 17.12.1999, the continuous persuasions succeeded, and Smt. Rita Devi came to reside with Raghuveer Singh. In the evening of the fateful night, Smt. Rita Devi cooked the food and administered some intoxicants in the food given to Raghuveer Singh. At about 11 PM, some flames along with bad odor were seen emanating from the house of the deceased. So, Balbeer Singh, neighbourer Pala, Narendra Singh and other family members residing in the close vicinity rushed to the house of Raghuveer Singh and noticed that Smt. Rita Devi and Ashok Kumar were coming out from the said house. All persons entered inside the room and saw that Raghuveer Singh's body was burning. They all put out the flames and shifted Raghuveer Singh to nearby Harbartpur Laman Hospital. Although the doctor referred him to Chandigarh Hospital, but due to financial constraints of the family, he was shifted to Choube Nursing Home, wherefrom he was shifted to Doon Hospital on 29.12.1999. It was stated in the FIR that on 19.12.1999, Smt. Rita Devi was seen carrying the kerosene oil in a small cane from the shop of Mahendra Singh. It was also averred that after regaining the consciousness, injured Raghuveer Singh disclosed that Smt. Rita Devi and Ashok Kumar poured kerosene oil on his body and set him ablaze. This FIR is Ex. Ka-1 and its chick report is Ex. Ka-25.
(3.) Before the FIR could be lodged, dying declaration Ex. Ka-2 of Raghuveer Singh was recorded by the Nayab Tehsildar of the area on 29.12.1999 at 8.15 PM. The doctor had certified his physical fitness and full consciousness before and after the dying declaration was recorded and these certificates, appended with the declaration, are Ex. Ka-7 and Ka-8 respectively. In the said dying declaration, Raghuveer Singh has disclosed that relations between him and his wife Smt. Rita Devi were estranged, and she was came to reside with him after the reconciliation arrived at on the intervention of the police personnel. She poured kerosene oil on him and set him on fire in that intervening night at about 11 PM. When he raised the cries, his family members assembled at the spot and got him admitted in the nursing home.;

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