Decided on December 04,2013

KUNTI DEVI Appellant


U.C.DHYANI, J. - (1.) PW 1 Hari Singh wrote a complaint (Ext. Ka -1) to Patwari, Mauna, Tehsil Koshyan Kutoli, District Nainital on 04.05.2001 against Gopal Singh and Kunti Devi under Sections 307, 498 -A of IPC and Section ¾ of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The incident allegedly took place on 01.05.2001, at an unknown time and FIR was lodged on 04.05.2001, at 12:00 P.M. As per the complaint, complainant's daughter Meena was married to Gopal Singh according to Hindu rites and rituals about 6 -7 years ago. On 01.05.2001, PW1 received information on telephone that his daughter sustained burn injuries. PW1 went to Almora Base Hospital, where his daughter was undergoing treatment. PW1 inquired from his daughter about the incident. Victim disclosed to PW1 that her husband alongwith her mother -in -law and father -in -law set her on fire by pouring kerosene oil and spread the news among the villagers that she (victim) sustained injuries while cooking food. Victim sustained burn injuries. When PW1's daughter used to come to her parental home, she used to complain that her husband, mother -in -law, father -in -law and brother -in -law harassed her for not bringing sufficient dowry. They used to ridicule her that she came from a family of paupers. When PW1 saw her daughter in the hospital, her condition was critical. Investigation began on the basis of said FIR.
(2.) AFTER the investigation, a charge -sheet was submitted against Gopal Singh (husband), Kunti Devi (mother -in -law) and Pan Singh (father -in -law) for the offences punishable under Section 307, 498 -A of IPC and Section ¾ of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The case was committed to the Court of Sessions. When the trial commenced and prosecution opened it's case, charge for the selfsame offences was framed against the accused persons on 19.11.2001. Accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge and claimed trial. Pw1 Hari Singh (informant), Pw2 Smt. Meena Devi (injured), Pw3 Kishan Singh (neighbour of the victim), Pw4 Navin Chandra Rajwar (I.O.) and Pw5 Dr. R.S. Shahi (Medical Officer) were examined on behalf of the prosecution. Incriminating evidence was put to the accused persons under Section 313 of Cr.P.C., in reply to which they said that false charge - sheet was submitted by the police against them. Accused Gopal Singh also stated that he alongwith Meena (victim) used to live separately. Co -accused Pan Singh and Kunti Devi stated that Meena (victim) did not live with them. No evidence was given in defence. After considering the evidence on record, accused Gopal Singh and Pan Singh were acquitted of the charges levelled against them. Smt. Kunti Devi was acquitted of the charge under Section 498 -A of IPC and Section ¾ of the Dowry Prohibition Act. She was, however, convicted under Section 307 of IPC and was directed to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years alongwith a fine of Rs. 1,000/ -, in default of payment of which, she was directed to undergo further six months' rigorous imprisonment, vide judgment and order dated 06.09.2002, passed by learned Sessions Judge, Nainital. Aggrieved against the impugned judgment and order, present criminal appeal was preferred by Smt. Kunti Devi, who was the mother -in - law of the victim.
(3.) PROSECUTION led the evidence through PW1, who was the father of the victim. In his examination - in -chief, PW1 said that his daughter Meena was married to Gopal Singh on 25.04.1996. In -laws of the victim used to harass her for not bringing sufficient dowry. They also used to assault her. Whenever, victim visited her parental home, she used to complain about the behaviour and conduct of her in -laws. On 01.05.2001, PW1's wife made a telephone call to PW1 informing him that the condition of his daughter was critical. She was set on fire by her in -laws. Victim was admitted in Almora Hospital. She was set in flames by her mother -in -law and husband. PW1 reached Almora on 03.05.2001. PW1 went to see his daughter in the hospital. Victim told PW1 that her mother -in -law poured kerosene oil on her and her husband ignited the matchstick. When the incident took place, PW1 was serving at Jaipur. One Pratap Singh wrote the complaint on the dictation of PW1. PW1 proved the contents and his signatures on the complaint (Ext. Ka - 1).;

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