Decided on July 11,2013

Darshini Devi And Another Appellant


- (1.) Accused persons, namely, Virendra Singh, Kirti Singh, Harendra Singh, Smt. Darshini Devi and Smt. Bisan Dei faced the trial for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A and 364 IPC and Section 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
(2.) Kirti Singh, Harendra Singh and Bisan Dei were exonerated of the charges levelled against them. Birendra Singh and Darshini Devi too were acquitted of the charge under Sections 498-A/34 IPC. They were, however, convicted for the offences punishable under Sections 364/34 IPC, vide Judgment and Order dated 27.09.2001. Aggrieved against the impugned Judgment and Order, present Criminal Appeal was preferred on behalf of the convicts Birendra Singh and Darshini Devi. This Court was taken through the evidence of prosecution witnesses by learned prosecutor. There is hardly any statement relating to offence punishable under Section 364 IPC read with Section 34 IPC. None of the prosecution witnesses told anything about the abduction. There is hardly any evidence to show that the accused-appellants abducted the missing woman in order that such woman may be murdered or may be so disposed of as to be put in danger of being murdered. A report regarding missing of Guddi Devi was lodged by father-in-law as well as by the father of the missing woman. She could not be traced till date. She was not found alive after the lodgment of the missing report. Her dead body as also not found till date. No one knows whether she is alive or dead. Appellant Darshini Devi is the mother-in-law of missing woman, Birender Singh is the husband of Guddi Devi. Although there is prima facie evidence against the accused-appellants in respect of offence punishable under Section 498-A IPC, but the fact remains that the learned Court below exonerated the appellants in respect of the said offence. No State Appeal was preferred for reversal of the Judgment under Appeal. In other words, the State did not prefer Government Appeal against the acquittal of Kirti Singh, Harendra Singh, Bishan Dei and acquittal of Birendra Singh and Darshini Devi under Section 498-A IPC. This Court, therefore, should not appreciate the evidence against the acquittal of Kirti Singh, Harendra Singh and Bishan Dei and acquittal of Birendra Singh and Darshini Devi, under Section 498-A IPC read with Section 34 IPC. All the prosecution witnesses directed their evidence against the accused persons, as if it was a case under Section 304-B IPC or Section 306 IPC, for which no charge was framed against the accused persons. As has been said earlier, the charges were framed in respect of offences punishable under Section 498-A IPC read with Section 34 IPC and Section 364 IPC. After the charge was framed under Section 364 IPC, the prosecution witnesses were supposed to give evidence in respect of the offence of abduction for the sake of murder and not in respect of 'dowry death'.
(3.) Pw 1 Roshan Lal gave evidence against the accused persons that the accused persons demanded Rs. 5000/-. PW 2 Lakvar Singh, who was the brother of the missing woman Guddi Devi, said that she was harassed and tortured. He found a sickle, chappal and clothes allegedly belonging to the missing woman. He too could not find his sister despite frantic search. He simply apprehended that his sister was kidnapped by the accused persons. PW 3 Pushkar Singh said that missing woman used to tell his wife that she was tortured and harassed by her in-laws for want of bringing sufficient dowry and also said that a demand of Rs. 5000/- was made, or else, they threatened that she (Guddi Devi) would be killed. PW 4 Bhag Chand narrated the atrocities committed upon Guddi Devi at the time of her delivery. PW 6 Sunder Singh also said that in-laws of Guddi Devi harassed her. PW 6 Sunder Singh also alleged demand of dowry by victim's in-laws. PW 7 Constable Purshottam was a formal witness. PW 8 SI S.C. Arya, PW 9 Rajendra Singh Gusain were the investigating officers of the case, who conducted the investigation in the piecemeal.;

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