Decided on December 26,2013

DEVKI DEVI Appellant


- (1.) PW-4 Parmanand wrote a complaint (Ext. Ka-1) on 09.01.2000 to Station Officer, police station, Kotwali Jhulaghat, Pithoragarh regarding death of his daughter. As per complaint, complainant's daughter Hari Priya was married to Satish Chandra about two years ago (from the date of writing of complaint). On 09.01.2000, at 08:30 P.M., Neela Dhar, Suresh and an unknown person came to PW-4's house and informed about the death of his daughter. The victim went to her matrimonial home on 09.01.2000, at 04:00 P.M. (from her parental home). PW-4 suspected unnatural death of his daughter. He went to the matrimonial home of his daughter alongwith some persons. According to PW-4, the victim was killed and thereafter hanged. PW-4's daughter had the apprehension that she would be killed. She used to tell PW-4 that her mother-in-law Smt. Devki Devi and husband Satish Chandra Bhatt harassed her for want of bringing sufficient dowry. On the basis of the complaint of PW-4, chik FIR was registered on 10.01.2000, at 04.15 A.M., at police station Jhulaghat, District Pighoragarh, under Section 304B of IPC against Devki Devi and Satish Chandra Bhatt. The incident allegedly took place on 09.01.2000. The distance between the place of incident and police station concerned was 14 kilometers. FIR was lodged on 10.01.2000, at 04:15 A.M. and hence there appears to be no delay in lodging the FIR. FIR was promptly lodged.
(2.) After the investigation, a charge-sheet (Ext. Ka-15) was submitted against Smt. Devki Devi under Sections 306 and 498-A of IPC. The case was committed to the Court of Sessions. When the trial began and prosecution opened it's case, charge for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A and 306 of IPC was framed against the accused (mother-in-law) on 26.09.2000. Accused pleaded not guilty to the charge and claimed trial. PW-1 Dr. M.D. Bhatt (Medical Officer), PW-2 Smt. Devki Devi (mother of the deceased), PW-3 Chandra Shekhar (brother of the deceased), PW-4 Parmanand (informant and father of the deceased), PW-5 Vishram Singh (I.O.) and PW-6 S.O. Lokesh Sharma (I.O., who initially investigated the case) were examined on behalf of the prosecution. Incriminating evidence was put to the accused under Section 313 of Cr.P.C., in reply to which she said that she was falsely implicated in the case. Accused also stated that her nephew Krishnanand used to harass Hari Priya (deceased) and, therefore, she did not lodge FIR in order to avoid embarrassment to the family. She also stated that Hari Priya used to live with her husband and she came to the village on the selfsame day. It was further stated by the accused that there was no question of demand of dowry. No evidence was adduced in defence. After considering the evidence on record, learned Sessions Judge, Pithoragarh, vide judgment and order dated 24.11.2001, convicted the accused under Sections 498A and 306 of IPC and sentenced her to undergo simple imprisonment for two years' alongwith a fine of Rs. 1,000/- under Section 498A of IPC. The accused was also sentenced to undergo three years' simple imprisonment alongwith a fine of Rs. 1,000/- under Section 306 of IPC. Both the sentences were directed to run concurrently. Aggrieved against the impugned judgment and order dated 24.11.2001, present criminal appeal was preferred by the convict.
(3.) PW-1 Dr. M.D. Bhatt was posted as Medical Officer at District Hospital, Pithoragarh on 10.01.2000. On that day, at 02:00 P.M., he conducted postmortem on the dead body of Hari Priya. PW-1 found ligature mark around the neck of the deceased. The size was 24 cm x 2.5 cm. PW-1 also found hemorrhagic spot underneath muscles, interrupted on left side 4 cm below mastoid bone. Direction upward. Obliquely placed. Mark was situated behind Hyoid bone. PW-1 proved postmortem report (Ext. Ka-1). According to him, cause of death of the victim was asphyxia as a result of ante mortem hanging. Thus, according to PW-1, it was a case of ante mortem hanging and not strangulation.;

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