Court:Madhya Pradesh High Court
Bench: JUSTICES S.K. Kulshrestha and Mr. Ashok Kumar Tiwari
Ramgopal Vs State Of M.P. & Ors On 27 October 2005
Indian Penal Code, 1860 — Sections 306, 304-B and 498-A — Abetment of Suicide, Dowry Death, Cruelty — Revision against acquittal — Court would interfere where there is miscarriage of justice and not mere error of appreciation of evidence — Judgment of Trial Court is based on appreciation of evidence and in no way perverse — Evidence of P.Ws. 9 and 14 not in tune with evidence of other witnesses — No reliable evidence about cruelty or harassment in regard to demand for dowry — No ground calling for interference — Order of acquittal upheld.
1. This revision is directed against the judgment dated 11.4.2005 of the learned IInd Additional Sessions Judge, Ujjain, in S.T. No. 323/2004 by which the learned Judge has acquitted the respondents of the charges under Sections 306, 304-B and 498-A of the Indian Penal Code.
2. The case relates to the death of Mamtabai who was married to Manoj about six years prior to the date of her death on 15.7.2004. It was not disputed that the two respondents were also living with the deceased and her husband in Police Quarter C/17, Police Lines, Ujjain. According to the prosecution, on 15.7.2004, at about 8.00 p.m., Gitabai raised an alarm which attracted persons from the neighbourhood who witnessed that Mamta had locked herself in a room and after pouring kerosene over her, she had set herself afire. The door of the room was broken open, steps were taken to extinguish the fire by splashing water, but, by that time, she had been completely burnt and she was then taken to the District Hospital, Ujjain, where, during treatment she breathed her last at 4.00 a.m.
3. An inquest was registered, on the basis whereof it was found that on account of the harassment and cruel treatment extended by the two respondents in pursuance of the demand of dowry and as regards the compassionate appointment granted to her husband, as a consequence of the death of her father-in-law, she had committed suicide. The respondents denied the charges and on the basis of the evidence, the Trial Court found that offence was not brought home against any of the respondents and acquitted them. It is against this acquittal that the present applicant — father of the unfortunate girl Mamta — has filed this revision.
4. With a view to have a full view of the matter, notice was issued to the respondents for final hearing of the revision at the motion stage, with the result, the respondents have participated today through their learned Counsel.
5. Before adverting to the other circumstances, we may refer to the observations of the Trial Court that despite the fact that prosecution examined a large number of witnesses including the father of the deceased Ramgopal (P.W. 8), her sister-in-law Madhubala (P.W. 9), her mother Kamlabai (P.W. 10), her brothers Pankaj and Anil (P.Ws. 13 and 14), and her uncle Vishnu Prasad (P.W. 12), except Madhubala (P.W. 9) and Anil (P.W. 14), none stated anything about the demand of dowry. The evidence could not be attached much credence as during the span of six years of the married life of Mamta, no serious incident took place to which they could refer and, therefore, it indicates that only for the sake of highlighting the incident and giving it a different dimension, the allegation of dowry demand was introduced. The real dispute between the parties appears to be the compassionate appointment given to the husband of the deceased on account of the death of her father-in-law in harness. Naturally, accused Manish as the son of the deceased and Gitadevi, as his widow, claimed a latent lien and expected copious contribution by her husband to the family coffer which may have led to some estrangement but from this it cannot be inferred that it constituted abatement. Had it been so, the element of dowry demand would not have been artificially introduced.
6. In a revision against acquittal, it is not a mere error of appreciation of evidence or other infirmity, but only where it is shown that there is miscarriage of justice that this Court would step in to interfere. The judgment of the Trial Court is based on appreciation of evidence which is in no way perverse. On appreciation of evidence especially from the angle that it was a case of suicide; that the evidence of Madhubala (P.W. 9) and Anil (P.W. 14) was not in tune with the evidence of other witnesses; that the incident had taken place after six years of marriage; that there was no reliable evidence about cruelty or harassment in regard to demand for dowry, there does not appear any ground calling for interference. We are, therefore, of the view that the order of acquittal does not call for any interference, much less in a revision against acquittal. The revision is accordingly dismissed.
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