Wife dies ’84, HC confirms acquittal in 2012. appeal court NOT 2 interfere with acquittal / re write judgement unless lower court judgement totally perverse

Notes

  • Accusation of snide remarks and ill treatment of wife
  • Wife commits suicide on 13.9.1984
  • Charges framed , husband pleads NOT guilty
  • Case committed to Court of Sessions.
  • After appreciating oral & documentary evidence, husband acquitted on 30.10.1996 by sessions court
  • State goes on appeal & original complainant [father in law ? ] has preferred Criminal Revision Application No.20 of 1997 before HC
  • For reasons not known to us the HC order is pronounced only on 07/09/2012, that is approx 26 years after death of the woman
  • HC affirms lower court decision
  • HC follows earlier Supreme court judgements and says that appeal courts should NOT ordinarily interfere with the order of acquittal and re write the judgement unless lower court judgement is totally perverse

IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD

CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 105 of 1997

With

CRIMINAL REVISION APPLICATION No. 20 of 1997

For Approval and Signature:

HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE Z.K.SAIYED
*********************************************************

1 Whether Reporters of Local Papers may be allowed to see the judgment ?

2 To be referred to the Reporter or not ?

3 Whether their Lordships wish to see the fair copy of the judgment ?

4 Whether this case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the constitution of India, 1950 or any order made thereunder ?

5 Whether it is to be circulated to the civil judge ?

*********************************************************
STATE OF GUJARAT – Appellant(s)

Versus

DINESHCHANDRA TRIKAMJI RAVRANI – Opponent(s)

********************************************************=
Appearance :
MR LB DABH, APP for Appellant(s) : 1,
NOTICE SERVED for Opponent(s) : 1,
MR KB ANANDJIWALA for Opponent(s) : 1,
********************************************************=

CORAM : HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE Z.K.SAIYED

Date : 07/09/2012

ORAL JUDGMENT

1. The Criminal Appeal No.105 has been filed by the appellant – original complainant, State of Gujarat under Section 378 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Criminal Revision Application No.20 of 1997 has been filed under Section 397 of the Criminal Procedure Code by the petitioner – original complainant viz. Chandanben Dhirajlal Parmar, against the Judgment and order dated 30.10.1996 rendered by the learned Assistant Sessions Judge, Junagadh, in Sessions Case No.145 of 1991. The said case was registered against the present respondent viz. Dineshchandra Trikamji original accused for the offence under Sections 498A and 306 of the Indian Penal Code.

2. According to the prosecution case, the accused husband of the deceased Kashmira was giving mental and physical harassment to Kashmira telling her that she is black and he has committed mistake in selecting her. The accused was giving cruelty to deceased Kashmira frequently in presence of other person and he did not allow her to go on service on 13.9.1984. Due to mental and physical harassment meted out to deceased Kashmira she committed suicide on 13.9.1984 at night by strangulating herself with rope. Hence the complaint came to be lodged.

3. Thereafter, investigation was carried out and statements of several witnesses were recorded. During the course of investigation, accused person was arrested and, ultimately, chargesheet came to be filed against him. As the case was sessions triable the same was committed to the Court of Sessions.

4. Thereafter, charge came to be framed and explained to the accused person, to which the accused person pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried.

5. In order to bring home the charges against the accused person, prosecution has examined several witnesses and also produced documentary evidence.

6. Thereafter, after filing closing pursis by the prosecution, further statements of accused person under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 were recorded. The accused person has denied the case of the prosecution and submitted that a false case is filed against him.

7. At the conclusion of trial and after appreciating the oral as well as documentary evidence, the learned Judge vide impugned Judgment, acquitted the respondent – accused.

8. Being aggrieved by and dissatisfied with the said judgment and order of acquittal dated 30.10.1996 rendered by the learned Assistant Sessions Judge, Junagadh, in Sessions Case No.145 of 1991, the appellant – State has preferred the Criminal Appeal No.105 of 1997 and original complainant has preferred Criminal Revision Application No.20 of 1997 before this Court.

9. Heard Learned APP Mr.L.B.Dabhi, appearing on behalf of the State. He has contended that the judgment and order passed by the learned Judge is contrary to law and evidence on record. He has contended that the learned Judge has not properly appreciated oral as well as documentary evidence adduced by the parties in its proper perspectives.

10. He has contended that the accused used to harass deceased on the ground of demand of dowry. He has contended that the learned Judge has erred in holding that the prosecution has failed to prove that the deceased Kashmira committed suicide because of the mental and physical torture and ill treatment meted out to deceased by the accused.

11. He has contended that on 13.9.1984 the deceased went to see his aunt but the accused did not allow her and had beaten the deceased in public and on the very same day the deceased committed suicide which clearly reveals ill treatment meted out to the deceased by the accused. Lastly, he has read observations of the learned Judge and contended that the observations made by the learned Judge are not proper in the eye of law and therefore, judgment and order of the learned Judge is required to be set aside.

12. Mr.U.M.Panchal, learned advocate appearing for petitioner in Criminal Revision Application No.20 of 1997 has contended that the learned Judge has materially erred in holding that the evidence against the accused is inadequate on the record and, therefore, benefit of doubt is given to the accused. He has contended that the learned Judge has relied on two hand written letters of the deceased Kashmira where the deceased Kashmira has stated that her husband is not responsible for this. But, in fact, on bare reading of those two letters case under Sections 498A and 306 of the IPC is made out and even those two letters are required to be considered as a dying declaration of the deceased. He has also read observations of the learned Judge and contended that the observations made by the learned Judge are not proper in the eye of law and therefore, judgment and order of the learned Judge is required to be set aside.

13. Notice is served to the other side. Mr.K.B.Anandjiwala, learned advocate is appearing for respondent – accused.

14. Mr.Sahi, learned advocate appearing for Mr.Anandjiwala, for the respondent – accused has contended that the prosecution’s evidence primafacie is not sufficient to establish that the deceased was meted out with cruelty and physical harassment as she was black. He has contended that mental and physical harassment to the deceased meted out by the respondent accused is not proved beyond reasonable doubt. He has prayed that no interference is required in the judgment and order passed by the learned Judge.

15. Heard learned advocates for the respective parties. I have gone through the papers produced in the case. From the papers it appears that the prosecution has primafacie failed to prove that deceased was given mental and physical harassment as she was dislike by the respondent accused as she was black and due to provocation and instigation she committed suicide by strangulating herself. It is true that primafacie role of the present respondent is not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

16. In a recent decision of the Apex Court in the case of State of Goa V. Sanjay Thakran & Anr. Reported in (2007)3 SCC 75, the Court has reiterated the powers of the High Court in such cases. In para 16 of the said decision the Court has observed as under:

| “16.From the aforesaid decisions, it is apparent that
| while exercising the powers in appeal against the
| order of acquittal the Court of appeal would not
| ordinarily interfere with the order of acquittal
| unless the approach of the lower Court is vitiated by
| some manifest illegality and the conclusion arrived at
| would not be arrived at by any reasonable person and,
| therefore, the decision is to be characterized as
| perverse. Merely because two views are possible, the
| Court of appeal would not take the view which would
| upset the judgment delivered by the Court below.
| However, the appellate court has a power to review the
| evidence if it is of the view that the conclusion
| arrived at by the Court below is perverse and the
| Court has committed a manifest error of law and
| ignored the material evidence on record. A duty is
| cast upon the appellate court, in such circumstances,
| to reappreciate the evidence to arrive to a just
| decision on the basis of material placed on record to
| find out whether any of the accused is connected with
| the commission of the crime he is charged with.”

17. Similar principle has been laid down by the Apex Court in the cases of State of Uttar Pradesh Vs. Ram Veer Singh & Ors, reported in 2007 AIR SCW 5553 and in Girja Prasad (Dead) by LRs Vs. state of MP, reported in 2007 AIR SCW 5589. Thus, the powers which this Court may exercise against an order of acquittal are well settled.

18. It is settled legal position that in an acquittal Appeal, the Appellate Court is not required to rewrite the Judgment or to give fresh reasonings when the Appellate Court is in agreement with the reasons assigned by the trial Court acquitting the accused. In the instant case, this Court is in full agreement with the reasons given and findings recorded by the trial Court while acquitting the respondent – accused and adopting the said reasons as well as the reasons aforesaid, in my view, the impugned Judgment is just, legal and proper and requires no interference by this Court at this stage. Hence, this Appeal requires to be dismissed.

19. In the result, the Appeal and Criminal Revision Application are hereby dismissed.

The impugned Judgment and order dated 30.10.1996 rendered by the learned Assistant Sessions Judge, Junagadh, in Sessions Case No.145 of 1991, acquitting the respondent – accused, is hereby confirmed.

Record and Proceedings, if any, be sent back to the trial Court concerned, forthwith.

Bail bond, if any, shall stand cancelled.

(Z.K.SAIYED, J.)

kks

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