Poor hubby attacks wife, FIL & MIL with knife. Just Rs1000 fine & short custody 10yrs later! Yup 10 years later! Madras HC

Husband attacks wife, Father In Law & Mother In Law with knife ! He is convicted in lower court on 498-A etc but goes on appeal and appeal drags on for ever !! Finally the case is taken up by the HC after 10 years. HC concludes that this is NOT a case of 498-A and levies Just Rs1000 fine & short custody. Yup all this is 10 years later!

And it is pertinent to note that the court says this is NOT a case of 498A as there is no dowry demand, NOT any intention to create a damage to life or limb !

Excerpts
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Accused attacks wife and co : “… On 23.08.2004, P.Ws.1 to 3 were in their house. At about 11.15 p.m., the accused came to her house armed with a knife. He scolded them and attacked P.W.2 with knife on her head and caused simple hurt. When P.W.1 intervened and attempted to rescue, the accused attacked her also with the same weapon on her head and on her left hand. When P.W3 intervened, the accused caused injury with the same weapon on his left elbow. Then, he fled away from the scene of occurrence…..”

The Honourable court concludes :

“……. 12. So far as the offence under Section 498-A I.P.C is concerned, I find that not only direct evidence, but also there is no circumstantial evidence to sustain the offence under the said provision. Absolutely there is no evidence to show that there was demand for dowry and there was consequential harassment so as to bring the act of the accused within the ambit of explanation(b) to Section 498-A I.P.C.

13. Similarly, absolutely there is no evidence to show that the accused exhibited any willful conduct which is of such a nature or even likely to drive P.W.2 to commit suicide. Thus, in terms of 498-A I.P.C, there is no evidence at all to prove cruelty. Therefore, the conviction of the appellant for the offence under Section 498-A I.P.C, is liable to be set aside….”

xxx

“…..16. Turning to punishment to be awarded, sentencing is a serious judicial business of the Court. The Court is required to strike a balance between the aggravating circumstances and mitigating circumstances. Here in this case, aggravating circumstances are far less. The injuries are simple. There was no strong motive between the parties. So far as the mitigating circumstances are concerned, the petitioner was a young man at the time of occurrence. He was also very poor and he has got no bad antecedents. Even after the occurrence also, he has not committed any other crime. Out of frustration that his wife had deserted him, he had indulged in this occurrence. Having regard to these mitigating circumstances and the aggravating circumstances, the substantive sentence is to be decided.

17. In this case, the appellant was in jail for more than 45 days. In my considered view, the said period of sentence would be sufficient besides the fine imposed by the trial Court….”

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This judgment and other similar judgments posted on this blog was / were collected from Judis nic in website and / or other websites of Govt. of India or other internet web sites like worldlii or indiankanoon or High court websites. Some notes are made by Vinayak. Should you find the dictum in this judgment or the judgment itself repealed or amended or would like to make improvements or comments, please post a comment on the comment section of the blog and if you are reading this on tumblr please post responses as comments at vinayak.wordpress.com . Vinayak is NOT a lawyer and nothing in this blog and/or site and/or file should be considered as legal advise.
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CASE FROM JUDIS / INDIAN KANOON WEB SITE with necessary Emphasis, Re formatting
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BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT               

DATED: 19.06.2015  

CORAM THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE S.NAGAMUTHU             

Crl.A(MD)No.412 of 2006

Lakshmanan                                .. Appellant/Accused(single)

                                                        Vs.

State, rep. By
The Inspector of Police,
Karur Police Station,
Karur.
Cr.No.1280 of 2004                                .. Respondent/Complainant

PRAYER   

         Criminal Appeal filed under Section 374 of Cr.P.C., to set aside the conviction and sentence passed by the Assistant Sessions Judge, Karur in S.C.No.3 of 2005, dated 15.11.2005.
                
For appellant    : M/s.M.Krishnaveni
For respondent           : Mr.C.Mayilvahana Rajendran, Additional Public Prosecutor

JUDGMENT   

The appellant is the sole accused in S.C.No.3 of 2005 on the file of the learned Assistant Sessions Judge, Karur. He stood charged for the offences under Sections 324(2 counts), 307(2 counts), 450 and 498-A I.P.C. By judgment dated 15.11.2005, the trial Court found the accused guilty under Sections 498-A, 307 and 324(2 counts) I.P.C The trial Court imposed sentence to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine of Rs.500/-, in default to undergo simple imprisonment for three months for the offence under Section 498-A I.P.C, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years and to pay a fine of Rs.1000/-, in default to undergo simple imprisonment for six months for the offence under Section 307 I.P.C and to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year for each count for the offence under Section 324 I.P.C. Challenging the said conviction and sentence, the appellant has come up with this Criminal Appeal.

2. This appeal was filed by the appellant in the year 2005. It was admitted by this Court on 25.09.2006. The same has been pending all along before this Court. Today when the appeal is taken up for hearing, I have noticed that the appeal against the conviction of the appellant herein ought to have been filed only before the Court of Sessions as provided under Sub- Section 3 of 374 of Code of Criminal Procedure. But, by mistake, it was filed herein and the same has also been entertained. Now the question is whether at this stage, the appeal should be remitted back to the Court of Sessions or this Court could itself dispose of the same.

3.In normal course, this Court should only remit the appeal back to the Court of Sessions for disposal in accordance with law. But, at this length of time, after keeping the appeal pending for about ten years, remitting the appeal back to the Court of Sessions and driving the appellant to go and face the appeal before the said Court, in my considered view, would not amount to fair trial to the appellant thereby violating Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Under Section 407 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, this Court has been empowered to withdraw any criminal appeal from any Court, if it is expedient for the ends of justice. In this case, I deem it expedient, for the ends of justice, to dispose of the appeal and therefore, I direct that this appeal shall be deemed to have been withdrawn to this Court, under Section 407(1)(c) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; http://fromvinayak.blogspot.com

4.The brief facts of the prosecution case are as follows;

(a) P.W2 is the wife of the accused. P.Ws.1 and 3 are the mother-in-law and father-in-law of the accused. The marriage between the accused and P.W.2 was celebrated five years prior to the occurrence. After some time of the marriage, there was no love lost between them. Therefore, P.W.2 had returned to her parental home. On 23.08.2004, P.Ws.1 to 3 were in their house. At about 11.15 p.m., the accused came to her house armed with a knife. He scolded them and attacked P.W.2 with knife on her head and caused simple hurt. When P.W.1 intervened and attempted to rescue, the accused attacked her also with the same weapon on her head and on her left hand. When P.W3 intervened, the accused caused injury with the same weapon on his left elbow. Then, he fled away from the scene of occurrence.

(b) P.W.1 immediately went to the Government Hospital, Karur. At 11.30 p.m., P.W.10 Dr.Ponniah summoned P.W.1 and noticed the following injuries:

1.A cut injury measuring 3 cm x , cm muscle depth on the right forearm;

2.A cut injury measuring 6 cm x 6 cm muscle depth on the left palm;

3.A cut injury measuring 4 cm x 2 cm on the head.

Ex.P.5 is the Accident Register.

According to P.W.10, these are all simple injuries.

(c)P.W.10 then examined P.W.2 and noticed the following injury: ?A cut injury measuring 8 cm x + cm bone depth on the left side of the head.? Ex.P6 is the accident Register. The said injury according to him, is simple in nature.

(d)Then, P.W.10 examined P.W.3 and noticed the following injuries:

1.A cut injury measuring 5 cm x , cm muscle depth on the left elbow;

2.A cut injury measuring 2 cm x 2 cm on the left elbow with abrasion; Ex.P7 is the Accident Register.

According to him, these are all simple in nature.

(e)On 24.08.2004, when P.W.1 was in the hospital, P.W.11 the then Sub- Inspector of Police, Karur Police Station, went to the Government Hospital at Karur and recorded the statement of P.W.1. On returning to the police station at 8.00 a.m., he registered the case in Crime No.1280 of 2004 under Section 307 I.P.C. Ex.P1 is the complaint and Ex.P8 is the F.I.R. He forwarded those documents to Court and handed over the Case Diary to P.W.12 for further investigation.

(f) Taking up the case for further investigation, on 24.08.2004, P.W.12 proceeded to the place of occurrence and prepared an observation mahazar and a rough sketch in the presence of PW7 and another witness. Then, he examined P.Ws.1 to 3 and recorded their statements. On the same day at 12.30 p.m., at Pasupathipalayam, he arrested the accused in the presence of P.W.9 and another witness. On such arrest, he gave a voluntary confession, in which, he disclosed that he could identify the place where he had hidden the knife. In pursuance of the same, he took P.W.12, P.W.9 and another witness by name Nagarajan to the said place and took out M.O.1(knife) from a push. P.W.12 recovered the same under Ex.P.4 mahazar. Then, he forwarded the material object to the Court and the accused for judicial remand. Then, he examined P.Ws. 4 to 9 and recorded their statements. He collected the medical records for P.Ws.1 to 3 from P.W.10 and recorded his statement. Finally, on completion of investigation, he laid the charge sheet against the accused.

(g) Based on the above materials, the trial Court has framed charges as stated in the first paragraph of the judgment. The accused denied the charges. In order to prove the charges, on the side of the prosecution, as many as 12 witnesses were examined and 11 documents and one material objects were marked.

(h) Out of the said witnesses, Pws.1 to 3 are the injured eye witnesses, who have vividly stated about the entire occurrence. P.Ws.4 to 8 turned hostile and they have not supported the case of the prosecution in any manner. P.W.9 has spoken about the arrest of the accused, confession made by him and the consequential recovery of material object(M.O.1). P.W10 has spoken about the injuries found on P.Ws.1 to 3 and the treatment given by him. P.W.11 has spoken about the registration of the case and P.W.12 has spoken about the investigation done.

(i)When the above incriminating materials were put to the accused under Section 313 of Cr.P.C., he denied the same as false. However, he did not choose to examine any witnesses on his side. Having considered the above evidences, the trial Court found him guilty under Sections 498-A, 307 and 324(2 counts) I.P.C and accordingly punished him. That is how, he is before this Court with this appeal.

5.I have heard the learned counsel appearing for the appellant and the learned Additional Public Prosecutor appearing for the respondent. I have also perused the records carefully.

6.The learned counsel appearing for the appellant would submit that the evidences of P.Ws.1 to 3 cannot be believed in the absence of any corroboration from any independent witness. There are material contradictions between the evidences of three witnesses. She would further submit that the medical evidence does not corroborate the eye witness account. In the alternative, she would submit that assuming that the entire occurrence as narrated by P.Ws.1 to 3 is true, even then the act of the accused would not amount to offences under Sections 498-A and 307 I.P.C. According to her, at the most the act of the accused would fall only under Section 324 I.P.C for three counts. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; http://fromvinayak.blogspot.com

7. The learned Additional Public Prosecutor would vehemently oppose this Criminal Appeal. According to him, P.Ws.1 to 3 are injured eye witnesses, who have vividly spoken about the entire occurrence and there is no reason to reject their evidence. He would further submit that though P.Ws.4 to 8 were examined as independent witnesses, unfortunately they turned hostile and they have not supported the case of the prosecution. Since the occurrence took place inside the house of P.Ws.1 to 3, there is no chance of any independent witness being present inside the house. Thus, according to him, the evidence of P.Ws.1 to 3 would be sufficient to hold the accused guilty. He would further submit that absolutely there is no contradiction between the medical evidences and that of the evidences of the eye witnesses.

8. Insofar as the offence under Section 498(A) I.P.C, is concerned, the learned Additional Public Prosecutor would submit that though there is no direct evidence to prove the said offence, there are circumstantial evidence to prove the same. He would further submit that insofar as the conviction of the appellant for the offence under Section 307 I.P.C is concerned, the time chosen by him and the weapon chosen by him and seat of the injuries and other attendant circumstances, would go to show that he had definite intention to do away with P.W.2. Thus according to him, the conviction of the appellant for the offence under Section 307 I.P.C, is sustainable.

9. Insofar as the sentence imposed is concerned, the learned Additional Public Prosecutor would submit that it is very reasonable. Having regard to all the above, the learned Additional Public Prosecutor would submit that this Criminal Appeal deserves only to be dismissed.

10.I have considered the above submissions.

11. Insofar as P.Ws.1 to 3 are concerned, they are injured witnesses. A close scrutiny of the evidence of these witnesses would go to show that their evidences are very convincing and cogent. The occurrence took place inside the house of P.Ws.1 to 3 and therefore, there is no chance to expect any independent witness being present inside their house. The medical evidence also duly corroborate the evidence of the injured eye witnesses and there is no contradiction at all between the evidence of P.Ws.1 to 3 and the medical evidence. Though there are minor contradictions, they would not in any manner go to cause any dent in the case of the prosecution. Thus the evidence available on record would clearly go to establish that the accused had caused injuries on P.Ws.1 to 3 with a deadly weapon namely knife.

12. So far as the offence under Section 498-A I.P.C is concerned, I find that not only direct evidence, but also there is no circumstantial evidence to sustain the offence under the said provision. Absolutely there is no evidence to show that there was demand for dowry and there was consequential harassment so as to bring the act of the accused within the ambit of explanation(b) to Section 498-A I.P.C.

13. Similarly, absolutely there is no evidence to show that the accused exhibited any willful conduct which is of such a nature or even likely to drive P.W.2 to commit suicide. Thus, in terms of 498-A I.P.C, there is no evidence at all to prove cruelty. Therefore, the conviction of the appellant for the offence under Section 498-A I.P.C, is liable to be set aside.

14. Now turning to the conviction of the appellant for the offence under Section 307 I.P.C, I find some force in the arguments of the learned counsel for the appellant. In order to attract the offence under Section 307 I.P.C, the act of the accused should fall under anyone of the limbs of Section 299 I.P.C., less causing of death. In this case, absolutely there is no evidence to show that the accused had any intention to cause the death of P.W.2 or even to cause any bodily injury, which is likely to cause the death. Similarly his act was not likely to cause the death. Thus the act of the accused would not fall under any one of the limbs of Section 299 of I.P.C. Therefore, the conviction under Section 307 I.P.C for having caused injury on P.W.2, is not sustainable. At the most, the act of the accused would fall only under Section 324 I.P.C.

15. So far as the conviction of the appellant for the offence under Section 324 I.P.C for two counts for causing injuries on P.Ws.1 and 3 is concerned, the same deserves to be confirmed. Thus, the accused in toto, is liable to be punished for the offence under Section 324 I.P.C for three counts only.

16. Turning to punishment to be awarded, sentencing is a serious judicial business of the Court. The Court is required to strike a balance between the aggravating circumstances and mitigating circumstances. Here in this case, aggravating circumstances are far less. The injuries are simple. There was no strong motive between the parties. So far as the mitigating circumstances are concerned, the petitioner was a young man at the time of occurrence. He was also very poor and he has got no bad antecedents. Even after the occurrence also, he has not committed any other crime. Out of frustration that his wife had deserted him, he had indulged in this occurrence. Having regard to these mitigating circumstances and the aggravating circumstances, the substantive sentence is to be decided.

17. In this case, the appellant was in jail for more than 45 days. In my considered view, the said period of sentence would be sufficient besides the fine imposed by the trial Court.

18. In the result, this Criminal Appeal is partly allowed in the following terms;

(i) The conviction and sentence imposed on the appellant under Section 498-A I.P.C, is set aside and he is acquitted of the said charge. The fine amount imposed on the appellant under Section 498(A) of I.P.C., shall be refunded to him.

(ii) The conviction and sentence imposed on the appellant under Section 307 I.P.C, is set aside and instead he is convicted under Section 324 I.P.C and the period of sentence is reduced to the period of sentence already undergone by him besides a fine of Rs.1000/-, in default to undergo Rigorous imprisonment for fifteen days. The fine amount already paid for the offence under Section 307 I.P.C as per the judgment of the trial Court shall be adjusted towards the fine imposed by this Court under Section 324 I.P.C.

(iii) The conviction of the appellant under Section 324 I.P.C for two counts, is confirmed. However, the substantive sentence imposed by the trial Court is reduced to the period of sentence already undergone by the appellant.

19. Before parting with the case, I would like to record my appreciation for the excellent assistance rendered by M/s.M.Krishnaveni , the learned counsel, who has been appointed as legal aid counsel. The Legal Services Authority is directed to pay her remuneration.

To

1.The Assistant Sessions Judge, Karur.

2.The Inspector of Police, Karur Police Station, Karur.

3.The Additional Public Prosecutor, Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, Madurai..

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