Tag Archives: P & H HC

Having taken 1.25 crores I will NOT defame him thru social networking sites & electronic medium !! Mutual consent , P & H HC

  • 1 crore 25 lakhs for divorce.
  • Daughter to remain with father, so woman free to find next guy !
  • The fate of matrimony in India

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IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB & HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH

FAO No.1509 of 2015 (O&M)

Date of Decision: 18.02.2016

Amar Somany                                   …..Petitioner No.1
And
Prerna Sharma                                   ….Petitioner No.2

CORAM:           HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE RAJIVE BHALLA
        HON’BLE MRS. JUSTICE LISA GILL

Present:    Ms. Ritu Pathak, Advocate with Mr. Gaurav Arora, Advocate for
Mr. Ashish Aggarwal, Sr. Advocate  for petitioner No.1  with petitioner No.1 in person.
Ms. S.P.S.Aulakh, Advocate for petitioner No.2 with petitioner No.2 in person.

=============================================

RAJIVE BHALLA, J (ORAL)

Amar Somany, filed a petition for grant of a decree of divorce, which was dismissed by the District Judge, Family Court, Gurgaon, on 31.01.2015. The appeal filed was pending when parties entered into a settlement and decided to dissolve their marriage by a written compromise (Annexure A-1) dated 07.08.2015, on the following terms and conditions:-

“(i) That parties have agreed for dissolution of marriage by mutual consent.
(ii) The parties have agreed to withdraw the entire litigation if any pending in any court or before any other authority against each other.
(iii) That the First Party shall pay Rs.1,25,00,000/- (Rs. One Crore Twenty Five Lacs only) to the Second Party in the Court against full and final settlement of claims.
(iv) That as submitted above, the First Party shall pay Rs.1,25,00,000/- (Rs. One Crore Twenty Five  Lacs only) to the Second Party in the Court towards full and final settlement of all claims regarding any Jewellery lying in the safe deposit box at SBBJ (Kath Mandi, Rewari), Clothes, Istridhan, gift articles and Maintenance amount i.e. of present, past and future alimony and towards any of her other claims in this respect whatsoever against First Party. Out o the total amount of Rs.1,25,00,000/- (Rs. One Crore Twenty Five Lacs only) the First Party shall pay Rs.12,50,000/- (Rupees Twelve Lacs Fifty Thousand) through Demand Draft No.051913, dated 6.8.2015, HDFC Bank, to the Second Party after signing the Compromise Deed and other relevant documents to be filed in the Hon’ble High Court and the balance amount i.e. Rs.1,12,50,000/- (Rupees One Crore Twelve Lacs Fifty Thousand) shall be paid to the Second Party by way of Demand Draft at the time of final decision before this Hon’ble Court.
(v) That the custody of the minor daughter namely Sara aged about 6 years shall remain with the First Party. The Second Party shall only be entitled to meet the child four times in a one year, as per the convenience of the child and as per mutual adjustments of both the parties. It has been decided that the Second Party will met the child for 3-4 hours on the day of the visit (i.e. for each visit). Furthermore, the Second Party shall not claim the custody of the child in future.
(vi) That the Second Party shall not claim any other maintenance and shall not claim any right, title or interest in any manner in the moveable or immoveable property of the First Party.
(vii) That the Second Party shall have no future interference in the education, social welfare and upbringing of the child and furthermore no direct or indirect contact shall be maintained by the Second Party with the child either by herself or through anyone else/relatives, except for the purpose of meeting the child as per Clause (v) above.
(viii) That both the parties shall be bound to withdraw all the other criminal and civil cases pending against each other and their respective family members. Furthermore, they shall not initiate any litigation against each other and their family members in future and shall not defame through any means of communication and through social networking sites and electronic medium.”

The parties thereafter filed CM No.16302-CII of 2015, for altering the original petition filed under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) to a petition under Section 13-B of the Act. The application was allowed and the original petition was altered into a petition under Section 13-B of the Act on 17.08.2015.

The separate statements of parties in first motion were also recorded, which read as follows:-

“Statement of Mr.Amar Somany, son of Ashok Somany, resident of Flat No.1402, Tower No.15, Orchid Petals, Sohna Road, Sector-49, Gurgaon, on SA. My affidavit dated 07.08.2015 may be read as my statement in first motion.

Statement of Prerna Sharma, daughter of Prem Kishore, wife of Amar Somany, R/o House No.1285, Sector-3, New Housing Board Colony, Rewari (1st Address), resident of H.No.R-69, Gali No.4, Phase-II, Model Town, New Delhi (IInd Address), on SA. My affidavit dated 07.08.2015 may be read as my statement in first motion.”

A perusal of their respective affidavits reveal that the parties have agreed to dissolve their marriage on account of irreconcilable differences, settled permanent alimony, maintenance, past, present and future at Rs.1,25,00,000/-, to be paid in terms of the settlement and decided to pray for   dissolution of their marriage by mutual consent.

The petition has come up for consideration after expiry of six months. Counsel for the parties and the parties, who are present, pray that there is no change in their view as they are still of the opinion that it is not possible for them to reside together as husband and wife and, therefore, statements of parties may be recorded in second motion and their marriage may be dissolved.

The parties were directed to record statements in second motion.

Statement of Amar Somany, petitioner No.1 recorded in second motion reads as under:-

“I was married to Prerna Sharma on 03.10.2008 but on account of irreconcilable differences, I filed a petition for grant of a decree of divorce. The petition was, however, dismissed by the District Judge, Family Court, Gurgaon, on 31.01.2015. I filed the present appeal and during pendency of the appeal, we arrived at a settlement and executed a compromise deed. I acknowledge my signatures on compromise deed dated 07.08.2015. I have complied with all terms and conditions of the settlement. The petition under Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, has been filed without collusion, coercion, mis-representation or fraud, pray that our marriage be dissolved by grant of a decree of divorce by mutual consent. I also handed over a demand draft, of the remaining amount i.e. Rs.1 crore to Ms.Prerna Sharma in Court today, in full and final settlement of all claims of maintenance, past, present or future or of permanent alimony. Our minor child Sara, as agreed between us, shall remain in my custody and guardianship and I shall have no objection to visitation rights as recorded in the settlement. I shall withdraw all cases/ applications/complaints whether made before a Court, quasi-judicial authority or any other department filed by me or my family members   against Prerna Sharma or her family members. I pray that our marriage be dissolved.”

Statement of Prerna Sharma, petitioner No.2 recorded in second motion reads as follows:-

“I was married to Amar Somany on 03.10.2008. My husband filed a petition for grant of a decree of divorce, which was dismissed, on 31.01.2015. He filed an appeal and during pendency of the appeal, we arrived at a settlement which was reduced into a compromise deed dated 07.08.2015. I acknowledge my signatures on the compromise deed. I have received an amount of Rs.1.25 crores in total (Rs.1 crore having been received today), in full and final settlement of all claims of maintenance, past, present or future of permanent alimony. I have also agreed that the custody and guardianship of our minor child Sara shall remain with Amar Somany, as recorded in settlement. I shall, however, be entitled to visitation rights as agreed. I shall withdraw all cases/applications/ complaints whether made before a Court, quasi-judicial authority or any other department filed by me or my family members against Amar Somani or his family members. I pray that our marriage be dissolved.”

A demand draft bearing No.001280 amounting to Rs.1,00,00,000/- (Rs.One Crore only) has been handed over to Prerna Sharma, petitioner No.2.

Counsel for the parties pray that as parties have resolved their dispute and agreed to part ways by mutual consent, the petition may be allowed and their marriage may be dissolved.

We have heard counsel for the parties, perused averments in the petition, the affidavits filed in support thereof and statements recorded at first and second motion and the settlement.

The parties were personally asked whether there is any possibility of their residing together but both parties emphatically ruled out any possibility of residing together.

The parties stated that they have taken a conscious decision that as it is not possible for them to live together on account of irreconcilable differences, the best course for them is to part ways. We are satisfied that the parties have taken a conscious decision to dissolve their marriage as it is not possible for them to live together as husband and wife.

In the absence of any malafide, coercion, misrepresentation or fraud, the petition is allowed and marriage between the parties is dissolved by grant of a decree of divorce by mutual consent. The parties shall, however, remain bound by the terms and conditions of the settlement and perform their respective obligations as set out in the settlement. In case of any difficulty in the performance of any part of the settlement, the parties would be at liberty to approach this Court for further directions. Prerna Sharma has received a bank draft bearing No.001280 amounting to Rs.1,00,00,000/- (Rs. One Crore only).

A decree sheet be drawn up accordingly.

[ RAJIVE BHALLA ]
JUDGE

[ LISA GILL ]
JUDGE

18.02.2016

498a Dv 125 wife torments sisters in laws & drives one out ! Husband wins divorce @ P&H HC. 16 years of misery ends !!

  • Married in 2000, the wife is sick for a long time with husband meeting all medical expenses
  • She leaves matrimonial home circa 2002 and never returns
  • In spite of husband calling her back many times she refuses. Finally goes on to file false 498a against the husband “…. Ultimately she got registered FIR No.163 of 2002 under Sections 498-A/406 IPC against the husband and his family members. She also filed petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C against the husband….” in which case the husband and others are acquitted “…competent criminal Court in the trial arising out of FIR No.163 dated 08.09.2002, registered under Sections 406/198- A/323/34 IPC, at Police Station Julana. Accused Chattar Singh, Dhanno and Naveen were acquitted by the criminal Court vide judgment dated 14.07.2009. Chattar Singh and Dhanno are the parents of Naveen (husband). The criminal Court while acquitting the accused in the aforesaid case recorded the findings that admittedly there was no medical evidence to support the version of the prosecution witnesses regarding beatings and unconscious breathlessness of the victim for 3-4 days. The complainant herself admitted that she came to the parental house along with her daughter of her own and in these circumstances, no fault could be attributed to the accused persons….”
  • Even during her stay she is so cruel to her husband and her sister’s in law (bhabi) that she drives out one of her bhabis and victimizes another bhabi !! “…Respondent-Husband further alleged that the attitude of the wife was so cruel that she also made life of her Bhabi namely Gayatri Devi wife of Devender Singh a hell in her house and thereafter the wife along with her family members turned out Gayatri Devi from her matrimonial house in village Julana. Gayatri Devi also moved an application against the appellant- wife in Mahila Police Station. The wife along with her family members harassed and humiliated the second wife of Devender namely Kavita, who also left the house and lodged the complaint under Sections 406/498-A IPC against the appellant-wife and her family members. Appellant-wife played active role in the occurrence where Kavita was victimized. With these allegations the original petition came to be filed…
  • finally husband wins divorce at family court in 2006. Wife goes on appeal and that drags on for a decade
  • at the HC the wife’s counsel argues that the words ‘benefit of doubt’ is used in the husband’s 498a acquittal and so his acquittal is not on merits and so he should NOT be granted divorce
  • The Hon P & HC appreciates the facts, and dismisses the wife’s appeal, thereby confirming husband’s divorce !! “….[20]. The words ‘benefit of doubt’ cannot be appreciated in the manner as sought to be projected by the learned counsel for the appellant. The acquittal was on merits as there was no incriminating evidence available on record, therefore, use of words like ‘benefit of doubt’ was the result of standard practice in the trial courts and was simply a misnomer. The entrustment of dowry was not proved. Guilt of the accused could not be brought to the hilt. The order of acquittal recorded by the criminal Court was upheld by the First Appellate Court in appeal as well……”
  • Additionally the Honourable court also confirms an important dictum that “…. The parties were living separately from 10.02.2002. The decree was granted on 01.03.2006 during pendency of the criminal case. The acquittal recorded during pendency of the appeal can be taken into consideration by way of judicial notice...” and so considers the acquittal in 498a case as valid grounds for divorce

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH

FAO-M No.65-M of 2006 (O&M)

Date of Decision: 31.05.2016

Smt. Mukesh ……Appellant

Vs

Naveen Kumar …..Respondent

CORAM:

HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE M. JEYAPAUL

HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE RAJ MOHAN SINGH

Present:Mr. Ashok Aggarwal, Advocate for the appellant.

Mr. C.B. Goel, Advocate for the respondent.

RAJ MOHAN SINGH, J.

[1]. Appellant-wife being respondent in the original petition filed before the Additional District Judge, Sonepat suffered the contested decree under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’), dissolving the marriage amongst the parties by decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion. She has ventured to file the present appeal against the said judgment and decree dated 01.03.2006.

[2]. Brief facts as gathered from the record are that the respondent-husband filed petition under Section 13 of the Act against the appellant-wife on the averment that the marriage among the parties was solemnized on 07.11.2000 according to Hindu rites and ceremonies. The wife started living with the husband as his legally wedded wife. Marriage was consummated and one female child took birth out of this wedlock on 30.08.2001, who was living with the appellant-wife. The marriage was simple and dowry-less. Respondent-husband attributed allegations of arrogance and hostile behavior of the appellant-wife towards him and his family members. Husband also alleged that the wife was short tempered and used to pick quarrels on trivial issues. She remained ill from the very first day of the marriage and was provided medical attention till the date of delivery. She was treated in Kuldeep Nursing and Maternity Home, Gohana on 14.12.2000 and her treatment continued till 30.06.2001. Ultimately child took birth on 30.08.2001 in PGIMS, Rohtak. The entire expenses were borne by the husband. She was again checked up in the Hospital and CT scan was also got conducted.http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; http://fromvinayak.blogspot.com

[3]. It was further alleged by the respondent-husband that he treated the appellant-wife with all love and affection, but inspite of that her behaviour never changed towards him and his family members. After the birth of the child, the wife started leaving the matrimonial house without prior consent of the husband and his family members. The persuasion of the husband became futile. Husband was unemployed and was having no source of income. The wife was in the habit of extending taunts and also pressurised respondent-husband to settle at her parental house at Julana with her brother, who was employed in Health department.

[4]. Respondent-Husband further alleged that on 10.02.2002, the wife along with minor daughter left the matrimonial house. The respondent-husband and his family members kept on searching her and they went to the parental house where both of them were present. She was reluctant to come to the matrimonial house and gave threat to the husband and his family members for implicating them in false criminal case. Ultimately she got registered FIR No.163 of 2002 under Sections 498-A/406 IPC against the husband and his family members. She also filed petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C against the husband. Wife was an educated lady whereas the husband was unemployed, who was in search of job. Husband was fully dependent upon the income of his parents.

[5]. Respondent-Husband further alleged that the attitude of the wife was so cruel that she also made life of her Bhabi namely Gayatri Devi wife of Devender Singh a hell in her house and thereafter the wife along with her family members turned out Gayatri Devi from her matrimonial house in village Julana. Gayatri Devi also moved an application against the appellant- wife in Mahila Police Station. The wife along with her family members harassed and humiliated the second wife of Devender namely Kavita, who also left the house and lodged the complaint under Sections 406/498-A IPC against the appellant-wife and her family members. Appellant-wife played active role in the occurrence where Kavita was victimized. With these allegations the original petition came to be filed.

[6]. Appellant-wife being respondent in the original petition contested the case by filing written statement. All the allegations were denied. Filing of criminal case was admitted. Source of income available with the husband was asserted. Filing of petition under Section 125 Cr.P.C., was also admitted. The story viz-a-viz. wives of Devender Singh namely Gayatri Devi and Kavita was denied and appellant-wife claimed that she never participated in those episodes. No Panchayat was ever convened. She showed her willingness to join the matrimonial house with the respondent-husband, provided that he changes his rude behaviour. The filing of the petition was claimed to be a devise to avoid payment of maintenance.

[7]. Both the parties went to the trial on the following issues:- “1. Whether the petitioner is entitled for a decree of divorce on the grounds mentioned in the petition, as alleged? OPP  2. Relief.”

[8]. Both the parties led their respective evidence to prove their case.

[9]. After leading evidence, trial Court appreciated the material on record and accepted the petition vide judgment and decree dated 01.03.2006. That is how the present appeal came to filed by the appellant-wife.

[10]. We have heard learned counsel for both the sides.

[11]. During pendency of the appeal civil misc. No.7308-CII of 2014 was filed by the respondent-husband seeking to adduce additional evidence in the form of Annexures P-1 to P-4, which are nothing but the orders passed by the concerned Courts from time to time. In order to properly appreciate the controversy, the said application is allowed and the accompanying documents are taken on record as additional evidence for deciding controversy effectively and appropriately between the parties.

[12]. With the pleadings and evidence on record, whether the instances of cruelty and desertion as alleged are made out or not became inconsequential in view of the development which took place later on for which this Court is always competent to take judicial notice. More particularly, as per information submitted by the respondent by moving application under Order 41 Rule 27 read with Section 151 CPC, it is a settled principle of law that the Court is always competent to take notice of subsequent events for effective adjudication of the controversy between the parties.

[13]. Annexure P-1 as adduced along with the said application for additional evidence is the decision rendered by the competent criminal Court in the trial arising out of FIR No.163 dated 08.09.2002, registered under Sections 406/198- A/323/34 IPC, at Police Station Julana. Accused Chattar Singh, Dhanno and Naveen were acquitted by the criminal Court vide judgment dated 14.07.2009. Chattar Singh and Dhanno are the parents of Naveen (husband). The criminal Court while acquitting the accused in the aforesaid case recorded the findings that admittedly there was no medical evidence to support the version of the prosecution witnesses regarding beatings and unconscious breathlessness of the victim for 3-4 days. The complainant herself admitted that she came to the parental house along with her daughter of her own and in these circumstances, no fault could be attributed to the accused persons. The criminal Court also found that the accused had faced the allegations twice and it was doubted whether family of the complainant was using the method of filing complaint for grabbing the money from the accused persons and that is why the complainant already tried to involve as much relatives of the husband as they wanted. As regards offence under Section 406 IPC, the prosecution relied upon the version of complainant Mukesh and her mother whereas both the versions were found to be different. Entrustment of the dowry articles to any of the accused was not proved.

[14]. The submission of the learned counsel for the appellant-wife that the articles were lying in the police station from where the same were not claimed by the complainant was a misnomer only in view of the positive findings recorded by the criminal Court that entrustment of the dowry articles was not proved with the accused. The criminal Court while disbelieving the prosecution story ultimately held that the offence whatsoever against the accused was not proved by the prosecution and the court felt no doubt to acquit the accused persons by extending benefit of doubt in their favour. The words used as ‘benefit of doubt’ by the criminal Court were the standard observations of the court and was a misnomer, otherwise the evidence on record before the criminal Court was sufficient to discard the prosecution story to the hilt.

[15]. Counsel for the respondent-husband also relied upon Annexure P-2 the orders passed under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, wherein the complaint filed under Section 12 of the aforesaid Act was held not maintainable though that order is of not much significance so far as the controversy involved in the present case is concerned.

[16]. Annexure P-3 is also an order passed by the competent Court under Section 125 Cr.P.C. for grant of maintenance in favour of wife. The petition was disposed of on the basis of consensus arrived at between the parties and, therefore, this order is also of no significance in the present context.

[17]. Annexure P-4 is the judgment rendered by the Court of Additional Sessions Judge, Jind in appeal, against the judgment of acquittal dated 14.07.2009 recorded by the Judicial Magistrate, Jind, which was challenged by the State and the same was dismissed vide judgment dated 06.04.2011.

[18]. The parties were living separately from 10.02.2002. The decree was granted on 01.03.2006 during pendency of the criminal case. The acquittal recorded during pendency of the appeal can be taken into consideration by way of judicial notice.

[19]. In the light of aforesaid facts the judgments cited by the learned counsel for the appellant Radha Rani vs. Har Bhagwan, 2005 (1) RCR (Civil) 508 and (Smt). Asha Gupta alias Anju Gupta vs. Rajiv Kumar Gupta, 2005 (1) RCR (Civil) 663 do not advance the case of the appellant in any manner. Case laws cited by the learned counsel for the appellant are on different premise and are of no help to the appellant-wife. After acquittal of the husband in criminal case, ground of cruelty came to the fold of the respondent-husband, who can effectively put up this ground to allege cruelty and to seek divorce. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; http://fromvinayak.blogspot.com

[20]. The words ‘benefit of doubt’ cannot be appreciated in the manner as sought to be projected by the learned counsel for the appellant. The acquittal was on merits as there was no incriminating evidence available on record, therefore, use of words like ‘benefit of doubt’ was the result of standard practice in the trial courts and was simply a misnomer. The entrustment of dowry was not proved. Guilt of the accused could not be brought to the hilt. The order of acquittal recorded by the criminal Court was upheld by the First Appellate Court in appeal as well.

[21]. In view of aforesaid, this Court does not find any worth in the appeal filed by the wife and the same is accordingly dismissed.

(RAJ MOHAN SINGH)                             (M. JEYAPAUL)
JUDGE                                               JUDGE

May 31, 2016

Atik

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CASE FROM JUDIS / INDIAN KANOON WEB SITE with necessary Emphasis, Re formatting


Brother, father inlaw asking to have relations! DV case 13 yrs after marriage & 3 yrs after husband’s death! P&H HC quash

Sad tale of how Domestic violence act is rampantly misused and seven people including 4 women are harassed to for one woman’s greed !!

A woman has filed a false domestic violence case on her mother-in-law, father- in-law, three married sisters-in-law and their husbands. This is 13 years after the marriage and 3 years after the death of the husband. Accused, married sisters-in-law along with their husbands were residing separately (complainant was living at Chandigarh while accused 1 to 6 were living in various districts of Haryana !!) . The complainant pleads that she had been denied a right in the property (which is a civil matter not connected to any violence). The Trial court takes the case and also issues notice to distant relatives asking them to appear

The relatives approach P & H HC and seek a quash

The Hon P & H HC notes and orders as follows “….9. In the present complaint, the complainant had implead the in-laws and the distant relatives. The trial Court had summoned all the respondents without even waiting for the report of the Protection Officer. The trial Court should have applied its mind and should have examined the contents of the complaint before issuing notice to the distant relatives who were residing separately. There was no averment in the complaint that they had at any point of time lived together. The complaint had been filed three years after the death of the husband of the complainant. No specific instance of domestic violence had been mentioned. As regards the share in the property there is a civil remedy and can not be gone into in these proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act. There is also the bar of limitation in the present fact situation. I have no hesitation in holding that continuation of the proceedings under the Act against the petitioners is an abuse of the process of law. 10. Therefore, the petition is allowed and the aforementioned complaint as well as the subsequent proceedings arising therefrom, are quashed….”


In the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh

Crl. Misc. No. M-24081 of 2015

Date of Decision: 23.05.2016

Rajbala and others ……Petitioners

Versus

Seema Gupta …..Respondent

CORAM : HON’BLE MRS. JUSTICE ANITA CHAUDHRY

Present: Mr. Anshul Mangla, Advocate for the petitioners.

Mr. Vivek Khatri, Advocate for the respondent.


ANITA CHAUDHRY, J(ORAL)

 

  1. This petition has been filed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. for quashing the criminal complaint bearing No. RBT-03-2 dated 6.6.2003 filed under Section 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (Annexure P-1) and the order dated 6.6.2013 and all the consequent proceedings arising out of the same.
  2. The petitioners have been summoned in the complaint filed under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (‘Act’ for short). The petitioners are the relatives of the husband of the complainant. The husband of the complainant had died on 21.4.2010 in a road accident. The complaint was filed against the mother-in-law, father- in-law, three married sisters-in-law and their husbands. It has been filed 13 years after the marriage and three years after the death of the husband. The petitioners have pleaded that false allegations had been levelled and they had never claimed custody of the minor children and the married sisters-in-law along with their husbands were residing separately and the petition has been filed only to harass them. The complainant was seeking maintenance and a separate residence as well as damages and a restraint order against any domestic violence. The complainant as per her allegations had left the matrimonial home on 1.11.2012. It was pleaded that she had been denied a right in the property.
  3. The trial Magistrate issued notice to the respondents heard both the sides on the application claiming interim maintenance as well as interim order qua residence in the shared household. The trial Court recorded a finding that the respondent had failed to show that her husband had any right in the house, the property was in the name of the mother-in-law and relying upon the decision of the Apex Court in ‘S.R.Batra and another versus Smt. Taruna Batra 2007(1) DMC 1(SC)’ interim maintenance and relief of residence was denied. The case was thereafter fixed for the presence of the remaining respondents.
  4. I have heard the counsel for the parties and have perused the documents placed on record.
  5. Counsel for the petitioners have vehemently contended that the petitioners are the close relatives of the husband and were living separately and there was no single instance of domestic violence and the complaint had been filed three years after the death. It was urged that the trial Magistrate without even ascertaining the correctness of the allegations and without ascertaining whether all of them were living together, had issued notice. It was urged that no specific instance has been given in the complaint and vague allegations of taunts and beatings and wild allegations that the brothers-in-law and father-in-law pressurized her to maintain relations with them have been levelled. It was urged that the complainant and her husband were living in Chandigarh and petitioners No. 1 to 6 are living in different districts of Haryana, the sisters-in-law were living with her husbands in separate residence and the proceedings were only an abuse of the process of law. Reliance was placed upon Suo Motu versus Ushaben Kishorbhai Mistry 2016(2) R.C.R. (Criminal) 421, Om Parkash Syngal and others versus Aditi Garg 2016(2) R.C.R. (Criminal) 12, Chandrawati Devi and others versus State of Bihar and another 2014(4) ECrC 53, Inderjit Singh Grewal versus State of Punjab and another 2011(4) R.C.R. (Criminal) 1, Ashish Dixit and others versus State of U.P. and another 2013(2) R.C.R. (Criminal) 340, Devanand Baliram Wankhade and others versus State of Maharashtra and others 2015 All MR (Crl.) 3618, Anoop and others versus Vani Shree 2015(2) R.C.R. (Criminal) 989, Smt. Geeta and others versus State of U.P. and another 2014(5) R.C.R. (Criminal) 577 and Nandan Singh Manrai versus State and others 2011(2) R.C.R. (Criminal) 271.
  6. The submission on the other hand was that the remedy was available and the petitioners could approach the Magistrate and when a specific remedy is provided, the petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. was not maintainable. It was also urged that the provisions of the Act provide for a remedy under the civil law and the petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. could not have been resorted to.
  7. A Division bench of the Gujrat High Court was faced with a similar objection. The Division Bench in ‘Suo Motu versus Ushaben Kishorbhai Mistry 2016(2) R.C.R. (Criminal) 421’ examined the provisions of the Act and the judgments referred before it concluded as under:-
    • “27. In view of the aforesaid observations and discussion, the following conclusions:
    • (i) The provisions of the Act provide for remedial measures for civil rights of women but the machinery provided is through criminal court.
    • (ii) Initiation of proceedings under Section 12 or 18 or 19 or 20 or 21 or 22 or 23 or 31 of the Act would begin only when the Magistrate has passed any judicial order including of issuance of notice for hearing.
    • (iii) Any person affected by any proceedings under the Act, prior to initiation of proceedings under Section 12 of the Act may prefer Special Criminal Application under Article 226 of the Constitution if as per him, the proceedings are beyond the scope and ambit of the Act or without any authority in law. But this Court, while entertaining the petition under Article 226 of the Constitution may decline entertainment of the petition by way of self-imposed restriction in exercise of the judicial powers or may decline entertainment of the petition in exercise of its sound judicial discretion.
    • (iv) Once proceedings are initiated under Section 12 or 18 or 19 or 20 or 21 or 22 or 23 or 31 either independently or jointly on account of any judicial order passed by the learned Magistrate including issuance of notice, such proceedings shall be governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure coupled with the power of the Court under Section 28(2) to lay down its own procedure for disposal of an application under Section 12 or under sub-section (2) of Section 23of the Act.
    • (v) Once the applicability of the Code of Criminal Procedure has started on account of any judicial order passed by the learned Magistrate including issuance of notice either under Section 12 or 18 or 19 or 20 or 21 or 22 or 23 or 31 of the Act independently or jointly, remedial measures to the aggrieved person as provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 can be said as available. But the higher forum under the Code of Criminal Procedure, may be the Court of Session or the High Court, may decline entertainment of such proceedings considering the facts and circumstances of the case and as per the settled principles of law and in accordance with law.
    • (vi) The aforesaid remedial measures provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure would also include the powers of this Court under Section 482 of the Code, but the Court may, in a given case, decline entertainment of the petition when there is express remedy provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure or no case is made out to prevent the abuse of process of any Court, or no case is made out to secure the ends of justice.”
    • This Court in ‘Om Parkash Syngal and others versus Aditi Garg reported in 2016(2) R.C.R. (Criminal) 12 had held that the violence committed by a person while living in the shared household can only constitute domestic violence and other acts of violence when one is living separate may be punishable under the different provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the other penal laws but cannot be covered under the Domestic Violence Act.
  8. In Chandrawati Devi’s case (supra), the complainant had never lived with the brother-in-law and the mother-in-law and had claimed a share in the property and money of the deceased husband. It was held that the matter could not be decided in a complaint filed under the Domestic Violence Act and the matter could be taken up in a partition suit and the proceedings were quashed. The issue of maintainability was also decided therein and it was held that the extra ordinary remedy and the inherent power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. could be invoked when it was to prevent the abuse of the process of law and to secure justice.
  9. In the present complaint, the complainant had implead the in-laws and the distant relatives. The trial Court had summoned all the respondents without even waiting for the report of the Protection Officer. The trial Court should have applied its mind and should have examined the contents of the complaint before issuing notice to the distant relatives who were residing separately. There was no averment in the complaint that they had at any point of time lived together. The complaint had been filed three years after the death of the husband of the complainant. No specific instance of domestic violence had been mentioned. As regards the share in the property there is a civil remedy and can not be gone into in these proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act. There is also the bar of limitation in the present fact situation. I have no hesitation in holding that continuation of the proceedings under the Act against the petitioners is an abuse of the process of law.
  10. Therefore, the petition is allowed and the aforementioned complaint as well as the subsequent proceedings arising therefrom, are quashed.

 

(ANITA CHAUDHRY)

JUDGE

May 23, 2016

Gurpreet

Wife tries to wriggle out mutual consent AFTER accepting money !! Court sees game & dismisses case

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH

FAO No. M-221 of 2015 (O&M)

DATE OF DECISION :- July 22, 2015

Rashmi Arora …Appellant.

Versus

Munish Kumar …Respondent

CORAM: HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE M.JEYAPAUL

HON’BLE MRS. JUSTICE RAJ RAHUL GARG

Present:- Mr. Varun Garg, Advocate for the appellant.

M.JEYAPAUL, J.

C.M. No.10713-CII of 2015

There is a delay of 150 days in re-filing the appeal. For the reasons set out in the application, the application is allowed.

 

  1. The appeal has been preferred by appellant Rashmi Arora, aggrieved by the dismissal of the petition filed by her under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 claiming permanent alimony not only for herself but also for her male child.
  2. There is no dispute to the fact that the appellant and the respondent jointly moved a petition under Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 before the competent Court and obtained a decree of divorce dissolving the marriage by mutual consent.
  3. Appellant Rashmi Arora had received a sum of `7,08,500/- along with a gold chain towards past, present and future maintenance of herself and her minor son before ever she consented for passing a decree of divorce by mutual consent by the trial Court.
  4. The appellant filed the petition under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 before the District Judge, Patiala praying for permanent alimony from her ex-husband Munish Arora. Her contention in the said petition was that she was under mental depression and, therefore, she was unable to think of her future. She was, in fact, persuaded by the respectables of the village to get divorce from her husband. She has further alleged that she was in mental trauma and was not in a fit state of mind to foresee the difficulty which would arise in future.
  5. It is the submission of learned counsel for the appellant that some provision will have to be made at least for the male child born out of the wedlock. As the appellant was under depression, she could not take proper decision as regards her entitlement of permanent alimony when the petition under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 was taken up for consideration by the competent Court.
  6. It is not as if the trial Court which dealt with the petition under Section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 passed a decree for divorce by mutual consent on the very day the petition was filed. There was 1st motion as well as 2nd motion before ever the petition jointly filed by both the parties under the aforesaid provision of law was allowed. Consistently, the appellant had stated that she had received a sum of `7,08,500/- along with a gold chain for her permanent alimony as well as for the maintenance of her minor son. There is nothing on record to show that she was depressed or mentally upset when the joint petition was moved before the trial Court for passing a decree of divorce by mutual consent.
  7. In our considered view, it is totally unjustifiable to re-open the agreement entered into between the parties which ultimately culminated in passing a decree of divorce by mutual consent, settling for ever the permanent alimony to be paid to the appellant and the maintenance to be paid to the minor son by the respondent.
  8. In view of the above, we find that the trial Court has rightly dismissed the claim for permanent alimony set up by the appellant under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Therefore, the appeal is dismissed.

 

(M. JEYAPAUL) JUDGE

(RAJ RAHUL GARG) JUDGE

July 22, 2015

p.singh

 

An innocent man is spared by the dying declaration of his wife ! Acquittal even after wife’s death P&H HC

Just because a wife is dead, within seven years, due to unnatural causes, does NOT  mean conviction !! Even though the parents of the dead woman weave a false story of dowry demand and cruelty, register a case of dowry death, the husband is spared by the wife’s cogent and clear dying declaration, clarifying that it was an accident and that her husband only tried to save her

The court concludes it’s well reasoned judgement as follows ” ….Having evaluated the evidence independently the finding of the trial Court so far as the dying declaration is concerned is accepted as the same passes the test of credibility. Nisha had narrated sequence of events. The trial Court did not entertain any doubts about the statement. The medical officer had made an endorsement about the mental state, therefore, the dying declaration could not be excluded from consideration. It is found that it would be safe to act on the dying declaration. There is no inconsistency. The deceased had not blamed any one for the incident. She herself was not aware of the reason as to how her clothes caught fire. It appears that the parents out of utter frustration chose to file a complaint subsequently. Even otherwise the demand of money for construction of a house would not fall within the definition of dowry demand. There was no   complaint prior to the incident to the Panchayat. There was no complaint to  the Senior Officers under whom the accused was serving. People have become more aware. In cases where Government servant are involved, people do not hesitate and send written complaints to the senior officers. The incident was an accident. The dying declaration was natural. The maker of the same was in a fit mental condition, therefore, accepting the dying declaration the findings recorded on point No. 2 and 8 are set aside. The Appeal is accepted. All the accused are acquitted. Their bail bonds are discharged. ……..”


IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB & HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH

Crl. Appeal No. S-2331-SB of 2008

Date of decision : 01.03.2016

Dilawar Singh and others  …… Appellants
versus
State of Punjab … Respondent

CORAM:- HON’BLE MRS. JUSTICE ANITA CHAUDHRY
1.Whether Reporters of local papers may be allowed to see the judgment?
2.To be referred to the Reporters or not? Yes
3.Whether the judgment should be reported in the digest?

Present:               Mr. Bipan Ghai, Sr. Advocate with Mr. Paras Talwar, Advocate for the appellants

Mr. K.S. Aulakh, AAG Punjab

ANITA CHAUDHRY, J.

The appellants were convicted and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 10 years under Sections 304-B IPC by the Sessions Judge, Jalandhar on 01.10.2008.

Recapitulating the brief facts, Nisha was married to Dawinder Singh on 31.01.2001. An unfortunate incident took place on 13.11.2005. Nisha succumbed to the injuries on 16.11.2005. A dying declaration was made by the deceased giving clean chit to the family, therefore, no FIR was registered. A complaint was filed subsequently and the accused were summoned. The case was committed and the prosecution examined 10 witnesses.

In the statement recorded under Section 313 Cr.P.C. all the   accused denied the circumstances and pleaded innocent. Dawinder had stated that they were living happily and his father and mother had gone to attend a Satsang and he was feeding the pigeons on the roof. The deceased was preparing food on the Chulla using the waste of fire crackers and the fire took place and she was caught in the same and on hearing the cries he came down, tried to save his wife and during that process both his hands were burnt and with the help of the neighbours he took his wife to Puran Hospital Adampur. Six witnesses were examined in defence. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; http://fromvinayak.blogspot.com

The case set up by the prosecution was that there was a demand of Rs. 5 lacs for construction of the house which was not met and there was an extra judicial confession by the accused that they had caused death and the dying declaration was never made by the deceased nor it was voluntary and the police was helping the accused as the husband was a Constable working in the SPs office, therefore, all help was rendered and it was a case of murder.

The trial Court held the accused guilty under Section 304-B IPC. They were sentenced to the imprisonment mentioned herein before.

The submission on behalf of the appellant was that a dying declaration was made and the police did not register the FIR and subsequently a complaint was filed and the complainant came up with the story of oral dying declaration which was not accepted. It was urged that trial Court had given a finding that the deceased had caught fire accidently while cooking meals and in that case they could not have been convicted for her death. It was urged that there is a contradiction   as to who had poured the kerosene oil and the Court had wrongly  invoked the presumption and when a categorical finding had been given that the deceased had not made any dying declaration before the complainant or Surinder Singh, therefore, the conclusion that since the death was within seven years, therefore, the presumption under Section 113-B IPC was contradictory and there was no evidence that there was any demand or cruelty soon before the incident. It was urged that the husband had sustained burn injuries on both the arms and they had led evidence in defence to prove the injuries and had it been a case otherwise, the husband would not have made any efforts to save her. It was also submitted that the parents were not at home. It was also submitted that the Medical officer was present through out and a certificate was appended that the deceased remained fit and conscious through out the statement. It was urged that even the neighbours had come to support the accused and the relations between the couple were normal and the deceased was shifted to the hospital by the husband in the conveyance of a neighbour and Tarsem DW was in the same vehicle and the injured had disclosed what had happened. It was urged that there were old expired crackers which were in the grass which exploded and incident was an accident.

The submissions on the other hand were that the husband was a Constable working in the same District and oral dying declaration was made and the statement of the complainant was rightly accepted. It was urged that there was demand and cruelty soon before death and the witnesses have spoken about it and the accused had made a confession before Husan Lal PW-4.

Nisha was married to Dawinder Singh in January 2001. The  unfortunate incident took place on 13.11.2005 at about 8.30 a.m. The complainant had alleged that on 07.11.2005 he had received message from his daughter Nisha that she was apprehending death at the hands of all the accused and she be brought back. On 08.11.2015 he alongwith his wife, Gurmukh Singh and Paramjit Singh went to the house of the accused where they had repeated the demand of Rs. 5 lacs. On 13.11.2005, the complainant received information that his daughter had been burnt. On receipt of this information the complainant alongwith Surinder Singh went to village from where he came to know that his daughter has been shifted to Puran Hospital, Adampur from where he came to know that his daughter has been shifted to Johal Hospital, Rama Mandi, Jalandhar. They reached the hospital and spoke to the daughter who in the presence of his wife and Surinder Singh told them that she was beaten up in the morning by all the accused and Mohinder Kaur had poured kerosene oil upon her and when she tried to run away her husband Dawinder Singh and father-in- law Dilawar Singh prevented her from running and her husband put her on fire with a match stick. The complainant had alleged that Dawinder Singh pushed her with his hands and threw her on the ground and warned her that she should not make the statement against them otherwise she would be killed alongwith her parents. The complainant had also stated that his daughter had told him that she had made a wrong statement to save the accused and it was under fear and pressure. The complainant had deposed that the police had refused to take any action against Dawinder Singh as he was posted in the office   of Senior Superintendent of Police, Jalandhar. The complainant had  also alleged that all the three accused approached Husan Lal on 20.11.2005 and made a confession before him one by one that they had committed a mistake and they should be pardoned. A complaint was filed thereafter. The complainant led preliminary evidence and the accused were summoned.

At the trial the prosecution examined Dr. Sanjeet Babuta as the first witness. He had stated that he was posted as Senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Jalandhar. He had conducted the postmortem examination and had given the cause of death.

Paramjit PW-2 had deposed that Nisha was married to Dawinder Singh about 8/9 years ago and she had son and daughter. He had stated that Dilawar Singh had come to him and had told him on 08.11.2005 that his daughter had been maltreated and he should accompany him to the village so that they should speak to the parents and he alongwith Kamla Devi and Gurmukh Singh accompanied Dilawar Singh and they had given a piece of advise to Dawinder Singh and had requested him not to maltreat Nisha. He stated that it was being repeatedly told by their daughter that the accused were demanding Rs. 5 lacs and had threatened to kill her. He came to know about death of Nisha on 13.11.2005. He stated that he had not suggested to the complainant to make any application against the accused before the police or the panchayat. He stated that they did not call any respectable, Sarpanch or Panch of that village.

Gurmukh Singh PW-3 made a similar statement as made by Paramjit Singh. He stated that he had accompanied the complainant,   Paramjit Singh and Kamla Devi to the house of the accused and they  returned after giving them a piece of advise.

Husan Lal PW-4 stated that he was member Panchayat of village Panshta and Dilawar Singh was a resident of his village. He stated that on 20.11.2005 Dilawar Singh, Mohinder Kaur and Dawinder Singh came to him and confessed to the crime and had asked him to intervene and get a compromise effected. He stated that he had not give any written application to the police nor he had met the Panchayat of village Daroli and he had made statement before the Court for the first time. He stated that he did not know how the deceased had caught fire.

Dilawar Singh PW-5 gave details of the articles given in the marriage He stated that the marriage took place in January 2001. He stated that whenever his daughter came to meet him she had been telling him that Dawinder Singh used to return home under the influence of alcohol and acted like butcher and gave her beatings and there was demand of dowry and she had been turned out of the house but he had advised her to stay in the matrimonial home as she had married him. He stated that in 2004 his daughter told him that Dawinder had been threatening to give divorce to her. He stated that he paid Rs. 1,25,000/- to the accused for purchase of plot and Rs. 60,000/- was withdrawn by him and the remaining amount was taken from his brother-in-law. He deposed that the accused had been demanding Rs. 5 lacs for construction of the house. He deposed that a message had been received from his daughter on 07.11.2005 that they would kill her and that he should come and on the next day he alongwith his wife   Kamla Devi, Gurmukh Singh and Paramjit went to the house of the  accused and they met their daughter and the accused were demanding Rs. 5 lacs and all of them requested the accused and his family and after giving them a piece of advise they returned and their daughter was set on fire on 13.11.2005. He stated that they reached the hospital and their daughter had told them that she was beaten by the accused in the morning and that when she tried to run away, Mohinder Kaur poured kerosene oil on her and she was prevented from leaving the house by Dawinder and Dilawar Singh who were standing near the door and Dawinder Singh set her on fire. He had stated that his daughter had told them that she had made a false statement to the police under fear and pressure. He stated that at that time Dawinder Singh was working as Operator with the SSP. He stated that his daughter died on 16.11.2005 and they went to the village of accused and asked them to get the postmortem performed which they refused and they again approached the police but they were not heard and SSP gave an assurance to conduct an inquiry but no inquiry was conducted. He stated that Husan Lal told him on 20.11.2005 that the accused had come to him and had told him that they had burned the girl and they should try for compromise. He stated that they approached the police a number of time and also gave applications and telegrams to the higher police officers, then he filed a complaint against the accused. The complainant admitted that he had not made any complaint to the police or to the SSP about any demand nor he had given any application against Dawinder Singh that he used to remain under the influence of liquor. He denied that his daughter had made statement before the   Magistrate.

Dev Raj PW-6 brought the summoned record pertaining to the Fixed Deposit Receipts in the name of Kamla Devi which was for a sum of Rs. 1,25,000/- which was encashed on 05.02.2003.

Shaminder Singh PW-7 from the DC office brought copy of the sale deed in favour of Dawinder Singh.

Surinder Singh PW-8 had accompanied the complainant to the hospital. He stated that Nisha had told him that she was beaten up by her husband and in-laws and she was caught by her husband and he poured kerosene oil on her and when she tried to run away she was pushed by her husband. He stated that he did not make any statement to the police but he had gone to the SSP but was not heard.

Vijay Kumar PW-9 co-brother of Dilawar Singh had stated that whenever he had met Nisha, he was told that her in-laws were not happy with the dowry and were taunting her for insufficient dowry and had given a sum of Rs. 60,000/- to Dilawar Singh to meet the demand. He stated that he had not gone to the house of the accused nor had accompanied any Panchayat and he had withdrawn the amount from his account in November 2002.

Balbir Singh PW-10 from the Telegram Department stated that the record had been destroyed and receipt Ex. PE shown to him was issued by them.

In defence, the accused had examined Dr. Baljit Singh Johal who deposed that Nisha had died on 16.11.2005 and her husband was discharged on the same date in view of request made by him and he was having burn injuries on the right forearm and left hand, he stated   that injuries most likely could not be self suffered.  MHC Hardev Singh brought the summoned DDR dated 13.11.2005.

Sh. Deepak Kumar Chaudhary, Judicial Magistrate Ist Class, Tarn Tarn, District Amritsar DW-3 had recorded the dying declaration. His statement reads as under:-

“On 13.11.2005, I was posted as JMIC, Jalandhar. On that day, Balwinder Singh ASI presented before me written application for recording the statement of Nisha wife of Davidner Singh r/o village, Daroli Khurd, who was admitted in Puran Hospital, Adampur. Then I went to that hospital. I obtained the opinion of the doctor about fitness of Nisha to make her statement. Doctor declared her fit to make the statement vide his endorsement Ex. DC. Mother, mother-in- law and father-in-law of Nisha were present by her side and they were asked by me to move out. Thereafter, I recorded her statement. I had read out the contents thereof to her and regarding the correctness thereof I obtained her thumb impression. Her thumb was under dressing and for obtaining the impression thereof dressing was got removed.

That statement is Ex. DB and the same also bears my signatures. The doctor remained present during recording of her statement and he appended his certificate to the effect that during recording of her statement, she remained fit and conscious to make her statement. That certificate of the doctor is Ex. DD. Thereafter, I gave my own certificate   which is Ex. DE which is in my hand and bears my signature.  I had correctly recorded the statement of Nisha as per her version without any addition or omission from my State. I had not make an endorsement in the beginning of said statement that there was no threat, promise or inducement to Nisha. Volunteered I had satisfied myself by making inquiries from her. It is incorrect that accused tutored Nisha to make her statement and that it was under the influence of accused, the said statement was made by her.” ASI Balwinder Singh DW-4 had received information from the hospital regarding Nisha’s admission and had gone to the hospital and had taken the opinion and had contacted the Duty Magistrate. He had also recorded the statement of Rattan Lal, Gurmukh Singh and Surinder Singh. http://evinayak.tumblr.com/ ; https://vinayak.wordpress.com/ ; http://fromvinayak.blogspot.com

Tarsem Singh DW-5 a neighbour of the accused came in support of the accused. He stated that Dawinder Singh was on the roof feeding the pigeons and he also heard shrieks of ladies and Dawinder went down running and he (DW) also went to the house of Dawinder and Dawinder was putting off the fire and his clothes also caught fire and he also helped in putting the fire out and they shifted Nisha in the vehicle of shopkeeper and on the way he had asked Nisha as to what had happened. He stated that he found one chapati on the Tawa and there was one piece of kneaded flour and dry grass and a bottle and there was a cracker wrapper in the dry grass.

Dr. Karnail Singh DW-6 had declared Nisha fit to make a   statement. He stated that Magistrate had recorded the statement in his  presence and through out the statement Nisha was fit and he had given a certificate at the end of her statement. He had also disclosed that patient was suffering from 70% burns. He stated that the Magistrate had arrived in the hospital after about one or two hours of the admission.

Reading of the judgment of the trial Court brings out contradictory findings. It would be relevant to refer to the findings. The following points were set out for determination and are contained in para 11 of the judgment which reads as under:-

  1. Whether there is delay in filing the complaint? If so, to what effect?
  2. Whether the accused had the motive to cause the death of the deceased?

  3. Whether the deceased voluntarily made dying declaration before Sh. Deepak Kumar Chaudhary, JMIC, DW3? If so, to what effect?

  4. Whether the deceased made dying declaration before Dilawar Singh complainant and Surinder Singh PW8? If so, to what effect?

  5. Whether all the accused made extra judicial confession before Hussan Lal PW4? If so, to what effect?

  6. Whether all the accused intentionally caused the death of the deceased?

  7. Whether the deceased died, otherwise than under normal circumstances?

  8. Whether the deceased was being harassed, treated  with cruelty by all the accused soon before her death on the ground of demand of dowry?

On point No. 1 the trial Court had observed that there was a delay but it was not fatal and had merely put the Court on guard.

On point No. 2 it held that the accused had a motive to cause the death.

On point No. 3 it held that the deceased had died accidently and she was not set on fire by any of the accused.

On point No. 4 the Court rejected the testimony of the prosecution witnesses that any oral dying declaration was made before Dilawar Singh and Surinder Singh. It concluded that the deceased was not set on fire by the accused and she received injuries otherwise.

On point No. 5 the Court had held that no extra judicial confession was made before Hussan Lal and his statement was not admissible in evidence.

On point No. 6 the Court observed that it can not be held that “all the accused intentionally caused the death”.

On point No. 7 it was observed that since the death was on account of burn injuries, therefore, she had died otherwise than under normal circumstances.

On point No. 8 relying upon the statement of all the witnesses held that girl was being harassed and she was subjected to cruelty by all the accused for dowry.

The above would show that the Court had believed the dying   declaration. It rejected the extra judicial confession said to have been  made by the accused. It had held that the death was accidental but at the same time it held that since the death was unnatural and the family had deposed above acts of cruelty, there was a dowry demand, therefore, it recorded their conviction. The findings are contradictory. It would be necessary to refer to the findings recorded on point No. 6 contained in para 35 of the judgment which read as under:-

“35. It has already been held, while deciding point No. 3, that the deceased voluntarily made dying declaration before the Magistrate that the she caught fire accidentally. It has also been decided while deciding point No. 4 that the deceased had not made any dying declaration before the complainant or Surinder Singh PW8 that she was set on fire by the accused. It has also been held above that at the time when she received burn injuries none of the accused was present inside the house. Therefore, it cannot be held that all the accused intentionally caused her death. In the result, this point is decided against the persecution and in favour of the accused.”

In the light of the above, it is necessary to first see whether the dying declaration made by the deceased could be considered as the last statement and whether it was admissible in evidence. There is no eye witness to the manner in which the occurrence took place. The entire case hinges upon the dying declaration and it has to be seen whether the incident was accidental or homicidal. The incident took   place in the morning on 13.11.2005. Nisha was shifted to the hospital  at about 9.45 a.m. This appears in the statement made by Dr. Karnail Singh DW-6. According to him the patient was suffering from 70% burns. Ruqa was sent to the police who called the Magistrate. The Magistrate had received information at 1.00 p.m. He had recorded the time when he started for the hospital. Another note was made by him at 1.35 when he reached the hospital. He met the doctor and took the opinion regarding her fitness and they proceeded to record the statement. A note was also given that the mother, mother-in-law and father-in-law of the patient were present near the girl and they had been asked to leave the room.

The statement given by Nisha reads as under:- “I was going to prepare meal. I was ill for 2/3 days and feeling giddy for 2/3 days. I did not know as to how my clothes caught fire. I was preparing the meal alone. My husband was feeding the pigeons on the roof. There was no other person at home. My mother-in-law, father-in-law and my daughter were away for satsang and my youngest child was at home. I was lighting the fire in the chulha and, therefore, I used kerosene oil. I was also using straw and waste material of the crackers of Diwali. Suddenly the fire broke out. I started crying. My husband got down and started putting out the fire. His hands got burnt. The people of our vicinity and my husband brought me to hospital in the vehicle.

The philosophy in law underlying admittance in evidence of dying declaration is that dying declaration made by person on the verge of his/her   death has a special sanctity as at that solemn moment, a person is most  unlikely to make any untrue statement therefore a dying declaration enjoys a sacrosanct status, as a piece of evidence, coming as it does from the mouth of the deceased victim. Once the statement of the dying person and the evidence of the witnesses testifying to the same passes the test of careful scrutiny of the Courts, it becomes a very important and reliable piece of evidence and if the Court is satisfied that the dying declaration is true and free from any embellishment such a dying declaration, by itself, can be sufficient for recording conviction even without looking for any corroboration and that is the statement of law summed up by this Court in Kundula Bala Subrahmanyam Vs. State of A.P., (1993) 2 SCC 684.

The law is settled that a dying declaration is admissible in evidence, therefore, it has now to be seen whether the dying declaration made by the accused could be accepted. The statement is not a statement on oath and the maker thereof can not be subjected to cross examination, therefore, if the dying declaration suffers from any infirmity during the course of the trial from other evidence then the same can be refused to be accepted. In the present case there is only one dying declaration.

Nisha had been married for almost 5 years. The incident took place in the morning. She is succumbed to the burn injuries three days later. Nisha was shifted to the hospital by her husband and some neighbours. A ruqa was sent and the police arrived in the hospital and message was sent to the Magistrate who arrived in the hospital at 1.35 p.m. He contacted the doctor for his opinion. The pateint was declared fit to make the statement and the Magistrate found that the mother, mother-in-law and father-in-law were present in the room who were asked to leave the room. Thereafter the statement was recorded. Nisha in her detailed statement mentioned about the incident. She had stated that her child had gone with her in-laws to the   Satsang and her husband was on the roof feeding the pigeons and she was  lighting the hearth for which she had used kerosene oil and some waste of the crackers and she did not know how she had got fire. She had also stated that on hearing her cries her husband came to save her and in the process his hands were also burnt. Nisha succumbed to the injuries on 16.11.2005. The postmortem was conducted and she was cremated. The police on the basis of dying declaration and other statements which came came before it did not register the FIR. The father was not satisfied and he filed a complaint on 24.12.2005 . The prosecution had examined 10 witnesses. The trial Court rejected the statement of Husan Lal before whom the extra judicial confession was said to have been made. It also rejected the prosecution story that an oral dying declaration was made before Dilawar Singh and Surinder Singh and believing the dying declaration, a finding was given that the dying declaration could be accepted but in the end on mis-reading of evidence made unwarranted finding that it was a case of dowry death. On point No. 6 it had observed that the accused had not intentionally caused the death. On point No. 7 the finding was that since the cause of death was due to burn injuries leading to Septicemia and it was the direct cause of death, therefore, Nisha had died otherwise than under normal circumstances. On point No. 8 the finding was that since there was demand of Rs. 5 lacs for construction of the house and the deceased was telling her family, therefore, the girl was being subjected to cruelty by all the accused and invoking the presumption under Section 113-B of the Evidence Act the accused were held guilty.

On one hand a finding was recorded that the death was accidental. The trial Court had also held that the accused had not set her on fire, it had believed the dying declaration and had rejected the extra judicial confession, therefore, there was no reason how the presumption under   Section 113-B of the Evidence Act could be invoked.  A reading of the dying declaration coupled with the statement of the Magistrate who had recorded the statement and the statement of the doctor makes it clear that the dying declaration had been made by the injured. There was no occasion for tutoring as the parents of the deceased were also in the hospital. There is no evidence that parents had made any complaint or had lodged the FIR earlier. They accepted the statement of their daughter and immediately did not make a report. Both the family had participated in the cremation. Had there been a demand of dowry or evidence the parents would not have allowed the in-laws to participate in the last rites. One of the neighbour had accompanied the injured and the husband to the hospital. The doctor had given an endorsement that the patient was fit to make a statement and that endorsement had been proved before the Court though in defence. The prosecution did not choose to examine the Magistrate or the treating doctor. The Medical Officer had noted that the hands of the husband were burnt.

Having evaluated the evidence independently the finding of the trial Court so far as the dying declaration is concerned is accepted as the same passes the test of credibility. Nisha had narrated sequence of events. The trial Court did not entertain any doubts about the statement. The medical officer had made an endorsement about the mental state, therefore, the dying declaration could not be excluded from consideration. It is found that it would be safe to act on the dying declaration. There is no inconsistency. The deceased had not blamed any one for the incident. She herself was not aware of the reason as to how her clothes caught fire. It appears that the parents out of utter frustration chose to file a complaint subsequently. Even otherwise the demand of money for construction of a house would not fall within the definition of dowry demand. There was no   complaint prior to the incident to the Panchayat. There was no complaint to  the Senior Officers under whom the accused was serving. People have become more aware. In cases where Government servant are involved, people do not hesitate and send written complaints to the senior officers. The incident was an accident. The dying declaration was natural. The maker of the same was in a fit mental condition, therefore, accepting the dying declaration the findings recorded on point No. 2 and 8 are set aside.

The Appeal is accepted. All the accused are acquitted. Their bail bonds are discharged.

March 01, 2016                                          (ANITA CHAUDHRY)
                                                        JUDGE

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