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Saturday, January 26, 2013

QUASHING OF FIR-under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C., the High Court was free to consider even material, that may be produced on behalf of the accused, to arrive at a decision whether the charge as framed could be maintained. = Dr. Monica Thapar fell ill. - Dr. Girish Kazi, a cardiologist. It was suspected, that she has a hole in her heart. Based on the aforesaid diagnosis, Dr. Dumaswala, another cardiologist, conducted Doppler echo-cardiography. The said echo-cardiography confirmed the presence of a large hole in her heart. On the advice of doctors who attended on Dr. Monica Thapar at Medical College, Surat, she was shifted to Urmil Heart and Lung Centre, Surat, on 24.9.1992. While at Urmil Heart and Lung Centre, Surat, Dr. Monica Thapar allegedly suffered a massive heart attack on 26.9.1992. The same supposedly proved fatal. 3. The factum of death of Dr. Monica Thapar was conveyed to the immediate family of Rajiv Thapar, as well as to the family of the deceased=Telephone bills demonstrate, that phone calls were regularly made from the residence of Rajiv Thapar (appellant no. 1), to the maternal family of Dr. Monica Thapar. The family of the husband of Dr. Monica Thapar was in consistent and regular contact with the other family members also. This relationship is shown to have been subsisting even at the time of the illness of Dr. Monica Thapar which proved to be fatal. Of utmost importance is a letter written by Rajiv Kapoor (the brother of the deceased, and the son of Madan Lal Kapoor, the respondent-complainant). In a letter dated 22.9.1992, just four days before the death of Dr. Monica Thapar (on 26.9.1992), Rajiv Kapoor showered praise on the immediate family of Rajiv Thapar residing at Delhi. His letter to his sister describes her in-laws in Delhi, as “very affectionate and very caring”. The telephone bills, as also the letter addressed by Rajiv Kapoor to his sister (Dr. Monica Thapar), are materials of sterling quality. Neither of the said materials has been controverted, either on veracity or on truthfulness. All this, in our opinion, would undoubtedly and inevitably result in concluding, that the relationship between the two families was cordial and affectionate. Clearly contrary to what has been alleged in the complaint. 30. Even though the statement of Dr. Pritu Dhalaria has been relied upon by the SDM, Delhi in the inquest report, which completely knocks out all the pleas advanced by Madan Lal Kapoor (the respondent-complainant), we are of the view, that it would be improper to make any reference thereto in deciding the present controversy. Reliance on the statement of Dr. Pritu Dhalaria would be permissible only after the same is recorded by a court on oath, whereupon, he has to be subjected to cross-examination. Only then, his statement would acquire credibility for reliance. Any fact situation based on the oral testimony, by one or the other party, cannot be the basis of a determination, akin to the one in hand. 31. We are persuaded to conclude from the facts and circumstances of the case exhaustively discussed in the foregoing paragraphs, that all the steps delineated in the paragraph 23 above, can be answered in the affirmative, on the basis of the material relied by the accused, more particularly, the post-mortem examination report dated 28.9.1992 conducted by a Medical Board comprising of four doctors, whose integrity has not been questioned by the respondent-complainant; the chemical analysis findings contained in the Central Forensic Science Laboratory’s report dated 9.2.1993 which has not been disputed by the respondent-complainant; the inquest report of the SDM, Delhi, dated 6.7.1993, findings whereof have been painstakingly recorded by involving the respondent-complainant; the letter of Rajiv Kapoor (the brother of the deceased) dated 22.9.1992 addressed to Dr. Monica Thapar just four days before her death, the contents and authenticity whereof are not subject matter of challenge at the hands of the respondent-complainant; and finally, the telephone bills produced by the appellants-accused substantiating consistent and regular contact between the rival families, which have not been questioned. We, therefore, have no hesitation in concluding, that the judicial conscience of the High Court ought to have persuaded it, on the basis of the material examined by it, to quash the criminal proceedings initiated against the appellants-accused. We, therefore, hereby quash the aforesaid proceedings. 32. Despite the conclusion recorded hereinabove, we are of the view, that in the facts and circumstances of this case, there should have been no difficulty whatsoever for the High Court to have exercised its judicial conscience for invoking the power vested in it under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. From the narration of the facts recorded above, it emerges, that even though the respondent-complainant Madan Lal Kapoor, in his complaint dated 6.7.1993, adopted a clear and categoric stance, that his daughter Dr.Monica Thapar had been poisoned to death, before the Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi, the respondent-complainant ventured to suggest, that the appellants-accused had strangulated her. The Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi, summoned two of the doctors who were members of the Medical Board which had conducted the post-mortem examination, and sought clarifications from them. He also recorded the statement of one of the said doctors. The Additional Sessions Judge, thereupon, ruled out the plea of strangulation. When the respondent-complainant himself was uncertain about the manner in which his daughter had allegedly died, the High Court should have viewed the matter keeping in mind the likelihood of the hurt caused to a father who had lost his daughter within one year of her marriage. The matter needed to have been evaluated, on the basis of one of the parameters laid down in State of Haryana & Ors. Vs. Bhajan Lal & Ors., 1992 Supp. (1) SCC 335, namely, whether the criminal proceedings initiated by Madan Lal Kapoor (the respondent-complainant) were actuated by malice and ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused with a view to spite him due to some private/personal grudge. There is yet another reason emerging from the facts of the case which needed to be kept in mind. Madan Lal Kapoor (the respondent-complainant) had continued to represent before the SDM, Delhi, that he would produce the mother of the deceased, who knew the facts best of all. Despite that, the mother of the deceased did not appear in the inquest proceedings to record her statement, even though a number of opportunities were afforded to the respondent-complainant to produce her. The permissible inference is that he was himself not privy to the facts. The fact that the mother of the deceased had not appeared to record a statement against the appellants-accused has to have some reason/justification. Would a mother who believes that her daughter had been poisoned/strangulated, restrain herself from recording her statement,despite the persuasion of her husband? Probably not. The instant factual position has been recorded hereinabove, not for the sake of determination of the present controversy. In a factual situation not as clear as the one in hand, facts such as these, could be taken into consideration by a High Court for recording its satisfaction, on the parameters formulated above. 33. For the reasons recorded hereinabove, criminal proceedings against the appellants-accused are hereby set aside. The order of the High Court is accordingly also set aside, but on grounds different from those taken into consideration by the High Court. The instant appeal, accordingly succeeds.


                                                                “REPORTABLE”

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                     CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.__174___ OF 2013
              (Arising out of SLP (Criminal) No. 4883 of 2008)

Rajiv Thapar & Ors.                                …. Appellants

                                   Versus

Madan Lal Kapoor                                   …. Respondent



                               J U D G M E N T

JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR, J.

1.    Leave granted.
2.    Rajiv Thapar (appellant no. 1 herein) married  Dr.  Monica  Kapoor  on
30.11.1991.  After her marriage, Dr. Monica Thapar got admission in  a  Post
Graduate Diploma course in Gynaecology (DGO) at Medical College,  Surat,  in
June 1992.
Accordingly, she started working as a Resident at the  aforesaid
Medical College.  At his own request, Rajiv Thapar, who was (and  still  is)
a member of the Indian Revenue Services, was transferred from  Ahmedabad  to
Surat.
On 16.9.1992, while the husband and wife were living at  Surat,  Dr.
Monica Thapar fell ill.  
For her treatment,  she  was  admitted  to  Mahavir
Hospital, Surat.  She was diagnosed as suffering from Malaria.  Having  been
treated  for  the  same,  she  was  discharged  on  20.9.1992.  
Two   days
thereafter, Dr. Monica Thapar again fell ill on 22.9.1992.  This  time,  she
was taken to Medical  College,  Surat  i.e.,  the  hospital  where  she  was
herself working as a Resident.
She was first  examined  by  a  radiologist,
and thereafter, by Dr. Girish Kazi, a cardiologist.  It was suspected,  that
she has a hole  in  her  heart.   
Based  on  the  aforesaid  diagnosis,  Dr.
Dumaswala, another cardiologist, conducted Doppler  echo-cardiography.   The
said echo-cardiography confirmed the presence of a large hole in her  heart.
 On the advice of doctors who attended  on  Dr.  Monica  Thapar  at  Medical
College, Surat, she was shifted to Urmil Heart and Lung  Centre,  Surat,  on
24.9.1992.  
While at Urmil Heart and Lung Centre, Surat, Dr.  Monica  Thapar
allegedly  suffered  a  massive  heart  attack  on  26.9.1992.    
The   same supposedly proved fatal.
3.    The factum  of  death  of  Dr.  Monica  Thapar  was  conveyed  to  the
immediate family of Rajiv Thapar, as well as to the family of the  deceased.
 A decision was taken to cremate  the  dead  body  at  Delhi.   Accordingly,
after embalming the body of Dr. Monica Thapar, it was  transported  by  rail
to Delhi on 27.9.1992.  The immediate family of Dr. Monica Thapar  including
her father Madan Lal Kapoor (respondent-complainant herein) were present  at
the time of arrival of the body at Delhi.
4.    Madan  Lal  Kapoor  made  a  complaint  to  the  Police  Control  Room
alleging, that he suspected that  his  daughter  had  been  poisoned.   This
suspicion was based on the fact, that the body  had  turned  blue.   On  the
aforesaid complaint, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Delhi,  in  exercise  of
powers vested in him under Section 176 of the  Code  of  Criminal  Procedure
(hereinafter referred to as, the Cr.P.C.),  initiated  inquest  proceedings.
In the first instance, the body of the deceased was  subjected  to  a  post-
mortem examination, for which the following Medical Board was constituted:-

      (i)    Dr.  Bharat  Singh,  Medical  Superintendent,  Civil  Hospital,
Delhi.
      (ii)  Dr. L.T. Ramani, Chief Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Delhi.
      (iii) Dr. Beena Malhotra, Professor, Pathology,  G.B.  Pant  Hospital,
           New Delhi.
      (iv)  Dr. Amit Banerjee, Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery, G.B.  Pant
           Hospital, New Delhi.
The Medical Board came to the conclusion, that Dr. Monica  Thapar  had  died
of cardiac decomposition.  The final  opinion  of  the  Medical  Board,  was
recorded in a report dated 28.9.1992, in the following words:-
           “OPINION    In view of the clinical reports submitted  and  post
           mortem findings observed,  the  Board  of  Direcors  is  of  the
           opinion that, death is consequent to cardiac decompensation  due
           to enlarged atrial septal defect & pulmonary  hypertension.   No
           definite  opinion  can  be  given   about   falciparm   Malaria,
           histopathological assessment.


                 Viscera is preserved for chemical analysis as  desired  by
           SDM.  Time since death is about 48 hours and is consistent  with
           the history.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)


During the post-mortem examination, samples  from  the  stomach,  intestine,
liver, spleen, kidney and blood of the deceased’s body  were  taken.   These
samples were sent for chemical examination to the Central  Forensic  Science
Laboratory,  New  Delhi.   The  report  of  the  Forensic  Laboratory  dated
9.2.1993, recorded the following conclusions:-
           “SPECIFICATION OF THE ARTICLE CONTAINED IN THE PARCEL

           1.    Parcel contained:

                 (a)   One wide-mouth bottle containing  stomach,  intestine
                       with contents, Exhbt 1a.

                 (b)   One wide mouth  bottle  containing  liver,  spleen  &
                       kidney, Exhbt 1b.

                 (c)   One phial containing few drops blood, Exhbt 1c.

                 xxx                    xxx                   xxx

           RESULTS OF ANALYSIS

                 The Exhibit nos. 1a, 1b and  1c  gave  negative  tests  for
                 common poisons.”

It is therefore apparent, that the Central Forensic Science Laboratory,  New
Delhi, having analysed the  samples  from  the  stomach,  intestine,  liver,
spleen, kidney and blood, concluded  that  the  same  did  not  contain  any
“common poison”.
5.     Insofar as the inquest proceedings initiated  by  the  Sub-Divisional
Magistrate,  Delhi  (hereinafter  referred  to  as  the  SDM,   Delhi)   are
concerned, it would be relevant to  mention,  that  Madan  Lal  Kapoor  (the
respondent-complainant herein) the father of  the  deceased,  in  the  first
instance, refused to record any statement before  the  SDM,  Delhi,  on  the
ground that he would record his statement only  after  the  receipt  of  the
post-mortem report.  Even on the receipt  of  the  post-mortem  report,  the
said Madan Lal Kapoor and even his  son  Rajiv  Kapoor,  refused  to  record
their statements before the SDM, Delhi, on the assertion,  that  the  mother
of the deceased knew the facts best of  all,  and  as  such,  her  statement
needed to be recorded first of all.  It was pointed out, that her  statement
could not be recorded immediately because she was in a state of  shock.   It
may be noted, that neither the mother nor the brother of Dr.  Monica  Thapar
appeared before the SDM, Delhi,  to  record  their  statements.   Madan  Lal
Kapoor had sought time thrice, from the SDM, Delhi, to get the statement  of
his wife recorded.  Madan Lal  Kapoor,  father  of  the  deceased,  however,
eventually recorded his statement before the SDM,  Delhi,  even  though  the
mother of the deceased had not appeared before the Magistrate to record  her
statement.
6.    The SDM, Delhi, during the course  of  inquest  proceedings,  recorded
the statements of the following accused persons:-
           (i)   Rajiv Thapar (husband of the  deceased;  appellant  no.  1
                 herein).
           (ii)  Kusum Thapar (mother-in-law of the deceased; appellant no.
                 5 herein).
           (iii)  Sangeeta  Thapar  (wife  of  the  brother-in-law  of  the
                 deceased; appellant no. 4 herein).


In addition, the SDM, Delhi, recorded the statement of  Dr.  Pritu  Dhalaria
(a colleague of the deceased at Medical College,  Surat).   Insofar  as  the
accusations and counter allegations are concerned, it is  not  essential  to
refer to the statements of  any  of  the  rival  parties.   It  is  however,
appropriate to refer to the statement of  Dr.  Pritu  Dhalaria.   Since  the
same is not available on the record of the case, reference  thereto  in  the
inquest report, is being extracted hereunder:-
            “Statement of Mr. Pritu Dhalaria
           Sh. Pritu Dhalaria stated that Monika Thapar was  known  to  him
           from the date she got admission in the Medical College in  June,
           92.  And he regards her as his elder sister.  He further  stated
           that both Monika and  Rajeev  were  happy  and  living  a  happy
           married life.  On 17th September, 1992, he  came  to  know  that
           Monika was ill and admitted in the  Mahavir  Hospital.   In  the
           evening of 17.9.1992, when he met Monika he came  to  know  that
           she was suffering from Malaria.  And on 24.9.1992,  he  came  to
           know that she was admitted in  the  Urmil  Heart  Hospital.   He
           further stated  after  Echo-Cardiography  doctor  declared  that
           Monika was suffering from A.S.D.  (Larger  Hole  in  Heart)  and
           pulmonary Hypertension.  He stated that on 26.9.1992,  at  about
           2.00-2.15 p.m., Monika’s situation became serious.  And  inspite
           of all attempts of doctors, she got heart  attack  and  died  on
           3.30 p.m.  He also stated that the MS of Civil Hospital,  Surat,
           Dr. Khanna was present  alongwith  the  other  doctors  at  that
           time.”
                                                          (emphasis is ours)

7.    The statement of Dr. Pritu Dhalaria fully coincides with  the  version
expressed by the appellants-accused.  That Dr. Monica Thapar had  two  bouts
of illness.  In the first episode,  she  was  diagnosed  as  suffering  from
Malaria.  She was treated for the same and discharged.  Thereafter, she  was
diagnosed with a large  hole  in  her  heart,  on  the  basis  of  an  echo-
cardiography.  She died of a massive heart  attack  on  26.9.1992.   At  the
time of her death, Dr. Khanna and  other  doctors  of  the  Civil  Hospital,
Surat, were present.
8.    The SDM, Delhi, in his inquest report  dated  6.7.1993,  recorded  the
following conclusions:-
            “Conclusion
           Allegation levelled by Shri Madan  Lal  Kapoor,  father  of  the
           deceased regarding harassment and dowry death, it  appears  that
           allegation are not correct in the light of the fact  of  Natural
           death in the statements the husband and in laws of the  deceased
           produced photocopies of letters written by Sh. Madan Lal  Kapoor
           and Rajiv Kapoor.  Perusal of the letter  shows  that  both  the
           families   enjoyed  a  normal  happy  relationship  and  not  an
           abnormal and strained relation till the death of Monika.

                 Sh. Rajeev Thapar has produced copy of telephone  Bill  of
           residential phone shows the Telephone Cells are  made  to  Madan
           lal phone No.574390 at Mohali Chandigarh on 17.09.92,  21.09.92,
           24.09.92 and 25.09.92 during the course of illness of Monika

                 Sh. Rajeev Kapoor, the brother of the deceased well  aware
           of the  situation  of  Monika  as  per  his  letter  dated  22nd
           September, 92 and at that time the families are enjoying a  very
           good relationship.  So it is not possible in these circumstances
           that Monkka was harassed by  her  in-laws.   The  few  lines  as
           under:-

                    “How are  you  Now?  I  hope  by  now  you  will   have
                    recovered from Malaria.  We should have faith  in  God.
                    Please give top priority to your health.

                       Off and on I go to  Janakpuri,  all  are  very  nice
           there, very affectionate and very caring.  You must  be  knowing
           that Sanjay Bhai  Saheb  have  been  promoted  to  the  rank  of
           Squadron Leader..

                 The brother is no likely  to  praise  the  family  of  his
           sister’s in-laws in case his sister is being harassed for dowry.

                 Statement of Sh. Pritu,  Colleague  of  Mrs.  Monika,  also
           shows that Monika and Rajiv enjoyed a  very  happy  and  cordial
           relationship, which also shows that  allegations  of  harassment
           does not appear to be  correct.   According  to  the  statements
           given before me Monika stayed with her in-laws in Delhi only for
           4-5 days.  Hence the charged of  harassment  levelled  does  not
           appear to be correct.  From the statement and evidence  produced
           before me, it does not  appear  that  she  was  being  harassed.
           Report of Sh. S.K. Pathi M.d. Radiologist during  the  treatment
           of Monika.

                 “Mild Cardiac enlargement with  dilated  pulmonary  vessels
                 and    evidence    of    Pulmonary     Dedema.      Advise:
                 Echocardiography.”

           Report of Dr.  J.C.  Damaswala  M.D.  during  the  treatment  of
           Monika.

                 “Large osteum secundum ASD Measuring 3.0 cm  with  Ltd.  To
                 Rt. Shunt on colour flow and conventional Doppler.”

           Death certificate issued by Urmil Heart and Lung Centre:-

           Cause of Death: Cardio-Respiratory arrest due to Malaria  ASD  C
           Pulmonary Hypertension.

                  The post-mortem of the dead body revels that death is due
           to Cardiac de-compensation due to enlarged atrial Septal  Defect
           and pulmonary Hypertension (As per board of doctors)

                  The CFSL report of the viscera reveals negative tests for
           common poison.

                   Inquest proceedings started on 27.09.1992 and  till  now
           mother of the  deceased  has  not  come  forward  to   give  her
           statement.  Father of the  deceased  visited  SDM  office  three
           times but never brought his wife for  recording  statement.  Now
           there is no point in waiting for her  statement  when  death  is
           proved natural and beyond any doubt.

                  The case of the death is clearly determined to be natural
           inquest proceedings under Section 176 Cr.PC  may  be  closed  as
           foul play  in the death of  Smt.  Monika  Thapar  is  completely
           ruled  out  and  the  allegation  made  in  the  PCR  called  on
           29.09.1992 have not been turned out by the evidence on record.
                                                                        Sd/-
                                  Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Kotwali, Delhi.
                                                                   6.7.1993”

A perusal of the inquest report reveals that the SDM, Delhi, concluded  that
“… foul play in the death of Smt. Monika Thapar is  completely  ruled  out…”
The SDM, Delhi, also held “…death is proved natural and beyond any doubt…”
9.    On 29.9.1992, Madan Lal Kapoor  (the  respondent-complainant),  father
of  the  deceased  Dr.  Monica  Thapar,  filed  a   complaint   before   the
Commissioner of Police, Delhi.  Prior thereto, on the  same  issue,  he  had
filed similar complaints  before  the  Police  Commissioner,  Surat,  Police
Officer  Incharge,  Umra  Police  Station,  Athwa  Lines,  Surat   and   Dy.
Commissioner, Athwa, Crime Women  Cell,  South  Moti  Bagh,  Nanakpura,  New
Delhi.  The aforesaid complaints  had  been  filed  by  the  father  of  the
deceased praying for registration of a First Information Report,  interalia,
under  Sections  304B  and  498A  of  the  Indian  Penal  Code.   Since  the
complaints filed by Madan Lal Kapoor did not bear any  fruitful  result,  he
filed a criminal complaint before  the  Metropolitan  Magistrate,  Delhi  on
6.7.1993 alleging unnatural  death  of  Dr.  Monica  Thapar,  by  poisoning.
Relevant portion of the complaint made by Madan Lal Kapoor (the  respondent-
complainant) is being extracted hereunder:-
            “10. That in the second week of September,  1992,  accused  no.1
            Rajiv Thapar called his mother from Delhi, on the false  pretext
            that Monika was pregnant and needed care.  As a matter of  fact,
            it was in the pursuance of the conspiracy hatched by the accused
            themselves to do away with the life of Monika in some mysterious
            manner and on the pretext the mother  of  Rajiv  Thapar  accused
            no.1 was called from Delhi, and  sometimes  thereafter  on  that
            pretext she was admitted in some hospital of their choice, where
            the conspiracy could be implemented.

            11.  That on 26.9.1992 the  complainant  enquired  on  telephone
            from accused no.2 about the welfare of his daughter but now  she
            was quite alright and there was nothing  worry  about  her.  The
            complainant enquired from him about the details  of her  illness
            and hospital where she was admitted, but accused  no.2  did  not
            disclose as the voice of Mr. Thapar accused no.2 was  some  what
            in co-herent on the phone, the complainant  suspected  something
            wrong, when the complainant told him that he along with his wife
            was going to Surat, accused no.2 told him that there was no need
            of going and everything was alright, but  when  the  complainant
            told him in clear  term  that  he  apprehended  something  wrong
            regarding the illness of his daughter,  on  which  accused  no.2
            told the complainant on phone that Monika had expired.

            12.  That accused no.2 in conspiracy with his co-accused did not
            disclosed the kind of illness, of the treatment  she  was  given
            with a criminal intention that the complainant and his wife  may
            not able to see their daughter and give  her  proper  treatment.
            Mrs. Monika was not suffering from any disease. Of  course,  due
            to constant harassment, torture, physical and violent and mental
            torture, her health had broken down and she fell ill.  Her death
            was due to constant torture for not meeting the  illegal  demand
            of a Maruti Car.

            13.  That the dead body of Monika was  brought  to  Delhi  under
            mysterious circumstances, no permission was obtained for  taking
            dead body from Surat to Delhi in the train.

            14.  That the complainant and his wife  reached  Delhi  and  saw
            some poisonous substance had been administered to her,  on  this
            report of the complainant,  the  post-mortem  was  conducted  at
            Delhi.

            15.  That the complainant  was  moved  hell  and  earth  in  the
            matter.  He has given complaint to police  Commissioner,  Surat.
            Deputy Commissioner, Athwa Crime Women Cell, South,  Moti  Bagh,
            Nanakpura, New Delhi, Police Officer  Incharge,  Umra  ,  Police
            Station, Athwa Lines, Surat and another authority; but no action
            has been taken, even the copy of the  Post Mortem Report has not
            been supplied to the complainant.

            16.  That the death of Mrs. Monika took place within a  year  of
            her marriage under mysterious circumstances on account of demand
            of dowry which  demand  was  not  met  and  thereafter  she  was
            tortured mentally and physically and leading to her illness  and
            in that condition she was administered  some  poisonous  matter.
            The accused  have  committed  serious  offences  under  Sections
            304B/120B/498A/109 I.P.C. They be tried  according  to  law  and
            convicted.


            Sd/-
           Dated 6.7.93                        Madan Lal Kapoor
                                                   Complainant”


                                                          (emphasis is ours)

10.   The complaint extracted  above,  reveals  mere  aspersions,  based  on
suspicion.  The complaint did not express any concrete fact  disclosing  how
the appellants-accused were responsible  for  having  taken  his  daughter’s
life.  In fact, the  narration  of  facts  hereafter  reveal,  the  shifting
stance of the father of the deceased, about  the  cause  of  his  daughter’s
death.   On  24.5.1995,  Madan  Lal  Kapoor   (the   respondent-complainant)
examined  himself  and  his  son  Rajiv  Kapoor  before   the   Metropolitan
Magistrate, Delhi in order to substantiate the allegations levelled  by  him
in respect of the unnatural death of his daughter Dr. Monica Thapar.   Based
on the statements made by Madan Lal Kapoor (the respondent-complainant)  and
his son Rajiv Kapoor, the Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi, vide  order  dated
24.8.1995, summoned the accused.  The Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi,  while
summoning the accused, recorded the following observations:-
           “It is further alleged that at the time of  her  death  she  was
           doing Diploma in Gynaecology in territories at Surat  where  his
           son in law was employed.  The complainant did  not  receive  any
           telephone call either from his daughter or son  in  law  and  he
           therefore rang up to Ramesh Thapar at Delhi to enquire about the
           welfare of his daughter and Ramesh Thapar told him on  telephone
           that his wife Kusum Thapar had been  called  to  Surat  to  look
           after  his  daughter  as  she  was  said  to  be  pregnant   but
           subsequently she was aborted.  The complainant enquired from him
           as to the particulars of the hospital where she was admitted and
           what was the ailment she was suffering from,  she  replied  that
           her daughter was quite all right and he should not  worry  about
           her welfare again insisted to given particulars of the  hospital
           and the complainant suspected that her in-laws were not behaving
           with her properly and were  harassing,  therefore,  he  insisted
           that he himself and his wife shall go to Surat and he  told  him
           that he suspected some foul play in the matter on  which  Ramesh
           Thapar told him from Delhi that his daughter Monika has  already
           expired, and he enquired as to where she will be cremated.   The
           accused brought the dead body of  his  daughter  from  Surat  to
           Delhi but they did not allow him and his family members  to  see
           the dead body but on their insistence, they saw the dead body of
           his daughter and he saw that the face and mouth of his  daughter
           was blue.  He suspected that her daughter has  been  given  some
           poisonous matter, as  a  result  of  which  she  had  died.   He
           informed the police and the police came and got the post  mortem
           of the dead body conducted, but thereafter nothing was  done  by
           police in this matter.  He  sent  a  registered  letter  to  the
           Police Commissioner, Delhi and he went  to  Surat  and  filed  a
           complaint before the Police Commissioner but nothing  was  done.
           The complainant suspect that  his  daughter  has  been  admitted
           because his daughter had not brought sufficient dowry  according
           to the status and had also failed  to  fulfill  the  demands  of
           above named accused persons of bringing dowry and Maruti Car and
           cash.

                 I have carefully considered the argument  put  forward  by
           Ld. Counsel for complainant.  I have also carefully gone through
           the complaint and  have  carefully  considered  the  preliminary
           evidence adduced by the complainant in support of his case,  and
           from the material on record in my considered opinion, there  are
           sufficient grounds  for  proceedings  against  all  the  accused
           persons    for    committing     offence     punishable     u/s.
           304B/498A/406/120B IPC.

                 Accordingly, I order that  accused  Rajiv  Thapar,  Ramesh
           Thapar, Sangeet Thapar and Mrs. Kusum  Thapar  be  summoned  for
           19.12.1995 on filing of PF.”

11.    The  appellants  assailed  the  aforesaid   summoning   order   dated
24.8.1995, by filing a petition under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. before  the
High Court of Delhi (hereinafter referred  to  as,  the  High  Court).   The
challenge raised was primarily on the ground, that  Madan  Lal  Kapoor  (the
respondent- complainant) had suppressed vital material,  in  his  complaint.
It was alleged, that the complainant did not  disclose  the  particulars  of
the post-mortem examination, the report  of  the  Central  Forensic  Science
Laboratory, as also, the inquest  report.   The  High  Court  dismissed  the
aforesaid petition  summarily  on  the  premise,  that  the  same  had  been
prematurely filed.  Accordingly, liberty was granted to  the  appellants  to
move the trial Court, if they were so advised, for seeking a recall  of  the
summoning order (dated 24.8.1995).  Immediately,  on  the  disposal  of  the
petition by the High Court, the appellants moved an application  before  the
Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi, praying for a recall of the summoning  order
dated  24.8.1995.   The  aforesaid  application   was   dismissed   by   the
Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi on 23.5.1998 by observing that  “…  I  am  of
the opinion that at this stage, there is no ground to review or  recall  the
order dated 24.8.1995 passed by my L.D.  Predecessor,  whereby  he  summoned
the accused for the above stated offences after taking cognizance…”
12.   Thereupon, the Metropolitan Magistrate,  Delhi,  recorded  preliminary
evidence.  Based thereon, and having  formed  an  opinion,  that  there  was
sufficient material to proceed against the accused under Sections 498,  496,
304B read with Sections 120-B of the Indian  Penal  Code,  the  Metropolitan
Magistrate, Delhi, committed the case to  the  Court  of  Sessions,  as  the
offence under Section 304B is exclusively triable by a Court of Sessions.
13.   While examining the matter further, with the pointed object of  either
discharging the accused (under  Section  227  of  the  Cr.P.C.)  or  framing
charges against them (under Section 228  of  the  Cr.P.C.),  the  Additional
Sessions Judge, Delhi took notice of the fact that  Madan  Lal  Kapoor  (the
respondent-complainant)     had     not      brought      the      following
record/material/documents to the  notice  of  the  Metropolitan  Magistrate,
Delhi:-
            (i)  The post-mortem report dated 28.9.1992.
            (ii) The inquest report dated 6.4.1993.
           (iii) The correspondence made by the respondent and his son.
The Additional Sessions  Judge,  Delhi  also  felt,  that  the  Metropolitan
Magistrate, Delhi, had not fully complied with  the  provisions  of  Section
202 of the Cr.P.C.  (requiring  him  to  enquire  into  the  case  himself).
Therefore, the Additional Sessions Judge,  Delhi  examined  the  allegations
made in the complaint in conjunction with all of the aforesaid material.
14.    Since  the  learned  counsel  representing  Madan  Lal  Kapoor   (the
respondent-complainant)  had  raised  an   additional   plea   (before   the
Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi), that the deceased was also  suspected  of
having been strangulated to death,  the  Additional  Sessions  Judge,  Delhi
summoned Dr. L.T. Ramani and Dr. Amit Banerjee  (who  were  members  of  the
Medical Board,  which  had  conducted  the  post-mortem  examination).   The
Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi, sought clarifications on  the  allegations
of strangulation, from  the  two  doctors.   The  Court  also  recorded  the
statement of Dr. Amit Banerjee.
15.   The Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi then heard detailed arguments  on
charge.  Upon consideration, the Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi,  recorded
detailed findings, which are being summarized hereunder:-
           (i)   The inquest proceedings conducted by the SDM, Delhi, which
                 interalia contained the broad facts of the married life  of
                 the  deceased,  were  inconsistent  with  the   theory   of
                 harassment extracted in the complaint.

           (ii)  The accused Rajiv Thapar, husband  of  Dr.  Monica  Thapar
                 (deceased) had been seeking medical advice,  and  had  been
                 getting  the  deceased’s  medical   treatment   at   Surat,
                 whereupon it came to be discovered, that she  had  a  large
                 hole in her heart.

           (iii)  The  Medical  Board  which  conducted   the   post-mortem
                 examination on the body  of  the  deceased,  confirmed  the
                 conclusion certified by Urmil Heart and Lung Centre, Surat,
                 that her death occurred because of cardiac de-compensation,
                 and that Dr. Monica Thapar had died a natural death.

           (iv)   The  plea  of  strangulation  raised  on  behalf  of  the
                 complainant was held to be unsubstantiated consequent  upon
                 the clarification rendered by Dr. L.T. Ramani and Dr.  Amit
                 Banerjee.

           (v)   The post-mortem report and the  Central  Forensic  Science
                 Laboratory’s report, which recorded a negative  opinion  on
                 poisoning, were taken into consideration to conclude,  that
                 the death of Dr. Monica Thapar was not due to poisoning.

           (vi)  The statement made by Dr. Pritu Dhalaria, a  colleague  of
                 the deceased at the Medical College, Surat, referred to  in
                 the inquest proceedings (relevant portion extracted above),
                 was relied upon to disbelieve the theory of foul  play,  in
                 the death of Dr. Monica Thapar.

           (vii) Based on the facts recorded in the inquest report, as also
                 in the statement of Dr. Pritu  Dhalaria,  that  Dr.  Monica
                 Thapar had died after her admission and  treatment  in  the
                 Urmil Heart and Lung Centre, Surat, it  was  deduced,  that
                 Rajiv Thapar,  the  husband  of  the  deceased  could  have
                 neither strangulated nor poisoned the deceased,  while  she
                 was admitted for treatment at  the  Urmil  Heart  and  Lung
                 Centre, Surat.
Based, interalia, on the aforesaid evaluation  of  the  complaint  filed  by
Madan Lal  Kapoor  (the  respondent-complainant),  the  Additional  Sessions
Judge, Delhi concluded, that no prima facie case was made  out  against  the
appellants/accused either under Section 304B of the  Indian  Penal  Code  or
under Section 498 of the Indian Penal Code.  The Additional Sessions  Judge,
Delhi, accordingly discharged  the  appellants/accused  by  an  order  dated
7.8.1999.
16.   Dissatisfied with the order dated 7.8.1999 passed  by  the  Additional
Sessions Judge, Delhi, Madan Lal Kapoor (the  respondent-complainant)  filed
a Criminal Revision Petition (bearing no. 42 of 2000)  in  the  High  Court.
The aforesaid  Criminal  Revision  Petition  was  dismissed  in  default  on
11.8.2005.  The order dated 11.8.2005 was assailed through a  Special  Leave
Petition (bearing no. SLP (Crl.) no. 3303 of 2006) before this  Court.   The
aforesaid Special Leave Petition was allowed by  this  Court  on  31.8.2007.
The matter was remanded back to the High Court for adjudication  on  merits.
It is thereupon, that  the  High  Court  passed  the  impugned  order  dated
8.5.2008, setting aside the order dated 7.8.1999 passed  by  the  Additional
Sessions Judge, Delhi.  The instant order  dated  8.5.2008  is  the  subject
matter of challenge in the present appeal.
17.   A perusal of the order  of  the  High  Court  would  reveal  that  the
Additional  Sessions  Judge,  Delhi,  had  primarily   relied   on   certain
observations made in the judgment rendered by this  Court  in  Satish  Mehra
Vs. Delhi Administration, (1996) 9 SCC 766:-
           “15.  But when the Judge is fairly  certain  that  there  is  no
           prospect of the case ending in conviction the valuable  time  of
           the Court should not be wasted for holding a trial only for  the
           purpose of formally completing the procedure  to  pronounce  the
           conclusion on a future date. We are mindful  that  most  of  the
           Sessions Courts in India are under heavy pressure of  work-load.
           If the Sessions Judge is almost certain  that  the  trial  would
           only be an exercise in futility or a sheer waste of time  it  is
           advisable to truncate or snip the proceedings at  the  stage  of
           Section 227 of the Code itself”

Madan Lal Kapoor (the respondent-complainant), before the  High  Court,  had
relied upon the judgment in State of Orissa Vs. Debendra Nath  Padhi  (2005)
1 SCC 568, to contend that  the  judgment  relied  upon  by  the  Additional
Sessions Judge, Delhi, having been overruled, had resulted in  an  erroneous
conclusion.  For the same proposition, reliance was placed on  the  judgment
of this Court in Suresh Kumar Tekriwal Vs. State  of  Jharkhand,  (2005)  12
SCC 278.  On behalf of the complainant, reliance  was  also  placed  on  the
decision in State of Maharashtra Vs. Som Nath Thapa, (1996) 4  SCC  659,  to
contend, that only the material placed on record by the  prosecution,  could
be gone into at the time of framing charges.  And if, on the  basis  of  the
said material, the commission of the alleged offence was  prima  facie  made
out, the charge(s) was/were to be  framed.   At  the  stage  of  framing  of
charges, it was submitted, that the requirement was  not  to  determine  the
sufficiency (or otherwise) of evidence to record a  conviction.   For  this,
reliance was placed on State of M.P. Vs. Mohanlal Soni  (2000)  6  SCC  338,
wherein this Court had concluded, that the requirement was  a  satisfaction,
that a prima facie case was made  out.   On  behalf  of  Madan  Lal  Kapoor,
reliance was also placed on State of A.P. Vs. Golconda Linga Swamy (2004)  6
SCC 522, to contend that  at  this  stage,  meticulous  examination  of  the
evidence was not called for.
18.   As against the submission advanced on behalf of Madan Lal Kapoor  (the
respondent-complainant), the appellants/accused contended,  that  the  Court
was justified in considering the material on the record of the case, and  on
the basis thereof, to arrive at a just and reasonable conclusion.   In  this
behalf, it was averred that  the  post-mortem  report,  the  report  of  the
Central Forensic Science Laboratory, the  inquest  proceedings  recorded  by
the SDM, Delhi, and the letters addressed  by  the  family  members  of  the
complainant (duly noticed in the inquest proceedings), were a  part  of  the
record of the case, and as such, were to be taken into  consideration  while
passing the orders contemplated under Sections 227 and 228  of  the  Cr.P.C.
The submission advanced on behalf  of  Madan  Lal  Kapoor  (the  respondent-
complainant) before the High Court, was accepted.  The  High  Court  arrived
at  the  conclusion,  that  the  Additional  Sessions   Judge,   Delhi   had
erroneously placed reliance on  the  decision  rendered  by  this  Court  in
Satish Mehra Vs.  Delhi  Administration  (supra),  which  had  already  been
overruled by the judgment rendered by a larger Bench in State of Orissa  Vs.
Debendra Nath Padhi (supra).
19.    While  considering  the  contention  advanced  on   behalf   of   the
appellants/accused,    the    High     Court     concluded,     that     the
material/documents/record which the complainant  was  placing  reliance  on,
did not fall within the ambit and scope of the term  “record  of  the  case”
contained in Section 227 of the Cr.P.C.  According to the  High  Court,  the
record of the case referred to in Section 227 of the Cr.P.C. was  only  such
record, documents and articles which, on consideration  by  the  Magistrate,
are sent to the Court of Sessions,  consequent  upon  passing  an  order  of
commitment.    The   material   and   documents   relied   upon    by    the
appellants/accused in the present controversy  would,  therefore,  not  fall
within the zone of consideration at the hands of the Court of Session  under
Section 227 of the Cr.P.C.  Accordingly, the  submissions  advanced  at  the
behest of the appellants/accused were declined.  For the aforesaid  reasons,
the High Court accepted the Criminal Revision Petition filed  by  Madan  Lal
Kapoor (the respondent-complainant).  The order  dated  7.8.1999  passed  by
the Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi was accordingly quashed.   The  parties
were accordingly directed to participate in the further  proceedings  before
the Court of Sessions.
20.   We have considered the submissions  advanced  at  the  behest  of  the
rival parties.  We are of the view, that in the facts and  circumstances  of
this case, the High Court had before it an  exhaustive  and  detailed  order
passed by the Additional Sessions Judge,  Delhi,  it  ought  to,  therefore,
have examined the controversy, while keeping  in  mind  the  inherent  power
vested in it  under  Section  482  of  the  Cr.P.C.  specially  because  the
Additional Sessions Judge in his order dated  7.8.1999,  had  concluded,  on
the basis of the material relied upon by the accused, that no case was  made
out  against  the  accused.   This  according  to   learned   counsel,   was
permissible in view of the inherent jurisdiction vested in  the  High  Court
under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C.   Section  482  of  the  Cr.P.C.  is  being
extracted hereunder:-
      “482. Saving of inherent power of High Court

           Nothing in this Code shall be deemed  to  limit  or  affect  the
           inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may  be
           necessary to give effect to any order this Code, or  to  prevent
           abuse of the process of any court or  otherwise  to  secure  the
           ends of justice.”

The discretion vested in a High Court under Section 482 of the  Cr.P.C.  can
be exercised suo-moto to prevent the abuse of process of a court, and/or  to
secure the ends of justice.  This Court  had  an  occasion  to  examine  the
matter in State of Orissa Vs. Debendra  Nath  Padhi,  (supra)  (incidentally
the said judgment was heavily relied upon by the  learned  counsel  for  the
respondent-complainant), wherein it was held thus:-

      “29.  Regarding the argument of  accused  having  to  face  the  trial
           despite being in a position to produce material of unimpeachable
           character of sterling quality, the width of the  powers  of  the
           High Court under Section 482 of the  Code  and  Article  226  of
           Constitution of India is unlimited whereunder in  the  interests
           of justice the High  Court  can  make  such  orders  as  may  be
           necessary to prevent abuse  of  the  process  of  any  Court  or
           otherwise to secure the ends of justice  within  the  parameters
           laid down in Bhajan Lal's case.”


                                                          (emphasis is ours)


Recently, this Court again had an occasion to examine the  ambit  and  scope
of Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. in Rukmini Narvekar Vs.  Vijaya  Satardekar  &
Ors., (2008) 14 SCC 1,
wherein in the main order it was observed,  that  the
width of the powers of the High Court under Section 482 of the  Cr.P.C.  and
under Article 226 of the Constitution  of  India,  was  unlimited.   In  the
instant judgment, this Court held  that  the  High  Court  could  make  such
orders as may be necessary to prevent abuse of the process of any court,  or
otherwise to secure the ends of justice.  In  a  concurring  separate  order
passed in the same case, it was additionally observed,  that  
under  Section
482 of the Cr.P.C., the High Court was free to consider even material,  that may be produced on behalf of the accused, to arrive at  a  decision  whether the charge as framed could be maintained.  
The  aforesaid  parameters  shall
be kept in mind while we examine  whether  the  High  Court  ought  to  have
exercised its inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. in  the
facts and circumstances of this case.


21.   The High Court, in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section  482  of
the Cr.P.C., must make a just and rightful choice.  This is not a  stage  of
evaluating the truthfulness or otherwise  of  allegations  levelled  by  the
prosecution/complainant against the accused.  Likewise, it is  not  a  stage
for determining how weighty the defences raised on  behalf  of  the  accused
is.  Even if the accused is successful in showing some suspicion  or  doubt,
in the allegations levelled by  the  prosecution/complainant,  it  would  be
impermissible to discharge the accused before trial.  This  is  so,  because
it would result in giving  finality  to  the  accusations  levelled  by  the
prosecution/complainant,   without   allowing   the   prosecution   or   the
complainant to adduce evidence to substantiate the same.  The  converse  is,
however, not true, because even if trial is proceeded with, the  accused  is
not subjected to any irreparable consequences.  The accused would  still  be
in a  position  to  succeed,  by  establishing  his  defences  by  producing
evidence in accordance with law.  There is  an  endless  list  of  judgments
rendered by this Court declaring the legal position, that in  a  case  where
the  prosecution/complainant  has  levelled  allegations  bringing  out  all
ingredients of the charge(s) levelled, and have placed material  before  the
Court, prima facie evidencing the truthfulness of the allegations  levelled,
trial must be held.


22.   The issue being examined in the instant case is  the  jurisdiction  of
the High Court under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C., if it chooses to quash  the
initiation of the prosecution against an accused, at the  stage  of  issuing
process, or at the stage of committal, or even at the stage  of  framing  of
charges.  These are all stages before the commencement of the actual  trial.
 The same parameters would naturally be available for later stages as  well.
 The power vested in the High Court under Section 482  of  the  Cr.P.C.,  at
the stages referred to hereinabove, would have  far  reaching  consequences,
inasmuch as, it would negate the  prosecution’s/complainant’s  case  without
allowing   the   prosecution/complainant   to   lead   evidence.    Such   a
determination   must   always   be   rendered   with   caution,   care   and
circumspection.  To invoke its inherent jurisdiction under  Section  482  of
the Cr.P.C. the High Court has to be  fully  satisfied,  that  the  material
produced by the accused is such, that would lead  to  the  conclusion,  that
his/their defence is based on sound, reasonable, and indubitable facts;  the
material produced is such, as would rule out  and  displace  the  assertions
contained in the charges levelled against  the  accused;  and  the  material
produced is such, as would clearly reject and overrule the veracity  of  the
allegations   contained    in    the    accusations    levelled    by    the
prosecution/complainant.   It should be sufficient to rule out,  reject  and
discard the accusations levelled  by  the  prosecution/complainant,  without
the necessity of recording any evidence. For this the material  relied  upon
by the defence should not have been refuted,  or  alternatively,  cannot  be
justifiably refuted, being material  of  sterling  and  impeccable  quality.
The material relied upon by the accused should be such, as would persuade  a
reasonable  person  to  dismiss  and  condemn  the  actual  basis   of   the
accusations as false.    In such a situation,  the  judicial  conscience  of
the High Court would persuade it to exercise its power under Section 482  of
the Cr.P.C. to quash such  criminal  proceedings,  for  that  would  prevent
abuse of process of the court, and secure the ends of justice.

23.   Based on the factors canvassed in the foregoing paragraphs,  we  would
delineate the following steps to determine the  veracity  of  a  prayer  for
quashing, raised by an accused by invoking the  power  vested  in  the  High
Court under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C.:-


      (i)   Step one, whether the material relied upon  by  the  accused  is
           sound, reasonable, and indubitable, i.e.,  the  material  is  of
           sterling and impeccable quality?

      (ii)  Step two, whether the material relied upon by the accused, would
           rule out  the  assertions  contained  in  the  charges  levelled
           against the accused, i.e., the material is sufficient to  reject
           and overrule the factual assertions contained in the  complaint,
           i.e., the material is  such,  as  would  persuade  a  reasonable
           person  to  dismiss  and  condemn  the  factual  basis  of   the
           accusations as false.


      (iii) Step three, whether the material relied upon by the accused, has
           not been refuted  by  the  prosecution/complainant;  and/or  the
           material is such, that it cannot be justifiably refuted  by  the
           prosecution/complainant?


      (iv)  Step four, whether proceeding with the trial would result in  an
           abuse of process of the court, and would not serve the  ends  of
           justice?

      If the answer to  all  the  steps  is  in  the  affirmative,  judicial
      conscience of the High Court should persuade it to quash such criminal
      proceedings, in exercise of power vested in it under  Section  482  of
      the Cr.P.C.  Such exercise of power,  besides  doing  justice  to  the
      accused, would save precious court  time,  which  would  otherwise  be
      wasted in holding such  a  trial  (as  well  as,  proceedings  arising
      therefrom) specially when,  it  is  clear  that  the  same  would  not
      conclude in the conviction of the accused.
24.   The complaint made by Madan Lal  Kapoor  (the  respondent-complainant)
proceeds on  the  assumption,  that  his  daughter  Dr.  Monica  Thapar  was
administered poison.  The said assumption was based on the  fact,  that  the
respondent-complainant, (as also the members of his family), found the  body
of their daughter had turned blue when they laid their eyes on  it  for  the
first time after her death.  The motive disclosed in the complaint  is  non-
cordiality of relations between the deceased  Dr.  Monica  Thapar,  and  the
family members of her husband (the appellants herein), on  account  of  non-
fulfillment  of  dowry  demands.   Insofar  as  the  allegation,  that   the
appellants had poisoned  Dr.  Monica  Thapar  to  death  is  concerned,  the
appellants have placed reliance on the post-mortem report  dated  28.9.1992,
chemical  analysis  findings  recorded  in  the  Central  Forensic   Science
Laboratory’s report dated 9.2.1993, the inquest report dated  6.7.1993,  and
the order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge,  Delhi,  dated  7.8.1999.
It is  clear,  that  Madan  Lal  Kapoor  (the  respondent-complainant),  was
associated with the investigative process from the very moment the  body  of
Dr. Monica Thapar arrived at Delhi.  It was at his instance, that the  post-
mortem examination was conducted.  The body of the deceased, after the  same
was subjected to the post-mortem examination, was  handed  over  jointly  to
Madan Lal Kapoor (the father of the  deceased)  and  to  Rajiv  Thapar  (the
husband of the deceased).  The cremation of the body of  Dr.  Monica  Thapar
was carried out jointly by the two families.  A high  level  Medical  Board,
constituted for  conducting  the  post-mortem  examination,  in  unequivocal
terms returned a finding,  that  “cardiac  decompensation  due  to  enlarged
atrial septal defect & pulmonary hypertension” was the cause of  Dr.  Monica
Thapar’s death.  It would be pertinent to  notice,  that  samples  from  the
stomach, intestine, liver, spleen, kidney and blood of the  deceased’s  body
were taken for forensic examination in order to  verify  the  allegation  of
poisoning levelled by  Madan  Lal  Kapoor.   The  Central  Forensic  Science
Laboratory, New Delhi, in its report dated 9.2.1993 negatived the  aforesaid
allegation by concluding, that the samples did not indicate the presence  of
any common  poisoning  substance.   Relying  on  the  inquest  report  dated
6.7.1993, rendered by the SDM, Delhi, it was sought  to  be  asserted,  that
echo-cardiography conducted at the  Urmil  Heart  and  Lung  Centre,  Surat,
disclosed the presence of a large hole in Dr. Monica Thapar’s  heart.   Even
according to the Urmil Heart and Lung Centre, Surat, Dr. Monica  Thapar  had
suffered a massive heart attack, and  had  died  at  the  said  hospital  on
26.9.1992.   It  was  the  submission  of  the  learned  counsel   for   the
appellants, that the aforesaid material  is  evidence  of  sterling  quality
which was sufficient  to  demonstrate,  that  there  was  not  the  remotest
possibility, that the trial against  the  appellants  would  lead  to  their
conviction.
25.   The evidence, relied upon by the appellant has not been  contested  or
refuted by Madan Lal Kapoor (the  respondent-complainant),  even  though  he
was aware of the same when he filed the complaint.   During  the  course  of
the proceeding before the committing Magistrate, and  even  before  Sessions
Court and the High Court, the appellants had  placed  emphatic  reliance  on
the material  referred  to  above.   The  same  remained  unrefuted  in  the
pleadings filed on behalf  of  Madan  Lal  Kapoor.   During  the  course  of
hearing  at  the  stages  referred   to   above,   the   veracity   of   the
documents/material referred to  above  was  not  contested.   The  aforesaid
position  has  subsisted  even  before  this  Court.   It  was   accordingly
submitted on behalf of the appellants, that even  if  trial  is  allowed  to
proceed against the appellants, at the  culmination  thereof,  it  would  be
impossible to return a finding of guilt against any of the accused.
26.   According to the learned counsel for the appellants, the  material  in
the  nature  of  the  post-mortem  report,  the  Central  Forensic   Science
Laboratory’s report, as also the inquest  report,  would  be  sufficient  to
exculpate the appellants from the allegations and  accusations  levelled  in
the complaint.
27.     We   are   one   with   the   aforesaid   submission.    
From    the
documents/material relied upon by  the  appellants,  for  exactly  the  same
reasons as  have  been  projected  on  behalf  of  the  appellants,  we  are
satisfied to conclude, that the death of Dr. Monica Thapar  was  not  caused
by poisoning.  
Merely because her body had turned blue, when it  arrived  at
Delhi, in our view, is not a sufficient basis to infer  that  she  had  been
poisoned to death.  
In fact  material  relied  upon  by  the  appellants  is
sufficient to condemn the factual basis of the accusation as false.
28.   It also needs to be noticed, that Madan Lal  Kapoor  (the  respondent-
complainant) took a summersault before the Additional Sessions Judge,  Delhi
by  alleging,  that  Dr.  Monica  Thapar  had  been  strangulated   by   the
appellants, (even though the assertion in the complaint was,  that  she  had
been poisoned to death).  To determine the veracity  of  the  allegation  of
strangulation, as the cause of her death,  the  Additional  Sessions  Judge,
Delhi summoned Dr. L.T. Ramani, Chief Medical Officer, Civil  Hospital,  New
Delhi and Dr. Amit Banerjee, Professor, Cardiothoracic  Surgery,  G.B.  Pant
Hospital, New Delhi (members of the Medical Board which  had  conducted  the
post-mortem examination) to  clarify  the  altered  accusation  levelled  by
Madan Lal Kapoor.  The aforesaid doctors, as  is  apparent  from  the  order
dated 7.8.1999 passed by the Additional Sessions  Judge,  Delhi,  opined  in
the negative.  They affirmed, that the death of Dr. Monica  Thapar  had  not
been caused by strangulation.  We are therefore satisfied  to  affirm,  that
the death of Dr. Monica Thapar has not been shown to  have  been  caused  by
strangulation.  On an overall examination of the matter, we  have  no  other
option, specially in the absence of any submission to the contrary,  but  to
conclude, that the material relied upon by the appellants would lead to  the
indubitable conclusion, that Dr. Monica Thapar had not died  on  account  of
having been strangulated.
29.   We shall now advert to the allegation made in the complaint  by  Madan
Lal Kapoor, that there was non-cordiality of relations between the  deceased
Dr. Monica Thapar, and  her  in-laws.   
Telephone  bills  demonstrate,  that
phone  calls  were  regularly  made  from  the  residence  of  Rajiv  Thapar
(appellant no. 1), to the maternal family of Dr. Monica Thapar.  
The  family
of the husband of Dr. Monica Thapar was in consistent  and  regular  contact
with the other family members also.  
This  relationship  is  shown  to  have
been subsisting even at the time of the illness of Dr. Monica  Thapar  which
proved to be fatal.  
Of utmost importance  is  a  letter  written  by  Rajiv
Kapoor (the brother of the deceased, and the son of Madan  Lal  Kapoor,  the
respondent-complainant).  
In  a  letter  dated  22.9.1992,  just  four  days
before the death of Dr. Monica Thapar (on 26.9.1992), Rajiv Kapoor  showered
praise on the immediate family of  Rajiv  Thapar  residing  at  Delhi.  
 His
letter to his sister describes her in-laws in Delhi, as  “very  affectionate
and very caring”.  
The telephone bills, as  also  the  letter  addressed  by
Rajiv Kapoor to his sister (Dr. Monica Thapar), are  materials  of  sterling
quality.  
Neither of the said materials has  been  controverted,  either  on
veracity or on truthfulness.  
All this, in our  opinion,  would  undoubtedly
and inevitably result in concluding, that the relationship between  the  two
families was cordial and affectionate.  
Clearly contrary to  what  has  been alleged in the complaint.
30.   Even though the statement of Dr. Pritu Dhalaria has been  relied  upon
by the SDM, Delhi in the inquest report, which  completely  knocks  out  all
the pleas advanced by Madan Lal Kapoor (the respondent-complainant), we  are
of the view, that it would be improper to  make  any  reference  thereto  in
deciding the present controversy.  
Reliance on the statement  of  Dr.  Pritu Dhalaria 
would be permissible only after the same is recorded by a court  on
oath, whereupon, he has to be subjected to  cross-examination.   
Only  then,
his statement would acquire credibility for reliance.   
Any  fact  situation
based on the oral testimony, by one or the other party, cannot be the  basis
of a determination, akin to the one in hand.
31.   We are persuaded to conclude from the facts and circumstances  of  the
case exhaustively discussed in the foregoing paragraphs, that all the  steps
delineated in the paragraph 23 above, can be answered  in  the  affirmative,
on the basis of the material relied by the accused, 
more  particularly,  the
post-mortem examination report dated 28.9.1992 conducted by a Medical  Board
comprising of four doctors, whose integrity has not been questioned  by  the
respondent-complainant; 
the chemical  analysis  findings  contained  in  the
Central Forensic Science Laboratory’s report dated 9.2.1993  which  has  not
been disputed by the respondent-complainant; 
the inquest report of the  SDM,
Delhi, dated 6.7.1993, findings whereof have been painstakingly recorded  by
involving the  respondent-complainant;  
the  letter  of  Rajiv  Kapoor  (the
brother of the deceased) dated 22.9.1992  addressed  to  Dr.  Monica  Thapar
just four days before her death, the contents and authenticity  whereof  are
not subject matter of challenge at the hands of the  respondent-complainant;
and  finally,  the  telephone  bills  produced  by  the   appellants-accused
substantiating consistent and regular contact between  the  rival  families,
which have not been  questioned.   
We,  therefore,  have  no  hesitation  in
concluding, that the judicial conscience of the High  Court  ought  to  have
persuaded it, on the basis of the material examined  by  it,  to  quash  the
criminal  proceedings  initiated  against   the   appellants-accused.    
We,
therefore, hereby quash the aforesaid proceedings.
32.   Despite the conclusion recorded hereinabove, 
we are of the view,  that
in the facts and circumstances of this  case,  
there  should  have  been  no
difficulty whatsoever for the High Court  to  have  exercised  its  judicial
conscience for invoking the power vested in it  under  Section  482  of  the
Cr.P.C.  
From the narration of the facts recorded above,  it  emerges,  that
even though the respondent-complainant Madan Lal Kapoor,  in  his  complaint
dated 6.7.1993, adopted a clear and categoric stance, 
that his daughter  Dr.Monica Thapar had been poisoned to death,  
before  the  Additional  Sessions Judge, Delhi,
the  respondent-complainant  ventured  to  suggest,  
that  the appellants-accused had strangulated her.   
The  Additional  Sessions  Judge,
Delhi, summoned two of the doctors who were members  of  the  Medical  Board
which had conducted the post-mortem examination, and  sought  clarifications
from them.
He also recorded the statement of one of the said doctors.  
The
Additional Sessions Judge, thereupon, ruled out the plea  of  strangulation.
When the respondent-complainant himself was uncertain about  the  manner  in which his daughter had allegedly died, 
the High  Court  should  have  viewed the matter keeping in mind the likelihood of the hurt  caused  to  a  father
who had lost his daughter within one  year  of  her  marriage.  
The  matter
needed to have been evaluated, on the basis of one of  the  parameters  laid
down in State of Haryana & Ors. Vs. Bhajan Lal & Ors., 1992  Supp.  (1)  SCC
335, namely,
whether the criminal proceedings initiated by Madan Lal  Kapoor
(the respondent-complainant) were actuated by  malice  and  ulterior  motive
for wreaking vengeance on the accused with a view to spite him due  to  some
private/personal grudge.
There is yet  another  reason  emerging  from  the
facts of the case which needed to be kept in mind.  Madan  Lal  Kapoor  (the
respondent-complainant) had continued to represent before  the  SDM,  Delhi,
that he would produce the mother of the deceased, who knew  the  facts  best
of all.  
Despite that, the mother of the deceased  did  not  appear  in  the
inquest proceedings to  record  her  statement,  even  though  a  number  of
opportunities were afforded to the respondent-complainant  to  produce  her.
The permissible inference is that he was himself not  privy  to  the  facts.
The fact that the mother of the  deceased  had  not  appeared  to  record  a
statement   against   the    appellants-accused    has    to    have    some
reason/justification.
Would a mother who believes  that  her  daughter  had
been poisoned/strangulated, restrain herself from recording  her  statement,despite the persuasion of her husband? Probably not. 
The  instant  factual
position has been recorded hereinabove, not for the  sake  of  determination
of the present controversy.
In a factual situation not as clear as the  one
in hand, facts such as these, could be taken into consideration  by  a  High
Court for recording its satisfaction, on the parameters formulated above.
33.   For the reasons recorded  hereinabove,  criminal  proceedings  against
the appellants-accused are hereby set aside.  The order of  the  High  Court
is accordingly also set aside, but on grounds  different  from  those  taken
into consideration by the  High  Court.   The  instant  appeal,  accordingly
succeeds.

                                       …………………………….J.
                                        (D.K. Jain)


                                        …………………………….J.
                                        (Jagdish Singh Khehar)
New Delhi;
January 23, 2013.

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