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Dowry death - proved beyond all reasonable doubts - The statements of the PW-2 and PW-3 are specific as they were eye witnesses. In their statements they specifically stated about the harassment in connection with demand of dowry. Deceased died within seven months of marriage. She also telephonically complained about harassment. The Prosecution thus proved that there was harassment in connection with dowry soon before death of the victim.= DAVINDER SINGH … APPELLANT VERSUS STATE OF PUNJAB … RESPONDENTS = 2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41726

    Dowry death - proved beyond all reasonable doubts - The statements of the PW-2 and PW-3 are  specific  as  they  were  eye witnesses.  In  their  statements  they  specifically   stated   about   the
harassment in connection with demand of dowry.  Deceased died  within  seven months of marriage. She also  telephonically  complained  about  harassment. The Prosecution thus proved that there was  harassment  in  connection  with dowry soon before death of the victim.=

 whether the accused has  committed
the dowry death of the woman.  (This  means  that  the  presumption  can  be
raised only if the accused is being tried for the offence under Section 304-
B IPC.)
(2) The woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband  or  his
relatives.
(3) Such cruelty or harassment was for or in connection with any demand  for
dowry.
(4) Such cruelty or harassment was soon before her death.”

12.   In the present case, from the statements of PW-2 and PW-3 it is  clear
that the death took place  within  seven  months  of  marriage.  Admittedly,
death of the deceased was due to burn i.e. not in normal circumstances.   We
have to see now whether the  remaining  ingredients  are  satisfied  looking
into the evidence on record.
13.   The statements of the PW-2 and PW-3 are  specific  as  they  were  eye
witnesses.  In  their  statements  they  specifically   stated   about   the
harassment in connection with demand of dowry.  Deceased died  within  seven
months of marriage. She also  telephonically  complained  about  harassment.
The Prosecution thus proved that there was  harassment  in  connection  with
dowry soon before death of the victim.

2 14. In view of the evidence on record, as discussed above,  we  hold  that
the prosecution was successful to prove the  ingredients  of  Section  304-B
IPC. The Trial Court rightly presumed that the accused had caused the  dowry
death of the victim.


3 15. We  find  no  merit  in  this  appeal  and  the  same  is  accordingly
dismissed. The appellant is directed to be taken into custody  forthwith  to
serve remainder period of sentence. His bail bonds stand cancelled.

2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41726


                                                             REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.684  OF 2011


DAVINDER SINGH                                           … APPELLANT

                                   VERSUS


STATE OF PUNJAB                                   … RESPONDENTS

                               J U D G M E N T

SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA,J

This appeal is directed against judgment dated 9th December, 2009 passed  by
the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh in  Criminal  Appeal  No.
471-SB of 1999 whereby the High  Court  confirmed  the  judgment  and  order
dated 23rd April, 1999 rendered  by  Additional  Sessions  Judge,  Mansa  in
Sessions Case No.14 of 12th May, 1997.   The  Sessions  Court  by  the  said
judgment convicted the appellant u/s 304-B IPC and sentenced him to  undergo
rigorous imprisonment for a period of 10 years and to pay fine of  Rs.1000/-
, in default of payment of fine, to further  undergo  rigorous  imprisonment
for a period of 2 months.

2.    Apart from the appellant other family members, namely,  Kuldip  Singh,
Darshana Devi and Parveen kaur were also accused  before  the  Trial  Court.
They were acquitted of the charges leveled against  them  against  which  no
appeal was filed by the State. Paramjit Kaur and  Swaranjit  Kaur  were  two
other accused who were juvenile therefore their cases were separated.

3.     The  case  of  the  prosecution,  in  brief,  is  that  Amarjit  Kaur
(deceased) was married to  accused-Davinder  Singh  (appellant  herein)  6/7
months before the date of occurrence i.e. 3rd March, 1997.  Teja  Singh  son
of Bachittar Singh was the mediator in arranging the marriage. At  the  time
of marriage, sufficient dowry was given by the parents of  Amarjit  Kaur  as
per their status, but after the marriage in-laws  of  Amarjit  Kaur  started
torturing/coercing her to bring  more  dowry.  Jaswinder  Singh-complainant-
brother of Amarjit Kaur and Teja Singh-mediator had  requested  the  in-laws
of Amarjit Kaur not to harass and torture her for dowry but  they  continued
to maltreat and harass the deceased.

On 9.2.1997, marriage  of  Jaswinder  Singh,  complainant,  was  solemnized.
Deceased and her husband Davinder Singh had  attended  the  marriage.  After
marriage, Davinder Singh demanded Rs.20,000/- from the  complainant  on  the
ground that Jaswinder Singh was  given  more  dowry  than  him.   To  settle
deceased  in  her  in-laws’  house,  Jaswinder  Singh  borrowed  a  sum   of
Rs.20,000/- and gave the  amount  to  the  appellant.  But  in-laws  of  the
deceased were not satisfied and they continued to demand more dowry.

On 2.3.1997, deceased telephonically informed Jaswinder Singh that  her  in-
laws were torturing and harassing her  in  connection  with  dowry.  As  per
message, Jaswinder  Singh  and  his  maternal  uncle  Bhola  Singh  went  to
Budhlada to enquire about the welfare of deceased.   The  deceased  informed
them that she was being harassed for more dowry by her in-laws.   They  came
back by saying that  on  the  next  day,  they  will  come  back  with  some
respectable person to settle the dispute.

On 3.3.1997 at about 5.30 PM, Jaswinder  Singh,  his  maternal  uncle  Bhola
Singh and Teja Singh went to the house of accused-Davinder Singh. When  they
were near the gate of the house, then they heard shrieks  and  screams  from
the roof.  After entering the house when they were going to the roof of  the
house, they found Darshana Devi saying  that  Amarjit  Kaur  should  not  be
spared. She should be finished.  All of them went to the roof of  the  house
and then  noticed  Kuldip  Singh,  accused-Davinder  Singh,  Darshana  Devi,
Parveen Kaur, Paramjit Kaur and Swaranjit Kaur coming to the ground  through
staircase. The dead body of Amarjit Kaur was found  in  the  bathroom  in  a
burnt condition. Plastic cane and match box were found near the  dead  body.
It is alleged that in-laws of Amarjit Kaur has murdered her by  setting  her
on fire. Teja Singh was deputed to  guard  the  dead  body,  when  Jaswinder
Singh and Bhola Singh went to lodge report. Rupinder  Singh,  Sub  Inspector
met the complainant near the crossing of  Civil  Hospital,  Budhalda,  where
statement  of  Jaswinder  Singh  (Ex.P.D.)  was   recorded.   After   making
endorsement, statement was forwarded to the Police Station, on the basis  of
which, formal FIR was registered.
On 7.3.1997, accused  were  arrested.  After  completion  of  investigation,
challans was presented. Accused were charged u/s 304-B/149 IPC to which  the
accused pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

4.    The prosecution, in support of  its  case,  examined  four  witnesses.
Documentary evidences were  also  exhibited.  Defence  also  examined  seven
witnesses. After closure of the prosecution evidence, statements of  accused
were recoded u/s 313 Cr.PC. Accused denied all the  prosecution  allegations
and pleaded to be innocent. Defence version  of  the  accused-appellant  was
that he is impotent and on account of this reason, Amarjit  Kaur  was  under
depression. Amarjit Kaur was also harassed by her step  mother.  Because  of
these reasons, she has committed suicide. Similar plea  has  been  taken  by
the counsel for the appellant to assail the impugned judgment.

5.    PW-2 – Jaswinder  Singh  brother  of  the  deceased  stated
that  Amarjit Kaur got married with appellant-Davinder Singh in July,  1996.
 Kuldeep Singh, Darshana Devi and Parveen are respectively  father,   mother
and  sister of the appellant. Paramjit Kaur and Swaranjit  Kaur   are   also
sisters   of   the
appellant. Teja  Singh  was  mediator  of  marriage  of  Amarjit  Kaur  with
Davinder Singh.  They had spent on marriage  of  deceased  more  than  their
capacity.  The relations of deceased with her husband and in  laws  remained
cordial for about two months.  Thereafter her in-laws  started  ill-treating
her on one pretext or the other that her parents had not given  scooter  and
cloths given were not upto mark. The accused were demanding more dowry.   He
along with his maternal uncle PW-3 Bhola Singh had gone  once  or  twice  to
house of her in-laws and requested them that since they are poor people  and
they cannot afford more dowry. But appellant and his family did  not  agree.
PW-2’s marriage took place on  9.2.1997  Davinder  Singh  and  Amarjit  Kaur
attended his marriage. After  his  marriage  accused-Davinder  Singh  stated
that  complainant had been given more dowry  than  him  and  demanded  money
from complainant. The complainant took Rs.20,000/- from his uncle  and  gave
it to accused-Davinder Singh. However, the appellant was not  satisfied  and
again started demanding more dowry.   On  2.3.1997,  he  received  telephone
call from his sister that she is being maltreated by her in-laws on  account
of dowry.  Then PW-2 took his  maternal  uncle  from  Goniana  and  came  to
Budhlada in the house of the accused. The accused demanded more  money  from
the complainant. Then PW-2 told the accused that he will meet them the  next
day. On 3.3.1997, PW-2  along  with  his  maternal  uncle  Bhola  Singh  and
mediator Teja Singh reached the house of the accused.  When they reached  at
the gate of the house, they heard shrieks upstairs.   When  they  were  just
entering the gate, mother-in-law  of  the  deceased  shouted  that  deceased
should be finished today.  Then they went upstairs.  When they went on  roof
Kuldeep Singh, Davinder Singh, Darshana Devi, Parveen Kaur,  Swaranjit  Kaur
and Paramjit Kaur came down running. They  found  Amarjit  Kaur  lying  dead
with burns in bathroom. One plastic cane and match box were  lying  near  to
her dead body.  Teja Singh was left to guard dead  body  he  and  his  uncle
went to the Police Station. Police met them  near  the  Hospital  where  his
statement Ex.PD was recorded.  Thereafter the Police came to  the  house  of
accused and took into possession plastic cane Ex.P3, match  box  Ex.P4,  and
ash wrapped in cloth Ex.P5 vide memo P.E. which was attested by him.  During
the cross examination, PW-2 denied the suggestion that  after  his  marriage
he did not visit Budhlada. He stated that visited  there  twice  or  thrice.
However, he could not give the exact date of telephone call but stated  that
she had given call on 10-11  AM  and  on  the  same  day  of  receiving  the
telephone he and his uncle went to Budhlada.  He denied the suggestion  that
the accused had not demanded dowry prior to bhog ceremony of his father.

6.    PW-3 Bhola Singh maternal uncle of Amarjit Kaur  stated  that  Amarjit
Kaur was married with accused-Davinder Singh about  seven  months  prior  to
her death. Accused-Davinder Singh used to demand motor cycle as  dowry.  The
in-laws of deceased used to maltreat her.  On 2.3.1997 he and  his  sister’s
son (PW-2- complainant) came to the house of the accused at Budhlada to  see
Amarjit Kaur, She told them that her in-laws are maltreating her. They  left
the house telling that they will come again  with  some  wise  person.  They
again went on 3.3.1997 along with Teja Singh to the house of the accused  at
Budhlada. At the gate, they heard shrieks from the roof of the  house.  Then
they went running upstairs. When they went upwards, they  saw  Amarjit  Kaur
lying dead in bathroom with burns all  over  the  body.   Plastic  cane  and
match box were found lying near the dead-body. The matter  was  reported  to
the Police Station.  The Police met them in front of  Hospital.  During  the
cross-examination PW-3 was not in a position to given the exact  details  of
the neighbours of the Devinder Singh.  However, for not giving such  details
of  the  neighbours,  the  statement  of  PW-3  cannot   be   held   to   be
untrustworthy.

7.    PW-1 Dr. Kashmir Singh, had conducted the post mortem examination.  He
reported that death was due to asphyxia as a result of  95%  to  100%  burns
which were ante mortem in nature and was sufficient to cause  death  in  the
ordinary course of nature.  The  probable  duration  of  time  that  elapsed
between the injuries and death was  immediate  and  between  death  and  the
postmortem was within 24 hours.  The Ex.  P.A.  is  the  copy  of  the  Post
Mortem Report.

8.    PW-4 Rupinder Kumar, Sub Inspector is the  investigating  officer.  He
also deposed about recovery of plastic cane and match box from the house  of
the accused.

9.    Section 304B IPC relates to dowry death and reads as follows:
“304B. Dowry death.— (1) Where the death of a woman is caused by  any  burns
or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances  within
seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her  death  she
was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband  or  any  relative  of
her husband for, or in connection with, any demand  for  dowry,  such  death
shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be  deemed
to have caused her death.
Explanation.—For the purpose of this sub-section,  “dowry”  shall  have  the
same meaning as in section 2 of the  Dowry  Prohibition  Act,  1961  (28  of
1961).
(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with  imprisonment  for  a
term which shall not be less than  seven  years  but  which  may  extend  to
imprisonment for life.”

10.   For the purpose of the said Section, a presumption can be raised  only
on proof of the following essentials:
Death of woman has been caused by  burns  or  bodily  injury  or  not  under
normal circumstances.

The said death  have occurred within  seven years of her marriage

        (c)      The woman was subjected to cruelty  or  harassment  by  her
husband or his   relatives.


        (d)      Such cruelty or harassment was  for, or in connection
with, any demand for dowry and


        (e) She was  meted out with such cruelty or harassment was soon
before her death.

In this connection, we may refer this Court  decision  in  Kaliaperumal  vs.
State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 2003 SC 3828.


1 11. In the case of Hira Lal  & Others Vs. State  (Govt.  of  NCT),  Delhi,
(2003) 8 SCC 80, this Court considered the expression  “before  death”  used
in the Section 304B IPC and Section 113-B of the Indian Evidence  Act  which
reads as under:

“8. Section 304-B IPC which deals with dowry death, reads as follows:
“304-B. Dowry death.—(1) Where the death of a woman is caused by  any  burns
or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances  within
seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her  death  she
was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband  or  any  relative  of
her husband for, or in connection with, any demand  for  dowry,  such  death
shall be called ‘dowry death’, and such husband or relative shall be  deemed
to have caused her death.
Explanation.—For the purpose of this sub-section,  ‘dowry’  shall  have  the
same meaning as in Section 2 of the  Dowry  Prohibition  Act,  1961  (28  of
1961).
(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with  imprisonment  for  a
term which shall not be less than  seven  years  but  which  may  extend  to
imprisonment for life.”
The provision has application when death of a woman is caused by  any  burns
or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances  within
seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her  death  she
was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or  any  relatives  of
her husband for, or in connection with any demand for  dowry.  In  order  to
attract application of Section 304-B IPC, the essential ingredients  are  as
follows:
(i) The death of a woman should be caused  by  burns  or  bodily  injury  or
otherwise than under a normal circumstance.
(ii) Such a death should have occurred within seven years of her marriage.
(iii) She must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by  her  husband
or any relative of her husband.
(iv) Such cruelty or harassment should be for or in connection  with  demand
of dowry.
(v) Such cruelty or harassment is shown to have been meted out to the  woman
soon before her death.
Section 113-B of the Evidence Act is also relevant for  the  case  at  hand.
Both Section 304-B IPC and Section 113-B of the Evidence Act  were  inserted
as noted earlier by Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act  43  of  1986  with  a
view to combat the increasing menace of dowry deaths.  Section  113-B  reads
as follows:
“113-B. Presumption as to  dowry  death.—When  the  question  is  whether  a
person has committed the dowry death of a woman and it is  shown  that  soon
before her death such woman had been subjected by such person to cruelty  or
harassment for, or in connection with,  any  demand  for  dowry,  the  Court
shall presume that such person had caused the dowry death.
[pic]Explanation.—For the purposes of  this  section,  ‘dowry  death’  shall
have the same meaning as in Section 304-B of the Indian Penal  Code  (45  of
1860).”
The necessity for insertion of the two provisions has  been  amply  analysed
by the Law Commission of India in its 21st Report dated 10-8-1988 on  “Dowry
Deaths and Law Reform”. Keeping in view the impediment in  the  pre-existing
law in securing evidence to  prove  dowry-related  deaths,  the  legislature
thought it wise to insert a  provision  relating  to  presumption  of  dowry
death on proof  of  certain  essentials.  It  is  in  this  background  that
presumptive Section 113-B in the Evidence Act has been inserted. As per  the
definition of “dowry death” in Section 304-B IPC  and  the  wording  in  the
presumptive Section  113-B  of  the  Evidence  Act,  one  of  the  essential
ingredients, amongst others, in  both  the  provisions  is  that  the  woman
concerned must have been “soon before her death”  subjected  to  cruelty  or
harassment “for or in connection with  the  demand  of  dowry”.  Presumption
under Section 113-B is a presumption of law.  On  proof  of  the  essentials
mentioned  therein,  it  becomes  obligatory  on  the  court  to   raise   a
presumption that the accused caused the dowry death. The  presumption  shall
be raised only on proof of the following essentials:
(1) The question before the court must be whether the accused has  committed
the dowry death of the woman.  (This  means  that  the  presumption  can  be
raised only if the accused is being tried for the offence under Section 304-
B IPC.)
(2) The woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband  or  his
relatives.
(3) Such cruelty or harassment was for or in connection with any demand  for
dowry.
(4) Such cruelty or harassment was soon before her death.”

12.   In the present case, from the statements of PW-2 and PW-3 it is  clear
that the death took place  within  seven  months  of  marriage.  Admittedly,
death of the deceased was due to burn i.e. not in normal circumstances.   We
have to see now whether the  remaining  ingredients  are  satisfied  looking
into the evidence on record.
13.   The statements of the PW-2 and PW-3 are  specific  as  they  were  eye
witnesses.  In  their  statements  they  specifically   stated   about   the
harassment in connection with demand of dowry.  Deceased died  within  seven
months of marriage. She also  telephonically  complained  about  harassment.
The Prosecution thus proved that there was  harassment  in  connection  with
dowry soon before death of the victim.

2 14. In view of the evidence on record, as discussed above,  we  hold  that
the prosecution was successful to prove the  ingredients  of  Section  304-B
IPC. The Trial Court rightly presumed that the accused had caused the  dowry
death of the victim.


3 15. We  find  no  merit  in  this  appeal  and  the  same  is  accordingly
dismissed. The appellant is directed to be taken into custody  forthwith  to
serve remainder period of sentence. His bail bonds stand cancelled.


4

                                               ………………………………………………………………………J.
                                               (SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA)


                                               ………………………………………………………………………J.
                                (S.A. BOBDE)
NEW DELHI,
JULY 2, 2014.

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