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Monday, March 14, 2016

no leniency should have been shown to the respondent no.1 after his conviction was affirmed for offences under Sections 498A and 406 of the IPC. The appellant claims that she did not withdraw the fine of Rs.1000/- awarded by the trial court or the amount of Rs.2,50,000/- awarded by the appellate court. The High Court appears to have been influenced by a wrong presumption that there was still a chance to save the marriage although the fact is otherwise and would have been clear if High Court had granted an opportunity to the appellant to express her feelings and view in the matter. Without expressing any opinion on the pleas advanced on behalf of the appellant and the reply advanced on behalf of respondents, after going through the order under appeal and noticing the summary manner in which the Revision has been dismissed only after noticing that Rs.2,50,000/- has been deposited, we are of the firm view that the impugned order needs to be set aside so that the matter may be sent back to the High Court for re-hearing the parties and fresh decision on merits.

                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.212 OF 2016
                [Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.)No.3695 of 2013]

Charanjit Kaur                                           …..Appellant

      Versus

Bikram Singh & Anr.                                 …..Respondents


                                   W I T H

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.213 OF 2016
                [Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.)No.3694 of 2013]

                               J U D G M E N T



SHIVA KIRTI SINGH, J.

Heard the parties.  Leave granted.
Various shades  of  life  at  times  create  so  much  impact  that  even  a
disinterested person gets shaken and tends to recall the  clichéd  statement
that truth can be stranger than fiction.  At least in the Indian society,  a
wife, come what may, is perceived  to  be  the  ultimate  caretaker  of  her
family and particularly the husband.  But cruel acts of the husband and  the
in-laws can turn the situation upside down.  The essential  brief  facts  of
this case amply justify the aforesaid observations.
The appellant is wife of respondent no.1.  Harassed and tortured on  account
of greed for dowry, she was hounded out of the  matrimonial  house  and  was
forced by such circumstances to lodge a criminal case  under  Section  498A,
406 and 120B of the IPC when all hopes of compromise sought to  be  achieved
through numerous rounds of Panchayat by  the  elders  of  the  two  families
failed to yield any result and allegedly even  ornaments  and  streedhan  of
the appellant were not returned to  her.   During  trial  the  father-in-law
expired and mother-in-law was acquitted but  the  husband,  respondent  no.1
herein was convicted and awarded R.I. for one year for each of  the  offence
under Section 406 and 498A of the IPC and also a fine of  Rs.1000/-  with  a
default clause of R.I. for 15 days.   The  sentences  were  ordered  to  run
concurrently.
The appellant preferred an appeal against the acquittal of mother-in-law  as
well as for enhancing the punishment awarded to  the  husband.   State  also
appealed against acquittal whereas respondent no.1 preferred appeal  against
his conviction.  All  the  three  appeals  were  dismissed  by  the  learned
Sessions Judge, Kapurthala  and  the  judgment  and  order  of  the  learned
Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class, Phagwara dated 30.07.2007 in  R.T.  No.8  of
23.5.2007 arising out of FIR No.8 dated 8.1.2002  of  P.S.  Sadar,  Phagwara
was affirmed with a modification in the sentence awarded  to  Bikram  Singh,
respondent no.1.  He was shown marked leniency in view of  a  plea  that  in
case he is sent to jail he  may  lose  his  Government  job.   The  Sessions
Court, on the  aforesaid  ground  permitted  him  to  deposit  Rs.2,50,000/-
payable to the appellant within one month and if such deposit is  made  then
he was to get the benefit of  probation  bond  under  Section  4(1)  of  the
Probation of Offenders Act, 1958.
Against the aforesaid judgment and order of the Additional  Sessions  Judge,
Kapurthala dated 16.12.2010 the appellant preferred Crl. Revision No.803  of
2011 in the High Court of Punjab & Haryana  at  Chandigarh  which  has  been
dismissed virtually in a summary manner by  the  order  under  appeal  dated
March 12, 2012.
On behalf of the appellant, a number of submissions have  been  advanced  to
assail the impugned order.  It  has  been  contended  that  considering  the
nature of the offence, no leniency should have been shown to the  respondent
no.1 after his conviction was affirmed for offences under Sections 498A  and
406 of the IPC.  The appellant claims that she did not withdraw the fine  of
Rs.1000/- awarded by the trial court or the amount of Rs.2,50,000/-  awarded
by the appellate court.  The High Court appears to have been  influenced  by
a wrong presumption that there was still  a  chance  to  save  the  marriage
although the fact is otherwise and would have been clear if High  Court  had
granted an opportunity to the appellant to express her feelings and view  in
the matter.
Without expressing any opinion on  the  pleas  advanced  on  behalf  of  the
appellant and the reply advanced  on  behalf  of  respondents,  after  going
through the order under appeal and noticing the summary manner in which  the
Revision has been dismissed only after noticing that Rs.2,50,000/- has  been
deposited, we are of the firm view that the impugned order needs to  be  set
aside so that the matter may be sent back to the High Court  for  re-hearing
the parties and fresh  decision  on  merits.   We  order  accordingly.   The
appeal arising  out  of  S.L.P.(Crl.)No.3695  of  2013  is  allowed  to  the
aforesaid extent.  Be it noted that we have not  gone  into  the  merits  of
rival submissions and the High Court would be free to take its own  decision
in matter strictly in accordance with law.
This order shall govern the appeal arising  out  of  S.L.P.(Crl.)No.3694  of
2013, also.

                       .…………………………………….J.
                             [DIPAK MISRA]


                       ……………………………………..J.
                       [SHIVA KIRTI SINGH]

New Delhi.
March 10, 2016.
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