LAW Courses

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More

Mudavath Jyothi Vs The State Of Telangana: It Is Not Enough That Harassment Or Cruelty Was Caused To The Woman With A Demand For Dowry For Section 304-B Of IPC To Be Invoked But It Should Have Happened Soon Before Her Death

Prahalad B ,
  08 September 2021       Share Bookmark

Court :
Telangana High Court
Brief :
An important aspect to be established by the prosecution is that there was reliable evidence to show that the woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relatives, which must be for or in connection with any demand for dowry, soon before her death. Before the presumption is based, it must be established that the woman was subjected by such person to cruelty or harassment and it is not in any cruelty becomes the subject matter of provision, but it is the cruelty or harassment in connection with the demand for dowry.
Citation :
Criminal Petition No. 6427 of 2019


Date of judgement:
01 June 2021

Bench:
Justice K Lakshman

Parties:
Petitioner – Mudavath Jyothi
Respondent – The State of Telangana

Subject

An important aspect to be established by the prosecution is that there was reliable evidence to show that the woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relatives, which must be for or in connection with any demand for dowry, soon before her death. Before the presumption is based, it must be established that the woman was subjected by such person to cruelty or harassment and it is not in any cruelty becomes the subject matter of provision, but it is the cruelty or harassment in connection with the demand for dowry.

Legal Provisions

  • Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code – Punishment for Murder
  • Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code – Dowry Death
  • Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code - Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty
  • Section 3 of The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 – Penalty for giving or taking dowry
  • Section 4 of The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 – Penalty for Demanding Dowry

Overview

  • This criminal petition was filed seeking to quash the proceedings in P.R.C.No.9 of 2019 pending before the Principal Junior Civil Judge, Mahaboob Nagar.
  • 1st Accused is the husband of the deceased in the original suit and the 2nd Petitioner herein is the elder brother of A1 and the 1st Petitioner herein is the A4 in the original suit and wife of the 2nd Petitioner. The 2nd petitioner-A5 is a Judicial Officer and 1st petitioner-A4 is a Homeopathy Doctor.
  • The petitioners herein are accused in the original suit. The offences alleged against them are under Sections 302, 304-B, 498-A of IPC, 109 read with Section 34 of IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
  • The marriage between A1 and the deceased was solemnized on 25.05.2011 and they lived together for one year. Thereafter, according to the de facto complainant filed by the father of the deceased, all the accused had started harassing the deceased both mentally and physically and demanded additional dowry.
  • According to the father of the deceased, on 10-5-2014, the allegation in the complaint was that on the eve of Diwali, the accused demanded additional dowry of Rs.4,00,000/- for purchase of new car and the de facto complainant paid an amount of Rs.1,00,000/-. Again on 8.5.2014, the deceased came to the house of the de facto complainant to attend marriage ceremony of relatives. There was demand of additional dowry of Rs.3,00,000/-, wherein a quarrel took place and A1 forcibly made the deceased to consume acid resulting her death while undergoing treatment. She was shifted to SVS hospital and thereafter, to Apollo Hospital and again, they had shifted the deceased to Susrutha Hospital, Mahabubnagar, against the medical advice of Apollo Hospital. On the intervening night of 19/20.7.2014 around 00.15 hours, the deceased died due to acid injuries.
  • It was submitted by the counsel for petitioners that there was abnormal delay of 69 days in filing the FIR and there was no specific offence mentioned against the petitioners and there were no ingredients of offences alleged against the petitioners herein. Learned counsel for the petitioners would submit that though the alleged incident took place on 10.05.2014, the complaint was lodged on 19.7.2014 at 8.00 P.M with delay from the actual date of incident. Neither the parents, nor relatives of the deceased bothered to lodge a complaint, but, surprisingly, on the date of death of the deceased, the de facto complainant, father of the deceased, has lodged a complaint.
  • The reason offered by the father of the deceased for the delayed filing was that A1-A6 prevented him from proceeding to the police station, assuring him that they will take care and they will bear all the medical expenses and they will not harass them in the future, upon which, influenced by everyone from A1 to A6, he did not file the complaint immediately at the police station. This was denied by the petitioners and it was said that there was no promise to compensate for future expense but only the medical expenses.
  • Referring to several case laws, it was observed that it is essential that the delay in lodging the report should be satisfactorily explained. It is relevant to note that in the present case, the alleged incident of forcible consumption of acid was taken place on 10.5.2014. The second respondent-de facto complainant has lodged the complaint on 19.7.2014 at about 20.30 hours. Thus, there is delay of 69 days.
  • The Investigating Officer has not examined any official from the said Court, including the Officer who has issued the Attendance Certificate, Casual Leave Register and Attendance Register in respect of the second petitioner. Hence, there was deficiency in the investigation.
  • The court held that there is no plausible explanation for the abnormal delay of 69 days in lodging the complaint. The prosecution failed to establish the nexus among the demand of dowry and cruelty and harassment based upon such demand, on the date of the death. There are no allegations, much fewer specific allegations, against the petitioners herein with regard to the alleged demand of dowry and harassment.
  • Accordingly, the criminal petition was allowed and the proceedings in P.R.C.No.9 of 2019 on the file of the Principal Junior Civil Judge, Mahabubnagar, were quashed against the petitioners-A4 and A5 only.

Issue

  • Whether the delayed FIR can be allowed?
  • Does the alleged cruelty to the deceased is in proximity to the death of the deceased?

Judgement Analysis

  • The Telangana High Court, while pronouncing the judgement, referred to several key judgements in conjunction with relevant provisions of law.
  • The Court while referring to Saheb Rao v. State of Maharashtra (2006) held that the abnormal delay in filing of FIR should accompany valid and genuine reason. The reason for apprehension of delaying the filing stems from the fact that delay may bring in embellishment and exaggeration, and creation of afterthought. A delayed report not only gets bereft of the spontaneity, but there is the danger of the introduction of a coloured version, exaggerated accounts of the incident or a concocted story as a result of deliberations and consultations, thereby casting a serious doubt on its veracity.
  • It is settled principle of law that delay in lodging the complaint per se is not a ground to quash the proceedings in a criminal case. At the same time, it cannot be ignored. There should be some
  • explanation by the de facto complainant/ prosecution with regard to the delay in lodging the complaint.
  • It was also noted that the father of the deceased was working as line men for BSNL and the cousin was a student, who appeared as a witness. Hence, having required knowledge and educational background, the court was surprised to know that neither of them thought of filing an FIR as and when the alleged incident happened.
  • The court also observed that the contents of the charge-sheet and complaint lacked ingredients of offences alleged against the petitioner. In Preeti Gupta v. State of Jharkhand (2010), the Supreme Court held that the members of the family of the husband cannot be roped in family issues and dowry harassment cases. Prima facie, there should be specific allegations and specific instances such as time, date and place of alleged demand of additional dowry and harassment of the women. The same are lacking in the present case.
  • The Court, while observing provisions relating to dowry death, particularly Section 498A of IPC, pointed out that there should be wilful conduct of nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman and harassment of the woman, where such harassment is with a view to coerce her or any person related to her, to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security, shall make one liable to punishment.
  • In other words, there should be a perceptible nexus between her death and the dowry related harassment or cruelty inflicted on her. If the interval which elapsed between the infliction of such harassment or cruelty and her death is wide, the Court would be in a position to gauge that in all probabilities, the harassment or cruelty would not have been the immediate cause of her death.

Conclusion

While deaths caused by demanding dowry is a hurdle for holistic growth, it is important to keep in mind certain conditions and circumstance of the case. As noted here, there was no proximity of the alleged harassment to the demise of the deceased. This, coupled with the delay in filing an FIR, raises one’s eyebrows as it paints a picture that it is possible for the truth to be altered and a different version be portrayed, resulting in distortion of delivery of justice.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
"Loved reading this piece by Prahalad B?
Join LAWyersClubIndia's network for daily News Updates, Judgment Summaries, Articles, Forum Threads, Online Law Courses, and MUCH MORE!!"



Published in Others
Views : 370




Comments




LCI Learning Hindu Laws


Latest Judgments


More »


Post a Suggestion for LCI Team
Post a Legal Query