6/10/13 FIR filed 1 month after incident is too late: Supreme court 304b.blogspot.in/2012/12/i-wish-to-provide-help-to-those-who-are.html 1/8 17th December 2012 google-site-verification: googleadd5bbea5c17bf77.html
Section 304B of indian penal code-dowry death First we should be aware of what is section 304b under indian penal code. Section 304b ipc deals with death of a woman with in 7 years of marriage and if death is unnatural (burn or any other body injury). I wish to provide help to those who are falsly implicated under section 304B ipc.
I will try to provide some material one by one in this regard. first one is as follows FIR filed 1 month after incident is too late: Supreme court C onvicting a person on basis of belated FIR dangerous: SC ; New Delhi | Saturday, Nov 8 2008 IST In a significant ruling, the Supreme court has held that it is unsafe to convict a person on the basis of an FIR lodged belatedly without explaining the delay. A bench comprising Justices C K Thakker and D K Jain upheld the judgement of the Andhra Pradesh High C ourt dated April 12, 2006, acquitting her husband in a case of dowry harassment (304b). The apex court observed, ”We are convinced that in the light of the overall evidence analysed by the High C ourt, the order of the acquittal of the respondent is well merited and does not call for interference, particularly when the FIR was lodged by the complainant more than one month after the alleged incident of forcible poisoning.” ”Time and again, the object and importance of prompt lodging of FIR has been highlighted. Delay in lodging the report more often than not, results in embellishment and exaggeration, which is a creature of an afterthought,” the apex court noted. ”A delayed report not only gets bereft of the advantage of spontaneity, the danger of the introduction of coloured version, exaggerated account of the incident or a concocted story as a result of deliberations and consultations, also creeps in, casting a serios doubt on its veracity,” it said. ”Therefore, it is essential that the delay in lodging the report should be satisfactorily explained,” the court added. In the present case, three members of in-laws’ family were acquiitted by the trial court but husband M Madhusudan Rao was sentenced to one-year imprisonment with a fine of Rs 8000. The High C ourt, however, acquitted the husband also. The SC dismised the appeal of the AP government. FIR filed 1 month after incident is too late: Supreme court 6/10/13 FIR filed 1 month after incident is too late: Supreme court 304b.blogspot.in/2012/12/i-wish-to-provide-help-to-those-who-are.html 2/8 full judgem ent of the apex court on this case of 304b is as follows-
Suprem e Court of India State Of A.P. v s M. Madhusudhan Rao on 24 October, 2008 Author: D Jain Bench: C.K. T hakker, D.K. Jain IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. OF 2008 (Arising out of S.L.P. (Criminal) No. 3426 of 2007 ) STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH -- APPELLANT (S) VERSUS M. MADHUSUDHAN RAO -- RESPONDENT (S) JUDGMENT D.K. JAIN, J.: Leav e granted. 2.Being aggriev ed by the judgment and final order dated 1 2th April, 2006 passed by the High Court of Judicature, Andhra Pradesh at Hy derabad, setting aside the conv iction of the 1 respondent-accused A-1 in Sessions Case No.1 29 of 1 998 from the charge of offence punishable under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1 860 (for short `I.P.C.') and acquitting him, the State of Andhra Pradesh has preferred this appeal. 3.Brief facts, necessary for the disposal of the appeal, are as follows: Marriage between the de facto complainant (PW-1 ) and the respondent (A-1 ) was solemnized on 24th Nov ember, 1 993. On 22nd May , 1 996, the complainant sent a report (Ex .P-1 ) to the Additional D.G.P., CID, Hy derabad, inter alia, alleging that at the time of her marriage with A-1 , on the insistence of A-1 and his mother (A-2), her father gav e her one house, Rs.60,000/- in cash, six tolas of gold and household articles worth Rs.50,000/-. Still after the marriage, her husband, working as Reserv e Sub-Inspector (RSP) at Security Printing Press, was pressurising her to bring Rs.50,000/- more; he used to beat her up, scold, shout and threaten to kill her and on certain occasions he had also pressed her neck say ing that he would kill her. It was also alleged that her mother-in-law 2 (A-2), her husband's brother Prabhakar and his wife (A-4), and the second sister-in-law of her husband (A-3) and her husband's last brother also used to help her husband in beating and harassing her. It was further alleged that one Mrs. Jalaja, working as Telephone Operator in the Reserv e Bank of India, also used to threaten her by say ing that her husband (A-1 ) had married her and he did not like to stay with her. Branding her husband to be a gambler, drunkard and mov ing around with anti social elements, it was also alleged that about six months back her husband and his family members had made the first attempt to eliminate her by forcibly pouring poison into her throat and when her condition became serious, they informed her parents that she had taken poison. Howev er, then she had not made any complaint to the police against her husband. But again on 1 9th April, 1 996 at 1 1 .00 a.m., her husband (A-1 ), his mother (A-2), his second brother's wife (A-3) and her husband's third brother's wife (A-4) forced her to consume poison and as a result thereof she was admitted in the nursing home at about 2.30 p.m. in an unconscious state. When she was in a semi conscious 3 state, the police took her statement but she did not know what statement the police had recorded. Her husband informed her parents about the incident only in the ev ening though she was admitted in the hospital at 2.30 p.m.; her parents came later and although they had lodged a complaint with the police but no action was taken against any person. After 6/10/13 FIR filed 1 month after incident is too late: Supreme court 304b.blogspot.in/2012/12/i-wish-to-provide-help-to-those-who-are.html 3/8 being discharged from the hospital on 22nd April, 1 996, she went to stay with her parents and since then she is stay ing with them but neither her husband nor his family members hav e come to see her. As noted supra, the complaint regarding the incident on 1 9th April, 1 996 was lodged on 22nd May , 1 996. 4.The complaint was forwarded to the Senior Ex ecutiv e Officer, CID, Hy derabad and consequently on 7 th August, 1 996 a case was registered against accused A-1 to A-4 as also against the said Mrs. Jalaja under Sections 498-A, 420, 494, 307 I.P.C. After inv estigation, chargesheet was laid against accused A-1 to A-4 for offences punishable under Sections 498-A and 307 read with Section 34 I.P.C. 4 5.During the course of trial, the prosecution ex amined nine witnesses. No ev idence was produced in defence. The learned Trial Court, on appreciation of ev idence, and rely ing on the ev idence of the father of the complainant (PW-3), nephew of PW-3 (PW-4), a store clerk/colleague of PW-3 (PW-5), Security Inspector/colleague of PW-3 (PW-6), and a neighbour of PW-1 and PW-3 (PW-7 ), came to the conclusion that all the aforestated items had been giv en as consideration for the marriage on demand of the accused though in the disguise of being gifts to the bridegroom. The Trial Court also inferred that accused A-1 , who had purchased a lorry in the name of the complainant--wife (PW-1 ) on 6th Nov ember, 1 995 was harassing her to get Rs.50,000/- from her parents for the purchase of lorry . Inter alia, observ ing that though no specific instances of harassment had come on record but the long course of conduct of accused A-1 showed that the allegations of harassment were not totally baseless, the trial judge finally found accused A-1 guilty of the offence punishable under Section 498-A I.P.C. and accordingly sentenced him to undergo simple imprisonment for one y ear 5 and to pay a fine of Rs.8000/- with default stipulation. Out of the fine amount, a sum of Rs.6000/- was ordered to be paid to PW-1 . Howev er, he did not find accused A-1 guilty under Section 307 I.P.C. and accordingly acquitted him of the said charge. Accused A-2 to A-4 were not found guilty of both the charges framed against them and were acquitted accordingly . 6.Aggriev ed, the respondent (A-1 ) challenged his conv iction by preferring appeal before the High Court. The High Court, as stated abov e, on a re-appraisal of the entire ev idence, has set aside the conv iction. Against this judgment, the State of Andhra Pradesh is in appeal before us. 7 .We hav e heard learned counsel for the parties. 8.Mrs. June Chaudhary , learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the State v ehemently submitted that the High Court has taken an unreasonable v iew in acquitting the respondent, ov erlooking his conduct before and after the marriage. It was submitted that the ev idence produced by the prosecution clearly prov es that ev en before the marriage, the respondent 6 (A-1 ) was insisting on transfer of the house in his name; ev en on the date of marriage demand for money was made and though the lorry was purchased in the name of the complainant, it was not by way of any lov e and affection but to ex tract more money from her parents. Learned counsel, thus, argued that in the light of these surrounding circumstances, a clear case for conv iction under Section 498-A I.P.C. had been made out against the respondent. 9.Mr. R. Venkatramani, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent, while supporting the v iew 6/10/13 FIR filed 1 month after incident is too late: Supreme court 304b.blogspot.in/2012/12/i-wish-to-provide-help-to-those-who-are.html 4/8 taken by the High Court, submitted that the High Court hav ing re- appreciated and carefully analy zed the entire ev idence before reaching the conclusion that no case for conv iction of the respondent had been made out, this Court should be loathe to ex ercise its jurisdiction under Article 1 36 of the Constitution. It was argued that apart from the fact that in the light of the ev idence on record no illegality can be attributed to the conclusion recorded by the High Court, ev en otherwise, it is well settled principle of law that where on an appraisal of the 7 ev idence, adduced in the case, the court below has taken a plausible v iew, the appellate court should not interfere, particularly with an order of acquittal, ev en if different v iew can possibly be taken. In support of the proposition, reliance was placed on the decisions of this Court in Harbans Singh & Anr. Vs. State of Punjab1 ; Shri Gopal & Anr. Vs. Subhash & Ors.2, State of M.P. Vs. Sanjay Rai3, Vijay bhai Bhanabhai Patel Vs. Nav nitbhai Nathubhai Patel & Ors.4 and State of Goa Vs. Sanjay Thakran & Anr.5 1 0.In order to appreciate the riv al stands, it would be useful to notice the statutory prov isions. Section 498-A I.P.C. makes "cruelty " by husband or his relativ e a punishable offence. The word "cruelty " is defined in the Ex planation appended to the said Section. Section 498-A I.P.C. with Ex planation reads thus: "498A. Husband or relativ e of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty .--Whoev er, being the husband or the relativ e of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be 1 [1 962] Supp 1 SCR 1 04 2 (2004) 1 3 SCC 1 7 4 3 (2004) 1 0 SCC 57 0 4 (2004) 1 0 SCC 583 5 (2007 ) 3 SCC 7 55 8 punished with imprisonment for a term which may ex tend to three y ears and shall also be liable to fine. Ex planation-For the purpose of this section, "cruelty " means-- (a) Any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to driv e the woman to commit suicide or to cause grav e injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or phy sical) of the woman; or (b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a v iew to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or v aluable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her meet such demand." 1 1 .Thus, prov iding a new dimension to the concept of "cruelty ", clause (a) of Ex planation to Section 498-A I.P.C. postulates that any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to driv e a woman to commit suicide would constitute "cruelty ". Such wilful conduct, which is likely to cause grav e injury or 6/10/13 FIR filed 1 month after incident is too late: Supreme court 304b.blogspot.in/2012/12/i-wish-to-provide-help-to-those-who-are.html 5/8 danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or phy sical) of the woman would also amount to "cruelty ". Clause (b) of the Ex planation prov ides that harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a 9 v iew to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or v aluable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand, would also constitute "cruelty " for the purpose of Section 498-A I.P.C. It is plain that as per clause (b) of the Ex planation, which, according to learned counsel for the State, is attracted in the instant case, ev ery harassment does not amount to "cruelty " within the meaning of Section 498-A I.P.C. The definition stipulates that the harassment has to be with a definite object of coercing the woman or any person related to her to meet an unlawful demand. In other words, for the purpose of Section 498-A I.P.C. harassment simpliciter is not "cruelty " and it is only when harassment is committed for the purpose of coercing a woman or any other person related to her to meet an unlawful demand for property etc., that it amounts to "cruelty " punishable under Section 498-A I.P.C. 1 2.Hav ing noticed the basic ingredients which are required to be prov ed in order to bring home an offence under Section 1 498-A I.P.C., at this juncture, we may also briefly note the general principles to be kept in v iew by the appellate court while dealing with an appeal against acquittal. 1 3.There is no embargo on the appellate court to rev iew, reappreciate or reconsider the ev idence upon which the order of acquittal is founded. Y et, generally , the order of acquittal is not interfered with because the presumption of innocence, which is otherwise av ailable to an accused under the fundamental principles of criminal jurisprudence that ev ery person shall be presumed to be innocent unless he is prov ed guilty by a court of law, gets further reinforced and strengthened by his acquittal. It is also trite that if two v iews are possible on the ev idence adduced in the case and the one fav ourable to the accused has been taken by the trial court, it should not be disturbed. Nev ertheless, where the approach of the lower court in considering the ev idence in the case is v itiated by some manifest illegality or the conclusion recorded by the court below is such which could not hav e been possibly arriv ed at by any court acting reasonably and judiciously and 1 is, therefore, liable to the characterised as perv erse, then, to prev ent miscarriage of justice, the appellate court is obliged to interfere. 1 4.All these principles hav e been succinctly culled out by one of us (C.K. Thakker, J.) in Chandrappa & Ors. Vs. State of Karnataka6. 1 5.Bearing the aforestated broad principles in mind and hav ing bestowed our anx ious consideration to the facts at hand, in our judgment, the High Court has not committed any error in dealing with the ev idence, which could be said to be patently illegal or that the conclusion reached at by it is wholly untenable, warranting our interference. 1 6.Though it is true the Trial Court has observ ed that there is some ev idence on record to show that there was a demand for dowry ev en at the time of marriage but it is clear that the foundation for action against the respondent was laid when the complaint was lodged by the wife on 22nd May , 1 996 and the prosecution machinery was set into motion. Again it is 6 (2007 ) 4 SCC 41 5 1 2 true that in the complaint there is a reference to the past conduct of the respondent and his family members 6/10/13 FIR filed 1 month after incident is too late: Supreme court 304b.blogspot.in/2012/12/i-wish-to-provide-help-to-those-who-are.html 6/8 but from the tenor of the complaint, it is clear that the allegation of harassment including the alleged poisoning incident is linked solely with her failure to get an additional amount of Rs.50,000/- from her parents for the purchase of lorry . Furthermore, though the Trial Court records that in the ev idence there are no specific instances of harassment, y et it has proceeded to presume that long course of conduct of the respondent is indicativ e of the fact that the allegation of harassment is not totally baseless. Ev en the deposit of initial amount of Rs.1 ,50,000/- by the respondent for the purchase of lorry in the name of the complainant has been doubted by the Trial Court. It is pertinent to note that in so far as the allegation of poisoning by the accused to kill the complainant is concerned, the Trial Court has found the ev idence of PW-3 --the father of the complainant (PW-1 ) to PW-7 to be unreliable and has rejected the v ersion of the prosecution to that ex tent. Adv ersely commenting on the conduct of PW-3, the Trial Court has also observ ed that none of the accused 1 3 attempted to escape after the incident which corroborates the anx iety of accused A-1 to A-4 about the life of the complainant. Rejecting the prosecution v ersion based on the complaint, accused A-2 to A-4 were acquitted by the Trial Court. In the light of these circumstances, the learned Judge of the High Court entertained grav e doubts about the correctness of the prosecution story . 1 7 .Analy sing and re-appreciating the entire ev idence threadbare, in particular the testimony of the complainant (PW-1 ) and her father (PW-3), the learned Judge has observ ed that though as per her complaint (Ex .P-1 ), the respondent had been pressurising her to bring Rs.50,000/- as additional dowry for purchase of lorry but her v ersion was not supported ev en by her father (PW-3). The learned Judge, on an analy sis of the entire ev idence, reached the conclusion that there is no direct ev idence, other than the self-serv ing testimony of PW-1 regarding alleged beatings or scolding; if really the v ersion of PW-1 that all the accused attempted to kill her by forcibly pouring poison in her mouth, not once but twice, she would 1 4 not hav e kept quiet without reporting the matter to the police; ev en after the second incident she kept quiet for a period of one month; the contents of the complaint clearly showed that PW-1 (the complainant) wanted to see that the respondent loses his job in the police department and that merely because PW-1 attempted to commit suicide, it cannot be presumed that only on account of harassment or cruelty meted out to her that she made an attempt to commit suicide. Taking all these circumstances into consideration, the learned Judge held that it was not safe to rely on the ev idence of PW-1 , more so, when her relations with the husband were v ery much strained and, therefore, the Trial Court ought to hav e giv en benefit of doubt to the respondent also while acquitting accused A-2 to A-4. 1 8.Hav ing gone through the depositions of PW-1 and PW-3, to which our attention was inv ited by learned counsel for the State, we are conv inced that in the light of the ov erall ev idence, analy sed by the High Court, the order of acquittal of the respondent is well merited and does not call for 1 5 interference, particularly when the First Information Report was lodged by the complainant more than one month after the alleged incident of forcible poisoning. Time and again, the object and importance of prompt lodging of the First Information Report has been highlighted. Delay in lodging the First Information Report, 6/10/13 FIR filed 1 month after incident is too late: Supreme court 304b.blogspot.in/2012/12/i-wish-to-provide-help-to-those-who-are.html 7/8 more often than not, results in embellishment and ex aggeration, which is a creature of an afterthought. A delay ed report not only gets bereft of the adv antage of spontaneity , the danger of the introduction of coloured v ersion, ex aggerated account of the incident or a concocted story as a result of deliberations and consultations, also creeps in, casting a serious doubt on its v eracity . Therefore, it is essential that the delay in lodging the report should be satisfactorily ex plained. 1 9.In the present case, as noted supra, First Information Report in regard to the alleged occurrence on 1 9th April, 1 996 was lodged on 22nd May , 1 996. Admittedly after her discharge from the hospital on 22nd April, 1 996, the complainant went to her parents' house and resided there. In her testimony , the 1 6 complainant has deposed that since no one from the family of the accused came to enquire about her welfare, she decided to lodge the First Information Report. No ex planation worth the name for delay in filing the complaint with the police has come on record. We are of the opinion that this circumstance raises considerable doubt regarding the genuineness of the complaint and the v eracity of the ev idence of the complainant (PW-1 ) and her father (PW-3), rendering it unsafe to base the conv iction of the respondent upon it. Resultantly , when the substratum of the ev idence giv en by the complainant (PW-1 ) is found to be unreliable, the prosecution case has to be rejected in its entirety . 20.For the foregoing reasons, we are of the opinion that the judgment of the High Court, acquitting the respondent, does not suffer from any infirmity , warranting our interference. The appeal is dev oid of any merit and is dismissed accordingly . .................................................J. ( C.K. THAKKER) 1 7 .................................................J. ( D.K. JAIN) NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 24, 2008. th e above m en ti on ed case u n der secti on 304b was n ot fou n d gen u i n e at th e cou rt of l aw. Posted 17th December 2012 by nachiketa singh 4 View comments saqib 22 December 2012 03:27 Found this to be very informational, even though I'm not from India but that is something that the people need to be aware of...There ARE a lot of women and girls killed in a short time of their marriage due to some family problems or for some desires not being fulfilled. I guess someone who is going through times like this, reads this and finds himself aware of all the situations that may take place in their life. Reply Adam Jovanovski 22 December 2012 03:35 The informations posted on this blog are very useful for our lifes.Everyone should take a look in this blog. Reply 6/10/13 FIR filed 1 month after incident is too late: Supreme court 304b.blogspot.in/2012/12/i-wish-to-provide-help-to-those-who-are.html 8/8 Replies Reply Enter your comment... Comment as: Google Account Publish Preview Mithun Khan 23 December 2012 20:51 Good job! Very nice article and idea. I would always follow all for your information. Also this article very revealing article and great information you write it very clean. Thanks to the contributors. I greatly appreciate all the info I’ve read here. I will spread the word about your blog to other people. Mallika M. S 26 December 2012 16:08 The importance of lodging a complaint in the Police Station for atrocities done on womens that is posted in the blog is very very informative. As also, the reason for delay in lodging of the complaint if not explained accurately would ruin the case further. This blog is an eye-opener for everyone. Must read, understand and guide Reply