Nagpur: The Bombay High Court here came to the rescue of a husband by ruling that words spoken during a quarrel are not always uttered with a criminal intent.
"Words such as 'go and die' uttered in a quarrel or on the spur of moment can't be termed as uttered with criminal intent," ruled High Court Judge Justice Ashok Bhangale.
While upholding a lower court verdict, Justice Bhangale dismissed the state government's criminal appeal filed in 1996 against neighbouring Wardha resident Vasant Chudiwale who was accused of allegedly abetting his wife Maya’s suicide for dowry. "There should be concrete evidence to indicate criminal intent," the High Court bench observed.
The petitioner entered into a wedlock with Maya way back in 1985. After a couple of years, relations between the two turned bitter. Vasant allegedly started ill-treating Maya on the alleged ground that she was having an extra marital affair with his brother-in-law Rakeshkumar.
On July 19, 1987, the couple came to the city and stayed at the residence of Maya's uncle Madanchand. During her stay, Maya confided with her uncle about the alleged ill treatment meted out to her by her husband.
Three days later, Maya committed suicide by pouring kerosene on her body and setting herself ablaze. In her dying declaration, she blamed Vasant for taking the extreme step.
On the basis of her brother's complaint, Tehsil Police station chargesheeted Chidiwale for offences punishable under Sections 498A and 306 of the IPC.
The Nagpur District and Sessions Judge convicted him on both counts and sentenced him to one year of rigorous imprisonment.
Chudiwale challenged the lower Court order before the additional Joint District Judge through an appeal and got respite. The State challenged this order in the High Court through a criminal appeal. The deceased's uncle also filed a criminal revision application against Chidiwale.
The state contended that in her dying declaration, Maya blamed husband for taunting her about her alleged extra marital affair with Rakeshkumar.
"To constitute the offence under abetment to suicide, there must be evidence to prove that the accused instigated the person," the court observed.
Before dismissing both cases, Justice Bhangale stated that the deceased's dying declaration merely does not mean an offence punishable under section 306 of IPC.