Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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Dying Declaration Of Wife Can Be Used To Prove Husband’s Cruelty Even If He Is Not Convicted Of Her Death: SC

  • In Surendran vs State of Kerala the Hon’ble Apex Court has held that evidence of a deceased wife under section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act with respect to cruelty can be admissible in a trial for a charge under section 498A of IPC.
  • In the instant case, the appellant married the deceased on 9-4-1995. It was alleged that she was harassed by her in-laws for additional dowry, due to which she hanged herself on 21-10-199, at her own home. The prosecution charged the appellant, his parents and his two brothers under section 304B and 498A of IPC. pending trial, the appellant’s father passed away. The appellant and his mother were convicted of the offences charged while the two brothers were acquitted.
  • The appellant then approached the HC by way of revision. The HC partly allowed the same and acquitted the appellant and his mother of the charges under section 304B of IPC while confirming their conviction under section 498A of IPC. The appellant was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment of one year and his mother of one month. Aggrieved, the appellant approached the Apex Court by way of Special Leave to Appeal. 
  • The main arguments advanced by the Counsel for the appellant was that the suicide note and the other statements made by the deceased cannot be relied upon by the Court for convicting him under section 498A as they do not fall within the scope of section 32(1) of the Evidence Act. Also, the evidence of the mother of the deceased is contradictory and cannot be relied upon to convict the appellant. 
  • Referring to the cases of Lalji Dusadh vs King Emperor AIR 1928 Pat. and Parmanand Ganga Prasad vs Emperor AIR 1940 Nag. the Apex Court observed that the test of admissibility of evidence under section 32(1) of the Evidence Act is that the cause of death must come into question in the case, regardless of the nature of the proceedings and that the purpose for which the evidence in the proceeding is sought to be admitted should be a part of the circumstances of the transaction relating to the death. 
  • The Court also referred to the case of Sharad Birdhichand Sarda vs State of Maharashtra (1984) SCC wherein it was observed that where death is a logical culmination of a long drama and, as it were, a finale of the story, the statement regarding each step directly connected with the end of the drama would be admissible because the entire statement would have to be read together as an organic whole and not torn from the context.  It was also observed that when the main evidence consists of statements and letters written by the deceased which are directly connected with or related to her death which reveal a story, the statement would clearly fall within the contours of section 32 Evidence Act and would be admissible. 
  • This is, however, subject to two conditions:
  1.    Her cause of death must come into question;
  2.    The prosecution shows that the evidence sought to be admitted with respect to 498A IPC must relate to the transaction which relates to her death.
  • Thus, the Court overruled the judgments in Gananath Patnaik vs State of Orissa (2002) SCC, Bhairon Singh vs State of MP (2009) SCC and Kantilal Martaji vs State of Gujarat (2013) SCC to this extent. 
  • The Court observed that in the present case it was not necessary to undertake the exercise to figure out whether the statement of the deceased would be admissible under section 32(1) of the Evidence Act, as there is ample evidence to suggest that the accused was guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
  • The appeal was, thus, dismissed. 

Petition Maintainable  Under Section 420,IPC During The Pendency Of Case Under The Negotiable Instrument Act: Karnataka HC

  • The Karnataka HC in a recent case, Rashmi Tandon & ors v. The State Of Karnataka, held that petition under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code would be maintainable, during the pendency of a case under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. 
  • The petitioner in the instant case challenged the proceeding registered on 22-07-2021 for an offense punishable under Section 420 of the IPC based on a private complaint.
  • The 2nd respondent is the complainant. The petitioners were the Directors of the Company by the name of Headwin Exim Private Limited. It appeared that the Directors of the Company approached the 2nd respondent/complainant to seek financial assistance to meet immediate financial needs that arose in its business. A transaction between the two took place and the complainant claimed to have assisted the Company with the finance of Rs.30,00,000/- initially and Rs.5,00,000/- later. The Company then had issued five cheques totalling the aforesaid amount. The checks were dishonoured.
  • The complainant-initiated proceedings under the Negotiable Instruments Act of 1881. The matter was still pending before the competent Court. 
  • On the same instrument of issuance of cheques for which proceedings had initiated under Section 138 of the Act, the complainant registered a private complaint invoking Section 200 of the Cr.P.C. and alleged cheating under Section 420 of the IPC on the part of the Company and its Directors.
  • The Magistrate directed an investigation under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. The Police registered an FIR in response to the direction under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. 
  • The main issue that fall before the Court was, whether the complaint invoked Section 200 of the Cr.P.C. for an offense punishable under Section 420 of the IPC would become maintainable after initiation of proceedings invoked Section 138 of the Act.
  • The bench referred to the Supreme Court’s judgment in the case of Sangeetaben Mahendrabhai Patel V. State Of Gujarat & Anr, in which the court considered whether a petition under Section 420 of the IPC would be maintainable during the pendency or even after conviction under Section 138 of the Act. 
  • The Supreme Court held that there was no violation of Article 20(2) of the Indian Constitution or Section 300(1) of the Cr.P.C. because it did not amount to double jeopardy and was hence maintainable. 
  • Therefore, Karnataka HC declared the contention advanced by the learned Counsel for the petitioners was thus untenable and subsequently the petition stand dismissed.

 
 
 

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