Apex Court Acquitted a Man Convicted in a Dowry Death Case [Entitled to Benefit of Doubt]

Apex Court Acquitted a Man convicted in a Dowry Death Case [Entitled to Benefit of Doubt]

The Apex Court acquitted a man who was convicted by the Trial Court and the High Court in a dowry death case.

Brief Facts of the Case

According to the prosecution, the appellant harassed his wife Raj Kumari with whom his marriage was solemnized about 1 ½ years ago; and on 02.10.1998, Raj Kumari set herself afire by pouring kerosene oil upon herself. When Raj Kumari was taken to the hospital, her statement was recorded by the Assistant Civil Surgeon. The dying declaration showed that the immediate cause for the deceased to set herself afire was the domestic quarrel with the husband.

This appeal challenged the judgment and order dated 19-12-2019 passed by the High Court of Chhattisgarh at Bilaspur dismissing Criminal Appeal No. 2541/1999. The appellant was charged with having committed offences punishable under Sections 304-B read with 498A IPC, and was sentenced him to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 10 years.

The counsel for accused brought to the notice of the court that the dying declaration revealed that the deceased herself poured kerosene oil upon her and set herself afire and that the dying declaration was well supported by the testimony of the concerned doctor. He contended that the vague allegations against the accused by some witnesses could not be taken to be sufficient proof of dowry related harassment.

Observation made by the Court

The Court observed that the dying declaration shows that the immediate cause for the deceased to set herself afire was the domestic quarrel with the husband. Not only does the dying declaration give details as to how the deceased suffered burn injuries but also discloses the immediate cause for her to take the extreme step. There is nothing on record to indicate that the dying declaration was obtained by fraud or misrepresentation or that the statement was not correctly recorded. It was recorded by a doctor, an independent person and satisfied all the requirements as stated by this Court in Laxman vs. State of Maharashtra (2002) 6 SCC 710.

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 In the circumstances, the prosecution fell short of making good its case under Sections 304-B and 498-A IPC and the appellant is entitled to benefit of doubt. We, therefore, allow this appeal, set aside the orders of conviction and sentence and direct that the appellant be set at liberty unless his presence is required in connection with any other offence. The appeal is allowed accordingly.

Case Name: RAM KUMAR @ NANKI vs. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH NOW CHHATTISGARH

Citation: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.814 OF 2020

Coram: Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat

Apex Court Acquitted a Man convicted in a Dowry Death Case [Entitled to Benefit of Doubt]

Also Read: Exclusion Of Advocates In 10 Out Of 19 Tribunals, For Consideration As Judicial Members Is Contrary To Its Judgments: SC

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