DELHI HIGH COURT
Crl.Rev.P. No. 511 of 2006.
State Versus Rupinder Kumar and Another - Respondents, D/d. 19.11.2007
For the Respondents :- Mr. R.M. Tufail, Advocate.
A. Indian Penal Code, Section
- "I do not know why in my heart and mind there is some influence and I always look forward to death and nothing but death. Every moment death is in my eyes and thinking. My husband loves me and my daughter" - Accused discharged without framing charge - Allegation by brother and father of deceased that demand of dowry was made and deceased was tortured not believed.
In the instant case bride committed suicide by hanging - She left a suicide note exonerating her husband and all his family members - She stated that she wanted to die not knowing why - Accused discharged without framing charge - Allegations by brother and father of deceased that there was demand of dowry and torture not believed.
[Paras 12 and 10]
Cases referred :State of M.P. v. S.B. Johri, 2000(1) RCR(Criminal) 523 : (2000)1 JCC 348.
Romesh Sharma v. State, (2002)1 JCC 271.
Ram Kumar Laharia v. State of M.P., 2001(1) RCR(Criminal) 334 : (2001)1 JCC 161.
Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar Samal, (1979)3 SCC 4.
Gurcharan Kumar v. State of Rajasthan, 2003(2) SCC 698.
Tuncay Alankus v. Union of India, 2000 Crl. Law Journal 3280.
Sarbans Singh v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2005(1) JCC 255
V.B. Gupta, J. - The present revision petition has been filed by the State seeking quashing of the order dated 4th May, 2006 passed by Sh. Talwant Singh, Addl. Session Judge, Delhi vide which he has discharged both the respondents.
2. The brief facts of the case are that deceased Savita Rani was married to respondent No. 1 on 31st March, 2004 Respondent No. 2 is Jethani of deceased. On 29th June, 2005, Savita Rani committed suicide by hanging. The present case was registered on the basis of complaint made by Sh. Mahipal Singh, brother of the deceased who in his statement has stated that at the time of the marriage, no dowry was demanded, however, his sister was not happy in her matrimonial home since her husband used to come home drunk and beat her everyday and used to tell her that her parents had not given even a fridge in dowry and they were putting pressure on her to bring a fridge. Her husband had illicit relations with respondent No. 2, his Bhabhi and as such deceased used to remain upset due to their relations also. The father of the deceased has also given a similar statement.
3. Vide impugned order, learned Addl. Sessions Judge discharged both the respondents on the basis of the suicide note written by the deceased which exonerates her husband as well as respondent No. 2 and the learned trial court held that merely on the basis of the statements of the father and brother of the deceased, charge cannot be framed against the respondents as the court is required to consider all the documents placed by the prosecution on record and it cannot simply act as a post office on behalf of the prosecution.
4. It has been contended by learned counsel for the State that as per statement of brother of the deceased, there has been categorical allegations of demand of dowry as well as torture and the reasons mentioned in the suicide note by the deceased, cannot be described to be truth, as such a person has an abnormal mind and her statement cannot be relied upon blindly. There is sufficient material in the form of the statements of the brother and father of the deceased, levelling specific allegations of dowry, torture and demand and at the stage of charge, the trial court has not to sift the evidence and even grave suspicion against the accused is sufficient for framing charge. The suicide note was not handed over to the police immediately and it was not found near the dead body of the deceased nor at any conspicuous place, but the same was handed over to the police after 3-4 days by a maternal uncle of respondent No. 1. So, the recovery of suicide note, therefore, is suspicious and it appears that there is a trick has been played by the maternal uncle of respondent No. 1, in order to save him from the charge of abetment to suicide. It appears that this alleged suicide note, was got written from deceased by her husband and his maternal uncle and it does not bear any date, so it should not have been relied upon by the learned trial court.
5. The learned counsel for the State has cited various decisions on the point of charge, namely, State of M.P. v. S.B. Johri, 2000(1) RCR(Criminal) 523 : (2000)1 JCC 348, Ramesh Sharma v. State, (2002)1 JCC 271, Ram Kumar Laharia v. State of M.P., 2001(1) RCR(Criminal) 334 : (2001)1 JCC 161 and Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar Samal and Anr., (1979)3 SCC 4.
6. Under these circumstances, the impugned order is liable to be quashed and the matter be remanded back to trial court for proceeding against the respondents by framing the charge and conducting the trial.
7. On the other hand, it has been argued by learned counsel for the respondents that at the time of framing of charge, there has to be no microscopic examination of the evidence. There is a dying declaration given by the deceased in which she has exonerated the family members of her husband and this dying declaration is prior to the statement given by the brother and father of the deceased and there is no evidence of harassment or demand of dowry in this case. Further, no date about harassment or demand of dowry has been mentioned and as per autopsy report, there has been no external injury and it is a clear cut case of suicide and as such the present petition filed by the prosecution is not maintainable.
8. It is an admitted case of the prosecution that the suicide note recovered in this case is in the hand writing of the deceased. So, the question which arises for consideration is that as per suicide note when deceased has exonerated her husband and her family members, still on the basis of statement of the brother and father of the deceased, charge can be framed or not.
9. The prosecution in this case has acted fairly and placed on record letter written by deceased Savita Rani, which has been proved by CFSL and the report says that the letter written by deceased Savita Rani in her own hand writing and the English Translation of the same reads as under :-
- "I do not know what is so special in you, which is not there in any other person of the family or any person outside the family. If I had known about this, then I would have entered into a love marriage with you. Everybody loves his wife, but I feel that nobody loves his wife as much as you love your wife. Whenever, even when you are in angry mood or annoyed with me, even in this anger/annoyance the feeling of love is reflected. But I am mad who is not able to understand your love. From today I promise you that I will try my level best to understand you at every moment and there would be no misunderstanding between you and me. I shall forget everyone in my life and I shall love you and only you till I am alive and I hope that you will also love me to the same extent.
- I love you I like you, my best husband.
- It is a wish of every wife that she should have a husband, who should understand her and this wish of mine has been fulfilled."
- "I Savita Rani is writing this while being in my full senses. I am going to die on my own voluntarily. I have started hating my life. Despite best efforts, I am not in a position to remain alive. I have no complaint with any person. That in my matrimonial home everybody loves me too much. Even, if I die at my matrimonial home or in my parental home, nobody should be blamed. However, I want to write that I do not know why in my heart and mind there is some influence and I always look forward to death and nothing but death. Every moment death is in my eyes and thinking. My husband loves me and my daughter Gudia too much. I do not have any problem with him. My mother-in-law is also very good and she loves me like her daughter. My Brother and Bhabhi are also good."
12. The facts of this case appears to be quite similar to those in the case of Gurcharan Kumar and Anr. v. State of Rajasthan, 2003(2) SCC 698. In that case the suicide note of the woman who died within 2-1/2 months of her marriage did not contain any statement which could be used against the accused, the several letters written by her to the mother, sister and friends also produced by the prosecution did not show that the woman was being subjected to cruelty or harassment in connection with any demand of dowry. On the contrary, the letters indicated that she was receiving love and affection in her matrimonial home. Despite the fact that the father, mother and sister of the deceased were produced in support of the prosecution, the case resulted in acquittal.
13. The judgment in the case of Ram Kumar Laharia v. State of M.P. And Anr. (supra) cited by learned counsel for the State is on its own peculiar facts. The judgment in the case of Tuncay Alankus and Anr. etc. v. Union of India and etc., reported as 2000 Crl. Law Journal 3280 of this Court is cited to argue that when material collected show strong suspicion to form a presumptive opinion as to the existence of the factual ingredients constituting an alleged offence, it would be appropriate to frame a charge. In another judgment of this court cited by the prosecution, which is the case of Romesh Sharma v. State (supra) it also shows that circumstances showing grave suspicion against the accused would be sufficient to frame a charge. Another judgment cited by the prosecution is State of M.P. v. S.B. Johari and Ors. Etc. (supra) is also on its own peculiar facts in which the Supreme Court has set aside the judgment of the High Court of M.P. in discharging an accused.
14. Decision of this Court reported as Sarbans Singh and Ors. v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2005(1) JCC 255 has been relied by learned trial court in this case. It is almost an identical case, in which this Court had set aside the order framing the charge and has discharged the accused holding that the suicide note and other material seized by the police during the investigation and placed on record were not considered by the trial court. It was not proper to frame charge by over looking the other evidence including the suicide note, which was placed by the prosecution on record, since the suicide note exonerates the accused and even mention request not to harass the husband of the deceased on account of her death. Further, the suicide note in that case shows that the deceased had something in her mind which disturbed her mentally and while framing the charge, the court cannot act like post office of the prosecution and the court has to consider broad possibilities of the case and the total effect of the evidence and documents produced before it. It was held :-
- "The law on the point as to when an accused can be discharged or can be charged in situation where contradictory evidence is on record has been best laid down in the case of Union of India v. Prafulla Kumar Samal and Anr., reported as (1979)3 SCC 4. After examining all the pros and cons the following guideline has been laid down in para 10 of the judgment which can be extracted with profit :-
- "10. Thus, on a consideration of the authorities mentioned above, the following principles emerge :
- (1) That the Judge while considering the question of framing the charges under Section 227 of the Code has the undoubted power to sift and weigh the evidence for the limited purpose of finding out whether or not a prima facie case against the accused has been made out.
- (2) Where the materials placed before the Court disclose grave suspicion against the accused which has not been properly explained the Court will be fully justified in framing a charge and proceeding with the trial.
- (3) The test of determine a prima facie case would naturally depend upon the facts of each case and it is difficult to lay down a rule of universal application. By and large however if two views are equally possible and the Judge is satisfied that the evidence produced before him while giving rise to some suspicion but not grave suspicion against the accused, he will be fully within his right to discharge the accused.
- (4) That in exercising his jurisdiction under Section 227 of the Code the Judge which under the present Code is a senior and experienced court cannot act merely as a post office or a mouth-piece of the prosecution, but has to consider the broad probabilities of the case, the total effect of the evidence and the documents produced before the Court, any basic infirmities appearing in the case and so on. This however does not mean that the Judge should make a roving enquiry into the pros and cons of the matter and weigh the evidence as if he was conducting a trial."
- 12. The first thing that this judgment gives us is an assurance that the court has the power to sift and weigh the evidence although for the limited purpose of finding out whether a prima facie case against the accused has been made out. What is a prima facie case, the judgment again says, would naturally depend upon the facts of each case and then it proceeds to say that if two views are equally possible and the Judges are satisfied that the evidence produced before him while giving rise to some suspicion but does not raise grave suspicion against the accused, he will be fully within his right to discharge the accused. If these two principles are put to work in this case, then the decision has to go in favour of the accused. The fact of sifting and weighing of evidence has been done in paragraph 12 above. The prima facie case has emerged in favour of the prosecution. This case is better than the two equally possible views. I am not able to persuade myself with the plea of the prosecution that it gives rise to grave suspicion against the accused, although in view of the statement of the mother of the deceased some suspicion can arise. Finally, the judgment says that the Court is not merely a post office or mouth-peace of the prosecution but has to consider the broad probabilities before the court, any basic infirmity appearing in the case and so on. The guidelines given by the Supreme Court in the case of Prafulla Kumar (supra) requires that the petitioners to be discharged. Accordingly I allow the revision petition and set aside the order framing charge and discharge the petitioners."
16. Under these circumstances, the trial court was justified in discharging the respondents and, thus, there is no infirmity in the impugned order passed by the trial court and the present petition is devoid of any merits and the same is hereby dismissed.
17. Trial court record be sent back forthwith.