Friday, 19 February 2016

Whether a person can be convicted for offence U/S 498A of IPC if there are vague allegation of cruelty against him?

 It   can   be   seen   from   record   that   the
evidence   shows   that   the   complainant   PW­1
Naseembegum,   after   marriage   resided   at   the   place

of   accused   persons   for   about   two   months   and
thereafter,   it   is   claimed   that   there   was   demand
and   ill­treatment   and   she   was   reached   to   her
parents place. At the same time there is evidence
that she resided at the place of accused for just
about two months. The complaint Exhibit 50 claims
that   she   was   given   trouble   but   does   not   mention
that the complainant was beaten or she was starved
as is her oral evidence. The evidence is that the
accused demanded the money for securing job to her
husband   and   so   saying,   trouble   was   given   to   the
complainant. PW­4 and PW­5 referred to demand and
cruel   treatment.   PW­5   Hamid   Baig   claims   in
evidence that victim told him that she was being
ill­treated but in his letter claims that victim
was being beaten. The Appellate Court examined the
evidence and found that evidence regarding alleged
cruel   treatment   was   quite   vague.   The   complainant
even admitted in cross ­examination that she filed
the complaint as the accused persons had not come
to   take   her.   The   Appellate   Court   came   to   the

conclusion on the basis of evidence, that even if
it was to be said that some demand was there, that
by itself could not be concluded as cruelty. For
such reasons, the Appellate Court interfered with
the Judgment of conviction of present Respondents
and acquitted the Respondents.
                                       
     IN  THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY 
BENCH AT AURANGABAD
   CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.454 OF 2001
The State of Maharashtra,

       VERSUS             
Sk. Mohsin s/o Sk. Rashid,

     
              CORAM:  A.I.S. CHEEMA, J.
              DATE : 5TH FEBRUARY, 2015
Citation;2015 ALLMR(CRI)1865

1. This Appeal is filed by the State against
acquittal   of   Respondent   Nos.   1   and   2   who   were
arrayed   in   the   trial   Court   as   original   accused
Nos.1   and   4.   These   accused   were   convicted   in
Regular Criminal Case No.337 of 1997 by Judicial
Magistrate First Class, Purna vide Judgment dated
8th   January   1999.   Along   with   these   Respondentsaccused,
  their   other   family   members   were   also
prosecuted   but   they   were   acquitted   by   the   trial
Court. The Respondents ­ accused Nos.1 and 4 had
filed   Criminal   Appeal   No.5   of   1999   before   the
Sessions   Judge,   Parbhani   and   they   came   to   be
acquitted   by   the   3rd   Additional   Sessions   Judge,
Parbhani vide Judgment dated 17th August, 2001.
2. In short, the case of the prosecution as
was brought, appears to be as follows:

(A) The complainant Naseembegum wife of Respondent
No.1   accused   filed   first   information   report   on
20th   April   1996   at   Purna   Police   Station,   DistParbhani
  claiming   that   she   was   married   to
Respondent No.1 ­ Sk. Mohsin on 17th May 1995 and
she   went   to   reside   at   the   matrimonial   house   at
Parbhani.   According   to   complainant,   accused
persons   treated   her   well   for   initial   two   months
and   thereafter,   she   claims   that   the   accused
persons   started   asking   her   to   bring   Rs.10,000/­
from her father to secure job for her husband and
so   saying,   they   started   ill­treating   her.   After
two months of the marriage, Respondent No.2 ­ the
mother­in­law   told   her   that   if   she   does   not   get
the money she should go to her parents place. So
saying,   she   was   reached   to   the   place   of   her
parents.   After   eight   days   the   Respondent   Nos.1
and   2   came   to   Purna   and   told   the   father   of   the
complainant that for securing service, Rs.10,000/­
were required and also a watch was required and if
the  same  is given  then only  they  would take  the

complainant   for   cohabitation.   Father   of
complainant namely Syed Hasan was unable to give
the amount and there was a quarrel and the accused
went   away.   The   complainant   was   pregnant   and   she
delivered a baby child in February 1996. Her grand
father Syed Bashir (PW­2) had gone to the place of
the accused but the accused did not come to meet
complainant. As the accused did not come to take
the complainant and she was ill­treated and left
at   the   place   of   her   parents,   the   complainant
filed the complaint.
(B) A.S.I.   Kadiroddin   registered   the   offence   at
Crime No.43 of 1996 under Section 498­A read with
34   of   the   Indian   Penal   Code,   1860   ("I.P.C."   in
brief)   and   offence   was   investigated   by   Head
Constable   Mohammad   Khalil   (PW­6).   He   recorded
statements of the complainant and her parents. He
arrested   the   accused.   After   investigating   the
matter, the charge­sheet came to be filed.

(C) Charge was framed against the five accused as
were   arrayed   in   the   trial   Court,   under   Section
498­A as well as Section 506 read with 34 of the
I.P.C.   Prosecution   brought   on   record   evidence   of
six witnesses. The defence of the accused persons
as   appearing   from   the   cross­examination   and
statements   under   Section   313   of   the   Code   of
Criminal Procedure, 1973 was that of denial. The
trial   Court   after   considering   the   material
available,   acquitted   all   the   accused   persons   of
the   offence   punishable   under   Section   506   of   the
I.P.C.   However,   original   accused   Nos.   1   and   4
(present Respondents) came to be convicted of the
offence   punishable   under   Section   498­A   read   with
34 of I.P.C. The other accused were acquitted of
the   offence   punishable   under   Section   498­A   of
I.P.C. also.
(D)   The   Appellate   Court   considered   the   arguments
raised before it and for reasons recorded in the
Judgment,   acquitted   the   present   Respondents   also

of the offence punishable under Section 498­A read
with 34 of I.P.C.
3. I   have   heard   learned   A.P.P.   for   State.
The learned A.P.P. has taken me through the oral
evidence   of   all   the   witnesses.   He   has   submitted
that   the   Appellate   Court   wrongly   gave   stress   on
delay   in   filing   of   the   complaint   and   that   only
relatives   were   examined   and   there   was   no
independent   witness.   According   to   him,   in   matter
like the present one, the evidence could be only
of the relatives. He submitted that the Appellate
Court erred in acquitting the Respondents on the
basis that only making of demand was not cruelty.
4. Against   this,   learned   counsel   for
Respondents­accused supported the Judgment of the
Appellate Court and the reasonings recorded by it.
Learned counsel for Respondents relied on the case
of  Nallabothu   Ramulu   @   Seetharamaiah   and   others
vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, reported in (2014) 12

S.C.C.   Page   No.261.   Referring   to   Para   7   of   the
Judgment, the learned counsel submitted that in a
matter   of   appeal   against   acquittal,   the
presumption   of   innocence   gets   strengthened   in
favour   of   the   accused   when   the   acquittal   is
recorded   by   the   lower   Court   and   thus   merely
because another view is possible, the same should
not be the reason to interfere with the Judgment.
Learned counsel relied on the reasonings recorded
by the Appellate Court to submit that the Appeal
of the State should be rejected.
5. A quick reference can be made to the oral
evidence   which   was   brought   on   record   by   the
prosecution. Complainant PW­1 Naseembegum  deposed
that accused persons treated her well for initial
two   months   after   marriage   and   then   they   started
demanding Rs.10,000/­ and a watch. She claims that
the   accused   used   to   beat   her   and   put   her   to
starvation. She claims that present Respondents ­
accused Nos.1 and 4 left her at the place of her

parents.   According   to   her   even   after   8­15   days
when they came at the place of her parents, they
made   the   same   demand.   Evidence   of   PW­2   Syed
Bashir, grand­father of the complainant, in short,
is that the victim was treated well for two months
and when he went to see her, she informed him that
accused had made demand of Rs.10,000/­. He claims
that   after   two   months   of   marriage,   the
Respondents­accused   had   left   the   victim   at   his
place and the victim had delivered a baby child.
Evidence of PW­3 Syed Hasan, in short, is that his
daughter was treated well for initial two months
and then demand of Rs.10,000/­ and watch was made.
According to him, his daughter informed him about
the   said   demand.   He   also   claims   that   Hamid   Baig
(PW­5) had sent a letter. He proved the document
at Exhibit 63. PW­4 Syed Rashid claims that he was
residing at Parbhani and complainant had come to
him 2­3 times and she narrated about the incident
of the accused persons demanding money. PW­5 Hamid
Baig, cousin brother of victim, stated that PW­4

Syed Rashid had informed him about cruelty to the
complainant   and   he   had   gone   to   her   house.   He
claims that complainant told him that she has been
ill­treated and he sent letter Exhibit 63 to the
father of the complainant.
6. Investigating   Officer   Mohammad   Khalil
stated   that   the   neighbours   of   the   accused   are
Parda Nashin and so he could not record statements
of the neighbours.
7. The trial Court referred to the evidence
of these witnesses and in Para 31 of its Judgment
distinguished   the   case   for   Respondents   ­   accused
Nos.1 and 4 vis­a­vis the other accused and while
convicting   the   present   Respondents,   he   acquitted
the other accused.
8. It   can   be   seen   from   record   that   the
evidence   shows   that   the   complainant   PW­1
Naseembegum,   after   marriage   resided   at   the   place

of   accused   persons   for   about   two   months   and
thereafter,   it   is   claimed   that   there   was   demand
and   ill­treatment   and   she   was   reached   to   her
parents place. At the same time there is evidence
that she resided at the place of accused for just
about two months. The complaint Exhibit 50 claims
that   she   was   given   trouble   but   does   not   mention
that the complainant was beaten or she was starved
as is her oral evidence. The evidence is that the
accused demanded the money for securing job to her
husband   and   so   saying,   trouble   was   given   to   the
complainant. PW­4 and PW­5 referred to demand and
cruel   treatment.   PW­5   Hamid   Baig   claims   in
evidence that victim told him that she was being
ill­treated but in his letter claims that victim
was being beaten. The Appellate Court examined the
evidence and found that evidence regarding alleged
cruel   treatment   was   quite   vague.   The   complainant
even admitted in cross­examination that she filed
the complaint as the accused persons had not come
to   take   her.   The   Appellate   Court   came   to   the

conclusion on the basis of evidence, that even if
it was to be said that some demand was there, that
by itself could not be concluded as cruelty. For
such reasons, the Appellate Court interfered with
the Judgment of conviction of present Respondents
and acquitted the Respondents.
9. Going through the evidence available and
reasons   discussed   above,   the   view   taken   by   the
Appellate Court is a possible view of the evidence
and   it   appears   that   the   Appellate   Court   was
justified in interfering with the Judgment of the
trial Court. PW­2 Syed Bashir and PW­3 Syed Hasan
in their examination­in­chiefs did not depose that
victim claimed to have been beaten or starved. On
the   same   evidence   as   far   as   regards   cruelty   is
concerned, the other accused have been acquitted.
Merely   on   the   basis   of   who   had   gone   along   with
complainant to her parents place, the trial Court
made   distinction,   but   the   Appellate   Court
interfered and as the acquittal has been recorded,

it would not be appropriate to interfere in this
Appeal.
10. I   do   not   find   any   reason   to   allow   the
Appeal   against   acquittal.   The   Criminal   Appeal   is
dismissed.
                               [A.I.S. CHEEMA, J.]

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