1.    Kamesh Panjiyar @ kamlesh Panjiyar vs. State of Bihar (2005) 2 SCC 388 [i]

Facts

In this case the Jaikali Devi (deceased) was married to the appellant. At the time of marriage appellant demanded Rs, 40,000 as dowry and it was paid to him. After marriage appellant demand for a buffalo and this demand of appellant was not fulfilled by the deceased’s family. Due to the failure of fulfillment of his demand appellant and his family started torturing and beating the deceased. When the family of deceased came to know about the situations, brother of deceased went to meet her but appellant and his family insulted him. One day brother of deceased heard the rumor about the death of his sister. He went to appellant’s place to meet his sister and found her dead. She had many injuries on her body. Appellant claimed that she had some rheumatic disease which led to her death.

Judgment

Session court found appellant guilty and punished him with the imprisonment of 10 years. On appeal preferred by appellant before High Court of Bihar, court reduced it to 7 years.

SC upheld the decision of session court saying that under section 304 of IPC it was not necessary to give direct evidence of causing death. Cruelty before death is enough.

2.    Reema Aggarwal vs. Anupam and Ors. (2004) 3 SCC 199 [ii]

 

Facts

In this case appellant was married to the respondent in January 1998. Just after her marriage she was harassed by the husband and his family including mother-in-law, father-in-law and brother-in-law in relation to the demand of dowry. One day she was hospitalized and FIR was lodged against all accused persons. She told the police officer in her statement that all four tried to kill her by putting acid substance in her mouth. It was also told that appellant and her husband were in second marriage. Respondent took the defense that section 498 A and 304 B of IPC could not apply to them as the respondent and appellant were not legally married.

Judgment

Session Court acquitted all the respondents on the basis that it was the second marriage of both the parties.  Respondent married the appellant during the life of his surviving wife. However Supreme Court held that the provision was interpreted wrongly in this case. Husband means a person who had entered in the relation of marriage and ordered for flexible interpretation.

 

3.    Pamiben vs. State of Gujrat (AIR 1992 SC 1817) [iii]

Facts

In this case when deceased was sleeping her mother in law poured kerosene oil on her with the intention to kill her daughter-in-law (deceased). When deceased came in senses she started crying and asked for help. On hearing her voice, deceased’s husband and other relative rushed to her and took her to the hospital for the treatment. By that time she had suffered lot of severe burn injuries. Hence doctors could not save her life.

Judgment

Supreme Court convicted the mother-in law of deceased under section 304 B of Indian Penal Code by relying on the dying declaration of deceased in which she said that her mother in law put her on fire. Court held that there was no ground to believe that she had commit suicide. Court considered it as a most heinous and barbaric crime.

4.    Appasaheb and Anr. vs. State of Maharashtra (2007) 9 SCC 721[iv]

Facts

In this case Bhimabai (deceased) was married to appellant.  Rs, 20000 were given in marriage as dowry. After six months of marriage appellant and his family demanded her to bring money from parents to meet house expenses. For that they used to harass her physically and mentally. She used to tell all things to parents. One day parents came to know that Bhimabai consumed poison and ended her life.

Judgment

Session court convicted all the accused persons with 7 years rigorous imprisonment under section 304 B and 34 of IPC. Later appeal was filed by the appellant in High Court of Maharashtra which was decided against the appellant.

Supreme Court held that for section 304 B it was important that there should have been the demand of money as dowry. The urgent need of money for something could not be considered as the demand for dowry. Prosecution could not prove the case in court hence court ordered in favor of appellant and set aside the order of session court and Maharashtra High Court.

5.    Baldev Singh vs. State of Punjab (2008) 13 SCC 233 [v]

Facts

In this case a girl Satwant Kaur @ Bholi (deceased) was married to appellant in 1991. Within 1 month of marriage clashes took place between the parties. Appellant and his family started demanding for a fridge and a T.V as dowry. Deceased wrote to her brother about his torture which was being done to her for fulfilling the dowry demands. When brother went to meet deceased after receiving the letter he found her lying on a cot. She told that she had consumed poison due to the regular harassment of husband and his family.

Judgment

Session court found appellant and his mother guilty under section 304 B of IPC but acquitted sister of appellant.  Accused preferred appeal to High Court of Punjab and Haryana stating the defense that deceased committed suicide as she was not given her share in ancestral property. Court rejected the defense and dismissed the appeal. After perusing all the records Supreme Court ordered against appellant and punishment was given of 7 years imprisonment.

6.    Dasrath vs. State of M.P. (2010) 12 SCC 198 [vi]

Facts

In this case appellant was married to Pinki (deceased). After 6 years of the marriage, brother of deceased went to meet her on the occasion of rakhi. After reaching there he came to know that deceased had got burnt and was admitted in the hospital later she died due to such injuries. Appellant and his family cremated the body of deceased without informing her family. During trial facts came to be known as there were demands from appellant regarding a buffalo, a big size TV and for such things accused used to beat Pinki.

Judgment

On the basis of evidences and statements recorded trial court held Dasrath guilty under section 304 B of IPC and section 201 punishment was given of 10 years rigorous imprisonment along with fine. Appellant filed appeal in High Court of MP but it was dismissed. Supreme Court agreed with trial court and High Court that the appellant was guilty under section 304 B, 201 of IPC. Case was proved against appellant. Hence appeal was dismissed.

7.    Rajbir @ Raju & Anr vs. State of Haryana (AIR 2011 SC 568) [vii]

Facts

In this case petitioner murdered his wife Sunita (deceased) within 6 months of the marriage. Deceased was pregnant at the time of her death. There were clashes between both and petitioner used to harass the deceased in demand of dowry. Ultimately when the deceased could not full fill the demands of petitioners related to the dowry. He killed his wife in a barbaric manner by hitting her head many times and strangulating, despite knowing the fact that she was four months pregnant. Case was registered against the petitioner and his mother (mother-in-law of the deceased).

Judgment

Trial court found petitioner and his mother guilty under section 304B IPC and awarded life imprisonment. On appeal preferred by the petitioner, High Court of Punjab and Haryana reduced the life sentence into 10 years rigorous imprisonment to petitioner (husband) and 2 year rigorous imprisonment to mother in law of deceased. Supreme Court ordered all the trial court to add section 302 along with section 304B IPC in such kind of brutal and barbaric crimes against women so that death sentence could be passed against the offenders.

8.    Thathamsetty Suresh vs. State of A.P. (2010) 13 SCR 890

Facts

In this case it was alleged that petitioner had killed his deceased wife. At the time of the death the petitioner was with the deceased. Post mortem report revealed that there were many injuries found on the body of deceased. Such injuries were serious in nature and the cause of the death. Deceased body was also put on fire after causing the death so that color of suicide could be given to the incident. However medical report made it clear that putting on fire after pouring kerosene was the after act, till that time death was already caused. Petitioner took the defense that there were only circumstantial evidences and no direct evidence was against him.

Judgment

Supreme Court referred some cases showing the approach that such heinous crimes against women could not be deal with easily. There was the need to give maximum punishment to protect the interest of women. It was also held by the court that conviction could be done on the basis of circumstantial evidences also.

9.    Raja Lal Singh vs. The State of Jharkhand (AIR 2007 SC 2154) [viii]

Facts

In this case a girl named Gaytri Devi (deceased) was married to appellant when she was of 19 years of age. In this marriage dowry was given by the parents of deceased to the appellant and his family. After three months of marriage when Gaytri came to visit her father’s place she told her father that her husband, husband’s brother and brother’s wife harassed her for bed and almirah.  Father of deceased promised her to fulfill the demands of appellants and his family. Many times whenever deceased could meet her family she told about the same demand of dowry by her husband and his family. After almost 6 months of marriage one day father of deceased came to know that she has died. When father reached to his daughter’s place he saw that dead body of deceased was there and appellant and his family were standing near the body of deceased. On questioning appellant told that she had committed suicide by hanging herself on ceiling fan with the help of her saree. Case was filed against appellant and his brother and brother’s wife.

Judgment

Trial court convicted all of them under section 304 B read with section 34 of IPC and convicted with rigorous imprisonment of 10 years to all. Appeal was preferred in High Court of Jharkhand but it was decided against appellants. Hence all the persons appealed before Supreme Court.  Court gave benefit of doubt to the appellant’s brother and his wife. No relief was given by Court to appellant and appeal was dismissed.

 

  1. Kailash vs. State of M.P. (AIR 2007 SC 107)[ix]

Facts

In this case Uma Devi (deceased) married to the appellant in year 1997. Almost after two years of marriage dead body of deceased found in the well of appellant. It was clear by seeing that the death was not natural. Case was initiated against the appellant and his aunt. There were evidences that the deceased was harassed and tortured by the appellant for demand of dowry.

Judgment

Trial court convicted the accused persons for dowry death. Supreme Court held that the term “soon before death” could not set the time limit. The fact that the death was not the natural one and the deceased was used to be harassed by her husband and relative in relation to the dowry demand. It proved the case of prosecution. Court partly allowed the appeal and reduced the custodial sentence.  Accused was ordered to be released as he had already spent 8 years in prison during the procedure.

11.                   Anil Kumar Gupta, Etc vs State Of Uttar Pradesh And Ors 1995 SCC (5) 173[x]

Facts

In this case the appellant was husband of deceased victim Poonam. Father of the deceased had filed a complaint against the appellant and his family members and accused them to be responsible for charges under 498A, 304B of IPC and under S. 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. He alleged that the accused demanded more and more dowry from the deceased after her marriage and when she did not fulfil their demands, they administered poison to her and caused her death. The session court at Muzaffarnagar acquitted all the accused on the ground that of lack of evidence as there was no proof of demand of dowry either before or after the marriage and it was also evident from the letters of deceased written to her husband during her stay at her parent’s home that there were good relations between the families and love between the spouses. State filed an appeal against the decision of Session Court stating that the court failed to examine all the evidences produced before it. The Allahabad High Court acquitted all the accused except the appellant and convicted him for all the charges providing for subsequent punishment for all charges running concurrently and hence this appeal was filed before the Supreme Court.

Judgment

The Supreme Court observed that Allahabad High Court erred in reversing the judgment of Session Court. Even though it was right in considering the evidence afresh according to the Ramesh Babulal Doshi case and Dwarka case but still it ignored the letters exchanged between the families and the suicide note because of which its decision was not correct. The Supreme Court therefore allowed this appeal.

12.                   Om Prakash Versus State of Punjab [(1992) 4 SCC 212][xi]

Facts

In this case the victim Rita was allegedly brought to the open veranda by her sister in laws where her father in law instructed his wife to burn the girl. On such statement the mother in law fetched kerosene and poured on the victim. Her husband then lit the match and set her on fire. Hearing her cries her sister who lived nearby ran towards her when 2 of the accused hid themselves. The sister of victim took her to the hospital where the victim described this incidence to the police after which she died. It was also told by the victim’s sister to the court that the accused were continuously demanding money in lieu of less dowry brought by her and they tortured the victim for bringing more money from her parents from time to time. The session court held the accused liable under 498A and 304B on the basis of evidence produced and dying declaration. The decision of session court was upheld by Punjab High court and hence this appeal was made in Supreme Court.

Judgment

The accused contended that it was case of suicide and the victim’s relatives are bringing it up as case of dowry death. They also stated that before relying on the dying declaration the court shall ensure the truthfulness and authenticity of such dying declaration. The Supreme Court denied the appeal by stating that the circumstances of case do not show that it can be suicide as the girl was burnt in open. Also the witnesses and evidence produced before the court negated this possibility and hence the judgment of session court and Punjab High Court were upheld.

13.                   Hiralal v. State (Government of NCT) Delhi 2003 Cri. L.J. 3711 (S.C.)[xii]

Facts

The deceased in this case had committed suicide by consuming poison. The relatives of the deceased alleged her in laws to be responsible for this as he claimed that they put her into so much pressure to bring more and more of dowry that she could not bear it and decided to kill herself than to handle this torture every day.

Judgment

The court while analysing the facts of the case held that the demand for dowry should have been made soon before her death. The phrase soon before death was held to mean any time before her death which was sufficient to relate the cruelty caused to her as being the reason for her death. If there is a sufficient lapse of time between the act of cruelty and the death of the victim so that it can be reasonably inferred that the cruelty cannot be the reason for her death, in that case S. 304B cannot be said to be applicable in that case.

14.                   Kamesh Panjiyar v. State of Bihar 2005 Cri. L.J. 1418 (S.C.)[xiii]

Facts

In this case the appellant was married to the deceased Jaikali Devi. At the time of their marriage a sum of Rs. 40,000 was given to the appellant as dowry. There was a further demand for a she buffalo at the time of second bidai of the deceased which could not have been fulfilled by the deceased’s parents. On this the appellant and his relatives abused the victim and her brother who had come to take her in bidai and refused to send her back with her brother. On the same night the deceased was found dead and the reports declared that she died because of strangulation and lack of oxygen in her brain. The Session Judge held accused liable and passed imprisonment of 10 years which was reversed by Patna High Court and hence this appeal.

Judgment

The Supreme Court held that there need not be any direct proof of causing death. Fact of cruelty is sufficient to make the accused liable and since they could not produce any sufficient reason for injury on neck of the deceased therefore the judgment of Session Court was upheld.

15.                   Deen Dayal & Ors. Vs. State of U.P. [(2009) 11 SCC 157][xiv]

Facts

The victim in this case was married to one of the accused Amar Singh. The deceased had allegedly died due to falling in a well which fact could not have been corroborated by the evidence put up before the High Court. The parents of deceased stated that there were continuous demand for dowry which they could not fulfil and so the accused had killed the deceased. The session court acquitted the accused stating that this was case of accident where deceased slipped into the well and died and that there were no demands for dowry either at time of engagement or marriage. The Allahabad High Court reversed the judgment holding the accused liable for dowry death and under S. 498A of IPC. Hence this appeal was made in Supreme Court.

Judgment

The Supreme Court in this case again relied on the meaning of term ‘soon before death’ and held that there cannot be a strict time limit within which cruelty must be proved. A relation between cruelty and death is sufficient to have been proved. The Supreme Court found that the death of deceased was caused due to severe head injuries and there was no water found in lungs and windpipe. So she did not die because of drowning and in fact accident was not possible in the present facts of case. The accused were shown to have been dissatisfied by amount of dowry given by deceased’s parents and cruelty was proved. Hence appeal was denied.

16.                   Prem Singh v. State of Haryana AIR 1988 SC 2628[xv]

Facts

In this case the deceased Sumitra was married to Prem Singh. She died under suspicious circumstances within 7 years from her marriage. There were continuous demands for dowry during her marriage which were assumed to have stopped when she gave birth to a male child and when a she buffalo was gifted to her in laws by her parents. But this assumption of her parents didn’t come out to be true and the deceased was found dead due to burn injuries.

Judgment

While hearing the matter in appeal the Supreme Court appreciated the facts that the mother is law who was also an accused in this case used to live separate and there were no evidence produce to show that the other accused acted on her instigation. Also she was not expected to have benefited from the demands of dowry and hence she was acquitted by the court. However the court found all other accused guilty of offence under S. 304B as the fact of committing suicide by consuming poison as pleaded by the accused could not be corroborated by the evidences produced. Also mere fact of taking her to hospital after incident did not absolve their liability and hence their conviction was held to be justified.

17.                   K. Prema S. Rao v. Yadla Srinivas Rao 2003 Cri L.J. 69 (SC)[xvi]

Facts

The deceased in this case Krishna Kumari was married to Yadla Srinivas Rao. At the time of their marriage her father gave 15000 cash and jewellery worth 15000 as dowry along with 5 acres land land as stridhan.  After marriage the husband pressurised the deceased to transfer land in his name and in the event of her refusal she was harassed and tortured. She was also deprived of communicating with her parents. Under all these circumstances the deceased consumed poison as a result of which she died.

Judgment

On hearing the matter in appeal Supreme Court held that an important factor to make the accused liable under S. 304B is demand of dowry. In this case it was found that the demand made by husband was to transfer her stridhan property to him as against any specific demand for dowry. Hence the accused was held not to be liable under S.304B.

18.                   Gurucharan Kumar v. State of Rajasthan 2003 Cri. L.J. 1234 (SC)[xvii]

Facts

In the instant case the deceased had committed suicide by hanging herself within 2 ½ months of her marriage.  The parents of accused alleged her in laws and husband to be liable for her death under the provision of S. 304B. Post-mortem of her body was conducted and cremation was done in presence of her parents and other family members. No sign of injury was found on her body. The session court had found accused guilty for offence under S.304B which was upheld by Rajasthan High Court which is why this appeal was filed in Supreme Court.

Judgment

The Supreme Court acquitted the father in law and mother in law of accused on the basis of fact that there was no proof of demand of dowry and the letters exchanged between the deceased with her parents clearly show the love and affection she was showered upon by her husband and in laws. In her suicide note as well there was no mention of any cruelty and she stated that she could not adjust in this new atmosphere which is why she found herself guilty of her feelings and so committed suicide. Her husband already served the sentence and so did not file appeal but he was still held to be free from charges imposed upon him.

19.                   Gopal Versus State of Rajasthan [(2009) 11 SCC 314]

Facts

In this case the deceased was found unconscious by her neighbour at the time when she was alone at her home and all other members of her family had gone out for work. She was immediately rushed to the hospital where she died. The post-mortem report showed bruises on left thigh and right hip which was held to be marks of cruelty done by her husband and so session court held the husband and other in laws to be responsible under S. 498A of IPC. Rajasthan High Court also upheld the judgment and hence this appeal.

Judgment

The Supreme Court allowed the appeal and held the accused responsible for S. 323 of IPC but released them of charges under 498A as there was no proof was demand for dowry and subjection of cruelty because of this fact.

20.                   Soni Devrajbhai Babubhai Versus State of Gujarat and Ors. [(1991) 4 SCC 298]

Facts

In this case deceased Chaya had died in her marital home under suspicious circumstances. Her parents somehow came to know about death of their daughter and they rushed to her marital home where they were not allowed to see the deceased as she had died and also her body was not shown to her parents. Deceased father filed a complaint against the husband and in laws of deceased accusing them for charges under S. 304B and S. 498A of IPC. Session Court held that since the provision of S.304B was prospective in nature and was effective from 19/11/1986 and so it cannot be made applicable on instance happening on 13/08/86. The Gujarat High Court upheld the decision and hence this SLP in Supreme Court.

Judgment

Supreme Court denied the petition stating that the provision of 304B was prospective in nature and so cannot be made applicable in the instant case. Also there was no indicative injury caused to petitioner due to this decision so consideration was not required. Also that no specific evidence was provided to bring this case under 304B so this decision was made by Supreme Court.

 

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