06 May 2121

There should be a reasonable nexus between the cruelty and death for conviction under Section 498 (A) of Indian Penal code, 1860 - Bombay High Court

Case : Sanjay Uttam Suryavanshi v. State of Maharashtra Criminal Appeal no 1470 of 2021

Court : Bombay High Court

Bench : Justice Prasanna B. Varale and Justice Surendra P. Tavade

Decided on : 06 May 2121

Relevant Statues

Section 498(A), 302, 304(B), 201 read with Section 34 of Indian penal code, 1860

Brief Facts and Procedural History

1. The Informant Daughter i.e. Manisha was married to Accused No 1 on 20th May 2006. The informant had already paid Rs. 70,000 and some articles to the Appellant as per the demand of in-laws of the deceased. After marriage, she was treated well for a period of six months. Afterwards, The Appellant came with his brothers and demanded a dowry of Rs. 1, 00,000 for the purchase of an auto-rickshaw, but the informant was not able to pay. The Deceased requested to pay to avoid the ill-treatment. The Informant took a loan from his Brother and paid Rs. 30,000 to the appellant but after this, they stayed for a couple of days outside the informant house and said Auto Rickshaw cannot be purchased with such amount.

2. Later, Manisha delivered a female child named Nikita. The Appellant and his brother came to see the daughter and also at that time they demanded Fs. 50, 000 for auto rickshaw and went away as the informant showed an inability to pay the amount. After some days, she was taken to matrimonial House and after three months when she came back and informed the informant that they used to abuse and threaten her due to non-fulfilment of Rs. 50,000. 

3. On 10th December 2008, The Informant received a phone call from Accused No. 4 to take back his daughter and he said to his daughter that he would come by the next morning. When he came the next morning, he did not see anybody in the house. Further, he moved to the Appellant field where he said all are in the house. After he came back the door was closed. The Appellant told the Informant that Manisha ran away from the house. On 13th December 2008, the Informant received a text message that the dead body of Manisha was found. After this, he lodged an F.I.R against the Appellant and co-accused. 

4. A charge was framed against the appellant and co-accused under Section 498 (a), 302,  304 (b), 201 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. The Trial court held the conviction of the Appellant and Original Accused no. 2 to 4 and acquitted the accused no 5. The Appellant further preferred an appeal and also an appeal was preferred by the state against the acquittal order passed by the Trial court.

The Issue of the Case

Whether the Appellant and other co- Accused is liable under Section 498 (a) , 302,  304 (b), 201 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860?

The Observations of the Court

1. The Honourable Bombay High Court heard both the sides of the parties and other witnesses. The Mere proof of the cruelty is not enough. In one of the Judgments i.e. Ravindra Pyarelal Bidlan & Others vs State of Maharashtra (1993 CRI. L. J. 3019), It was held that A Reasonable nexus was to be established between cruelty and suicide. The Honourable Bombay High Court observed that there was a reasonable nexus between cruelty and death of the Manisha i.e. she was being ill-treated due to demand of the dowry. 

2. The Prosecution had established the illegal demand of the dowry but there was no evidence from the appellant and his family members. The Appellant and his family member were demanding dowry for purchasing an auto-rickshaw but due to the inability of the informant, he could not pay the money. The Honourable High Court observed there was no cogent evidence against the Original Accused No.5 as he was only roped in the crime. 

3. The Honourable Bombay High Court said that the Trial Court rightly appreciated the evidence as there is no need to interfere with the order passed. 

The Decision Held by the Court

The Appeal preferred by the State and the Appellant was dismissed and the decision of the Trial Court was confirmed.

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