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Maya Devi v. State Of U.P. - CRIMINAL REVISION No. 946 of 1985  RD-AH 8282 (2 May 2007)
Criminal Revision No. 946 of 1985
Maya Devi and others Vs. State of U.P. and another.
Hon'ble V.D.Chaturvedi, J.
This Criminal Revision has been filed against the judgment and order dated 7.6.1985 passed in Criminal Appeal No. 343 of 1993 whereby the conviction of the revisionists awarded by the trial court for offence u/s 420 I.P.C. was upheld and the appeal was dismissed.
The relevant facts are briefly that Subhash Chandra, opposite party No.2 filed a complaint that the marriage of the petitioner Maya Devi was held with him on June 1, 1979; that on 22.7.1979 the accused-petitioners Puran Lal, Shiv Ram and Roopan reached the complainant and told that the aunty of Maya Devi was on death-bed and that she wanted to see Maya Devi; that they came there to take Smt. Maya Devi; that the accused persons had taken Maya Devi with them and had also taken with them the ornaments worth Rs.10,000/-; that Maya Devi did not come back, hence the complainant firstly sent a letter which remained unreplied. Thereafter the complainant reached Roopan, father of Maya Devi; that Roopan told the complainant that Maya Devi had eloped with one Lakshman and had taken all the ornaments with her. The complainant, therefore, filed the complaint whereupon the petitioners were summoned.
P.W.1 Subhash Chandra (complainant), P.W.2 Jagdish (brother of the complainant ), P.W.3 Sukhwasi (nephew of the complainant ) and P.W.4 Hori Lal were produced by the prosecution. On the basis of the evidence of these witnesses the petitioners were convicted for offence u/s 420 I.P.C. and each of them was sentenced to undergo R.I. of two years and a fine of Rs.1000/- was also imposed upon each of them. It was directed that in default of payment of fine the accused would further undergo R.I. for six months.
Criminal Appeal No.343 of 1983 filed against the judgment and order dated 22.1.1983 passed by the trial court was dismissed on 7.6.1985 ; hence this revision.
I have heard Sri Devendra Swarup, learned counsel for the revisionists , the learned A.G.A. and have also perused the record.
The contention of the learned counsel for the revisionists is that the ornaments alleged to have been given by the petitioners to Maya Devi were her 'Streedhan'; that Smt. Maya Devi was the exclusive owner of the 'Streedhan'; that taking of 'Streedhan' is not cheating and that the petitioners were wrongly convicted for offence under section 420 I.P.C.
It is stated in the complaint that the ornaments and clothes which Smt. Maya Devi took with her included only those which were given to her by the complainant in the 'Chadhawa' or were given by her paternal side. These are the 'Streedhan' of the bride. A bride becomes the owner of the 'Streedhan' as soon as she receives it in marriage. She remains its owner during the subsistence of her marriage. The trial court did not hold that Smt. Maya Devi had remarried with Lakshman or with another person after the incident dated 22.7.1989. The marriage of Smt. Maya Devi with complainant Subhash Chandra cannot be deemed to be dissolved in the absence of evidence of her divorce or the evidence of her marriage with another person.
There is no verdict of the trial court that the marriage of Smt. Maya Devi with Subhash Chandra was dissolved or that Smt. Maya Devi had remarried with Lakshman or with any other person. For want of such verdicts, no presumption can be drawn that the marriage of Smt. Maya Devi with Subhash Chandra came to an end. In the absence of any verdict about the dissolution of marriage, or in the absence of the verdict regarding her second marriage, she did not cease to be the owner of her 'Streedhan'. She was entitled to take these items with her. If she had taken with her the ornaments which she owned as the 'Streedhan', she could not be convicted for offence u/s 420 I.P.C.
The learned A.G.A. has argued that the possession of the ornaments was transferred on 27.7.1989 with the dishonest intention to take back these ornaments.
The constructive possession of the ornaments in matrimonial house was of Smt. Maya Devi. She took the actual possession of 'Streedhan' on 22.7.1989. Thus, there was no transfer of movable property on 22.7.1989. There is no evidence that the aunty of Smt. Maya Devi was not ill. The mere suspicion that the aunty of Smt. Maya Devi was not ill can be of no avail to the prosecution.
On the basis of suspicion it cannot be held that Smt. Maya Devi was taken away on false pretext. Thus it is clear that the ornaments and clothes taken away by Smt. Maya Devi were her 'Streedhan' ; that she was and still is the legally wedded wife of the complainant ;that there is neither any evidence nor the verdict that her marriage with the complainant came to an end; that she was in the constructive possession of the ornaments and clothes, even when these were in the custody of the complainant. If in these circumstances she took her 'Streedhan' (ornaments and clothes) from the complainant, she did not commit the offence of cheating. The finding of the trial court that Smt. Maya Devi had cheated her husband for taking her own 'Streedhan' is erroneous. She and other petitioners cannot be convicted for offence u/s 420 I.P.C.
The revision succeeds. The orders of conviction and sentence passed by the trial court and upheld by the appellate court are set aside. The revisionists are acquitted of the offence u/s 420 I.P.C. Their bail bonds are cancelled and sureties are discharged. They need not to surrender.
Certify this judgment to the court below within two weeks.
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