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MAYA DEVI versus STATE OF U.P.

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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Maya Devi v. State Of U.P. - CRIMINAL REVISION No. 946 of 1985 [2007] RD-AH 8282 (2 May 2007)

 

This is an UNCERTIFIED copy for information/reference. For authentic copy please refer to certified copy only. In case of any mistake, please bring it to the notice of Joint Registrar(Copying).

HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF ALLAHABAD

Court No.11

Criminal Revision  No. 946 of 1985

Maya Devi and others Vs. State of U.P. and another.

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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.

Dt.2.5.2007

Rps/Sh


Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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