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The State of Punjab. v. Subash Chander & Ors. - CRA-272-DBA-1994 [2007] RD-P&H 1081 (30 January 2007)


Criminal Appeal No.272-DBA of 1994

Date of decision: 05.02. 2007

The State of Punjab.



Subash Chander & Others.



Present: Mr. M.S. Sidhu, Sr. D.A.G, Punjab for the appellant.


Adarsh Kumar Goel, J.

This appeal has been filed by the State against acquittal of the respondents of the charge under Sections 304-B IPC.

Case of the prosecution is that the deceased Neelam Devi was married to respondent Subash Chander three years prior to the occurrence. Brahmo Devi mother-in-law of the deceased started maltreating her, for her having brought less dowry. She made a demand of sewing machine and cash of Rs.1,000/-. Subash Chander, accused came to the house of his mother-in-law along with his wife ten days prior to the occurrence and made a demand for T.V. set.

Leela Devi, mother of the deceased Neelam did not accede to the demand, on which, there was a quarrel. The matter was, thereafter, Criminal Appeal No.272-DBA of 1994

reconciled in the presence of Ramesh Kumar and Parkash Chand.

Demands still continued. On the date of occurrence i.e. 29.09.1992, Subash Chander sent intimation to Leela Devi about the death of Neelam on account of burn injuries. ASI Sat Pal prepared inquest report and sent the dead body for post-mortem examination. Dr. Ravi Kumar, Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Pathankot conducted the post- mortem examination and found that cause of death was 85% burns.

Initially, Naresh Kumar and Babu Ram made statements before ASI Sat Pal that the accused were not at fault. Subsequently, FIR (Exh.PA) was registered on the statement of Leela Devi and the accused were challaned under Section 304-B IPC.

The prosecution examined PW-1 Leela Devi, PW-2 Dr.

Ravi Kumar, PW-3 Balbir Singh, PW-4 Naresh Kumar, PW-5 J.S.

Dhanjal, PW-6 Sat Pal, ASI, PW-7 Pal Singh, Constable and PW-8 Sham Lal, Constable.

The accused denied prosecution allegations.

The trial Court after considering the evidence on record, held that the case of the prosecution was not proved beyond reasonable doubt and acquitted the respondents, inter-alia, for the following reasons:-

(i) There was contradiction in the evidence of PW-1Leela Devi, mother of the deceased and PW-3 Balbir Singh, brother of the deceased; Balbir Singh denied any knowledge about demand of T.V. set and Leela Devi had not alleged any demand of dowry initially; her version was belated; Balbir Singh stated that he did not complain Pag




Criminal Appeal No.272-DBA of 1994

against the accused to any Police Officer; PW-4 Naresh Kumar, uncle of Leela Devi admitted that he gave statement Exh.DA that the deceased was happily living with Subash Chander and the accused had died on account of burn injuries of stove; their explanation that they were under threat, was not acceptable.

(ii) Exh.PF, compromise deed dated 25.09.1992 was not genuine as the said compromise deed was never mentioned by Naresh Kumar and other witnesses in their statements made to the police.

(iii) Relations between deceased and the respondent Subash Chander were cordial as admitted by Leela Devi.

(iv) FIR was registered after a delay of 13 days, for which, there was no valid explanation.

We have heard learned counsel for the State and perused the reasons given by the trial Court for acquitting the respondents.

Undoubtedly, death of the deceased Neelam Devi at young age, by 85% burn injuries, is most unfortunate and in normal circumstances, there may be suspicion against the respondents, for their being responsible for causing death, directly or indirectly, but in absence of satisfactory evidence that the respondents had demanded dowry, ingredients of offence under Section 304-B IPC cannot be held to have been proved.

Even if two views are possible, view taken by the trial Court is not open to interference.





Criminal Appeal No.272-DBA of 1994

Scope of appeal against acquittal has been gone into by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, inter-alia, in Jaswant Singh v. State of Haryana, AIR 2000 SC 1833, wherein it was observed:- "21. The principle to be followed by appellate courts considering an appeal against an order of acquittal is to interfere only when there are compelling and substantial reasons for doing so. If the order is clearly unreasonable it is a compelling reason for interference (see Shivaji Sahabrao Bobade v. State of Maharashtra, (1973 2 SCC 793: AIR 1973 SC 2622: (1973 Cri LJ 1783)). The principle was elucidated in Ramesh Babulal Doshi v. State of Gujarat, (1996) 9 SCC 225: 1996 AIR SCW 2438: AIR 1996 SC 2035 (1996 Cri LJ 2867):

"While sitting in judgment over an acquittal the appellate court is first required to seek an answer to the question whether the findings of the trial court are palpably wrong, manifestly erroneous or demonstrably unsustainable. If the appellate court answers the above question in the negative the order of acquittal is not to be disturbed. Conversely, if the appellate court holds, for reasons to be recorded, that the order of acquittal cannot at all be sustained in view of any of the above infirmities it can then and then only reappraise the evidence to arrive at its own conclusions."

We, therefore, do not find any ground to interfere with the order of acquittal of the respondents.

The appeal is dismissed.



February 05, 2007 ( H.S. BHALLA )

ashwani JUDGE






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