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SITARAM v STATE - CRLA Case No. 448 of 2002 [2007] RD-RJ 1240 (8 March 2007)

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S.B. Criminal Appeal No.448/2002

Sitaram S/o Suwalal ...Accused-Appellant


State of Rajasthan ...Respondent

Date of Judgment :::: 8th March, 2007


Hon'ble Mr. Justice Narendra Kumar Jain

Shri M. Iqbal Khan, Counsel for accused-appellant

Shri Arun Sharma, P.P., for the State ####

By the Court:-

Additional Sessions Judge (Fast Track)

Hindauncity, vide its judgment and order dated 3.4.2002, in Sessions Case No.111/2001 (78/2000) convicted and sentenced accused-appellant Sitaram

S/o Suwalal, under Section 498-A, IPC, to two years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.5000/- (in default of payment of fine, to further undergo three months rigorous imprisonment) and under Section 304-

B, IPC, to ten years rigorous imprisonment. Both the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

The learned counsel for the accused-appellant referred the prosecution evidence in detail and // 2 // contended that although this is a case wherein

Babita died within seven years from the date of her marriage under abnormal circumstances, but there is no evidence to prove that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband appellant for, or in connection with, any demand of dowry. Therefore the presumption under

Section 113-B of the Indian Evidence Act does not attract in the present case and in absence of specific evidence about cruelty or harassment on account of demand of dowry by the accused soon before the death of Babita, the accused could not have been convicted under Section 304-B, IPC.

However, the learned counsel for the appellant, during the course of arguments did not challenge the conviction of the accused on merits under Sections 498-A and 304-B, IPC, in view of the statement of

PW-7 Manju Joshi, PW-8 Sunita and PW-9 Nathulal, and contended that, looking to all the facts and circumstances of the present case particularly in view of the statement of PW-1, PW-2 and PW-3, the sentence of imprisonment of the accused-appellant awarded by the trial court may be adequately reduced to a period of imprisonment, which this Court thinks fit and proper in the interest of justice and facts and circumstances of the case. // 3 //

The learned Public Prosecutor has supported the judgment of the trial court and contended that there is no merit in the appeal and the same be dismissed.

I have considered the submissions of learned counsel for both the parties and minutely scanned the impugned judgment as well as the record of the trial court.

Exhibit P-5, the written-report, was lodged by

Manju Joshi (PW-7), the mother of the deceased, stating therein that the marriage of her daughter

Babita took place on 18.6.1999 at Sanganer with

Sitaram Chhipa, the Development Officer in the Life

Insurance Corporation, Hindauncity, and in the marriage sufficient dowry was given. Her daughter was A.N.M. (Nurse) in the Government Hospital,

Baran. Sitaram used to tell her daughter to leave the service and to stay at Mahaveerji with him.

However, about three months ago, her daughter was transferred from Baran to Mahaveerji. It was further alleged that a sum of Rs.7,00,000/- (Rupees seven lac) was demanded by accused in lieu of dowry and her daughter was threatened to bring the said amount otherwise the accused will leave her and perform second marriage.

PW-7 Manju Joshi has stated before the trial // 4 // court that there was demand of dowry even before 15 days ago from the death of Babita by accused but in her cross-examination she admitted that there was no specific demand by the accused. She also admitted that there was demand of seven lac rupees before the marriage but, on refusing to fulfill the said demand, still the accused agreed to marry with

Babita and therefore marriage took place. She admitted that whatever dowry given at the time of marriage was voluntarily given. She further admitted that Rs.50,000/- given about three months ago before the death of the deceased, were given by her another daughter Sunita to accused Sitaram to get the deceased transferred from Baran to Mahaveerji.

PW-8 Sunita has stated that there was demand of dowry by accused soon before the death of Babita.

PW-9 Nathulal, the father of the deceased, also stated that the accused used to assault her daughter every time in connection with demand of dowry.

After considering the statements of PW-7, PW-8 and PW-9, I am satisfied that the learned trial court has rightly convicted the appellant and the learned counsel for the appellant is right in not pressing the appeal on merits. Since the appeal has not been pressed on merits, therefore, it is not necessary to discuss the facts and evidence of the // 5 // case in detail. However, some facts and reasons in brief are necessary to be referred here to consider the case of the appellant for the purpose of sentence of imprisonment to be awarded in the case.

PW-1 Shiv Charan, in whose house the accused and deceased were residing as tenant at the time of occurrence, has admitted that there was no quarrel or dispute in between the accused and the deceased in connection with dowry. The deceased became unconscious on the relevant day therefore she was taken to hospital and there she was declared dead.

The quarrel in between them was that Babita used to insist to wear Salwaar and Kurta, whereas appellant wanted that she should wear Saari and on this they used to quarrel with each other. He specifically denied any quarrel in between accused and deceased in connection with demand of dowry. Other neighbourers PW-2 Sonu and PW-3 Puranmal Sharma were declared hostile by the prosecution and nothing has come on the record that deceased and accused used to quarrel with each other or accused used to assault the deceased for or in connection with demand of dowry. PW-7 Manju Joshi specifically admitted that

Rs.50,000/-, which were given to accused three months before the death of deceased, were given for transfer of Babita from Baran to Mahaveerji. She // 6 // also admitted that there was demand of Rupees seven lac by accused before the marriage but they refused to give the same, and ultimately the accused did not press for the same and marriage took place. PW-9

Nathulal, the father of the deceased also admitted that her daughter Babita used to tell him that he should make effort for her transfer and she is ready to pay Rs.50,000/- even.

It is relevant to mention that PW-7 Manju

Joshi was confronted with the written-report lodged by her on various facts which were not mentioned therein and there appears to be certain improvements and contradictions in her statement.

The accused-appellant has already remained in jail for about six years but under Section 304-B IPC a minimum sentence of seven years imprisonment is prescribed, therefore, I do not think it fit and proper to reduce the sentence awarded by the trial court to a period of sentence already undergone by the accused. But, after considering all the facts and circumstances of the present case, I think it fit and proper to reduce the sentence of imprisonment of the accused-appellant to seven years rigorous imprisonment.

Consequently, the appeal of the accused- appellant is partly allowed. His conviction and // 7 // sentence under Section 498-A IPC is maintained but while maintaining the conviction under Section 304-B

IPC, his sentence of imprisonment under this Section is reduced to a period of seven years rigorous imprisonment.

(Narendra Kumar Jain) J. //Jaiman//


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