Phulau Phoolwati & Another. Vs State Of U.P. on 18 February, 2021
By: Pari Dharewa
OVERVIEW OF THE CASE:
The case went to trial after the appellants pleaded not guilty. Appellant no.1 Phulau and appellant no. 2 Bharat Sharan Singh (hereinafter referred to as ‘appellants’) were accused for the offence of killing Geeta under IPC and Dowry Prohibition Act.
FACTS OF THE CASE: The deceased Geeta, Sister of Ram Narain Singh (P.W.1) was married with Bharat Sharan Singh (appellant no.2). Appellant no.1 is the mother of Appellant no.2. P.W.1 received information through Ram Krishna Raidas who was resident of the same village that the deceased had died due to burn injury on account of setting fire at her in-laws house. One the said information he along with his family members rushed to the matrimonial house if the deceased and found that his sister Geeta was lying dead inside the kitchen, in burnt condition. Police was also present there and when the police took out the dead body of the deceased for inquest proceedings, P.W.1 and other present there saw that several sarees were wrapped in waist and stomach of the deceased. P.W.1 then lodged the FIR against the appellants and other co-accused Manju devi (who died later during trial and the proceedings were abated) who was sister of appellant no.2. On the same day some hours before the incident, the appellants and other co-accused were torturing and harassing the deceased by making her pressure on her parents to transfer the lands and properties in favor of appellant no. 2 and also demanding Buffaloes. In short, the incident can be summed up as a case of extortion and harassment for Dowry which led to the deceased being beaten so many times and was killed by setting her ablaze. The appellants were charged for the offences and pleaded not guilty and claimed for trial.
ISSUE: I) In case of lack of clear evidence and reasonable doubt, whether general and vague allegations can be treated as sufficient material to prosecute husband’s relatives or not?
II) Evidence proving harassment of dowry to prosecute under Dowry Prohibition Act required for prosecuting under IPC?
RULE OF LAW: Section 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act which states that, where any person is prosecuted for taking or abetting the taking of any dowry under section 3 of Dowry prohibition Act, or the demanding of dowry under section 4 of the Dowry prohibition act, the burden of proving that he had not committed an offence under these sections shall be on him. Section 304 B of IPC which states, Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death. And Section 498-A of IPC which states that that if a husband or relative of husband of a woman subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
PROSECUTION: Based on the facts and the evidence of burns and marks and history of harassment for dowry, the appellants should be charged for offence under section 3/4of the dowry prohibition act in addition also be charged under section 304 B of IPC and Section 498-A of IPC. The facts and evidence shows that she has died within 7 years of her marriage and was tortured and harasses soon before her death. Learned counsel assist submitted that there's neither any wrongdoing in FIR nor in investigation report. It was submitted that therapeutic prove is upheld with visual prove and the indictment prove cannot be questioned as it were for need of free witnesses. It was submitted that the decried judgment and arrange is well talked about, well contemplated and requires no obstructions. The appeal has no constrain and is obligated to be rejected.
DEFENCE: Learned counsel for the appellants submitted that appellants are innocent and have been falsely implicated in the present case. Learned counsel further submitted that deceased was mentally weak, she was cooking food in the kitchen but suddenly fire caught her and also to the kitchen of their house. He further submitted that at the time of occurrence, none of the appellants including co-accused were present in the house and on the alarm raised by co-villager, the appellants and co-accused reached there and put off the fire with their help but the deceased had died due to burn injuries. The counsel for the appellant strongly provided arguments based on the fact that the charge sheet was also filed for offense under Section 3/4 Dowry prohibition Act, in expansion to Section 304 B IPC and Section 498-A IPC, against the appellants but the trial Court surrounded charge as it were under Sections 498-A and 304-B IPC. Thus, it cannot be said that either the appellants were cleared for offense under Section 4 of Dowry prohibition Act or the arraignment was failed to demonstrate the said offense. In this way, in see of the over, accommodation of learned Counsel for appellants that arraignment has fizzled to demonstrate its case under Section 4 Dowry prohibition Act. Hence, it failed to prove the request of dowry, has no force.