Vs. State of Karnataka  Insc 248 (13 April 2005)
appeal by special leave has been preferred by the appellant against the
judgment and order of the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore dated 16th April, 1999 whereby the appellant has been found guilty of the offences
under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (I.P.C.) and Sections 3, 4 and 6 of
the Dowry Prohibition Act. He has been sentenced to undergo one year rigorous
imprisonment on each count and to pay a fine of Rs.10,000/- under the Dowry
Prohibition Act. The sentences have been directed to run concurrently.
brief facts of the case may be noticed :- The appellant along with his wife and
son was put up for trial before the Sessions Judge, Chikamagalur. They -2- were
charged under Sections 302/34, 201, 203, 498A and 304B, I.P.C. as also under
Sections 3, 4 and 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The son of the appellant was
accused No.1 (hereinafter referred to as A-1) while his wife was accused No.3
(hereinafter referred to as A-3).
case of the prosecution is that A-1 was married to the deceased on 27.5.1990.
On 4.10.1990 her dead body was found near a river. The next morning at about
10.00 A.M. A-1 lodged a report at the police station to the effect that on the
earlier night the deceased had gone out of the house to clean utencils but did
not return, and since it was raining, the search did not yield any result. In
the morning they found her dead body near a river. On the basis of the report
lodged by A-1, the police ought to have swung into action, but it appears from
the judgments of the Courts below that the police did not act with promptitude
as a result of which much of the evidence was lost. However the autopsy on the
dead body of the deceased revealed the following injuries :-
Five irregular contusion injuries present on the left shoulder, each measuring
1-1/2 cm x 2 cm.
Contusion injury measuring 3" x 2" on the right hypothdrine region.
measuring 1" x 2" on the right frontal area present.
durral heamotoma measuring 2" x 1" on the right frontal area of
Intra corebral heamorrage on the right frontal lobe.
area found on the lower part of anterior part of liver."
noticed earlier, A-1 the son, A-2 appellant and A-3 the wife of the appellant
were put up for trial before the Sessions Court. By its judgment and order
dated 14th February, 1995 the Trial Court found A-1 guilty of the offence under
Section 498A, I.P.C. but acquitted him of all other charges. The appellant and
A-3 were acquitted of all the charges levelled against them. The State of Karnataka preferred Criminal Appeal No.868 of
1995 against the acquittal of the three accused persons of the charges under
Sections 302, 201 etc. while A-1 preferred Criminal Appeal No.125 of 1995
against his conviction for the offence under Section 498A IPC. Both the appeals
were heard together and were disposed of by a common judgment Only the
appellant (A-2) has impugned the judgment of the High Court convicting him for
offences punishable under Section 498A IPC and Sections 3, 4 and 6 of the Dowry
may notice that the High Court allowed the State's appeal so far the appellant
is concerned to the extent that it found him guilty of the offences under
Sections 498A IPC and Sections 3, 4 and 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The
State's appeal as against A-3 was dismissed by the High Court, and the appeal
against acquittal of A-1 on other charges was also dismissed. Both A-1 and A-2
preferred a special leave petition before this Court, but the special leave
petition in so far as it related to A-1 was dismissed at the admission stage
learned counsel for the appellant submitted that there was no justification for
the High Court to set aside the order of acquittal passed in favour of the
appellant. He submitted that so far as the offence under Section 498A IPC is
concerned, there is no material on record to support the aforesaid charge. The
evidence only disclosed that A-1 husband of the deceased entertained a
suspicion about her chastity and that was the reason why she was harassed by
him. There is no evidence whatsoever to connect the appellant with the offence
under Section 498A IPC. He also submitted that so far as the offences under
Sections 3,4 and 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act are concerned, the High Court
was not justified in setting -5- aside the finding of fact recorded by the
trial court in favour of the appellant. We have, therefore, considered the evidence
on record placed before us by counsel for the parties.
as charge under Section 498A IPC is concerned, we are inclined to agree with
the learned counsel for the appellant that there is really no material to
connect the appellant with that offence. In fact the High Court has not even
noticed any such evidence which may justify the conviction of the appellant
under Section 498A IPC. We are, therefore, of the view that the appellant is
entitled to acquittal so far the charge under Section 498A IPC is concerned.
This takes us to a consideration of the evidence with regard to the offences
under the Dowry Prohibition Act.
witnesses have deposed in support of the prosecution. Pws 1, 2, 4 and 7 are the
four witnesses whose evidence was considered by the Trial Court as also by the
High Court. The High Court has come to the conclusion that the evidence of
these witnesses conclusively proves the offences under the Dowry Prohibition
Act, and the Trial Court really gave no cogent reason for disbelieving these
witnesses and acquitting the appellant.
Trial Court has considered the evidence on this aspect of the matter in
paragraph 18 of its judgment. It has -6- noticed the evidence of PW-1, the step
father of the deceased that there was a demand of Rs.20,000/- and some
ornaments from the appellant at the time of marriage negotiations. He expressed
his inability to pay such a big sum and therefore, the amount was reduced from
Rs.20,000/- to Rs.10,000/-. As regards the ornaments, it was decided that only
a kapali ring will be given to A-1 and a mangalsutra shall be given to the
bride. In view of the agreement, PW-1 sent the amount to the appellant through
his wife PW-2 and his nephew's wife Yashoda PW-7. They paid the amount to the
appellant. PW-2, the wife of PW- 1 corroborated the testimony of PW-1 and
stated that three days after the negotiations she had gone to pay Rs.10,000/-
to the appellant along with PW-7 and paid the amount to the appellant. PW-4 has
substantially corroborated the testimony of PW-1 and PW-2. PW-4 is the husband
of PW-7. He has however, not stated that his wife PW-7 went with PW-2 to pay
the sum of Rs.10,000/- to the appellant. PW-7 Yashoda however, deposed the fact
that the demand of Rs.20,000/- by way of dowry was reduced to Rs.10,000/- but
she has also not stated anything about her going with PW-2 to pay the amount to
basis of such evidence on record the Trial Court concluded that except the oral
testimony of PW-1 and PW-2 there was no other evidence on record to show that
three days -7- after the marriage negotiations PW-1 had sent Rs.10,000/-
through his wife and PW-7 to be paid to the appellant. In view of these
circumstances, the Trial Court came to the conclusion that neither there was
any demand for dowry nor was any amount paid to the appellant by way of dowry.
Thus the prosecution had failed to establish that PW-1 paid to the appellant a
sum of Rs.10,000/- by way of dowry.
High Court found that the reasoning of the Trial Court was unsustainable. We
have also considered the evidence on record and we find that four witnesses
have consistently deposed about the manner in which the negotiations were held
and how the demand of Rs.20,000/- was reduced to Rs.10,000/- and the further
fact that the said amount of Rs.10,000/- was paid to the appellant through PW-2
and PW-7. The only deficiency in the evidence which the Trial Court found was
that PW-7 did not state in her deposition that she had gone with PW-2 to hand
over the amount to the appellant. In view of the other evidence on record this
fact by itself did not justify the conclusion that the prosecution had failed
to prove its case. The evidence on record is quite consistent and PW-2, in
fact, stated that she had gone with PW-7 to pay the amount. It is not the case
of the defence that PW-7 denied having gone to the appellant. Much was sought
to be made of -8- the omission on her part to mention that she had gone with
PW-7 to pay the amount to the appellant. The finding recorded by the Trial
Court in our view completely ignores the cogent and reliable evidence on record
which proves the case of the prosecution that dowry was demanded and paid. Such
a finding ignoring relevant evidence can not be sustained even in an appeal
therefore, find that the conviction of the appellant under the Dowry
Prohibition Act is fully justified. We, therefore, set aside the conviction of
the appellant under Section 498A IPC but affirm his conviction and sentence
under Sections 3,4 and 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
appeal is, accordingly, partly allowed, setting aside the conviction under
Section 498A IPC, but upholding the conviction and sentence under Sections 3, 4
and 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
appellant is on bail. His bail bonds are cancelled. He shall forthwith
surrender to his sentence -9- failing which the State shall take necessary
steps to apprehend him to serve out the remainder of his sentence.