State of A.P. Vs.
Guvva Satyanarayana  INSC 1633 (24 September 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1453 OF 2003 State
of A.P. ....Appellant Versus Guvva Satyanarayana ....Respondent
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the judgment of the Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh
High Court directing acquittal of the respondent (hereinafter called as the
`accused'). The accused was convicted for offence punishable under Sections 302
and 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short `IPC') and sentenced to RI
for life and two years respectively and a fine with default stipulation by the
charges were framed against the respondent.
Firstly, it was
alleged that the accused on 11.4.1994 at about 8.30 p.m. subjected his wife
(hereinafter referred to as the `deceased') to cruelty and thereby committed
the offence punishable under Section 498A. Second charge was that he had
committed the murder of his wife by causing her death.
innocence and, therefore, trial was held.
version in a nutshell is as follows:
Smt. Guvva Renuka
(hereinafter referred to as the `deceased') was married to the accused 7 years
prior to her death at Bhongir. At the time of marriage, the accused was
presented cash of Rs.5,000/- and 3 tolas of gold. For one year, their marriage
life went on happily. Thereafter, accused 2 began to demand his wife to get
Rs.5,000/- from her parents, and she could not comply the said demand. He began
to ill- treating and harassing her physically and mentally. In a panchayat, he
was also admonished. However, he did not mend his ways and he was beating
Renuka, coming fully drunk. On 11.4.1994 at about 8.30 p.m. the accused
quarrelled with Renuka, doused her with kerosene and set her on fire. At 9.15
p.m. Renuka's paternal uncle Pittala Anjaneyulu (PW-1) lodged report with
Bhongir town police, and Y. Venkat Reddy, Sub-Inspector (PW-11) registered the
case. He rushed to the house of the deceased and prepared Ex.P.3 scene of
offence panchanama in the presence of Indla Ramesh (PW-6) and another. He
seized 5 litre kerosene empty tin M.O.I. He also prepared a rough sketch of the
place. Renuka was shifted to Government Hospital, Bhongir, and from there to
Gandhi Hospital, Secunderabad.
Sri K. Seetharam
Naidu, XIII Metropolitan Magistrate, Secunderabad (PW-9), recorded the dying
declaration of Renuka on the same night, in the presence of Dr. I. Bhaskara 3
Raju (PW-12), Casuality Medical Officer, Gandhi Hospital, Secunderabad.
Renuka succumbed to
injuries at 2.30 p.m. on 23.4.1994. On receiving the intimation the
Sub-Inspector (PW-11) requisitioned M.R.O. PW-8 to conduct inquest, and it has
been conducted in the presence of PW-7 and another panch. Ex.P.4 is the inquest
Dr. N. Dudaiah
(PW-10) conducted autopsy over the dead body of the Renuka and issued Ex.P.8
Post-mortem examination report.
Charge sheet was
filed in the Court of Additional Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class, Bhongir, who committed
the case to the Court of Sessions, Nalgonda. The I Addl. Sessions Judge,
Nalgonda, framed charges under Sections 498-A and 302 IPC.
The accused pleaded
not guilty and claimed trial.
trial Court relied on the dying declaration purportedly to have been made by
the deceased and recorded conviction as noted above. In appeal, the High Court
set aside the conviction. The High Court found that the charge in respect of
Section 302 IPC rests on dying declaration purportedly to have been made by the
deceased at 5.40 a.m.
on 12.4.1994. Offence
had taken place on 11.4.1994 at 9 p.m. The High Court found that the
accusations so far as Section 302 IPC cannot be established and the dying
declaration was not free from suspicion. However, the charge relatable to
Section 498A was held to have been proved. For the same, sentence of two years
RI imprisonment enhanced to three years RI.
support of the appeal, learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the
High Court was not justified in discarding the dying declaration. In the dying
declaration deceased stated her husband poured kerosene on her and set fire. He
intended to kill her. On asking why he did so, she stated that he had asked her
to bring money from her house sometime and she stated that her mother was widow
and was not in a position to pay amount demanded. As noted by the High Court,
the first information report was given on 11.4.1994 at 2115 hrs. i.e.
immediately after the occurrence.
In this report the
informant had stated that the accused demanded dowry from the deceased and was
beating her. On the date of incident he was drunk and demanded additional
dowry. Unable to bear the agony, the deceased poured kerosene over her and set
herself ablaze. In the first information report, therefore, the allegation was
that deceased committed suicide by setting herself on fire after pouring
kerosene. When the complainant was examined as PW-1, he accepted the contents
of the report and stated that the report was on the basis of the information
heard, given by a boy but no enquiry was made from the deceased. He also could
not talk to her. The boy who had given the information and what was the source
of information was not known to him. He stated that the deceased was
unconscious and regained consciousness only the next day around noon. The
mother of the deceased accompanied the deceased to the hospital also claimed
that the deceased was unconscious and regained consciousness only on the second
day. As rightly noted by the High Court, this was contrary to the evidence on
record. The Magistrate purportedly recorded the dying declaration of the
deceased at 5.40 a.m. on 12.4.1994. That means the deceased was conscious at
5.40 a.m. and doctor certified that she was conscious and coherent.
add to the vulnerability, Ex.P/12 was record of the case maintained by the
hospital. When the doctor examined the deceased she was conscious. The doctor
noted that the deceased had stated to have sustained burns around 9 p.m. at her
residence. She was given some treatment and referred to the resident medical
officer. Here again the doctor noted that the deceased alleged to have
sustained burns accidentally at her residence. It was further noted that she
was conscious and coherent. It is, therefore, established that she was conscious
when she was admitted to the hospital at 11.45 p.m. on 11.4.1994. If the
accused had poured kerosene and set her on fire she would have stated the same
in normal course to the doctor. Therefore, the factors highlighted by the High
Court appear to be on sound footing.
being so, the order of the High Court does not suffer from any infirmity to
appeal is dismissed.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)