Rajesh Pandey Vs.
State of U.P.  INSC 622 (25 March 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. OF 2009 (Arising
out of SLP (Crl) 950/09) Rajesh Pandey ...Appellant Versus State of U.P. ...
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this Appeal is to the judgment of the Division Bench of the Allahabad High
Court dismissing the appeal filed by the appellant. He was the appellant
alongwith three others before the Allahabad High Court.
The accused was found
guilty of offences punishable under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code,
1860 (in short the `IPC') and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act,
1961 (in short the `Act').
facts, as projected by prosecution in a nutshell are as follows:
The accused appellant
is the resident of Village Budhanna, Police Station Chandpur, District
Fatehpur. The complainant-informant, Shiv Balak Tiwari is resident of village
Garhi, Police Station Jafarganj, district Fatehpur. Smt. Rekha (hereinafter
referred to as the `deceased') was daughter of complainant, Shiv Balak Tewari,
who was married with the accused-appellant, Rajesh Pandey about five years back
to the occurrence in question. The accused-appellant Kallu @ Shivdhani is the
father of appellant Rajesh Pandey, Smt. Rama is daughter of Kallu @ Shivdhani
and Smt. Shanti Devi is his wife, meaning thereby, Rajesh Pandey is husband,
Kallua @ Shivdhani is father-in-law, Smt. Shanti Devi is mother-in-law and Smt.
Rama is sister-in-law of deceased.
The marriage had been
performed according to the Hindu rites. In the marriage, dowry etc. was given
by the complainant-informant according to his capability but the
accused-persons were not happy. They were demanding Buffalo, golden chain and
Rs.20,000/- in cash in dowry and for that they were torturing the deceased, who
used to make complaints regarding her harassment and torture by her husband and
in-laws to her parents. The complainant informant repeatedly made attempts to
persuade the appellants to not torture his daughter. He also told them that he
was no in a position to fulfill their demands.
On 07.07.2000 at
about 1.00 P.M., the complainant informant was informed that in-laws of his
daughter burnt her alive by pouring kerosene oil on her. It was also informed
that before burning, she was beaten by them.
complainant-informant with his associates went to the house of in laws of his
daughter, the village people told him about the incident. No one was available
at the house of accused-persons except the minor child of deceased Smt. Rekha.
The village people told the complainant-informant that the neighbors had taken
Smt. Rekha to some hospital in Qasba Amauli, district Fatehpur on a Tractor,
where she died. The dead body of the deceased was lying at the house of
Just before the day
of occurrence i.e. on 06.06.2000, Vinay Kumar, the youngest son of
complainant-informant had gone to the house of accused- appellants and met his
sister Smt. Rekha who had told him about harassment and torture etc. made by
the accused-appellants for dowry. The deceased had given a letter in which the
entire facts were disclosed.
complainant-informant lodged report of occurrence to the Police Station,
Chandpur, district Fatehpur on 07.07.2000. The written F.I.R. is Ext. Ka-1. The
police registered a case under Section 498-A 304-B IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of
the Act, against the accused appellants which is evident from the copy of G.D.
Ext. Ka16. Chik report is Ext.Ka-15. The matter was investigated by the police
concerned. The Investigating Officer visited the spot and prepared inquest
report Ext. Ka-8, photo of dead body Ext. Ka-11, Challan Ext. Ka-12 and after
that he sealed the dead body and wrote letter Ext.Ka-9 and Ka-10 to the R.I.
Police Lines and C.M.O. Fatehpur respectively for post mortem examination of
deceased. Dr. A.S. Khan and Dr. B.K. Sharma conducted the post mortem
examination of deceased on 08.07.2000. The post mortem report is Ext. Ka-5. The
Investigating Officer took burnt clothes of deceased and the plastic container
which were recovered from the spot and prepared memo Ext.Ka-13 and Ka-14 respectively.
He interrogated the prosecution witnesses and after concluding investigation,
submitted charge sheet Ext.Ka-7 against the accused appellants.
accused-appellants admitted this fact that Smt. Rekha, daughter of complainant
informant, Shiv Balak Tewari was married with the accused appellant Rajesh
Pandey according to Hindu rites in the year 1995. But they denied the
allegation regarding demand of dowry, torture and about causing death of
deceased. They further stated that all the proceedings were conducted by the
police on false consideration. The accused-appellant Rajesh Pandey further alleged
that Smt. Rekha was desirous of partition of ancestral house and when she
failed in her designs, she committed suicide by burning herself. He further
stated that the prosecution witnesses have given evidence against him under
undue pressure of one Ram Bharosey Tiwari. Smt. Shanti Devi stated that she was
residing separately in a temple and she did not know how the deceased died. She
also stated about factum of partition of the house as alleged by her son,
Rajesh Pandey. The accused- appellant, Shivdhani also took same defence as
taken by his son Rajesh Pandey. Smt. Rama Devi stated that she was a married
lady and had come to the house of her parents and was living in a temple
separately. The deceased was not even on talking terms with her. She did not
know how she died.
After completion of
investigation chargesheet was filed. Trial court convicted the appellants under
Section 498A and 304B IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of the Act.
4. Section 304 B IPC
reads as follows:
Death - (1) 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
5. The necessary
ingredients of Section 304 B IPC are as follows:
(1) The death of the
woman was caused due to burns, bodily injuries or due to unnatural
(2) The death should
be within seven years of marriage.
(3) It is shown that
soon before death victim was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband
or any relative of the husband.
(4) The cruelty or
harassment was for or in connection with any demand for dowry.
6. High Court allowed
the appeal of the co-accused persons. But the appeal was dismissed so far as it
relates to the present appellant. Trial Court and the High Court have with
reference to the evidence on record categorically held that it was not a case
of suicide. The victim died of burns. They have referred to letter Ext.Ka-2 to
conclude about the demand of dowry and the torture meted out to the deceased.
The conviction as recorded cannot be faulted. However, the sentence is reduced
to eight years. If the appellant has served said period of sentence he shall be
released from custody forthwith unless required to be in custody in any other
7. While issuing
notice on 2.2.2008, it was indicated that notice was issued limited to the
quantum of sentence. In the instant case there is practically no discussion of
the evidence by the High Court. It simply reiterated the analysis made by the
trial court. Therefore, we have considered the evidence on record. We find that
the accusations have been established by cogent evidence. Minor variations in
evidence cannot affect the credibility of the prosecution version.
8. The appeal is
allowed to the aforesaid extent.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)