D. K. Ganesh
Babu Vs. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.  INSC 1760 (30 November 2009)
APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 2269-2270 OF 2009 Arising out of
SLP(Crl.) NOs. 8375-8376/2008) D.K. Ganesh Babu .. Appellant(s) Versus State of
Tamil Nadu & Ors. .. Respondent(s)
O R D E R
These appeals at the instance of the complainant/informant (the
brother of the deceased, Madhu Devi) are directed against the judgment and
order dated August 22, 2008, passed by the Madras High Court whereby it quashed
the charges under Sections 498-A, 306 and 304B/34 of the Indian Penal Code,
(for short, "the IPC") and Sections 3 & 4 of the Dowry
Prohibition Act framed by the trial court against the three respondents who
happened to be the sister-in-law, the mother-in-law and the father-in- law
respectively of the deceased.
Devi was married to Naveen Kumar, the son of respondents Nos. 3 and 4 on
November 30, 2000. She committed suicide by hanging herself on July 1, 2006.
to that also she had attempted to commit suicide in the year, 2002. She left
behind a suicide note, a copy of which is at page 56 of the Special leave
Petition and which was placed before us a number of times.
brother of the deceased, the appellant, lodged the first information report at
the Adayar Police Station on July 2, 2006, in which he made allegations that
after the marriage of his sister, her husband and the three respondents made
repeated demands for dowry and in that connection constantly harassed her and
subjected her to torture that eventually led her to commit suicide. The police
after investigation submitted charge-sheet against the three respondents and
Naveen, the husband of the deceased. On the basis of the charge-sheet received
from the police, the trial Court framed charges against all the four accused,
including, the three respondents under Sections 498-A, 306, 304-B/34 of the IPC
and Sections 3 & 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. At that stage, the three
respondents approached the Madras High Court for quashing the charges framed by
the trial court against them. The Madras High Court by a lengthy judgment
allowed their applications and quashed the charges insofar as the three
respondents are concerned.
hearing counsel for the parties and on going through the High Court judgment
coming under appeal and the other materials on record we feel that the High
Court completely misdirected itself in delving deep into the evidences that
might be led before the trial Court, on behalf of the prosecution as also from
the side of the defence. Undertaking an exercise based on a detailed
appreciation of evidences that might come in the course of the trial, the High
Court arrived at the conclusion that "the prosecution had not placed any
prima facie material before the trial court in the form of the
charge-sheet" to justify subjecting the respondents to trial on charges
under sections 498A, 306, 304B/34 of the IPC and sections 3 & 4 of the
Dowry prohibition Act. It, accordingly, quashed the charges framed against
unable to agree with the view taken by the High Court that there was no prima
facie material before the trial court to frame charges against the three
respondents and to put them up on trial. It is noted above that Madhu Devi died
within seven years of her marriage.
by committing suicide. Hence, the death certainly cannot be said to have
occurred under normal circumstances. We have been taken through the suicide
note, the first information report and the contents of the charge-sheet. We do
not wish to make any comments on the veracity of the allegations made therein
but we must say that all the three documents undeniably contain allegations of
demand of dowry and Madhu Devi being subjected to harassment and torture in
connection with those demands. Whether or not the prosecution would be
eventually able to substantiate its allegations against the three respondents
by leading cogent and reliable evidence before the trial Court and how the
prosecution case would stand in the light of any evidence that might be led on
behalf of the defence is yet to be seen. But prima facie : there are
allegations comprising all the ingredients of the offences for which the trial
court framed charges against the respondents and there are materials which
taken on their face value would lead to the inference of the respondents'
guilt. It is not a case which could be quashed by the High Court even at the
stage of framing of charge by the trial court and the respondents must be made
to face the trial.
result we allow the appeals, set aside the order passed by the High court and
direct the trial Court to proceed with the trial, in accordance with law.
....................J. [AFTAB ALAM]
....................J. [Dr.MUKUNDAKAM SHARMA]
NOVEMBER 30, 2009.