Rani Jain & Anr Vs. State of West Bengal  INSC 357 (23
Nanavati, S.P. Kurdukar Nanavati J.
these appeals arise out of the judgment of the High Court of Calcutta in
criminal appeal No. 337/85. accused and criminal Appeal No. 483/87 is filed by
the two convicted accused and Criminal Appeal No. 411/95 is filed by the State
as the third Accused was acquitted by the High court. All the three accused
were convicted by trial court under Section 302 read with section 34 IPC for
causing death of Neelam @ Pinky. The High Court confirmed the conviction of santosh
Rani and Virendra, mother-in-law and husband of Neelam respectively but
acquitted Rabindra, brother-in-law of Neelam.
and married Virender Kumar Jain about 4 months before the date of the incident
which took place on 7.9.1980. The prosecution case was that soon after the
marriage, particularly the mother-in-law and her husband started harassing and
torturing her as proper amount of dowry was not paid. Initially the brother of Neelam
had paid Rs. 11,000/- and after few days Rs. 11,000/- more were paid as dowry.
As chiman Lal, father-in-law of Neelam was still not satisfied with that amount
The brother of Neelam gave a pay order of Rs. 22,500/- in his name. A few days
prior to the incident her brother gave some golden ornaments also.
the ornaments of Neelam were taken away from her by her in-laws. It was also
the prosecution case that on the day of the incident all the 3 accused
mercilessly beat her and threw her dead body on the pavement outside their
residential building. After some time they took the dead body to the hospital
and reported to the hospital authorities that she had jumped from 11th floor of
their house and had received injuries as a result of the fall.
there was no direct evidence to prove who caused the death of Neelam, the
prosecution led evidence to show that there was a demand for more dowry; and
that she was tortured and even beaten on some occasions; that she was
administered something few days prior to the date of the incident as a result
of which she was required to be taken to a private hospital. The prosecution
also led evidence to prove that the accused had thrown the dead body of Neelam
on the payment and after few minutes had taken it in a car to the hospital. It
also relied upon the circumstance that no blood was found at the place where
the dead body was seen lying.
upon these circumstances and the medical evidence which proved that all the
injuries found on the body of Neelam could not have been caused by a fall from
11th floor of a house and were more consistent with her being given blows and
her being killed in that manner, the trial court came to the conclusion that it
was not a case of suicide as contended by the accused by it was a case of
homicide. The trial court also held that the circumstances established by the
prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that all the 3 accused had caused
the death of Neelam in furtherance of their common intention. The involvement
of rabindra was believed relying upon the circumstances that he had along with
the other two accused taken her to the hospital in a private car. The defence
of the accused was that Neelam. had committed suicide by jumping from the
terrace on the 11th floor. The trial court gave good reasons for not accepting
this defence and also the writing alleged to have been written by Neelam
indicating that she was committing suicide as she was unhappy because of
harassment and ill treatment by her in-laws. The trial court convicted all the
three accused under Section 302 and 201 read with Section 34 IPC.
High Court after reappreciating the evidence agreed with the findings of the
trial court regarding the demand of dowry, harassment and beating. The High Court
held that other incriminating circumstances were also satisfactorily
established by the prosecution. The High Court believed the medical evidence
and held that the injuries found on the person of Neelam were not caused by a
fall, but were caused as a result of severe beating given to her. The High
Court also relied upon the circumstance that no ornaments were found on her
body and no blood was found at the place where her dead body was seen lying on
the pavement. The High Court therefore agreed with the findings of the trial
court that it was a case of homicide and not suicide. The High Court believed
involvement of the mother-in-law and husband as both of them used to harsass,
torture and beat her and the mother-in-law also used to say that she would soon
get her son married again. The High Court did not agree with the finding of the
trial court that Rabindra was also involved in committing those offences.
being a case of circumstantial evidence, learned counsel for the appellants
took through the relevant evidence in order to show that all the circumstances
were not satisfactorily established. He was, however, not able to point out how
the evidence establishing the incriminating circumstances was not reliable.
Both courts below have believed the witnesses and on reappreciation, we find
that the evidence led by the prosecution was reliable and sufficient to
establish all the circumstances which have been relied upon. The medical
evidence very clearly established that it was not a case of suicide and death
of Neelam was homicidal. We also agree with the High Court that death of Neelam
was caused in furtherance of the common intention of the husband and the
mother-in-law. We see no good reason to differ from the view taken by the High
the reasons stated above, both these appeals are dismissed.
two appellants were released on bail. Their bail is cancelled and they are
directed to surrender to custody to serve out the remaining sentence.