Taiyab Khan & Ors Vs. State of Bihar (Now Jharkhand)  Insc 665 (23
K.G. Balakrishnan & Arun
Kumar Arun Kumar, J.
This is an appeal against a judgment of conviction under Section 304B of the
Indian Penal Code passed by the VIth Additional Judicial Commisisioner, Ranchi
and confirmed by the High Court of the State of Jharkhand at Ranchi. The three
appellants were sentenced to 10 years R.I.
each. The appellant No.1 Taiyab Khan is the husband of the deceased while
appellants No.2 and 3 are his parents. The deceased was named Noorjahan.
Marriage of appellant No.1 with Noorjahan took place in April, 1991. The
incident leading to death of Noorjahan is of 9th February, 1994. Death of Noorjahan is said to have been caused by poisoning. The main ingredients of
Section 304B IPC are:
(a) Death of a woman;
(b) By burns or bodily injury or occurrence otherwise than under normal
(c) Within seven years of her marriage;
(d) Soon before her death the victim was subjected to cruelty or harassment
by her husband or any relative of her husband in connection with demand for
Present is a case of death of a woman having taken place within three years
of her marriage. It is a case of an unnatural death, that is, death which
occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances. The first three ingredients
are clearly established. The only other ingredient which needs to be considered
is the harassment of the woman by the husband or his relatives in connection
with demand for dowry. The prosecution examined seven witnesses. PW1 and PW2
were the brothers of the deceased, PW3 was her maternal uncle while PW4 was the
mother of the deceased, PW 5 was a villager, PW6 was the Investigating Officer
of the case and PW7 was the doctor who examined the deceased in the hospital.
PW 1 to PW 5 have spoken about the dowry demands made by the appellants and the
harassment of the deceased on account of such demands by the appellants. It is
clear from the evidence of these witnesses that the deceased was being
constantly harassed for demands on account of dowry. The deceased was being
asked to bring further cash and gold/silver ornaments and on account of non-
compliance of such demands, she was being denied food. On the fateful day she
had been removed to hospital in an unconscious state. PW 2, one of the brothers
of the deceased was also the informants to the police at whose instance the FIR
was recorded. He works in a garage where he was informed that his sister was
lying unconscious in the Mandar Hospital. He went home and informed other
family members and they all went to the hospital to find out about the
condition of the deceased.
The defence tried to suggest that the deceased took poison on her own and
committed suicide. However, this was disbelieved by both the courts below. It
is a case of unnatural death. The learned counsel for the appellant argued that
the vicera report would have shown as to whether the death occurred on account
of consumption of poison. This report was never received and therefore, it
cannot be said to be a case of death by poisoning.
In our view, the absence of vicera report does not make any difference to
the fate of the case. The fact remains that it is a case of unnatural death.
Section 304B IPC refers to death which occurs otherwise than under normal
circumstances. It cannot be said to be a case of normal death. No other point
was urged. We find no merit in this appeal. The same is dismissed.
After holding them guilty of the offence under Section 304B, the courts
below have sentenced the three accused to imprisonment for ten years each.
Keeping in view the advance age of appellants 2 and 3, who are parents of
appellant No.1, we consider it appropriate that their sentences be reduced.
Accordingly in case of appellants 2 and 3 the sentence of ten years awarded by
the courts below is reduced to seven years. The appeal is disposed of