Section 306 and Section 498-A of IPC- modify the sentence of the appellants appellant No.1-mother-in-law has undergone total jail sentence for a period of 9 months or so out of the jail sentence awarded to her, during the pendency of the appeal. It is also not in dispute that she is now around 75 years of age and is not keeping well. It is also not in dispute that she is presently on bail granted by this Court.-So far as appellant No.2-husband is concerned, he too has undergone around 1 year 1 month approx.- appellant No. 2 has remarried with a girl from the family of deceased, i.e., the deceased’s aunt’s daughter and since then the relations between the two families have become quite cordial. = So far as appellant No. 1-mother-in-law is concerned, we modify her sentence and reduce the same to already undergone. In this view of the matter, appellant No. 1-mother-in-law is not required to undergo any more jail sentence.; So far as appellant No. 2-husband of the deceased, Rekhabai, is concerned, his sentence is reduced from 5 years to 2 years under Section 306 IPC. So far as sentence of 2 years awarded under Section 498-A is concerned, it is upheld. The fine amount awarded in both is also upheld. Both the sentences are to run concurrently.

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NON-REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1224 OF 2008
Mst. Anusuiya @ Saraswatibai
& Anr. ….Appellant(s)
VERSUS
State of Madhya Pradesh ….Respondent(s)

J U D G M E N T
Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
1) This appeal is filed by the two accused
persons against the final judgment and order dated
14.02.2007 passed by the High Court of Madhya
Pradesh at Jabalpur in Criminal Appeal No. 419 of
1992 whereby the High Court partly allowed the
appeal and while upholding the judgment dated
02.04.1992 passed by the First Additional Sessions
Judge, Chhindwara in Sessions Trial No.3/91
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convicting the appellants-accused under Sections
306 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1908
(hereinafter referred to as “IPC”) reduced the period
of their sentence awarded under Section 306 IPC
from Seven years to five years and a fine of
Rs.1000/- each, in default of payment of fine, to
further undergo RI for three months and under
Section 498A, from three years to two years. Both
the sentences to run concurrently.
2) Brief facts:
The case of the prosecution is that the
marriage of Rekhabai(deceased) and
Chandrashekhar (appellant No.2) was performed on
12.05.1989, six months prior to her death.
Appellant No.1 is the mother-in-law of the deceased.
3) On 21.11.1989, a Marg Report was recorded at
Chandameta Police Station that Rekhabai was
brought dead in W.C.L. Hospital Bandkuhee by
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Gajanand. After preparing the inquest
panchanama(Ex.P/8), the dead body was sent for
post mortem. Dr. R.K. Basor(PW-8) performed the
post mortem and submitted the report (Ex.P/10).
According to PW-8, the death of Rekhabai was quite
unnatural. Thereafter the viscera collected from the
dead body was sent to Forensic Science Laboratory
for Chemical examination.
3) On 25.11.1989, Saligram (PW-1), father of
Rekhabai(deceased), submitted a written report to
the police station, Chhindwara mentioning therein
that her daughter had committed suicide because
her in-laws were harassing her for not bringing
dowry in marriage and demanding one Fan and
Rs.500/- from her parents. He further said that on
19.11.1989, one day before the death of Rekhabai,
his daughter and son-in-law came to his house and
stayed there for the night and on the next morning,
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his son-in-law again demanded a Fan and Rs.500/-
from him and on not being given the same, he
started quarreling and went away saying that
consequence would be heard of the next day. On
the next day, when Rekhabai suddenly became ill,
Surendra Pathak(CW-1) examined her on the
request of Chandrashekhar and advised him to take
her to the Hospital. On the way to Hospital,
Rekhabai died.
4) On 30.03.1990, report of the Forensic Science
Laboratory was received mentioning therein that the
death of Rekhabai was caused by consuming rat
poison.
5) After investigation, charge sheet was filed and
by order dated 29.12.1990, the case was committed
to the Court of Sessions. The accused
persons(appellants) denied the charges.
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6) By judgment dated 02.04.1992, the First
Additional Sessions Judge, Chhindwara convicted
the appellants for the offences punishable under
Sections 306 and 498A IPC and sentenced both of
them under Section 306 to undergo rigorous
imprisonment of seven years and a fine of
Rs.1000/- each and in default of payment of fine, to
undergo further rigorous imprisonment for six
months. So far as the sentence under Section 498A
was concerned, both the appellants were sentenced
to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years.
The sentences were to run consecutively.
7) Challenging the judgment of the Trial Court,
the appellants (accused) filed appeal before the High
Court.
8) The High Court, by impugned judgment dated
14.02.2007, partly allowed the appeal, upheld the
conviction but modified the sentence awarded to the
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appellants under Section 306 from Seven years to
five years and a fine of Rs.1000/- each, in default,
to further undergo RI for three months and so far as
sentence under Section 498A was concerned, it was
modified from three years to two years. Both the
sentences were to run concurrently.
9) Against the judgment of the High Court, the
appellants (accused) have filed this appeal by way of
special leave before this Court.
10) Heard Mr.Pradeep Misra, learned counsel for
the appellants and Mr. B.N. Dubey, learned counsel
for the respondent.
11) Having heard the learned counsel for the
parties and on perusal of the record of the case,
though we uphold the conviction of the appellants
under both the Sections, namely, Section 306 and
Section 498 IPC, but having regard to the peculiar
facts and circumstances of the case as set out
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hereinbelow, modify the sentence and accordingly
reduce the period of sentence of both the appellants
as indicted below.
12) We have perused the evidence with a view to
find out as to whether the prosecution was able to
prove their case under the twin Sections, namely,
Sections 306 and 498-A of the IPC, which resulted
in death of Rekhabai and, if so, whether the two
Courts below were justified in convicting both the
appellants and awarding to them the sentence as
detailed above.
13) Having gone through the evidence and
examining the findings of the two Courts on all the
material issues involved in the case, we are of the
considered opinion that no fault can be found in the
manner in which both the Courts below appreciated
the evidence so also no fault can be found in their
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respective reasoning which resulted in convicting
the appellants.
14) It is a settled principle of law that if there is no
perversity noticed in the findings of the Courts
below and more so when the findings of the two
Court below are of concurrence then such findings
would be binding on this Court while hearing the
appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution. Such
is the case here.
15) It is not in dispute that Rekhabai died within
six months from the date of her marriage. The date
of marriage is 12.05.1989 whereas the death
occurred on 21.11.1989. It is not in dispute that
Rekhabai died due to consuming the poison. It is
also not in dispute that the two Courts, on
appreciating the evidence, recorded a categorical
finding that appellant No. 1, mother-in-law and the
husband (appellant No. 2) had demanded dowry
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from the parents of the deceased and when they
did not accede to the dowry demand, appellant
No.2- husband threatened the father of the
deceased and deceased herself of the dire
consequences for not acceding to his demand of
dowry.
16) It has also come in the evidence of the
deceased’s father (PW-1), which found acceptance to
the two Courts and, in our opinion, rightly that the
appellants used to beat the deceased soon after
their marriage till her death.
17) In the light of the aforementioned findings of
the two Courts below to which we concur, a case
under Section 306 and Section 498-A IPC was
rightly held made out against appellant No. 1-
mother-in-law and appellant No. 2-husband.
18) Indeed when an unnatural death of the
married woman takes place within seven years of
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her marriage then a presumption, as envisaged in
Section 113-A of the Evidence Act,1972 against the
husband and his relatives is made out. In this case,
the same was duly made out with the aid of
evidence adduced against the appellants. The
appellants, however, in their defense failed to rebut
the presumption and whatever evidence they
adduced in defense was not held enough to give
them the benefit of doubt or clean acquittal.
19) We, therefore, uphold the conviction of both
the appellants under Section 306 and Section 498-A
of IPC
20) This takes us to the next question about the
award of sentence to the appellants under both the
Sections. We may state here that there is no appeal
filed by the State for enhancement of the period of
sentence. In other words, the State or/and
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Complainant accepted the jail sentence, which was
awarded to the appellants by the Courts below.
21) It is not in dispute that the appellant
No.1-mother-in-law has undergone total jail
sentence for a period of 9 months or so out of the
jail sentence awarded to her, during the pendency of
the appeal. It is also not in dispute that she is now
around 75 years of age and is not keeping well. It is
also not in dispute that she is presently on bail
granted by this Court.
22) So far as appellant No.2-husband is
concerned, he too has undergone around 1 year 1
month approx.
23) Apart from what is taken note of above,
learned counsel for the appellants made a
statement at the bar that appellant No. 2 has
remarried with a girl from the family of deceased,
i.e., the deceased’s aunt’s daughter and since then
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the relations between the two families have become
quite cordial.
24) Taking into consideration the totality of
aforementioned facts and, particularly the
circumstances, we are inclined to modify the
sentence of the appellants as under.
25) So far as appellant No. 1-mother-in-law is
concerned, we modify her sentence and reduce the
same to already undergone. In this view of the
matter, appellant No. 1-mother-in-law is not
required to undergo any more jail sentence.
26) So far as appellant No. 2-husband of the
deceased, Rekhabai, is concerned, his sentence is
reduced from 5 years to 2 years under Section 306
IPC. So far as sentence of 2 years awarded under
Section 498-A is concerned, it is upheld. The fine
amount awarded in both is also upheld. Both the
sentences are to run concurrently.
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27) In view of this, appellant No. 2, who is also on
bail by the order of this Court, has to surrender to
undergo remaining period of jail sentence awarded
to him by this Court. The bail granted to appellant
No. 2 is, therefore, cancelled to enable him to
surrender and undergo remaining period of jail
sentence awarded by this Court.
28) With the aforementioned modification, the
appeal stands allowed in part and the impugned
judgment stands modified accordingly to the extent
indicated above.
……………………………………..J.
[R.K. AGRAWAL]

 

……………………………………….J.
[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
New Delhi;
January 25, 2018