IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL No(s). 1597 OF 2009
KANAILAL SARKAR Appellant(s)
THE STATE OF WEST BENGAL Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
(1) This appeal arises out of the conviction of the appellant,
father-in-law of the deceased-Laxmi Rani under Section 306
I.P.C. and sentencing him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for
(2) Briefly stated the case of the prosecution is that the
victim-Laxmi Rani was married to Dilip Kumar Sarkar son of the
appellant at the young age. Further case of the prosecution is
that the appellant, father-in-law of the deceased was harassing
her and that her husband is not working and she has to bring
money from her parents. On 10th October, 1986 at 10.00 a.m.
father-in-law (appellant herein) and mother-in-law of the
deceased-Laxmi Rani are said to have quarrelled with the
deceased-Laxmi Rani and assaulted her due to which Laxmi Rani
was about to return to her parents’ house; but at that time the
appellant forcibly took her inside the house, poured kerosene
on her and set her on fire. Laxmi Rani was admitted to
hospital and later on she succumbed to her injuries. An FIR
was initially registered under Sections 326, 307 and 498-A
I.P.C. which was subsequently altered to Section 302 read with
Section 34 I.P.C.
(3) Upon consideration of the evidence and the dying
declaration of the deceased-Laxmi Rani and also dying
declaration recorded by the Executive Magistrate (PW-9), the
Trial Court held that the dying declaration is true and
voluntary and accordingly convicted both, the appellant herein
and the second accused, namely, mother-in-law of the deceasedLaxmi
Rani under Section 302 I.P.C. read with Section 34 I.P.C.
However, they were acquitted of the charges under Section 498-A
(4) In appeal, the second accused, mother-in-law of the
deceased-Laxmi Rani, was acquitted on the ground that there was
no evidence and the prosecution has not proved her guilt. So
far as the appellant herein is concerned, the High Court has
referred to the evidence of Dilip Kumar Sarkar (PW-4), husband
of the deceased-Laxmi Rani, that he admitted her in the
hospital and the High Court held that it was a case of suicide.
However, the High Court held that because of torture by the
appellant i.e. father-in-law, it must be held that the
appellant has abetted the suicide and on those findings the
High Court convicted the appellant under Section 306 I.P.C. and
sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for five years as
(5) We have heard Mr. Dhirendra Kumar Mishra, learned counsel
appearing for the appellant and Mr. Suhaan Mukerji, learned
counsel appearing for the respondent-State and also perused the
impugned judgment and the evidence/materials on record.
(6) In the dying declaration recorded by the Executive
Magistrate (PW-9), the deceased-Laxmi Rani has clearly
submitted about the overt act of the appellant pouring kerosene
and setting her on fire. Having regard to the evidence of PW1,
father of the deceased-Laxmi Rani and the dying declaration
recorded by the Executive Magistrate (PW-9), the offence would
fall under Section 302 I.P.C. Since the State has not
preferred any appeal against the acquittal of the appellant
under Section 302 I.P.C. and since the occurrence was of the
year 1986, we do not propose to go into this aspect any
(7) Suffice to note that the conviction of the appellant under
Section 306 I.P.C. is to be upheld. Since, it is brought in
evidence that the deceased-Laxmi Rani was subjected to
harassment at the hands of the appellant, we do not find any
reason warranting interference with the conviction of the
appellant and the sentence of imprisonment awarded to him.
(8) The appeal is accordingly dismissed.
(9) The appellant shall surrender to custody within a period
of four weeks from today to serve the remaining sentence
failing which he shall be taken to custody.
(10) A copy of this order be sent to the concerned trial court
for necessary action.
OCTOBER 4, 2018.