suspend the sentence imposed on the appellant and to enlarge the appellant on bail, pending Criminal Appeal

Crl.A.@S.L.P.(Crl.)No.2053 of 2020
NON­REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.521 OF 2020
[Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.)No.2053 of 2020]
M. Radha Hari Seshu …..Appellant
Versus
The State of Telangana …..Respondent
O R D E R

  1. Leave granted.
  2. This criminal appeal is filed by the appellant­accused,
    aggrieved by the order dated 20th March 2019 passed in I.A.No.1
    of 2019 in Criminal Appeal No.1325 of 2016 by the High Court
    for the State of Telangana at Hyderabad. By the aforesaid order,
    High Court dismissed the application filed by the appellant
    herein under Section 389(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure
    seeking suspension of sentence imposed in Sessions Case No.306
    of 2013 by the learned III Additional District & Sessions Judge,
    Ranga Reddy District at L.B. Nagar vide judgment dated
    14.12.2016.
  3. Based on the complaint dated 07.12.2011 filed by the de
    facto complainant a case was registered against the appellant
    1
    Crl.A.@S.L.P.(Crl.)No.2053 of 2020
    and his parents in Crime No.964 of 2011 for the alleged offences
    under Sections 498A, 304B and 302, Indian Penal Code (IPC) on
    the file of KPHB Police Station, Ranga Reddy District. After
    completion of investigation, chargesheet was filed against the
    appellant­accused no.1, and his parents – accused nos.2 and 3
    for the offence under Sections 304B and 498A, IPC. The learned
    XIX Metropolitan Magistrate, Cyberabad took cognizance of the
    case against the accused for the offences under Sections 304B
    and 498A, IPC and committed it to the Court of Sessions,
    Metropolitan Sessions Judge, Cyberabad. Upon committal, same
    was registered as Sessions Case No.306 of 2013 for offences
    under Sections 304B and 498A, IPC. The learned III Additional
    District & Sessions Judge, Ranga Reddy District, L.B. Nagar, by
    judgment dated 14.12 2016 passed in Sessions Case No.306 of
    2013, has convicted the appellant herein for offence under
    Sections 304B and 498A of IPC. He was sentenced for
    imprisonment of life and to pay fine amount of Rs.5,000/­ with
    default clause for the offence under Section 304B and was also
    sentenced for a period of three years with a fine amount of
    Rs.3,000/­ for the offence under Section 498A of IPC. Accused
    nos.2 and 3 in the aforesaid case were discharged on an
    application filed by them, as such, appellant alone was tried for
    the offence under Sections 498A and 304B, IPC.
    2
    Crl.A.@S.L.P.(Crl.)No.2053 of 2020
  4. As against the conviction recorded and sentence imposed
    by the learned III Additional District & Sessions Judge, Ranga
    Reddy District, L.B. Nagar, the appellant has preferred appeal
    before the High Court for the State of Telangana at Hyderabad
    and filed I.A.No.1 of 2019 in Criminal Appeal No.1325 of 2016
    seeking suspension of sentence and to release the appellant on
    bail, pending disposal of the criminal appeal. Such application
    filed by the appellant is dismissed by the High Court vide
    impugned order.
  5. We have heard Sri R. Basant, learned senior advocate
    appearing for the appellant and the learned counsel standing
    counsel appearing for the State of Telangana.
  6. By taking us to the judgment of the Sessions Court and
    other material placed on record, it is contended by Sri Basant,
    learned senior counsel that though prosecution has utterly failed
    to prove the guilt of the appellant­accused for the offence under
    Sections 304B and 498A of IPC, by misconstruing the evidence
    on record, the trial court has erroneously convicted the
    appellant. It is submitted that deceased was married to the
    appellant as early as on 13th February 2005 and they were
    leading happy married life and were also blessed with two sons.
    Further it is submitted that except interested witnesses, the case
    of the prosecution is not proved by any independent witness. By
    3
    Crl.A.@S.L.P.(Crl.)No.2053 of 2020
    referring to the provision under Section 304B, IPC it is submitted
    by learned senior counsel that there is absolutely no evidence to
    show that, soon before her death deceased was subjected to
    cruelty or harassment by the appellant­husband. Inspite of the
    same, trial court has wrongly convicted the appellant for offence
    under Section 304B, IPC and imposed the maximum punishment
    of imprisonment for life. Further it is submitted that PW­1 and
    PW­2 are the parents of the deceased and PW­3 is a close friend
    of the deceased, as such, they are interested witnesses and if
    deposition of such witnesses is carefully scrutinised by applying
    ratio laid down by this Court in the case of Piara Singh & Ors. v.
    State of Punjab1
    , their testimony was not to be relied on by the
    trial court to convict the appellant. Further it is submitted that
    inspite of making a strong prima facie case to suspend the
    sentence, pending appeal, the High Court has dismissed the
    application without recording valid reasons.
  7. On the other hand, the learned standing counsel appearing
    for the State of Telangana has submitted that by recording valid
    reasons the application of the appellant is rejected and there are
    no grounds to interfere with the same.
  8. Having heard learned counsel on both sides, we have
    perused the impugned order and other material placed on record.
    1 (1977) 4 SCC 452
    4
    Crl.A.@S.L.P.(Crl.)No.2053 of 2020
  9. In this case it is to be noted that marriage of the deceased
    with appellant was performed on 13.02.2005 and they were
    blessed with two children. Though initially case was registered
    under Sections 304B, 498A and 302, IPC, after investigation the
    appellant and his parents were charged under Sections 304B and
    498A, IPC. The parents of the appellant herein were discharged
    on an application and only appellant was tried for the offence
    under Sections 498A and 304B, IPC. It is also brought to our
    notice that the appellant is confined in jail from 15th December
    2016 onwards and further it is also brought to our notice that
    the father of the appellant was diagnosed with pancolitis.
  10. Though learned senior counsel, by taking us to the findings
    recorded by the trial court, has submitted that no case is made
    out for the offence under Section 304B and he was erroneously
    convicted for offence under Section 304B as well as 498A, IPC, in
    view of the pendency of the appeal before the High Court, we do
    not wish to go into the merits of the matter at this stage.
    However, considering the submissions made by the learned
    counsel and other material placed on record and further taking
    into account that the appellant is in jail since 15th December
    2016, we deem it appropriate that it is a fit case to suspend the
    sentence imposed on the appellant and to enlarge the appellant
    5
    Crl.A.@S.L.P.(Crl.)No.2053 of 2020
    on bail, pending Criminal Appeal No.1325 of 2016 before the
    High Court.
  11. For the aforesaid reasons, this appeal is allowed. Impugned
    order dated 20th March 2019 passed in I.A.No.1 of 2019 in
    Criminal Appeal No.1325 of 2016 passed by the High Court for
    the State of Telangana at Hyderabad, is set aside and we order
    that the sentence imposed on the appellant in Sessions Case
    No.306 of 2013 by the learned III Additional District & Sessions
    Judge, Ranga Reddy District, L.B. Nagar in judgment dated
    14.12.2016, shall remain suspended pending disposal of appeal
    before the High Court and the appellant shall be released on bail
    subject to such conditions to be imposed by the trial court.
    Further, we direct that the appellant shall not leave the country
    pending disposal of the appeal before the High Court.
    ………….………………………………..J.
    [ASHOK BHUSHAN]
    ….…………………………………………J.
    [R. SUBHASH REDDY]
    New Delhi.
    August 14, 2020.
    6
    Crl.A.@S.L.P.(Crl.)No.2053 of 2020
    ITEM NO.14 Court 5 (Video Conferencing) SECTION II
    S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A
    RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
    Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No(s).2053/2020
    (Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 20-03-
    2019 in IA No.1/2019 passed by the High Court For The State Of
    Telangana At Hyderabad)
    M. RADHA HARI SESHU Appellant(s)
    VERSUS
    THE STATE OF TELANGANA Respondent(s)
    ([HEARD BY: HON. ASHOK BHUSHAN AND HON. R. SUBHASH REDDY, JJ.])
    (IA No.32537/2020-EXEMPTION FROM FILING C/C OF THE IMPUGNED
    JUDGMENT and IA No.32536/2020-PERMISSION TO FILE ADDITIONAL
    DOCUMENTS/FACTS/ANNEXURES[FOR ORDERS ON 14.08.2020])
    Date : 14-08-2020 This matter was called on for pronouncement
    of order.
    For Petitioner(s)
    Mr. Manoj C. Mishra, AOR
    For Respondent(s)
    Mr. S.. Udaya Kumar Sagar, AOR
    Ms. Bina Madhavan, Adv.
    Ms. Swati Bhardwaj, Adv. O R D E R
    Leave granted.
    The appeal is allowed in terms of the signed nonreportable order.
    Pending application(s), if any, stands disposed of.
    (ARJUN BISHT) (RENU KAPOOR)
    COURT MASTER (SH) BRANCH OFFICER
    (signed non-reportable order is placed on the file)
    7