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The Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 498A in The Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 306 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 302 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 313 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860

Bombay High Court
H vs Tq-Mantha, Dist-Jalna on 9 October, 2013
Bench: K.U. Chandiwal, A.I.S. Cheema







Dnyaneshwar s/o Shivdas Lomte, Age-30 years, Occu:Agril., R/o-Uswad, Tq-Mantha,



At present in Jail at Harsul, Aurangabad. ig




The State of Maharashtra,

Through Police Station Officer, Police Station, Mantha,


Tq-Mantha, Dist-Jalna.




Shri.Mahesh P. Kale Advocate for Appellant. Shri,B.V. Wagh, A.P.P. for Respondent-State. om





DATE OF RESERVING JUDGMENT : 26TH SEPTEMBER,2013. DATE OF PRONOUNCING JUDGMENT:09TH OCTOBER, 2013 ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12




1. Appellant - original accused No.1 (hereinafter referred as "accused") has been C

prosecuted in Sessions Case No.88 of 2010, held before Extra Joint Ad-hoc Additional Sessions h

Judge, Jalna and he has been convicted for the ig

offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, (for short "I.P.C.") and H

sentenced to suffer imprisonment for life and to pay a fine Rs.5000/- (Rupees Five Thousand), & in y

default to suffer rigorous imprisonment for two ba

years; under Section 498-A of I.P.C. to suffer rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay a om

fine of Rs.1000/- (Rupees One Thousand), & in default to suffer simple imprisonment for one year. His brother Ramprasad Shivdas Lomte and B

sister-in-law Arunabai Ramprasad Lomte (original accused Nos. 2 and 3) were acquitted. ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


2. The conviction has been imposed for rt

committing murder of wife by accused Dnyaneshwar, ou

namely, Vijaymala (hereinafter referred as "victim") by burning her on 18th October, 2007 and C

for having had subjected her to cruelty, as covered under Section 498-A of I.P.C. h

3. Case of the prosecution, in brief, can be ig

stated to be as under:-


. About six months before incident of 18th y

October, 2007, accused Dnyaneshwar was married to ba

the victim. She went to stay at the native place at Uswad and soon with the accused started residing at Aurangabad. Just before the incident om

the couple had come back and was residing at the home at Uswad. Accused No.2 Ramprasad and accused B

No.3 Arunabai were residing separate from the couple and even landed property had been partitioned. The accused, in the short period of matrimonial life, subjected the victim to cruelty ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


and was telling her that he does not like her. He rt

was also suspecting her character. He had ou

demanded Rs.50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand) to purchase a vehicle and had also beaten her at C


. On the day of incident, accused poured h

kerosene on the person of victim, while accused ig

No.2 Ramprasad set her on fire and accused No.3 H

Arunabai closed the door of the house. The victim was taken to Rural Hospital, Mantha and at the y

time of admission, history of the incident was ba

given, of accidental burns due to fall of chimney i.e. kerosene lamp. Due to severe burn injuries, the victim was shifted to Civil Hospital, Jalna on om

the same day. There, one A.S.I. Chandanse, recorded statement of the victim and she gave B

statement of burning herself due to quarrel between the couple. Relatives of the victim, her cousin brother PW-1 Ramesh Gore, brother PW-3 Munjaji Gore and mother PW-6 Ahilyabai, reached ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


the hospital. Victim told them about the accused rt

persons causing burn injuries to her. On 20th ou

October, 2007, PW-9, Naib Tahsildar, Tulshiram Gaikwad, recorded dying declaration of the victim, C

wherein she blamed the accused Nos. 1 to 3 for causing burn injuries to her. The dying declaration was sent from Jalna to Police Station, h

Mantha and on 21st October 2007, at 3.40 p.m., ig

F.I.R. No.120 of 2007 was registered, under H

Section 307, 498-A read with 34 of I.P.C. Vijaymana (victim) passed away in the morning of y

23rd October, 2007 at 5.30 a.m. Inquest panchnama ba

was drawn on 24th October, 2007 and post-mortem was conducted at the Civil Hospital, Jalna. Thereafter PW-10 P.I. - Vikas Nikkam from Police om

Station, Mantha, conducted spot panchnama at about 2.00 p.m. and collected incriminating articles B

like (a) aluminium "ketli" i.e. container of 2 litres capacity smelling of kerosene, (b) small "chimney" i.e. lamp smelling of kerosene, (c) match box and (d) kerosene mixed and plain mud. ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


Statements of witnesses were recorded and the rt

accused came to be arrested on 25th October 2007. ou

On 6th November 2007, the articles collected from the spot, were sent to Chemical Analyzer through C

PW-8, Police Constable, Ramdas. Charge-sheet was filed. Trial was held and the accused No.1 got convicted.




Aggrieved by the conviction, present H

Appeal has been filed, raising various grounds. We have heard learned counsel for the Appellant- y

accused as well as the learned A.P.P. and we have ba

gone through the record.



5. Going through the evidence and record, B

regarding certain facts there is hardly or no dispute. They can be stated as follows:- (a) The marriage of accused and victim took place ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


about six months before 18th October, 2007. rt

Thereafter for short time they stayed at native ou

place Uswad and then had shifted for residence to Aurangabad. Accused Nos. 2 and 3 were staying C

separately from the couple, at Uswad. (b) Victim did suffer burn injuries on 18th h

October 2007, at about 10.00 a.m. when the couple ig

had come back to Uswad. She was immediately taken H

to Rural Hospital, Mantha and initial treatment was done there. She was, then shifted to Civil y

Hospital, Jalna and while she was under treatment ba

at Civil Hospital, Jalna, she died due to the burn injuries on 23rd October 2007, in the early morning. She had sustained about 95% burn om



(c) On the day of incident, in the morning, couple had a quarrel.

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6. The inquest panchnama Exhibit 45 has been C

admitted, which shows that victim had 95% burns. There is evidence of PW-4 Dr. Vijay Kumar Inge, who has stated that on 24th October 2007, between h

9.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m., he had carried out post- ig

mortem on the dead body of the victim. He gave H

opinion that the person had died due to shock due to 95% superficial to deep burns. He accordingly, y

prepared post-mortem report Exhibit 35. There is ba

hardly any cross-examination of the doctor. However, the doctor gave an opinion that after 48 om

hours from the burn, septicemia starts and after development of septicemia, the physical condition of the patient starts deteriorating. We will refer B

to this opinion of the doctor, later. Here it is sufficient to conclude that the prosecution has established that victim died an unnatural death. ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12





7. On record, there are three versions as to how the victim suffered the burn injuries. h

(a) First version is that the victim suffered ig

accidental burns. This can be seen from the H

evidence of PW-5 Dr. Amit Pedgaonkar. On 18th October 2007, he was medical officer at Rural y

Hospital, Mantha and soon after the incident which ba

took place at 10.00 a.m., he had received the victim at the hospital at about 11.25 a.m. The om

injury certificate recorded by him, mentions that the history narrated by the patient was - accidental burns due to fall of chimney on head. B

(b) The second version is that accused No.1 poured kerosene on the victim, accused No.2 set her on fire and accused No.3 closed the door of the ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


house. This version comes from the dying rt

declaration recorded by PW-9 Tulsiram Gaikwad and ou

the oral statements made by victim to her cousin brother PW-1 Ramesh, her brother PW-3 Munjaji and C

her mother PW-6 Ahilyabai. Thus murder has been alleged.


(c) The third version is that the victim herself ig

poured kerosene on herself and caused burn H

injuries to her person. This comes on record from the evidence of PW-2 Prakash Deshmukh. y


. The other evidence is in the form of dying declaration, recorded by A.S.I., S.N. Chandanse at Exhibit 63, that victim herself poured kerosene on om

herself and burned due to the quarrel. B

. Now, the question is, as to which of these versions is true.

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8. The version of accidental burns as stated to PW-5 Dr. Amit, has been discarded by the C

learned trial Court, giving various reasons. Going through the record, it can be seen that when the incident was taking place, PW-2 Prakash had h

already reached the spot to whom immediate ig

statement given by the victim was of causing burns H

herself. It appears that then the accused No.1 Dnyaneshwar along with accused No.2 Ramprasad, y

took the victim to the Rural Hospital at Mantha. ba

Thus, at that time, accused had the opportunity to influence the victim and at the time of admission, om

she appears to have told PW-5 Dr. Amit that she got accidentally burned due to fall of chimney. Even the first written dying declaration recorded B

at the Government Hospital, Jalna, Exhibit 63, which was recorded between 3.00 to 3.30 p.m., mentions that her husband and accused No.2 Ramprasad (referred by her as "BHAYA") had brought ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


her to the hospital. Endorsement in Medical rt

Certificate Exhibit 37 is of history given as ou

accidental burns due to fall of chimney on head. This can be discarded as Inquest Panchnama C

Exhibit 45 and Post-mortem report Exhibit 35, both show that although face had burn injuries, hair had not burnt. If chimney had fallen on the head, h

hair would have burnt. Considering the over-all ig

evidence available on record, the version that the H

victim suffered accidental burns, does not inspire confidence and the evidence on this count, needs y

to be ignored.




9. The prosecution has tried to prove that the accused committed murder of his wife by B

burning her. Now, this version of the State needs to be examined.

. Unnatural death is proved. If it was ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


caused by Accused, he would be liable for culpable rt

homicide and murder.


10. To prove that the accused burned his C

wife, prosecution had examined PW-1 Ramesh, PW-3 Munjaji and PW-6 Ahilyabai, to prove what can be said to be oral dying declarations. All these h

three witnesses have stated that on coming to know ig

that the victim has got burnt, they had reached H

the hospital on the same day and they claim that Vijaymala told them about accused No.1 putting y

kerosene on her person and accused No.2 setting ba

her on fire by using match stick and accused No.3 closing the door of the house. Question is, whether this evidence is inspiring confidence. It om

is glaringly on record that although the evidence of these witnesses shows that on the same day, on B

coming to know about the incident of fire, they had soon reached the hospital and Vijaymala told them what they claim, still none of these persons appear to have told this, either to the doctor or ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


the police, at the hospital on 18th October 2007 rt

or 19th October 2007. They did not file any F.I.R. ou

It is only on 20th October 2007, official of Police Station Kadim gave letter Exhibit 52 to C

PW-9 Tulsiram Gaikwad, a Naib Tahsildar, at 7.40 p.m. and claimed that statement of the victim had already been recorded by police but brother of the h

victim had given application and so statement of ig

the victim is to be recorded. Even at that time, H

it does not appear that these witnesses had filed any complaint, so as to register the offence. y

Evidence of PW-3 Munjaji, the brother of victim ba

shows that on receiving the information about the burning, he had reached Mantha in the afternoon at 12.00 O'clock. In fact PW-3 Munjaji and PW-6 om

Ahilyabai, both claim that they reached Vijaymala when she was still at the dispensary at Mantha and B

the oral statement to them was made by Vijaymala, at Mantha itself. PW-3 claims that Vijaymala wanted to be taken to big hospital and so he had shifted her to Civil Hospital, Jalna. Thus, ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


according to PW-3 and PW-6, they were with the rt

victim from about 12.00 O'clock noon of 18th ou

October 2007 till her death. Inspite of her own blood relations reaching her and taking her to the C

hospital at Jalna, the first written dying declaration Exhibit 63 recorded at Jalna at about 3.00 p.m., given by the victim, was of she burning h

herself. These, PW-1, PW-3 and PW-6 do not appear ig

to have been agitated by such statement given by H

the victim on 18th October 2007. Two days later (obviously as an after thought), they seem to have y

moved the police at Police Station, Kadim to get ba

recorded another dying declaration, leading to police giving letter to Naib Tahsildar PW-9 Tulsiram Gaikwad, which letter is at Exhibit 52. om

11. The second written dying declaration B

Exhibit 53, recorded on 20th October 2007, which is heavily relied on by the prosecution, needs to be considered, whether it can be said to be duly recorded and if the same inspires confidence and ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


can be basis for conviction. rt


12. It would be appropriate at this stage to refer to principles governing the recording and C

use of dying declarations.

13. Constitution Bench of the Hon'ble the h

Supreme Court in the matter of Laxman vs. State of ig

Maharashtra, (2002) 6 Supreme Court Cases, Page H

710, observed in Para 3 as under: y

"3. The juristic theory regarding acceptability of a dying declaration is ba

that such declaration is made in extremity, when the party is at the point of death and when every hope of this world is gone, when every motive to falsehood is silenced, and the man is induced by the om

most powerful consideration to speak only the truth. Notwithstanding the same, great caution must be exercised in considering the weight to be given to this species of evidence on account of the existence of many circumstances which may affect their B

truth. The situation in which a man is on the deathbed is so solemn and serene, is the reason in law to accept the veracity of his statement. It is for this reason the requirements of oath and cross- examination are dispensed with. Since the accused has no power of cross-examination, the courts insist that the dying declaration should be of such a nature as ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


to inspire full confidence of the court in rt

its truthfulness and correctness. The court, however, has always to be on guard to see that the statement of the deceased ou

was not as a result of either tutoring or prompting or a product of imagination. The court also must further decide that the deceased was in a fit state of mind and had the opportunity to observe and identify the assailant. Normally, C

therefore, the court in order to satisfy whether the deceased was in a fit mental condition to make the dying declaration looks up to the medical opinion. But where the eyewitnesses state that the deceased h

was in a fit and conscious state to make the declaration, the medical opinion will ig

not prevail, nor can it be said that since there is no certification of the doctor as to the fitness of the mind of the declarant, the dying declaration is not H

acceptable. A dying declaration can be oral or in writing and in any adequate method of communication whether by words or by signs or otherwise will suffice provided the indication is positive and y

definite. In most cases, however, such statements are made orally before death ensues and is reduced to writing by ba

someone like a magistrate or a doctor or a police officer. When it is recorded, no oath is necessary nor is the presence of a magistrate absolutely necessary, although to assure authenticity it is usual to call om

a magistrate, if available for recording the statement of a man about to die. There is no requirement of law that a dying declaration must necessarily be made to a magistrate and when such statement is recorded by a magistrate there is no B

specified statutory form for such recording. Consequently, what evidential value or weight has to be attached to such statement necessarily depends on the facts and circumstances of each particular case. What is essentially required is that the person who records a dying declaration must be satisfied that the deceased was in ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


a fit state of mind. Where it is proved by rt

the testimony of the magistrate that the declarant was fit to make the statement even without examination by the doctor the ou

declaration can be acted upon provided the court ultimately holds the same to be voluntary and truthful. A certification by the doctor is essentially a rule of caution and therefore the voluntary and truthful nature of the declaration can be C

established otherwise." (Emphasis supplied.)


14. In the matter of Atbir vs. Government of ig

NCT of Delhi, (2010) 9 S.C.C. Page 1, the Hon'ble Supreme Court referred to earlier Judgments and H

observed in Para 22 as under:- y

"22. The analysis of the above decisions clearly shows that:


(i) Dying declaration can be the sole basis of conviction if it inspires the full confidence of the Court.


(ii) The Court should be satisfied that the deceased was in a fit state of mind at the time of making the statement and that it was not the result of tutoring, prompting or imagination.


(iii) Where the Court is satisfied that the declaration is true and voluntary, it can base its conviction without any further corroboration.

(iv) It cannot be laid down as an absolute rule of law that the dying declaration cannot form the sole basis of conviction unless it is corroborated. The rule ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


requiring corroboration is merely a rule of rt


(v) Where the dying declaration is ou

suspicious, it should not be acted upon without corroborative evidence. (vi) A dying declaration which suffers from infirmity such as the deceased was unconscious and could never make any C

statement cannot form the basis of conviction.

(vii) Merely because a dying declaration does not contain all the details as to the h

occurrence, it is not to be rejected. ig

(viii) Even if it is a brief statement, it is not to be discarded.

(ix) When the eye-witness affirms that the H

deceased was not in a fit and conscious state to make the dying declaration, medical opinion cannot prevail. (x) If after careful scrutiny, the Court y

is satisfied that it is true and free from any effort to induce the deceased to make a false statement and if it is coherent and ba

consistent, there shall be no legal impediment to make it the basis of conviction, even if there is no corroboration."


15. In another matter dealing with multiple varying or contradictory dying declarations, and B

where the case related to burning of wife, observations (in the matter of Shudhakar vs. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2012) 7 Supreme Court Cases, Page 569), show that it is settled principle of ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


law that prosecution has to prove its case beyond rt

reasonable doubt while the defence has to prove ou

its case on touchstone of preponderance and probabilities.


16. Keeping the principles in view, second written dying declaration Exhibit 53 now is to be h

considered. Evidence of PW-9, Naib Tahsildar ig

Tulsiram Gaikwad is that after receiving the H

letter Exhibit 52, he went to the Civil Hospital, Jalna and gave a letter to the medical officer. y

This letter has not been proved. PW-9 claims that ba

he made enquiry, whether the patient in question is in a condition to give her dying declaration. In his presence the doctor examined the patient om

and told him that the patient is in a condition to give her dying declaration. He has further deposed B

that he then went to the patient Vijaymala and recorded her dying declaration. He claims that the original dying declaration was preserved by him at the Tahsil Office. He produced the same from a ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


sealed envelope and the document has been proved rt

at Exhibit 53 and the envelope at Exhibit 53-A. ou

The witness has referred to the copy of the dying declaration as "xerox copy" although it is carbon C

copy. He refers that he gave the copy to police. Police registered the offence on the basis of the copy which has been proved at Exhibit 54. h



The version given by the victim in H

Exhibit 53 can be stated to be as under:- y

Victim claimed that she is resident of Uswad, Tq-Mantha, Dist-Nanded; ba

she is aged 19 years and was making truthful statement, that on 18th October 2007, in the morning at about 10.00 O'clock she was at her residential house and her husband om

Dnyaneshwar and Ramprasad (Bhaya) and Arunabai (sister-in-law) all these three persons beat her and poured kerosene on her person and burned her. Her husband says that he B

does not like her and was always beating her and asking her to bring Rs.50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand) from her brother and so saying, was troubling her. At Jalna, in the hospital she had been brought by her husband and her Bhaya, namely, ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


Ramprasad and they admitted her in rt

the hospital. More than this, she did not want to say anything. ou

18. Dying declaration to the above effect was recorded at Exhibit 53 by PW-9 between 8.10 to C

8.25 p.m. Learned counsel for the accused has referred to the evidence of PW-9 to claim that the h

witness did not get an endorsement of the doctor ig

recorded, before recording the dying declaration. He has compared Exhibit 53 with Exhibit 54. On H

Exhibit 53 in the left hand column, there is endorsement of Dr. S.B. Mhaske to the effect that y

the patient is conscious, oriented, to give oral ba

statement and that the statement is recorded during 8.00 to 8.25 p.m. on 20th October 2007. om

Learned counsel for accused is comparing this endorsement in the left hand column of Exhibit 53 with the carbon copy, Exhibit 54 and it is rightly B

pointed out that the carbon copy does not bear such endorsement in the left hand column. In Exhibit 54, rather in the left hand column, there ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


is endorsement regarding registration of crime. rt

The cross-examination of PW-9 Naib Tahsildar, ou

Tulsiram, shows that the doctor had "orally" told him that the patient is in a condition to give her C

dying declaration. Thus, before recording statement, no written endorsement was taken from the doctor. In fact even after recording the dying h

declaration, if the endorsement of doctor was ig

immediately taken, is doubtful. In the cross- H

examination, the Naib Tahsildar, PW-9, was confronted with Exhibit 54 that it does not bear y

endorsement of the doctor regarding condition of ba

the patient. PW-9 explained that while making copy of the original dying declaration and issuing the same to the police concerned, doctor was not with om

him and therefore on the "xerox copy" of the dying declaration of the patient, on Exhibit 54, there B

is no endorsement of the doctor about condition of the patient. This explanation cannot be accepted. PW-9 himself is aware that Exhibit 54 is only a carbon copy, as at another place he admitted that ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:26 ::: cria160.12


on Exhibit 54, the carbon copy of dying rt

declaration, there is thumb impression of the ou

victim. Exhibit 54 is carbon copy as far as regards the portion of dying declaration, but has C

thumb impression of the victim in original as well as endorsement of PW-9 of "SAMAKSH" i.e. "before me" and signature with date of this witness in h

original. If carbon copy was there, there is no ig

question of going and getting copy made somewhere H

else for the police. If immediately on recording of the dying declaration, doctor was available and y

endorsing Exhibit 53, the carbon could have been ba

maintained and endorsement taken. Even if carbon had been removed, if PW-9 was signing in original on the carbon copy and also taking thumb om

impression in original of the patient, he could have taken the endorsement of the doctor also, B

before giving the carbon copy to the police for registering the offence. In Exhibit 54 time recorded is 20.10 to 20.25 hours. It appears, later when Doctor endorsed Exhibit 53 and in ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


endorsement mentioned that the statement was rt

recorded during "8.00 to 8.25 p.m. on 20.10.2007" ou

quietly in body of Exhibit 53 overwriting was done and "20.10" was converted to "20.00". This C

remained to be done in Exhibit 54. . Going through the evidence, it is doubtful, h

whether before, during and after recording of the ig

dying declaration, the doctor was there to ensure H

that the patient was in fact in a condition to make dying declaration. In any case, said Dr. y

Mhaske has also not been examined by the ba

prosecution and it cannot be said that the endorsement of the doctor regarding condition of the patient, has been duly proved. om

. It has to be remembered that the victim had B

suffered 95% burn injuries. The incident had taken place on 18th October 2007 at 10.00 a.m. and on 20th October 2007 by 08.10 p.m. when the second dying declaration was being recorded about 58 ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


hours were over, by which time, septicemia may rt

have started, if the evidence of PW-4 Dr. Vijay ou

Kumar is recalled. To repeat, PW-4 Dr. Vijay Kumar has deposed that after 48 hours from the burn C

septicemia starts and after development of septicemia, the physical condition of the patient starts deteriorating. In the circumstances, it is h

doubtful if the victim was in the correct physical ig

condition to give the dying declaration H

Exhibit 53.


. The document Exhibit 53 does not have any ba

endorsement that the same was read over and explained to the victim before taking her thumb impression.


. PW-9, Tulsiram Gaikwad has further admitted B

that he has not recorded the dying declaration in question and answer form. He also admits that he did not ask the questions to the patient/victim, to ascertain her physical and mental condition. ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


Attention of victim was not drawn to her earlier rt

statement Exhibit 63 which was to the contrary. ou

19. PW-3 and PW-6 had been with the patient C

since the afternoon of 18th October 2007 and were in a position to influence her. h

20. The trial Court discussed the evidence ig

to show that accused Nos.2 and 3 had no concern H

with the ill-treatment of Vijaymala and even PW-2 Prakash, who had reached the spot immediately, had y

not referred to the presence of accused Nos.2 ba

and 3 at the time of incident. The trial Court, thus, did not believe the evidence regarding involvement of accused Nos.2 and 3 in the incident om

and even observed (in para 23 of the Judgment) that the dying declaration recorded by the Naib B

Tahsildar pertaining to the accused Nos.2 and 3 appears to be just like tutored by mother and brothers of the deceased. Surprisingly, the trial Court relied on the same dying declaration to ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


convict accused No.1. If the evidence of PW-2 rt

Prakash is kept in view, it is apparent that ou

accused Nos.2 and 3 were residing separate and when the incident was still unfolding, he had C

reached the spot. He did not refer to the presence of accused Nos.2 and 3. The prosecution has not disowned PW-2 Prakash or his evidence. It is quite h

apparent that wrongly accused Nos.2 and 3 were ig

involved for the charge of murder. It does appear H

that the victim was tutored to state in Exhibit 53 that accused Nos.2 and 3 had beaten her and along y

with accused No.1, poured kerosene on her person ba

and burned her. The evidence of PW-1, PW-3 and PW-6 about victim making such oral dying declarations to them, also is not reliable and om

deserves to be rejected. When it is apparent that there was tutoring regarding involvement of B

accused Nos.2 and 3, the evidence does not inspire confidence even as regards accused No.1. For such reasons, in the facts and circumstances of this matter, the dying declaration Exhibit 53 does not ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


inspire confidence and deserves to be rejected. rt




21. Now, evidence regarding the third version that the victim poured kerosene on herself and burned herself, needs to be considered. In this h

regard, evidence of PW-2 Prakash now needs to be ig

examined. Spot panchnama Exhibit 46, in the H

sketch, shows that this witness is immediate neighbour of the accused, with a common wall in y

between and a common courtyard on the west. ba

Naturally he was the first to get attracted. Evidence of PW-2 Prakash is that he heard shouts om

of victim and rushed towards the house of accused and noticed that the accused was throwing water on victim and trying to extinguish her fire. He asked B

her how she got burnt and victim told him that she burnt herself on account of trouble from husband (see Marathi version). At that time Accused was outside the house and was then called in. Then a ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


vehicle was brought and victim was taken to rt



. Then there is dying declaration Exhibit 63. C

The prosecution was not fair when such dying declaration was kept back and steps were not taken to bring on record this document. The prosecution h

did not call A.S.I. Chandanse who recorded such ig

statement of the victim between 3.00 to 3.30 p.m. H

on 18th October 2007 itself. There is an endorsement in the margin of Exhibit 63 that the y

patient is in a condition to give statement. The ba

endorsement though in Marathi, should be of the doctor. Prosecution did not call such doctor also. The accused, in his statement under Section 313 of om

the Code of Criminal Procedure, stated that he wanted to examine A.S.I. Chandanse, as defence B

witness. It appears that in the trial Court, accused made efforts to summon A.S.I. Chandanse, but his presence could not be secured. Accused filed application Exhibit 62. The application was ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


under Section 294 of of the Code of Criminal rt

Procedure. The document had been filed in the ou

Court by the prosecution, but surprisingly, accused wanted the State to say whether it admits C

or denies the document. It is interesting that A.P.P. endorsed on application Exhibit 62 that "the statement recorded by A.S.I. Chandanse" is h

not acceptable to the prosecution. Thus, the State ig

was disowning its own document, recorded by its H

own officer. Apparently, the accused wanted to rely on the document and the trial Court directed y

that the document may be marked exhibit. ba

22. If the contents of Exhibit 63 are perused, the victim stated to the following om



She has been admitted in the casualty ward of Government Hospital, Jalna. She is resident of Uswad and does agricultural work. Place of her parents is at Amboda, Tq-Mantha. Her father's name is Himatrao Gore, who has passed away. ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


Her brother is Munjaji and mother is rt

Ansabai. She got married about six months back. Her parents in-law are dead. She has four sisters-in-law, ou

who are already married and staying at their matrimonial homes. She has Bhaya (brother-in-law), namely, Ramprasad. Since her marriage, her C

husband Dnyaneshwar has always been telling her that he does not like her and abuses her and also beats her. On that day of 18th October 2007, in the morning at about 9.00 h

to 9.30 a.m. from the point of cooking, there was "KURBUR", i.e. ig

murmuring, that she should not cook for him (i.e. the husband) and he will do his own cooking. On this H

count, there was exchange of words. She got angry because of all this and poured kerosene on herself and by match stick, burned herself by y

putting fire to her clothes. When she started burning, she started ba

shouting and her husband, Bhaya, after putting water on her and extinguishing the fire, had put her in Jeep and for treatment brought her to Government Hospital, Jalna om

where she was still taking treatment. Suitable action should be taken against her husband Dnyaneshwar.


. Exhibit 63 was recorded soon after the incident when, as per record, accused as well as ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


PW-3 and PW-6 had just brought victim to Hospital rt

at Jalna and scope for tutoring was neutralized. ou

The recording of such statement is vaguely referred to in letter Exhibit 52 given later on C

20th October 2007 to Naib Tahsildar. PW-10 P.I. Vilas has also deposed that he had received statement of deceased recorded by P.S.I. h

Chandanse. Thus initially both sides accepted this ig

position to be true till evening of 20th October H

2007 when Naib Tahsildar was moved. y

23. The statement Exhibit 63, read with ba

evidence of PW-2 Prakash, shows that on day of incident the victim got agitated from a petty matter and took the extreme step of putting fire om

to herself. The learned trial Court has wrongly discarded the evidence of PW-2 Prakash and Exhibit B

63. In para 22 of its Judgment, the trial Court accepted that the two are quite similar but entered into the exercise of comparing words and has ultimately ignored the evidence on this count. ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


The spot panchnama shows that the House No.234 has rt

been divided between accused No.1 Dnyaneshwar and ou

his brother Ramprasad, accused No.2. The house was like a "PADIT WADA", i.e. dilapidated house. C

Inside the room of the accused, there was "CHUL" for cooking i.e. mud hearth. Naturally, there was aluminium kettle or container, having capacity to h

store kerosene. There was also a chimney or a lamp ig

lying on the spot with the cap somewhere else. H

Even this chimney, lamp was having smell of kerosene. It appears that the floor was of mud, as y

PW-10 P.I., Vilas collected sample of simple mud ba

and mud smelling of kerosene, from the spot. Although it appears that there were articles like cooler and fan in the house and so electricity om

must be there, still looking to the facts that the cooking was on "CHUL", mud hearth, easy B

availability of kerosene on the spot, was there. In the circumstances, it appears that victim reacted suddenly, to cause burn injuries to herself.

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24. In the cross-examination of PW-3 Munjaji, ou

it was suggested to him that his sister burnt herself on her own. The witness denied this C

suggestion. However, this shows that the defence of the accused is that the victim burnt herself. Even in his statement under Section 313 of h

Cr.P.C., the accused stated that on the day of ig

incident, between him and Vijaymala (victim) there H

was quarrel and she herself poured kerosene on herself and burnt herself and when he saw people y

going towards his house, he also went and he put ba

out the fire and in Jeep took her to hospital. Keeping the observations of Hon'ble Supreme Court om

in view in the matter of Shudhakar supra, that defence has to prove its case on touchstone of preponderance and probabilities, when evidence of B

PW-2 is read with the above statement recorded, it can be said that the defence has discharged its responsibility. No doubt the evidence of writer of Exhibit 63 and doctor endorsing the document could ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


not be brought on record by the accused and the rt

document is not proved in the strict sense, but ou

keeping in view the fact that such police officer was basically witness of the prosecution and C

prosecution has kept back the witness, the benefit of doubt should go to the accused. Even if Exhibit 63 is ignored, evidence of PW-2 Prakash, read with h

explanation in statement under Section 313 of ig

Cr.P.C. is also sufficient for accused to explain. H

It needs to be held that the defence has proved its case on touchstone of preponderance and y



25. Charge brought against the accused and for which trial has been held, is only under om

Section 498-A and Section 302 of I.P.C. No alternative charge of abetment to suicide, under B

Section 306 of I.P.C. was brought. Apart from this, it is now well settled that in a house-hold, between husband and wife, in natural course, there can be some differences of opinion. Natural wear ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


and tear cannot be treated as abetment to commit rt

suicide. If one of the partner over-reacts so as ou

to burn himself or herself, the other partner cannot be stated to have committed abetment. C

Looking to evidence of PW-2 Prakash, the victim had merely stated to him that she got burned herself on account of trouble from husband. h

Although this witness is immediate neighbour, he ig

has deposed that victim earlier never told him H

about ill-treatment caused to her. In Exhibit 63, the only thing she stated was that her husband was y

telling her that he does not like her and used to ba

abuse and beat her. She mentioned that there was some "KURBUR" i.e. murmuring, by the accused on the day of incident that she should not cook for om

him and he himself would cook for him. Due to this there was "SHABDIK BOLCHAL", i.e. oral exchange of B

words. She got angry and reacted by putting kerosene on her person and setting herself on fire.

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. There is no material that on 18th October, rt

2007 there was any grave act of accused or he ou

actively instigated or assisted the victim to commit suicide. The conduct of the accused in C

immediately putting water on her and extinguishing fire and then taking her to the hospital, shows that he did not want that she should cause such h

harm to herself.ig


26. In the matter of Suvarnasingh Tiratsingh Dhanjal vs. State of Maharashtra, reported in 2006 y

Cri. L.J., Page No.185, it was the case of ba

abetment to commit suicide under Section 306 and there was charge under Section 498-A of I.P.C. om

also. The Hon'ble Court discussed the evidence of that matter and found that even though the prosecution had proved the case of cruelty and B

harassment as contemplated under Section 498-A, still there was nothing to justify more active role played by accused No.1 of instigation to commit suicide.

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. In the present matter also there is no ou

sufficient material regarding abetment to commit suicide.


27. Section 498-A of I.P.C. reads as under:- h

"498-A. Husband or relative of ig

husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.- Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a H

woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also y

be liable to fine.


Explanation.- For the purpose of this section, "cruelty" means- (a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive om

the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or B

(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


to meet such demand."



28. Regarding cruelty, PW-1 Ramesh More has deposed that after marriage for one month the C

victim was treated well but after one and half month, when she had come, she disclosed to him that the accused used to make allegations that she h

does not behave properly at the matrimonial home. ig

He claims that he had talked with the accused and H

accused had undertaken to treat her well and promised not to harass her. PW-3 Munjaji refers to y

the victim coming back to place of her parents ba

three days after marriage and then accused again taking her and that they were later on residing at Aurangabad. Thus, in the initial days there does om

not appear that there was any problem. He says that at that time he was staying at Pune and B

before Pola festival his mother informed that the accused has brought Vijaymama(victim) and he is not ready to accept her for cohabitation. According to him, he went to his village (Amboda ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


Kadam) and victim told him that her husband used rt

to beat her by suspecting her chastity. His ou

evidence is that he took up the matter and immediately accused took the victim, promising C

that he will not ill-treat her. He has deposed that fifteen days thereafter, he had gone to see the victim at Uswad and at that time she said that h

the accused is again ill-treating her and beating ig

her and was saying that she should bring Rs. H

50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand) for purchasing Jeep and that if she fails to do so, he will cut y

her hands and legs. This witness claims that the ba

accused had also, on telephone, demanded Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand). om

. Cross-examination of PW-3 shows that financial condition of the accused was better than him. He B

was controverted with his statement to the police to record that he had not told them about receiving of telephone call from his mother before Pola festival and also that he had not told that ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


accused had promised that he will not ill-treat or rt

harass the victim. Omissions are proved on this ou

count. Similarly, omission is proved regarding the evidence that accused had said that he is not C

afraid of police and will continue to ill-treat the victim.


. Then there is evidence of PW-6 Ahilyabai. She ig

is mother of the victim. It is not in her evidence H

that on earlier occasion the accused had brought the victim and had declared that he does not want y

to cohabit with her (as has been deposed to by ba

PW-3). She does not claim that she had made any phone call to PW-3 to come and intervene. Even regarding the ill-treatment, she has deposed that om

it is her son who had told her that the victim told her son that her husband ill-treats her. B

Thus, this evidence of hers is hear-say.

29. The substance of above discussion is that regarding alleged ill-treatment, oral evidence of ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


PW's 1, 3 and 6 is scanty. The evidence is rt

sufficient only to raise suspicion that things ou

were not alright. As regards demand deposed to by PW-3, statement Exhibit 63 of victim, does not C

refer to any such demand, although it refers to earlier conduct of abusing and beating as the wife was not liked.




The evidence inspiring confidence, is of H

PW-2 Prakash, that the victim during the course of incident, told him that on account of trouble y

from husband she burned herself. This evidence ba

read with Exhibit 63, which has already been discussed, shows that there was indeed some conduct of accused, which was agitating the om

victim. If Exhibit 63 is kept in view, the conduct of the accused all the time telling her that he B

does not like her or abusing or beating her, must be treated to be "cruelty" under Section 498-A of I.P.C. Although such conduct may fall short for abetment to commit suicide, but it can be ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


sufficient conduct which would amount to cruelty rt

of such a nature that the wife may cause grave ou

injury to herself. Relying on the evidence discussed, offence under Section 498-A of I.P.C. C

must be held to be proved and conviction on that count needs to be maintained. h

31. In the matter of Aman Singh vs. State of ig

Madhya Pradesh, reported in II (2005) DMC, Page H

No.207, it was a case under Section 498-A and 306 of I.P.C. It was observed that only because y

cruelty was there or beating took place fifteen ba

days before the death, the same did not amount to abetment and although conviction under Section 306 om

was not maintainable, the evidence could be relied on to hold the accused guilty under Section 498-A of I.P.C.


32. Hon'ble Supreme Court in the matter of Amalendu Pal alias Jhantu vs. State of West Bengal, reported in A.I.R. 2010 S.C., Page No.512, ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


observed in Para 24 and 26 as under: rt


"24. The perpetration of physical torture on the deceased on the day prior to the date of the incident which led the deceased to commit suicide is the prosecution case all throughout. It is C

nowhere the case of the prosecution that the appellant had played any active role either in instigating or aiding the commission of suicide by the deceased for denying to accept Anita as the wife of the h

appellant. Anita, the second wife of the appellant was brought by the appellant to his house about three months prior to the ig

date of the incident of suicide by the deceased and, therefore, bringing of the second wife to the house by the appellant H

cannot be said to have either incited or facilitated the commission of suicide by the deceased. It is also not the case of the prosecution as disclosed from the evidence led which we have scrutinised very minutely. The aforesaid y

contention, in our considered opinion, is far-fetched and is not established by the ba

facts of the present case. After carefully assessing the evidence on record we find that there is no direct evidence to show that the appellant had by his acts instigated or provoked the deceased to om

commit suicide and has not done any act which could be said to have facilitated the commission of suicide by the deceased."

"26. From the evidence of record B

available before us, we find that the prosecution witnesses have in their testimonies stated that the deceased was tortured both physically and mentally by the appellant for the first time after his marriage with the deceased when he was refused permission for marriage with said Anita by the deceased. On having been ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


refused the permission for his second rt

marriage with Anita, the appellant again, after a few days requested the deceased to accede to his request for marriage with ou

Anita, which request was again refused by the deceased. Consequent to the said position and due to the adamant position taken by the deceased, cruelty was meted out to her by the accused which fact is sufficiently proved from the evidence on C

record. Therefore, we find no reason to take a different view than what has been taken by the trial Court and the High Court as far as Section 498-A, IPC is concerned."




Keeping in view the observations of the Hon'ble Supreme Court and considering the evidence H

in the present matter although it appears that offence under Section 302 of I.P.C. has not been y

proved and although defence has been taken that ba

the victim herself caused burns to herself due to cruelty, we are not resorting to section 306 of om

I.P.C. also but find that the evidence is sufficient to hold the accused guilty under Section 498-A of I.P.C.


34. We have considered the period in jail undergone by the accused as under trial and as ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


convict. We are taking note of the facts of rt

cruelty as proved in this matter as well as ou

conduct of accused when incident took place. Keeping all this in view, although we are C

proceeding to convict the accused under Section 498-A of I.P.C., we propose to impose sentence only to the extent of period already undergone. h



For the above reasons, the Appeal is H

partly allowed.


(A) The conviction and sentence for the offence ba

punishable under Section 302 of I.P.C. imposed on the Appellant-accused Dnyaneshwar, is set aside. Fine on this count, paid by him, be returned to om



(B). The conviction under Section 498-A of I.P.C. is maintained and the Appellant-accused Dnyaneshwar is sentenced to rigorous imprisonment already undergone. Sentence of fine on this count ::: Downloaded on - 11/10/2013 22:08:27 ::: cria160.12


as imposed by the trial Court, is maintained. As rt

per record, the fine has already been paid. ou

(C). The Appellant-accused Dnyaneshwar may be C

released, if not required in any other offence. [A.I.S. CHEEMA, J.] [K.U. CHANDIWAL, J.] h








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