IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010
Date of Decision: April 08, 2013
State of Haryana
CORAM: HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE JASBIR SINGH
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE INDERJIT SINGH
Present: Mr.S.S.Sandhu, Advocate
Legal Aid Counsel with
for the appellant.
Mr.G.S.Chahal, Addl. Advocate General, Haryana
for the respondent-State.
INDERJIT SINGH, J.
The present appeal has been filed by the appellant against the judgment of conviction dated 13.10.2010 and order of sentence dated 20.10.2010, passed by the Addl. Sessions Judge, Sonipat, whereby he was held guilty and convicted and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life under Section 304-B IPC. He was further convicted and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years and to pay a fine of ` 5,000/- and in default of payment of fine, to further undergo simple imprisonment for a period of six months under Section 316 IPC. Both the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.
Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010 -2- The brief facts of the prosecution case are that FIR in the present case has been registered on the basis of application filed by Vinod Kumar Pundir on 04.08.2006 to SHO, Police Station, Kundli, District Sonipat. It is stated in the application by the complainant that his daughter Preeti's marriage was solemnized with Rajpal on 04.05.2005. At the time of marriage, he spent more than ` 2 lacs by giving all household goods and cash amount of ` 21,000/-. But from the dowry given in the marriage, husband of his daughter, mother-in- law Ramwati Devi, elder brother-in-law Prempal Singh and younger brother-in-law Komal Singh were not happy and just after the marriage they all demanded ` 50,000/- cash and motor cycle as more dowry. On showing her incapability, they used to torture his daughter and also used to give beatings to her regarding which complaints have been made to the complainant or his wife by their daughter many a times on telephone and on meeting. When his daughter started calling everyday on having been heavily tortured, then on 21.07.2006, complainant Vinod Pundir, his wife Kumodini Pundir, his step nephew (Bhanja) Sandeep and elder step nephew (Bhanja) Pardeep Singh, who are employed in the Haryana Plywood Factory, reached at her matrimonial house with intention to pacify the in-laws of Preeti. They tried their best to pacify them but none of them was ready to understand them. Till last, they remained adamant for their aforesaid demand of more dowry. On 23.07.2006, he (complainant) along with his wife and step nephew Sandeep returned to Aligarh. On 24.07.2006 at about 5.00 P.M., all the aforesaid members of in-laws Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010 -3- family had committed murder of his daughter for not fulfilling their demand of dowry. His daughter was having pregnancy of nine months at the time of incident. On receiving information, his step nephew Pardeep Singh, his wife Lovely and complainant's mother Smt.Gulab Devi, who was at the house of Pardeep Singh at that time, reached the matrimonial house of Preeti. On reaching there, they saw that Preeti was although breathing but froth was coming out from her mouth and nose. Bangles and spectacles of her daughter were found broken down on the earth. Eyes were coming out and bed-sheet was smeared with lot of blood. On seeing her this condition, Pardeep and Gulab Devi put Preeti in a vehicle and proceeded to ESI Hospital Basai Darayor Delhi. They also forcibly took Rajpal, husband of his daughter. On reaching the hospital, the doctor declared her brought dead. His step nephew immediately informed him (complainant) that Preeti had expired and complainant reached Delhi immediately and saw that his daughter was lying dead. Complainant further stated in the application that he is sure that his daughter Preeti had been murdered by administering poison by her in-laws for not fulfilling their aforesaid demand of more dowry. It is also stated in the application that on 25.07.2006, he had made his statement before Sub Divisional Magistrate, Rajouri Garden, Delhi under whose supervision post- mortem of Preeti was conducted on 25.07.2006 in Din Dayal Upadiyay Hospital, Delhi. On the basis of this application, FIR was registered on 04.08.2006. In the statement before the SDM, Rajouri Garden, Delhi on 25.07.2006, the complainant stated same facts. After the Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010 -4- registration of the FIR, the Investigating Officer SI Rajpal visited the spot and prepared rough site plan Ex.PL/1. On 05.08.2006, complainant handed over marriage card which was taken into police possession and statements of witnesses were recorded. On 24.07.2006, Inspector Sudesh Kumar, P.S. Adarsh Nagar, Delhi got conducted post-mortem examination on the dead body of Preeti after receiving telephonic message from ESI Hospital, Basaidarapur, Delhi. In this regard separate DD was reduced into writing in the police station. He also called upon the then SDM Sh.P.M.Jain on 25.07.2008 for performing the inquest proceedings. After completion of the post-mortem examination, the doctor handed over to him viscera and sample seal which were taken into possession vide recovery memo Ex.PH in Din Dayal Hospital, Delhi. On 27.08.2006, ASI Surender Kumar received the case file from SHO Kundli for further investigation of the case. On 18.10.2006, he received post- mortem report and viscera of deceased Preeti. On the same day, he took post-mortem examination report and viscera into police possession vide recovery memo Ex.PG/1. On 24.10.2006, Viscera was sent to FSL Madhuban for examination. On 25.10.2006, Section 316 IPC was added. On 10.11.2006, accused Rajpal was arrested. After necessary investigation, challan was presented against the accused-appellant before the Court.
On presentation of challan, copies of challan and other documents were supplied to the accused-appellant and co-accused under Section 207 Cr.P.C. Finding prima facie case, the appellant Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010 -5- and co-accused were charge-sheeted under Sections 304-B, 316 read with Section 34 IPC and in alternative, under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC, to which they pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. In support of its case, prosecution examined PW-1 MHC Ranbir Singh, who is a formal witness and tendered into evidence his affidavit Ex.PA. PW-2 Constable Inder Pal, Draftsman, mainly deposed regarding preparing of scaled site plan. PW-3 Head Constable Anand Swroop mainly deposed regarding handing over sealed plastic jars to ASI Surinder Kumar. PW-4 Sh.B.M.Jain, Deputy Secretary, Home Department, Govt. NCT Delhi, deposed that on 25.07.2006, he was posted as Sub Divisional Magistrate, Rajouri Garden, Delhi and on that day he held inquest proceedings Ex.PE on the dead body of Smt.Preeti, which bears his signatures. He further deposed that he correctly recorded the statement of witnesses and also dispatched the dead body for post-mortem examination vide application Ex.PE/1. PW-5 Vinod Pundir mainly deposed as per prosecution version. PW-6 ASI Ram Tirath deposed regarding recording of FIR Ex.PH and sending of Special Report to Illaqa Magistrate. PW-7 ASI Surender Kumar deposed regarding taking into police possession PMR, Photographs and Viscera vide recovery memo Ex.PG/1. PW-8 Inspector Ram Avtar Panwar deposed regarding preparing of report under Section 173 Cr.P.C. PW-9 Inspector Sudesh Kumar mainly deposed regarding recording of DD in Police Station Moti Nagar, Delhi and also calling upon SDM for performing the inquest proceedings. PW-10 Dr.Sujit Kumar Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010 -6- Chaudhary deposed that on 24.07.2006, he medico legally examined Preeti wife of Rajpal Singh. He also stated that Preeti came in casualty with nine months of pregnancy and urgent call to gynecologist for opinion was given. Patient came in casualty dead. ECG straight-line. He prepared MLR Ex.PJ which bears his signatures. He also issued death certificate Ex.PK and form Ex.PK/1 regarding the death of Preeti wife of Rajpal Singh. PW-11 SI Rajpal mainly deposed regarding partly investigation conducted by him in the present case. PW-12 Dr.L.C.Gupta, Specialist Forensic Medicines deposed that on 25.07.2006, he conducted post-mortem examination on the dead body of Preeti. He found a full turn baby (dead male foetus) of livable size inside the uterus, which was of about nine months intra-uterine age. Viscera and blood samples were preserved, sealed and handed over to the police official for chemical analysis from CFSL. The opinion about the cause of death and the mode of death was deferred at that time due to non-availability of chemical analysis. Then sealed envelop was opened which contained Chemical examiner report Ex.PN. After going through report Ex.PN, he is of the opinion that cause of death was injection of sulfas poison (Aluminium Phosphate). PW-13 Pardeep mainly deposed that in the year 2006, he was working in Haryana Plywood as an Accountant. He was residing in the private quarter and accused Rajpal used to reside in labour quarter in factory premises. They both became friends to each other. He was the mediator in marriage of Rajpal with his cousin Preeti deceased. Preeti was daughter of his maternal uncle. He Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010 -7- deposed regarding marriage of Preeti with Rajpal, demand of dowry and the harassment given to Preeti. He also deposed that on 21.07.2006, his maternal uncle Vinod Pundir, maternal aunt Kumodini Pundir and his younger brother Sandeep came to his residential house. On 23.07.2006, his maternal uncle returned back to Aligarh. On the next day, at about 5.00 P.M., the peon of company namely Tejpal informed him that his sister was not feeling well and some persons were gathered there. Then, he reached the house of his cousin and found that some frothy liquid was coming out from her mouth and nose. He also deposed regarding shifting of Preeti to ESI Hospital, Delhi. PW-14 Kumodini Pundir, is the wife of complainant and mother of the deceased. She also deposed as per prosecution version.
At the close of prosecution evidence, the accused- appellant and co-accused were examined under Section 313 Cr.P.C. and they denied the correctness of the evidence and pleaded themselves as innocent. Accused-appellant Rajpal further stated that he has been falsely implicated in this case. He further stated that he along with Preeti was living separately from his family members after his marriage in the premises of Haryana Plywood Factory, Kundli, from some distance of his other family members. Preeti was nine months' pregnant and for her care, her grand-mother namely Gulab Devi was living always with them. Pardeep cousin and his wife Lovely also look after Preeti because they were also living in the factory premises. He further stated that Preeti had died due to consuming of Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010 -8- wrong medicines under the instructions of local dai as she was in family way and at the time of consuming of wrong medicine, the grand-mother of Preeti and Lovely wife of Pardeep were also present there. Accused-appellant stated that he was on duty at that time and was informed by grand-mother of Preeti and by Lovely about the incident and they took her to hospital for treatment. He had never harassed and tortured Preeti and the mis-happening was due to wrong medicines. Other co-accused had deposed same facts as deposed by accused Rajpal Singh.
In defence, accused examined DW-1 Ashok Chauhan, who mainly deposed that Rajpal was married with Preeti in May, 2005. Rajpal was living with his wife in staff quarters and Prem Pal, Komal and his mother Ramawati were living separately in servant quarters. Pardeep PW is relative of Preeti deceased and was working as Accounts Clerk in the factory. Preeti was pregnant and was at advanced stage of her delivery at the time of incident. Preeti was looked after by her grand mother Gulab Devi and Lovely wife of Pardeep. He further deposed that Rajpal never demanded any dowry from the parents of Preeti and never gave any beatings. Preeti consumed wrong medicine and at that time the grand-mother of Preeti and Lovely were present there and due to this Preeti had died. He further deposed that Rajpal and his family never harassed and tortured Preeti on account of demand of dowry. DW-2 Krishna Gupta, DW-3 Ramesh Ojha, DW-4 Ram Pratap Singh, DW-5 Sunil Dutt Bhardwaj and DW-7 Lalta Parshad mainly deposed same facts as Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010 -9- deposed by DW-1. DW-6 Neeraj Chauhan mainly brought the attendance record of the factory. The duty hours of the accused persons were 8.30 A.M. to 5.00 P.M. as per record. On the basis of the evidence produced by the prosecution, accused-appellant was convicted and sentenced as stated above by the Addl. Sessions Judge, Sonipat. Co-accused Ramwati alias Rajwati, Prempal and Komal were found not guilty and acquitted of the charges framed against them.
At the time of arguments, learned counsel for the appellant argued that defence version has been duly proved by the DWs. Accused Rajpal Singh was not present in the house at the time of occurrence. The death of Preeti occurred due to consuming of wrong medicines as she was under the treatment of local Dai (mid- wife) and the grand-mother Gulab Devi and wife of Pardeep namely Lovely were looking after her. Learned counsel for the appellant further argued that demand of dowry has not been proved. He next argued that the material witnesses namely Lovely and Gulab Devi have not been examined in the present case. Therefore, a reasonable doubt exists in the prosecution case. Therefore, he argued that appeal should be allowed having merits. Learned counsel for the appellant, in the alternative, prayed for reduction of sentence by placing on record a judgment passed by Hon'ble the Supreme Court in Hem Chand vs. State of Haryana, 1994(6) SCC 727. On the other hand, learned Addl. Advocate General, Haryana for respondent-State has argued that case of prosecution Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010 -10- has been duly proved by the PWs. PW-5 Vinod Pundir, father, PW-14 Kumodini Pundir, mother and PW-13 Pardeep Kumar, cousin of deceased Preeti have consistently deposed regarding demand of dowry and harassment, even immediately before the occurrence. He further argued that from the chemical examiner report and the opinion of the doctor, cause of death in the present case is due to consuming of Aluminium Phosphate i.e. Sulfas poison. The occurrence took place in the house of the accused within seven years of the marriage. He next argued that oral statements have been duly corroborated by medical evidence. Learned State counsel, therefore, argued that there being no merit, the appeal should be dismissed. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and with their assistance, have gone through the evidence on record minutely and very carefully.
From the evidence on record, we find no merit in the arguments of the learned counsel for the appellant. It is an admitted fact that Preeti was married with Rajpal on 04.05.2005. It is also an admitted fact that occurrence took place on 24.07.2006 i.e. within seven years of marriage. It is also an admitted fact as well as duly proved by the PWs that occurrence took place in the house of the accused. The parents of Preeti deceased namely PW-5 Vinod Pundir, PW-14 Kumdini Pundir and PW-13 Pardeep, who was mediator in the marriage of Preeti and residing nearby the house of accused, have consistently deposed regarding the harassment to Preeti on the ground of demand of dowry. All the above-said three PWs have also Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010 -11- deposed regarding their visit on 21.07.2006 and their return on 23.07.2006. As per the chemical examiner report and the opinion of the doctor, the cause of death in the present case was due to consumption of Aluminium Phosphate i.e. Sulfas poison. The mere explanation given by the defence is that Preeti herself took wrong medicine. Sulfas poison cannot be wrongly consumed by an adult person by taking it as a medicine. Sulfas tablets are also not kept in the house openly. Therefore, the defence version is not believable that Preeti had consumed sulfas poison as a wrong medicine. Moreover, broken bangles were found on the spot. The statements of the DWs that no harassment was given to Preeti and no dowry demand was raised by the accused-appellant, cannot be believed. None of them had given statement to police nor they ever filed any representation or complaint to any higher authority regarding false implication of the accused-appellant. Such type of witnesses can be procured at any time. Their statements have not been supported by any documentary evidence. The mere fact that duty hours of accused-appellant were 8.30 A.M. to 5.00 P.M., does not show that the accused could not have caused the occurrence. Otherwise also, in the FIR, the complainant has stated that incident is of 24.07.2006 in the evening at about 5.00 P.M. They were residing in the quarter of the factory, in which the accused-appellant was employed. Even in the statement of PW-5 Vinod Pundir, made to SDM, Rajouri Garden, Delhi on 25.07.2006, he has stated that on 24.06.2007 at about 6.00 P.M., he received information from PW-13 Pardeep on telephone that Preeti is Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010 -12- unconscious and froth was coming out from her mouth, which fact shows that the occurrence took place in the evening time on 24.07.2006. Therefore, production of attendance register etc. also will not show the innocence of the accused-appellant. As already discussed, the defence version, therefore, cannot be believed and no reliance can be placed on the statements of DWs. The demand of dowry and harassment by accused has been duly proved by the prosecution by bringing cogent evidence. There is no reason or ground for the PWs to depose falsely against accused Rajpal Singh. From the evidence on record, specially the medical evidence, it is clear that it is a homicidal death due to poisoning. It is nobody's case that Preeti had committed suicide. The version of the accused that Preeti took wrong medicine is also not duly supported and corroborated by any evidence and Sulfas poison cannot be treated as a medicine. We further find that non-examination of Lovely and Gulab Devi does not create reasonable doubt in the prosecution version. PW-13 Pardeep, who is husband of Lovely, has already been examined by the prosecution. Further, Gulab Devi and Lovely were also to depose the same facts. It is quality of the evidence and not the quantity of the evidence, which is to be seen. Therefore, from the evidence on record, we find that accused-appellant has failed to rebut the presumption under Section 304-B IPC. The demand of dowry and harassment to Preeti has been duly proved. The death is within seven years of the marriage and is a homicidal death. PWs are truthful, trustworthy and reliable witnesses. Crl. Appeal No.D-1153-DB of 2010 -13- Their statements have been duly supported and corroborated by medical evidence and investigation of the case. Defence version is not believable. The prosecution has duly proved its case by leading cogent evidence beyond reasonable doubt. The accused-appellant has been rightly convicted and sentenced by the learned trial Court. Accordingly, the judgment of conviction and order of sentence are upheld.
As regarding the prayer for reduction of the sentence, we find no ground to reduce the sentence of the accused-appellant in the present case being a rare case. Preeti deceased was nine months' pregnant and as per medical evidence, a male foetus of nine months was found during post-mortem examination. Keeping in view the nature and gravity of the offence, we do not find any ground to reduce the sentence. As regarding the judgment "1994(6) SCC 727" cited by the learned counsel for the appellant, we have gone through the same. This citation having different facts is not applicable to the facts of present case as already discussed that Preeti deceased was nine months' pregnant in the present case and it falls in the category of rare case.
In view of the above, we find no merit in this appeal and the same is hereby dismissed.
(JASBIR SINGH ) (INDERJIT SINGH)
April 08, 2013