JUDGMENT B.U. Wahane, J.
1. The appellant/State preferred this appeal against the Judgment and Order dated 19-4-1990 passed by the 7th Additional Sessions Judge, Nagpur in a Sessions Trial No. 6 of 1987 recording the findings of acquittal against the respondents/accused for the offences punishable under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, According to the learned Counsel for the appellant/State, the learned trial Judge has not appreciated the facts and circumstances, as also the legal provisions in true and correct perspective and, therefore, the findings are perverse and erroneous. On the contrary, Shri Khapre, the learned Counsel for the respondents/accused supported the findings of acquittal of the respondents/accused and submitted that normally the findings of acquittal are not to be disturbed by the appellate Court unless the findings are perverse and illegal.
2. We heard Shri Akhani, the learned A.P.P. and Shri Khapre, the learned Counsel for the respondents/accused.
3. Most of the facts are not disputed in the appeal by the defence. Deceased Aruna Pathak was residing in her own house with her brother in Gokulpeth, Locality in the city of Nagpur. She had no parents. Therefore, the brother and sister only were staying in their own house. Shri Sharad Pathak the real uncle of deceased Aruna Pathak who was at the relevant time serving in Central P.W.D., was residing in the locality known as Chatrapati Nagar. The brother of deceased Aruna viz. Arvind was an employee of Nagpur Improvement Trust. Deceased Aruna was a commerce graduate. Since the parents of deceased Aruna and Arvind were dead, it was the responsibility of their uncle Shri Sharad Pathak to arrange the marriage of Aruna.
4. The respondent/accused No. 1 Madhusudan Mudke is the son of respondents/accused Nos. 2 and 3. The respondents/accused Nos. 2 and 3. were staying in Surendra Nagar, Nagpur. Shri Sharad Pathak and one Shri Alone his relation, went to the house of accused No. 1 Madhusudan Mudke to open the negotiation about the marriage of Aruna and Madhusudan. The respondents/accused Nos. 2 and 3 informed Sharad Pathak that after the arrival of Madhusudan, they would intimate him the date of the programme to see the girl. On 6-4-1986, the negotiations of marriage were settled at the house of Aruna Pathak. All the accused had been to the house of Aruna to see the girl i.e. Aruna. Thereafter, Sharad Pathak was informed that the girl was approved by Madhusudan i.e. the respondent/accused No. 1. Sharad Pathak specifically informed the accused that as Aruna had no parents, he could spend over the marriage to the tune of Rs. 30,000/- to Rs. 35,000/- only. However thereafter the respondents/ accused suggested for registered marriage. Sharad Pathak, deceased Aruna Pathak and her brother Arvind Pathak acceded to the proposal of the respondents/accused.
5. Accused No. 1 Madhusudan proposed to open two joint fixed deposit accounts of Rs. 10,000/- in the name of Aruna and himself, in two different Banks i.e. State Bank of India, Surendra Nagar Branch & Canara Bank. Similarly, accused proposed that 3 tolas of gold was to be purchased for Aruna and an amount of Rs. 3000/- be spent for the clothes of bride and bride-groom. Further, it was proposed that Rs. 2000/- be spent for dinner and about Rs. 2000/- for booking a hall for marriage ceremony and also about Rs. 1000/- be spent for religious ceremony. The proposals of the accused No. 1 were accepted by Sharad Pathak, deceased Aruna and her brother Arviad. The marriage negotiations were finalised between the accused No. 1 Madhusudan and deceased Aruna at the house of accused. In pursuance of the settlement, a betrothal ceremony (Sakahagandh) was performed at the house of Sharad Pathak on 11-4-86. The photographs of the ceremony were also taken. On the very day, the accused No. 1 supplied the form with his signature to be submitted to the Registrar under the Special Marriage Act. Three tolas of gold was purchased on 12-4-1986. Accused also purchased same gold for preparing Mangalsutra from the same goldsmith.
6. On 13-4-1986, Aruna and her brother Arvind were invited at the house of the accused for meal. The accused No. 1 gave a form for opening the fixed joint account. Accordingly, on 18-4-1986 a joint account was opened in the name of the accused No. 1 and deceased Aruna in the State Bank of India, Surendra Nagar, Branch Nagpur. The marriage was fixed 2-6-1986. The remaining amount of Rs. 10,000/- was to be kept in fixed deposit in Canara Bank, Nagpur. The birth certificate was needed to be attached with the form to be submitted to the Ragistrar under the Special Marriage Act. The form was to be submitted a month before the registration of the Marriage. Accused No. 1 Madhusudan did not supply the birth certificate. As the marriage date was fixed on 2-6-1986, the hall was booked and Rs. 500/- were deposited as advance.
7. According to the prosecution though the marriage was proposed to be a registered marriage under the Special Marriage Act, there were no activities on the part of the accused and, therefore, Sharad Pathak, the uncle of deceased Aruna became suspicious. Sharad Pathak and Manohar alone went to the house of the accused on 28-4-1986. The parents of Madhusudan were present. During the course of talk, the accused Nos. 2 and 3 remarked that the girl is mannerless and, therefore, they do not approve the said girl and marriage be treated as cancelled. Therefore, Sharad Pathak and his relations Shri Muddalwar went to Bhandak at the quarter of accused No. 1 During the talk between them, accused No. 1 Madhusudan accosted Sharad Pathak that the defamed him in the community alleging that he has taken Rs. 50,000/- as Dowry from them. Accused No. 1 Madhusudan further said that unless Rs. 50,000/- are paid to him, he will not marry with Aruna. Sharad Pathak and Muddalwar denied the allegations and tried to pursuade and satisfy him, but their pursuance bore no fruits. Consequently, Sharad Pathak and Muddalwar returned back to Nagpur on 20-5-1986. Sharad Pathak informed his niece deceased Aruna about the demand on the accused. She was shocked to hear the cancellation of her marriage. On 30-5-1986, Aruna committed suicide by burning herself pouring kerosene on her person. The report of the incident was lodged with Ambazari Police Station, Nagpur on 30-5-1986, The offence was registered against the respondents/accused for the offence punishable under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. During the trial, the District Govt. Pleader submitted an application before the Trial Court to frame the additional charge under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. After hearing the learned Counsel of the parties, additional charge was framed under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
8. The accused pleaded not guilty of the charge. They have admitted the facts of Sakahagandh, purchase of gold, booking of hall and opening of the joint account. However, according to Madhusudan he made no demand of any amount towards dowry at any time either from Sharad Pathak or deceased Aruna Pathak or her brother Arvind Pathak. Their case is that Aruna being found unsuitable for Madhusudan the accused No. 1, the marriage was broken. Because of the death of Aruna, her relations have falsely involved the respondents/accused.
The respondents/accused examined Sidharath (D.W. 1) as defence witness. According to the defence, Sidharath was a room mate of accused No. 1 Madhusudan and at the relevant time when Sharad Pathak and Muddalwar had gone to Bhandak, he was present in the quarter and heard the talk between them.
7. The learned trial Judge after scrutinizing the evidence led by the prosecution and the defence recorded the finding of acquittal for the offence punishable under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. In respect of the charge under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, the learned trial Judge observed that even assuming that the demand of Rs. 50,000/- was made at Bhandak, then Nagpur Court has no jurisdiction to try the case and punish the accused.
8. We have heard Shri Akhani, the learned A.P.P. for the appellant/ State and Shri Khapare, the learned Counsel for the respondents/accused. With the assistance of the learned Counsel, we have perused evidence and findings of the learned Trial Court, According to Mr. Akhani, the learned A.P.P., the evidence on record and fact and circumstances only leads to unresistable conclusion that the respondents/accused abetted Aruna to commit suicide. The learned Counsel took us through the provisions of Sections 306 and 107 of the Indian Penal Code, as also Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. It is specifically submitted that as the marriage was broken, the parentless girl became frustated. She thought that in future too the chances of marriage are remote. The respondents/accused declared her as mannerless girl. Consequently, her future being in dark the young educated girl committed suicide.
On the contrary, Shri Khapare, the learned Counsel for the respondents/ accused successfully countered the submission of Shri Akhani, the learned A.P.P. and submitted that the breaking of marriage is not punishable under any statute. However, it is true that the party is liable for civil action. Therefore, according to Shri Khapare the illegal omission would not be actual abatement. He further submitted that even under Section 14 of the Specific Relief Act, the performance of the marriage cannot be enforced. Under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused cannot be said as abetement.
9. Suicide as old as the human history itself and has still been one of the most intriguing and complicated problem that has been perplexing the human mind for ages. It has attracted the attention and discussed by the social workers, psychologists, jurists, psychiatrists, doctors, legislatures and Courts all over the world. Suicide is no doubt a self murdered. Means by its very nature is an act of self killing or self destruction, and act of terminating one's own life by one's own act and without aid or assistance of any other human agencies. But, suicide if completed and successful by itself is not an offence under the Criminal Law because the law can not reach him to convict, while an attempt to commit suicide is punishable under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. Similarly, a person who aids, abets, Counsels or procures the suicide of another is a crime punishable under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.
10. There are number of reasons on account of which the persons commit sucide. The causes to take such recourse are mental, physical and social. Some circumstances are illustrated as follows but they can not be said exhaustive circumstances,
(i) The person suffering from mental illness requiring psychiatric treatment;
(ii) Depressive illness with a feeling of worthlessness and despair and a wish to die accompany most of the mental disorder.
(iii) Due to property and inability to make a living for oneself and the dependents.
(iv) Failure in love, examination or business.
(v) Serious physical illness--either incurable or unbearable or protracted with a sense that he or she can never ever be well again a belief by the person that he/she is a misfit in the society and is no longer of any use to anyone or a sheer loss of interest in life or disenchantment with it, need to defend one's honour or to save oneself from social disgrace and shame,
(vi) Extreme physical or mental torture or cruelty to the marriage woman by husband or his relatives.
11 The modes and methods to commit suicide differ from place to place and person to person and many times governed by the means available. However, some modes and methods could be illustrated particularly with reference to the women as under :
(i) By burning;
(ii) By drowning;
(iii) By poisoning;
(iv) By hanging;
(v) By jumping; and
(vi) By shooting.
12. Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code reads as follows :
"Abetment of suicide--If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine."
As the word "abetment" in respect of suicide is used under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, it has to be read in the sense in which the word "abetment" is defined and used under Sections 107 and 108 of the Indian Penal Code. In other words, in order to convict a person for an offence under Section of the Indian Penal Code, the prosecution must show that there was abetment as understood in the aforesaid sections for the commission of the said offence.
According to Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code, "abetment" can take place in any of the three forms viz., (i) by instigation, (ii) by conspiracy; and (iii) by intentional aiding. Section 107 with its explanations may shortly bestated as under :
"A person commits 'abetment', if he (1) 'instigates a person to commit an offence', (a) by wilful misrepresentation or (b) by wilful concealment of a material fact which he is bound to disclose, causes a thing to be done; or (2) engages in a conspiracy to commit an offence and if an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of such conspiracy: or (3) intentionally aids a person by any act or illegal omission to commit an offence by any act or illegal omission."
It is, thus, clear that as the suicide is not punishable offence, the object can be fulfilled or achieved by bringing to book the persons who abets others to commit the offence. In the instant case, admittedly the first and second part of Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code i.e. instigation and conspiracy to abet will not apply. Therefore, the Counsel stressed on third part i.e. intentionally aids a person by any act or illegal omission doing of that thing. Clause 'thirdly' envisages not a simple omission but an illegal omission'. The omission would be illegal only if what has been omitted to be done was required under the law to be done by such a person. Therefore, considering the letter and spirit of the provisions and even assuming and admitting the facts of the case that the accused No. 1 willfuly declined to marry with Aruna Pathak, by no stretch of imagination it can be said that it will amount to intentionally aids and either it is illegal act or illegal omission on the part of the respondents/accused. Shri Khapare the learned Counsel for the respondents/accused has rightly stated that the marriage is not enforceable under law as also not a crime punishable under law. Therefore, the provisions of Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code are not attracted. Thus, the respondents/accused having not committed the offence punishable under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, they have been rightly acquitted of the charged framed.
13. This takes us to consider the second aspect whether the respondents/accused have committed the offence punishable under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. During the trial, after the evidence of Sharad Pathak was recorded on 1.3.1990, the learned Public Prosecutor submitted an application on 3.3.1990 to frame the additional charge under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. After hearing the parties, the learned trial Judge observed :
"It has come on record that there was a demand for dowry and in the circumstances, it is necessary to frame the charge under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The pleas of the accused be recorded. No prejudice will be caused to the accused since I permit the accused to re-call any or all of the witnesses that have already been examined."
Thereafter, when the accused and their Counsel were directed whether they would like to recall the witnesses already examined for cross-examination ? The accused stated that they do not wish to recall any of the prosecution witnesses examined. To that effect, there is an endorsement made by the Counsel for the accused on Exh. 52.
14. Shri Akhani, the learned A.P.P. submitted that it is not disputed that the girl was approved and the marriage was settled. During the negotiation itself Sharad Pathak specifically expressed that he could hardly spent Rs. 30,000/- to Rs. 35,000/- towards marriage expenses. Thereafter only the accused came with two proposals, one to sotemnise the marriage under the Special Marriage Act by registration and second to open two different accounts in the joint name of Aruna and Madhusudan, one in the State Bank of India Surandra Nagar Branch and another in Canara Bank, Nagpur. In each joint account, an amount of Rs. 10,000/- be deposited. In pursuance of the proposals, deceased Aruna opened a joint account in the State Bank of India, Surendra Nagar Branch, Nagpur. The F.D.R. form was brought by the respondent No. 1 Madhusudan duly signed and handed over to Aruna. This shows that the respondent/accused had an evil eye on money and therefore, the proposals were mooted. Only no direct demand in words, but directing Sharad Pathak, Aruna Pathak and her brother Arvind to open two different accounts of Rs. 10,000/- each in the joint name of Aruna and Madhusudan is a clear indication of demand of dowry. Further, the respondents/accused directed them to purchase 3 tolas of gold and to spend Rs. 3,000/- for clothes of bride and bride-groom. This demand was before the solemnisation of the marriage. Used indirect methods to secure money and articles from Sharad Pathak, Aruna and her brother Arvind. Now a days, the marriage of a girl is nothing but a headache due to demand of dowry in each community. Sharad Pathak Aruna Pathak and her brother Arvind Pathak become prey to the desire and demand of respondents/ accused.
The mode of registered marriage was proposed by the bridegroom and his parents and accepted by the bride's side. For registered marriage certain formalities are to be complied with. A month notice by the prospective bride and bridegroom is needed to the registration of marriage together with the birth certificates of the bride and bridegroom. In the instant case, the date of marriage was fixed to 2.6.1986. Madhusudhan (accused No. 1) had handed over the required form duly signed by him. However, birth certificate not being supplied, it was not presented before the Registrar of the marriages. The date of marriage was approaching and the respondent were delaying the matter. Therefore, Sharad Pathak alongwith his relation approached the parents of the accused No. 1 and thereafter they had gone to Bhandak to have negotiations with Madhusudan. At Bhandak, the accused No. 1 Madhusudan accosted them saying that they defened him alleging that they have given him Rs. 50,000/- as dowry. However, he told them that unless they paid Rs. 50,000/- to him, he is not going to marry with Aruna. Regarding the demand of Rs. 50,000/- there is sufficient corroboration to the testimony of Sharad Pathak by Shri Arunkumar Muddalwar (P.W. 9) who was also present with him. Subsequently this fact was conveyed to deceased Aruna Pathak, her brother Arvind and other relations. Arvind Pathak (P.W. 4) who is the brother of deceased Aruna also deposed that the demand of accused No. 1 Madhusudan was conveyed to him. Similarly, Shri Manohar Alone (P.W. 6) who is cousin brother of Sharad Pathak also deposed that Sharad Pathak told him that accused No. 1 made a demand of Rs. 50,000/-. Smt. Kusum wife of Harihar Alone (P.W. 3) also deposed that Sharad Pathak told her that accused No. 1 demanded Rs. 50,000/- and if not paid, the marriage contract would be broken. Chitra Taide (P.W. 8) who was the friend of deceased Aruna stated that Aruna told about the settlement of marriage date of marriage and also the fact of breakage of marriage due to demand of dowry from the boy side, to her. Smt. Rekha w/o Ulhas Dhabe (P.W. 5) a friend of Chitra Taide (P.W. 8) also deposed that Chitra told her that the marriage of Aruna has been broken because of demand of dowry. Considering the overwhelming evidence it does not stand to reason that it is a creation of Sharad Pathak to involve falsely the respondent/accused as suggested by the learned Counsel of the respondent/accused. The immediate conduct of deceased Aruna is clear from her letter addressed to Dr. Seema Sakhare (P.W. 7) seeking her help. Deceased Aruna informed Dr. Sakhare that accused No. I Madhusudan has already entered into an agreement to marry with another girl and sought her help. It amply shows that deceased Aruna was interested to marry with deceased Madhusudan the accused No. 1 and, therefore, she informed her friends and Dr. Sakhare.
15. Shri Khapare, the learned Counsel for the respondents/accused submitted that the prosecution has utterly failed to prove the demand of dowry directly or indirectly from the parents, relations or guardian of the bride or from the girl. Even presuming for a moment that there was any talk between Sharad Pathak and accused Madhusudan at Bhandak and even if in a hit of passion he stated that unless and until he is paid Rs. 50,000/-, he is not going to marry with Aruna, as there is no evidence regarding the earlier demand directly or indirectly, this Nagpur Court will have no jurisdiction because Bhandak is under the jurisdiction of District & Sessions Judge, Chandrapur.
A reliance has been placed on a case of Shankar Prasad Shaw and Ors. v. State, 1991 Cr.L.J. 639. Similarly, a reliance has been placed on a case of Madanlal and Ors. v. Ganesh Narayari Hegde and Anr., 1984 Cr.L.J. 1618.
16. Relying on the provisions of Section 179 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, Shri Khapare, the learned Counsel for the respondents/accused submitted that the learned Trial Court has taken the correct view that the Nagpur Court has no jurisdiction to try the case as the alleged offence of demand of dowry took place at Bhandak, District Chandrapur.
17. Chapter XII deals with the jurisdiction of the Criminal Courts in inquiries and trials. Section 177 of the Code of Criminal Procedure refers that "every offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed." However, this section does not say that the offences would be tried by such Court except in the cases mentioned under Sections 179 to 186 and 188 or in cases specially provided for by any other provisions of law. Section 178 of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the place of inquiry or trial. Section 179 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on which reliance has been placed deals with the offence triable where act is done or consequence ensues. This section reads as under :
"When an act is an offence by reason of anything which has been done and of a consequence which has ensued, the offence may be inquired into or tried by a Court within whose local jurisdiction such thing has been done or such consequence has ensued."
Section 184 of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the place of trial for offence triable together. Section reads as follows :
"Where-- (a) the offences committed by any person are such that he may charged with, and tried at one trial for, each such offence by virtue of the provisions of Section 219, Section 200 or Section 221, or
(b) the offence or offences, committed by several persons, are such that they may be charged with and tried together by virtue of the provisions of Section 223, the offences may be inquired into or tried by any Court competent to inquire into or try any of the offences".
18. From the perusal of the Judgment, it is apparent that the learned Trial Court has not considered the earlier circumstances prior to the demand of Rs. 50,000/- to come to the conclusion that whether those circumstances would come under the preview of Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. Similarly, it has not considered whether the Sessions Court, trying the accused for the major offences punishable under the provisions of Indian Penal Code is precluded from trying those accused for the offence/offences under special statute but connected with the major offences, in the same trial. The cases relied by the learned Counsel for the respondents/accused are not relevant for our purpose, facts being altogether different. In these cases, the demand of dowry was alleged to have been made after the marriage while in the instant case the marriage was yet to be solemnized.
19. Dowry is defined under Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 as under :
"In this Act, "dowry" means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly--
(a) by one party to marriage to the another party to the marriage; or
(b) by the parents of either party to a marriage or by any other person to either party to the marriage or to any other person;
at or before (or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include) dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies."
Thus, the meaning of dowry can be construed as anything which is given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly by one party to marriage to other party to the marriage; or by the parents of either party to a marriage or by any other party to the marriage or to any other person, as or before or after the marriage as consideration for the marriage of the said parties. Therefore, the net result is that the property given either to secure an agreement of marriage or given at the time of marriage in exchange for or as reason for the marriage. By this special enactment of Dowry Prohibition Act, giving and taking of dowry as consideration for marriage or demanding or abetting the same is made criminal offence. The intention of the statute is nothing but to eradicate this kind of corruption and commercialisation of the concept of dowry. The definition under the Act was, therefore, designed for and moulded to the peculiar object of nipping this extortionate evil in the bud.
20. In the instant case deceased Aruna Pathak was a major educated girl. The girl was approved by the accused at Nagpur. Accused proposed that Rs. 10,000/- each be deposited in fixed deposit in the joint account of deceased Aruna and accused No. 1 Madhusudan in two different banks. Three tolar of gold was purchased as directed by accused. A hall to solemnise the marriage was also booked. However, as there was a delay on the part of the accused to produce the birth certificate Sharad Pathak alongwith his relation went to Bhandak where accused No. 1 Madhusudan demanded Rs. 50,000/- towards the dowry to perform the marriage with Aruna. Thus, this is the continuous process to complete the marriage between Aruna and accused No. 1 Madhusudan.
The prosecution was launched against the respondents/accused under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code alleging that they abetted Aruna to commit suicide. The proximate reason to commit suicide was the demand of Rs. 50,000/- as dowry by accused No. 1 Madhusudan, in addition to his earlier demand. The permanent residence of deceased Aruna and that of accused is Nagpur as well as Aruna committed suicide at Nagpur. Therefore, the Sessions Judge, Nagpur has jurisdiction to try the case for the offence under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. The demand of dowry of Rs. 50,000/- and breakage of marriage is the proximate cause to commit suicide. Respondent No. 1 made further demand of Rs. 50,000/-as consideration for the marriage which was yet to be solemnized. The process of marriage was not complete. The subsequent demand would be in continuous of the process of the solemnisation of the marriage. Thus, the subsequent demand during the continuous process of marriage would be continuous offence under the provisions of Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. If the demands of dowry are made at the different places, the Courts under whose jurisdiction the said demands are made and each offence being an independent offence, those Courts will have jurisdiction to try the case. Similarly, the marriage not being solemnized, any demand made out at different places as consideration for marriage, it would also be a continuous offence under the provisions of Dowry Act and thereby where the negotiations of marriage were finalised and first demand was agreed to be paid, that Court will have jurisdiction to try the case. Thus, the Sessions Court, Nagpur has jurisdiction to try the offence under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, alongwith offence under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code for which the charge-sheet was already filed,
21. Section 179 of the Code of Criminal Procedure contemplates two things. First is that the offender has done an act and the second is that a consequence has followed from such act and the offender is being tried for the offence as a result of both the act and consequence. Thus, if the offence was completed by the act followed by the consequence, then the Court where the act was committed and the Court where the consequence ensued will both have jurisdiction to try the offence. The consequence must from part of the offence charged. In the instant case, the accused were charged for the offence punishable under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code and were tried at Nagpur, on the allegation that before the death of Aruna Pathak the demand of dowry was made to perform the marriage. The illegal demand of dowry and breakage of marriage made Aruna Pathak desperate and her future prospect of marriage being dim, she committed suicide. Therefore, the Nagpur Court has power to try the case under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, as it has the power to try the case under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.
22. Section 184 of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the place of trial for offences triable together. In the instant case, from the facts and circumstances of the case, it is alleged that the accused abetted the commission of suicide by Aruna Pathak and earlier to the commission of suicide, there was a demand of Rs. 50,000/- at Bhandak. Thus, the accused being responsible for the offence under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act and also under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, the offences committed by several persons are such that they may be charged with and tried together at one place. The Division Bench of this Court in a case of Daulat Mansingh Aher. v. C.R. Bansi and Anr., 1980 Cri. L.J. 1171, held that:
"The accused who was staying at Wadala-Bombay demanded dowry by sending a letter to Dadar Bombay through his brother who was residing at Agartala. This Court held that as the demand was made at Wadala and it was completed when the complainant received the letter at Andheri-Bombay, the offence was party committed at Wadala-Bombay from where the dowry was demanded and also partly committed at Andheri-Bombay where the complainant received the demand letter. Thus, the Wadala and Dadar Court will have jurisdiction to try the case."
In the instant case too, the demand was made by accused Madhusudan at Bhandak and was completed at Nagpur when Sharad Pathak the uncle of Aruna informed her about it. Therefore, Bhandak as well as Nagpur Court the jurisdiction to try the case. According to the Judgments of various High Court the offence of defamation can be tried at the place of dispatch of letter as also at the place where the letter reaches to its destination. In the instant case after framing the additional charge under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, the accused were directed to recall the witnesses already examined, if they wish but they declined to do so. Considering the evidence on record and the submissions made by the learned Counsel for the respondents/accused, no prejudice shown to have been caused to the accused because the case was tried at Nagpur. The learned trial Judge has not considered the facts and circumstances of the case and also the legal provisions and thereby committed an error in holding that the Nagpur Court has no jurisdiction to try the case.
23. Lastly, the question arises whether the accused have committed the offence punishable under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. It is apparent from the definition of dowry that it is necessary that the property or valuable security, so as to constitute dowry, must be given 'as consideration for the marriage'. The word "consideration" means "motive or reason or reward for marriage." "For the marriage" obviously means for the act of marry or in other words for solemnization of marriage. Hence, only those articles are "dowry" which are given or ageed to be given as regards the reason or motive for solemnization of marriage. The prosecution amply proved that at the time of negotiation the accused proposed to open two separate bank accounts in the joint name, each account of Rs. 10,000/-. One joint account was opened in the State Bank of India, Surendra Nagar, locality Nagpur where respondents/accused own house and respondents Nos. 2 and 3 where residing. Sharad Pathak expressed to incur the expenses to the tune of Rs. 30,000/- to Rs. 35,000/-, But, different proposal of registration of marriage was mooted and the proposal of opening the fixed accounts were proposed. This shows that the accused were greedy of money and therefore, they have proposed the another mode of marriage and to save the expenditure. It is evident that the accused proposed to purchase three tolas of gold and clothes of Rs. 3000/-, Accused Madhusudan has himself brought the form from the bank and handed over to deceased Aruna duly signed by him. These circumstances are sufficient to fathom the working of the mind of accused. Indirectly, the respondents demanded dowry firstly at the time of settlement and directed them to deposit money in two different banks. Consequent, one account was opened in the State Bank of India, Surendra Nagar Branch, Nagpur. Thus, the respondent No. 1 became one of the depositor, having right to withdraw. This is nothing but a consideration for the marriage which constitute dowry.
24. P.W. 2 Sharad Pathak and P.W. 9 Arun Mudalwar who had been to Bhandak, deposed that accused Madhusudan demanded Rs. 50,000/-and specifically stated that he will not marry Aruna unless he is paid Rs. 50,000/-. The disclosed this fact to deceased Aruna Pathak and her brother Arvind immediately on return. Similarly, the prosecution led the evidence of Chitra Taide (P.W. 8) and Rekha Dhabe (P.W. 5) who were informed by deceased Aruna about the demand of dowry and breakage of marriage. It is admitted by Shri Sharad Pathak and Shri Aruna Muddalwar that when they opened the talk of marriage, the accused Madhusudan got enraged saying that they have defamed him in the community on the allegations that he took Rs. 50,000/- as dowry. This fact was denied by Sharad Pathak and Arun Muddalwar. Though the accused Madhusudan alleged that he was defamed in the community, no evidence is led in defence to substantiate the fact that either Sharad Pathak or any one from his family any time told to any member of the community that they have paid Rs. 50,000/- to accused as dowry. It is the out-come of his furtile brain. He only put the allegations in the month of others and thereby tried to coerce them to give additional amount of Rs. 50,000/- as dowry. Therefore, the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused not only proposed but demanded and accepted the amount of dowry by opening the joint account in the State Bank of India, Surendra Nagar Branch, Nagpur. Exh. 36 is a xerox copy of F.D.R. receipt. Exh. 37 is another form bearing signature of accused No. 1 Madhusudan for deposit of Rs. 10,000/- in Canara Bank. Thus, the accused have committed the offence punishable under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
25. In the result, the appeal filed by the State is partly allowed. The finding of acquittal for the offence punishable under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, recorded by the Trial Court is confirmed. However, the respondents/accused Nos. 1 to 3 are found guilty of the offence punishable under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. Thus, the finding of acquittal for the offence under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act recorded by the Trial Court is set aside. The respondents/accused Nos. 1 to 3 are convicted for the offence punishable under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act and are sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for six months and to pay a fine of Rs. 2000/- each, in default to suffer further rigorous imprisonment for two months. Two weeks time is granted to the respondents/accused to surrender to their bail bonds.
Appeal partly allowed.