Wife suspect husband just because he has to toil and return home late. She files a false DOWRY case with NO merits. Still husband has to run around for 10 years to get his freedom !! NO punishments for the FALSE case filing ablaaa naari ... AP High court acquits husband and says mere suspicion cannot take the place of proof. !!
High Court of A.P., Hyderabad THE HONOURABLE SRI JUSTICE B.N.RAO NALLA
Criminal Revision case No.326 OF 2005
State of A.P., rep.by Public Prosecutor, High Court of A.P., Hyderabad and another.
Counsel for the Petitioner: Sri Ch.Dhanamjaya
Counsel for the Respondent No.1: Additional Public Prosecutor
Counsel for the Respondent No.2: Sri C.Praveen Kumar
This Criminal Revision Case arises out of the Judgment of acquittal dated 30.04.2001 in C.C.No.48 of 2000 on the file of the Court of Special Mobile Magistrate, Kakinada whereunder the trial Court, on finding the sole accused not guilty for the offence under Section 498-A I.P.C., acquitted him under Sub- Section (1) of 248 Cr.P.C.
2. The marriage between the revision petitioner/defacto complainant and the accused was performed in the year 1986 at Unduru village of Samalkot Mandal of East Godavari District. At the time of their marriage, the defacto complainant was given Ac.2-00cs of land towards pasupukumkuma, other articles worth Rs.10,000/- and an amount of Rs.5,000/- towards Adapaduchulanchanams; that thereafter, they lived happily as wife and husband and that they were also blessed with a female child; that thereafter, the accused started harassing the defacto complainant to bring additional dowry from her parents and on some occasions, she has complied with his demand; that he developed vices like having extra marital relation with another woman and coming home late in the night and when questioned, he used to scold her saying that he would have received more dowry if he married another woman; that the accused had no love and affection towards their daughter and that the defacto complainant silently bore the harassment to safeguard their family prestige. However, the accused beat her mercilessly and necked her out of their matrimonial home along with her daughter to bring additional dowry directing her to come to him with money and that three years thereafter, she informed her parents about the incident, who placed the matter before P.W.5-Village elder but the accused did not appear before him. However, his father appeared and assured P.W.5 that he would convince his accused son and see that the couple would live together. It is found in the evidence of P.W.5 that later, the accused also appeared before him and promised him that he would bring back his wife to his marital fold; that since the accused as well as his father failed to take the defacto complainant to her matrimonial home as promised by them to P.W.5, the defacto complainant preferred Ex.P-1-complaint before Samalkot Police against the accused for the offence under Section 498-A I.P.C., being unable to bear the acts of cruelty and torture at the hands of the accused and since there was no change in his attitude.
3. The Prosecution examined P.Ws.1 to 9 and got marked Exs.P-1 to P-3 on its behalf. Exs.X-1 to X-5 were marked as Court documents. On the other hand, D.W.1 was examined and Ex.D-1-portion of 161 Cr.P.C. statement of P.W.4 and Exs.D-2 to D-5-inland letters and Exs.D-6 to D-8-post cards were marked on behalf of the defence.
4. The Trial Court, considering the evidence, facts and other material brought on record in general and the conflicting versions of the interested witnesses-P.Ws.2, 4 and 5, came to a conclusion that the Prosecution had failed to prove the ingredients of Section 498-A I.P.C. In the circumstances, the trial Court found the accused not guilty for the offence under Section 498-A I.P.C. and accordingly, it had acquitted him of the said offence.
5. Heard both sides.
6. It is the case of the accused that though P.Ws.1, 2 and 4 have stated in their evidence that they offered some voluntary customary presentations at the time of marriage, it cannot be called as dowry or part thereof. It is his further case that the defacto complainant (P.W.1) did not live with him for more than a fortnight at Unduru village where he is alleged to have harassed her for the sake of additional dowry and that their neighbours were not examined to prove the acts of harassment or cruelty on his part and the same falsifies the case of the defacto complainant that he used to harass and ill-treat her to bring additional dowry. A perusal of Exs.D-2 to D-8-inland letters and post cards addressed by P.W.2-father of P.W.1 to the accused, they do not disclose any of the allegations made by P.W.1 that the accused was ill-treating or harassing the defacto complainant on account of additional dowry.
7. The evidence of P.W.5-Village Elder does not disclose any dispute between the accused and the defacto complainant about additional dowry. No doubt, he admitted as to the existence of disputes between them, however, he did not specifically state that they relate to additional dowry. Moreover, P.W.1 herself admitted in her evidence that she waited for three years to inform her parents about the alleged harassment on the part of the accused to bring additional dowry and the reason given by her is that it was to safeguard the family prestige, which is hard to accept. If, in fact, the accused had caused harassment to her on account of additional dowry, she could have informed her parents about the same immediately thereafter or in the alternative, the neighbours or the elders of her community.
8. The real reason for the differences or disputes between them appears to be due to the fact that P.W.1 was suspecting the accused of having extra marital relationship with some other woman since he was reaching home late in the night. She admitted in her evidence that she suspected her husband of extra marital relationship. However, she failed to substantiate the same. More over, suspicion cannot take the place of proof. The learned counsel for the petitioner-accused relied on a decision rendered by the Apex Court in SHEETALA PRASAD AND OTHERS VS. SRI KANT AND ANOTHER1. At Para No.9, the Apex Court observed as follows: "The High Court was exercising the revisional jurisdiction at the instance of a private complainant and therefore, it is necessary to notice the principles on which such revisional jurisdiction can be exercised. Sub-Section (3) of Section 401 of Code of Criminal Procedure prohibits conversion of a finding of acquittal into one of conviction. Without making the categories exhaustive, revisional jurisdiction can be exercised by the High Court at the instance of private complainant (1) where the trial court has wrongly shut out evidence which the prosecution wished to produce, (2) where the admissible evidence is wrongly brushed aside as inadmissible, (3) where the trial court has no jurisdiction to try the case and has still acquitted the accused, (4) where the material evidence has been overlooked either by the trial court or the appellate court or the order is passed by considering irrelevant evidence and (5) where the acquittal is based on the compounding of the offence which is invalid under the law. By now, it is well settled that the revisonal jurisdiction, when invoked by a private complainant against an order of acquittal, cannot be exercised lightly and that it can be exercised only in exceptional cases where the interest of public justice require interference for correction of manifest illegality or the prevention of gross miscarriage of justice. In these cases, or cases of similar nature, retrial or rehearing of the appeal may be ordered."
9. The evidence of P.Ws.2 and 4, who are interested witnesses, is full of contradictions. More over, it does not reveal harassment on the part of the accused forcing P.W.1 to bring additional dowry. Further, they have admitted that at the time of marriage, customary presentations were only given to the accused. Such customary presentations cannot be termed as dowry by any stretch of imagination. Further, the evidence of P.W.5-Village Elder does not disclose any demand of additional dowry on the part of the accused. More over, Exs.D-2 to D-8-inland letters and post cards addressed by P.W.2-father of P.W.1 to his accused son-in-law do not disclose any acts of harassment or cruelty on the part of accused forcing defacto complainant (P.W.1) to bring additional dowry.
10. In the above facts and circumstances, it cannot be said that the trial Court has committed any material error or irregularity in acquitting the accused for the offence under Section 498-A I.P.C. Considering the facts and other material on record, this Court is convinced that it is not a fit case to order retrial.
11. In the above facts and circumstances of the case as well as having regard to the decision of the Hon'ble Apex Court referred to herein above, this Revisional Court is of the considered view that the revisional case lacks merit and deserves to be dismissed.
12. In the result, the Criminal Revision Case is dismissed.
?1 2010 (1) ALT (Crl.)191 (SC)