“Respondent will face jail time if he does not deposit the said amount”: Supreme Court, Part 1.

In context of the Criminal Appeal No .894 Of 2021, Samaul Sk. vs. The State of Jharkhand & Anr., Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul passed the judgment.

In this case, Hena Bibi, respondent No.2/complainant claimed to be the legally married wife of the appellant, the marriage having been solemnised on 8th February, 2000, as per Muslim customs & rites. The appellant was already married to one Mastra Bibi and he apparently had illicit relationship with respondent No.2, which culminated in their marriage. The two parties are stated to have lived as husband and wife in the house of the appellant for about a year and a half and two children were born out of the said marriage.

Respondent No.2 alleged that on the instigation of the first wife, the appellant started mental and physical torture and made demands of dowry and respondent No.2 had to ultimately go back to her parents’ house. During this period that respondent No.2 conceived for the second time. It is not necessary to go into more details but suffice to say that the alleged demand of dowry resulted in PCR No.310 of 2006 being lodged in the Court of Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate (for short ‘SDJM’), Pakur for offences under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The case went to trial and in terms of the judgment of the SDJM, Pakur dated 30.1.2014, the appellant was held guilty and sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs.10,000/- and in case of failure to pay the fine, the appellant was directed to undergo further sentence of six months. The appellant preferred Criminal Appeal No. 07/2014 against the judgment of the SDJM which was dismissed vide judgment dated 02.09.2014 by the Principal District and Sessions Judge, Pakur.

The appellant, thereafter, preferred a Criminal Revision against the said order, being Criminal Revision No.1060/2014, and in terms of the impugned judgment dated 11/20.10.2020, the Criminal Revision was dismissed. The appellant thereafter preferred the Special Leave Petition (for short ‘SLP’) before this Court. The appellant was called upon to surrender by this Court and he did duly surrender.

In the course of hearing of the SLP, the petitioner/appellant prayed for extension of the benefit of Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, which was declined on 26.07.2021. However, the Court expressed the view that it was not averse to consideration of reduction of sentence subject to the condition that the petitioner gave adequate compensation to respondent No.2 for herself and her children apart from whatever maintenance was being paid under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

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