Dowry Death- Mere demand of Dowry doesn’t amount to criminal conspiracy against the Victim: High Court Of Patna

The Appellant alleged of killing the victim for non-fulfillment of dowry demand set free for once by the High Court.  The Hon’ble High Court of Patna before the Hon’ble Mr. MR. Justice Birendra Kumar in the matter of  Rishi Muni Singh v. State Of Bihar [Criminal Appeal (SJ) No.4626 of 2019]. 

The facts of the case were that the Appellant challenged the conviction judgment by Learned Additional Sessions Judge-12, Rohtas. The Appellant was found guilty for the offenses under Sections 304B and 201 of Penal Code. 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and Rs. 10,000 were awarded under Section 304B and 2 years rigorous imprisonment along with Rs. 2000 fine under Section 201 of Penal Code. The trial arose out of Bikramganj P.S.Case No.115 of 2010 registered on the written report. According to the FIR, the informant’s daughter went to In-Laws house along with the gift item, given to the married couple as per the capacity. Still, the Appellant started demanding Hero Honda Motorcycle. Due to the inability, the informant denied doing so. To this, they were adamant and told that their daughter would be finished if the demand doesn’t get fulfilled. Later it was informed that the daughter was dead. The body was cremated before reaching the parents and on asking about the same they became infuriated and started hurling abuses. The informant understood it was a criminal conspiracy by the accused persons for the non-fulfillment of demand of dowry. 

The Learned Counsel of Appellant submitted that the death wasn’t because of the non-fulfillment of dowry demand. The victim was suffering from a heart ailment and for which she was getting treatment from a Doctor at Varanasi to which they had a witness. They added that the informant demanded to give back the articles worth Rs. 40,000 after the death of the victim and due to non-fulfillment of this they lodged an FIR against them. Therefore, two views created a serious doubt on the prosecution version. 

The Additional Public Prosecutor said that there shall be no interference entertained by the Appellant as the victim died after a few days of marriage and witnesses have stated that the victim suffered demand and torture. A witness went to the village and the victim’s body was disposed of before his arrival and then the FIR was lodged. All these defense witnesses have deposed that the deceased was suffering from heart ailment since before her marriage and she was getting medicines from a Doctor at Varanasi as disclosed by the deceased. The witnesses had seen the deceased getting medicines and on the query, she had disclosed that she was suffering from a heart ailment. The witnesses have categorically stated that the dead body was cremated in presence of the informant and other family members.  

Coupled with the fact that the defense witnesses have deposed that the dead body was disposed of only after taking approval of the informant that it does not require post-mortem examination and was cremated in presence of the informant and others. Thereafter the informant got the gifted items back and was insisting on Rs.40,000/- which could not be

paid instantly, then the FIR was lodged was another factor to doubt the prosecution case. The defense witnesses have deposed that the deceased was suffering from a heart ailment, she was getting treatment from Varanasi and was usually taking medicines for that, and on a fateful day, when her complications grew, she was being carried to the hospital and on the way she died, is a distinct story of the death of the victim and unless this story is completely dispelled possibility of a natural or accidental death cannot be ruled out.

The Hon’ble High Court of Patna held,” the prosecution has failed to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubts against the appellant. Likewise, there is no witness who has seen the appellant screening the evidence of the offence, hence, charge under Section 201 IPC does not stand proved. In the result, this is a fit case for acquittal of the appellant. Accordingly, the impugned judgment and sentence is hereby set aside and this appeal is allowed. Let the appellant be set free at once.”

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Judgment Reviewed By Nimisha Dublish 

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