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For conviction under section 304B IPC, specific roles of the accused must be proved: Supreme Court of India

The trial court had not referred to any specific instances where the appellant No.2   namely,   the   mother­-in-­law   of the deceased had been ascribed any specific role in making the demand and inflicting cruelty on vague statements are being made that the husband and in-law of the deceased had made a demand for dowry and inflicted cruel treatment. Such vague statements are not sufficient for conviction under section 304B IPC. Such an observation was made by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India before Hon’ble Justice N.V. RAMANA & Hon’ble Justice A.S. BOPANNA & Hon’ble Justice HIMA KOHLI in the matter of Kuljit Singh & Anr.  vs The State of Punjab [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.  572  OF 2012  ] on 08.12.2021

The facts of the matter were that the deceased and accused no. 1 had been married in the year 1997 and the incident in question leading to the death of Manju had occurred on 02.03.1999. The death of the wife @ Manju was unnatural and occurred due to the consumption of insecticide.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that the trial court has referred to the evidence in detail and the   High   Court has reappreciated the same in its correct perspective,   to the extent of both the courts holding the appellant   No.1   (Kuljit   Singh)   guilty,   convicting him and imposing the sentence in the manner as done, is justified and does not call for interference. The only aspect which requires consideration herein is whether the conviction and sentence handed down to appellant   No.2   (Raj   Rani) are justified or not?

Further, the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that except for making vague statements to the effect that the husband and the in­laws of their daughter had made a demand for dowry and inflicted cruel treatment, the trial court had not referred to any specific instances where the appellant No.2   namely,   the   mother­in­law   of the deceased had been ascribed any specific role in making the demand and inflicting cruelty. As noted from the statement recorded under Section 313 of Cr.PC, the appellant No.2 (Raj Rani) had denied any role and had also contended that she was not present in the house when the death of her daughter ­in ­law had occurred. Though the presence of appellant No.1(Kuljit Singh) was established, the presence of appellant No.2 (Raj Rani) was not spoken about. Apart from that, there is no specific evidence with regard to such demand being made by appellant No.2 or cruelty being inflicted by her pursuant to such demand.

Finally, the Hon’ble Supreme Court partly allowed the appeal and held that the above evidence is not sufficient for conviction under section 304B IPC and acquitted accused no. 2 (Raj Rani).

Click Here To Read The Judgment

Judgment Reviewed by: Rohan Kumar Thakur

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