Kuldip Singh and Ors v. The State of Punjab

CitationII (2004) DMC 628
Year of the Case2004
AppellantKuldip Singh & Ors.
DefendantThe State of Punjab
BenchJustice K. Garewal
ActIndian Penal Code
Section304-B of IPC 1860
498-A of IPC 1860

India is a country where Dowry deaths are very common. Dowry have been in India since a very long and more than a crime it is treated like a ritual. The relationship of a husband and wife is pretty much debatable because it covers various aspects such as psychological, sociological and philosophical.

The idea behind having laws and provisions related to dowry came way back because of the increasing dowry deaths. The wife used to herself suicide after getting frustrated from the demands of the dowry and at other times, the husband and his family mistreat her and force her to suicide. In both the cases, the lady’s family and dignity has to suffer. The Section 304- B and 498A the Indian Penal Code deals with cases of dowry death.

Background

  • Resham Kaur alias Paramjit Kaur was married to Kuldip Singh of lachowal. They had a son together. She had earlier complained her father, Niranjan Dass that she was being maltreated on account of bringing insufficient dowry.
  • Six months after marriage, the husband Kuldip Singh demanded Rs 1000 from Niranjan Dass to which Niranjan Dass only gave him Rs 800.
  • Again, after six months, Kuldip Singh demanded money, and he was given Rs 5000. Jan 6 1992 Resham Kaur alias ParamjitKaur died.
  • On Jan 7 1992 It came into the view of Niranjan Dass that his daughter Resham Kaur alias ParamjitKaur died. When Niranjan Dass went to lachowal and same Kuldip Singh and his parents absconding from the house while the dead body of Resham Kaur lying in the Baithak.
  • Niranjan Dass immediately reported the matter to the police.
  • On the basis of Niranjan Dass’s statement taken by ASI Sucha Singh the case was registered at Police Station Sadar, Hoshiarpur.
  • As soon as the FIR was launched the investigation started.
  • ASI Sucha Singh and Niranjan Singh visited the place and found that dead body lying at its place.
  • Statement were taken of all the witnesses and a report was formed on the basis of them.The body was sent for post-mortem.
  • The post-mortem report and report of chemical examiner found that the dead body was caused due to aluminium phosphide poisoning.
  • Kuldip Singh, Balwant Singh and Gurmit Kaur were arrested and sent up for trial.
  • Charge was frame under section 304B of Indian Penal Code.
  • Kuldip Singh informed that he returned a month prior to his marriage from abroad. He denied the allegations of him demanding money from his father in-law and mentioned that he was never given any money.
  • He informed of having cordial relation with his wife. He also mentioned that his wife used to live in Hoshiarpur as he works there and came to villageLochawal for celebrating Lohri.
  • Kuldip Singh said that the complaint is wrong and the appellants are innocent.
  • The other Appellants also gave the same statement. The Learned trial judge concluded that the deceased has died of aluminium phosphide poisoning in the span of 3 year from the date of marriage.
  • Hence, the ingredients of Section 304 – B of the Indian Penal code i.e.,
  • The death should be caused within a span of seven years from the date of her marriage and,
  • There shall be harassment and cruelty soon before the death by her husband or any other relative of the husband and,
  • There shall be a demand for dowry

Is fully established and fulfilled and the conviction was then hence recorded.

Facts

It was argued by the learned counsel of the Appellants that, in this case that the judgement passed by the Learned Trial Judge is not proper. The decision was made ignoring and overlooking the surrounding circumstances and possibilities of the case. The Learned Trail Judge had overlooked the fact that there was absence of any evidence against Balwant Singh and Gurmit Kaur.

The Appellants also argued that the death of Resham Kaur alias Paramjit Kaur was caused three years after her marriage and according to the statements of Niranjan Dass there was no mention for dowry from last two years.

References was taken from the case ofKans Raj v. State of Punjab[i], Pawan Kumar v. State of Haryana[ii],Salamat Ali v. State of Bihar[iii], Satbir Singh v. State of Punjab[iv], Mungeshwar Prasad Chaurasia v. State of Bihar[v].

Issues

  1. Is the order given by the learned trial judge was on the basics of lack of evidence and should to be revised?
  2. Is the Criminal Revision No. 156 of 1993 to enhance the sentence of the punishment is maintainable or not?

Provisions

  • Section 304-B of Indian Penal Code –

Dowry death –

  • Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.

Explanation – For the purpose of this sub-section, “dowry” shall have the same meaning as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961).

  • Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.
  • 498A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty. —Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be pun­ished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation. —For this section, “cruelty” means—

(a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or

(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.]

Judgment

The judgement was decided in favour of the Appellant. It was mentioned that the present case was not the case of dowry death. The case is a suicide case and illustrates the misrepresentation of a suicide case to a case of dowry death. The demands of money represented was false and irrelevant. There had been no demand for any money from the past two years. Nothing had been demanded resembling dowry as well. There has been a lack of evidence which could show the demand for dowry hence it cannot be proved that the Appellants i.e., Kuldip Singh and his parents had driven the deceased, Resham Kaur alias Paramjeet Kaur for suicide. The type mentioned under Section 428-A of the Indian Penal Code was also not fulfilled. It is to be said that the harassment and cruelty should be accompanied with dowry demands to fulfil the conditions under Section 428-A of the Indian Penal Code.

To made the Appellants guilty of Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code the harassment and cruelty should be soon before the death of Resham Kaur. Unless all ingredients are present, the Appellants does not stand guilty and cannot be punished.

The appeal was accepted, and the Appellants were herby acquitted.

Criminal revision No. 156 of 1993 stands dismissed.

Concepts Highlighted

The cases of dowry death should be investigated in the sense that it covers all the relationships of the deceased. It is important to note that the relationship pf husband and wife and the relationship of the lady with her parents-in-law should be given equal weightage. The case is to be investigated on chronicle of the events. The duty of the investigator involves to explore the accuracy of all the circumstances and the wrongs caused due to it. The investigation is to be conducted in a fair way to both the prosecution and the defence.

The essentials of the Dowry Death cases under Section 304 – B of the Indian Penal Code should not be strictly followed and the circumstances surrounding it should also be entertained.


References

[i]AIR 2000 SC 2324.

[ii]II (1998) SLT 525=1 (1998) DMC 165 (SC)=I (1998) CCR 365 (SC)=AIR 1998 SC 958.

[iii]AIR 1995 SC 1863.

[iv]II (2001) DMC 734=VI (2001) SLT 803-IV (2001) CCR 75 (SC)=AIR 2001 SC 2828.

[v]I (2002) DMC 480 (SC)=II (2002) SLT 81=I (2002) CCR 176 (SC)=2002(1) RCR (Criminal) 621 (SC).

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