Try out our Premium Member services: Virtual Legal Assistant, Query Alert Service and an ad-free experience. Free for one month and pay only if you like it.
Supreme Court of India
Nimay Sah vs The State Of Jharkhand on 2 December, 2020
Author: N.V. Ramana
Bench: N.V. Ramana, Surya Kant, Aniruddha Bose
REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL No.211 of 2011 NIMAY SAH … APPELLANT VERSUS STATE OF JHARKHAND … RESPONDENT JUDGMENT
N.V. RAMANA, J.
1. This appeal arises out of the impugned judgment
dated 11.02.2010, passed by the High Court of Jharkhand at
Ranchi in Criminal Appeal (S.J.) No. 176 of 2001, whereby the
High Court has confirmed the judgment and order passed by
the Additional Sessions Judge, Pakur in Sessions Trial Case
No. 235/1998; 45/1998 dated 09.05.2001 and upheld the
conviction of the appellantaccused under Section 498A read
with Section 34 IPC along with other accused persons.
Signature Not Verified
Digitally signed by
The present appeal pertains to Nimay Sah, accused
SATISH KUMAR YADAV
no.3, who is the elder brother of the deceased’s husband, Gora
Sah, accused no.1. The present appellantaccused has
suffered conviction along with accused no.1, Gora Sah,
husband of the deceased and accused no.2, Nitai Sah, father
inlaw of the deceased.
3. The deceased, Asha Kumari had been married to
accused no.1, Gora Sah, and had been living in her
matrimonial home. As per the prosecution story, she was
harassed for demand of dowry of Rs. 10,000/ (Rupees Ten
Thousand Only) by the accused persons. This demand was
originally made to her father, Devendra Sah (P.W.10), the
complainant, at the time of her vidai ceremony. Owing to her
complaints of harassment, her father, Devendra Sah (P.W.10),
went to her matrimonial home to pacify her inlaws and
assured them of payment of the said amount. Eventually when
the harassment did not stop, the complainant sent his son,
Munna Sah (P.W.8), to the deceased’s matrimonial home who
brought her back to her parental home.
4. Accused no.1, Gora Sah, husband of the deceased,
went to deceased’s parental home on 18.02.1998. On the
fateful day, i.e., 20.02.1998, he took the deceased for a
morning walk. Having come back alone after an hour, he
hurriedly packed his belongings to leave. When confronted
about the whereabouts of the deceased, he said that the
deceased was attending the call of nature and would be back
soon. He left thereafter. When the deceased did not return
after an hour, the complainant started searching for her and
she was ultimately found dead, near the canal with
strangulation marks on her neck. An FIR was registered
against the accused persons under Section 304B read with
Section 109 IPC. After the completion of investigation, charge
sheet was presented in the court.
5. The accused persons were charged under Section 498
A read with Section 34 IPC and Section 304B read with
Section 34 IPC. The accused persons in their statements under
Section 313 CrPC, denied all the evidence tendered by the
prosecution, claimed false implication and pleaded innocence.
6. By the judgment and order dated 09.05.2001, the trial
court, relying upon the prosecution version, convicted the
accused persons as under:
ACCUSED CHARGES SENTENCE 3 S. 304B/ 34 . Gora Sah [A RI for 10 years IPC 1] S. 498A/ 34 RI for 3 years IPC . Nitai Sah [A S. 498A/ 34 2] RI for 3 years IPC . Nimay Sah Acquitted of charges under S. 304B/ [A3] 34 IPC
7. Aggrieved by the abovementioned order of conviction
and sentence, the accused persons appealed before the High
Court. The High Court on analysis of evidence found it to be
consistent and corroborative, thereby, confirmed the judgment
and order of conviction passed by the trial court as well as the
sentence vide the impugned order.
8. Aggrieved by the impugned order passed by the High
Court wherein the conviction and sentence of all the accused
persons has been confirmed, accused no.3, Nimay Sah,
brother of the deceased’s husband, has preferred this appeal.
9. The learned counsel on behalf of the appellant
accused has submitted that none of the independent witnesses
have supported the prosecution story. It was contended that
the prosecution story comprises of vague allegations,
unsubstantiated by evidence. The entire family of accused
no.1, Gora Sah, husband of the deceased, has been roped in
this case. Thus, the conviction of the appellantaccused
cannot be sustained.
10. On the other hand, the learned counsel appearing on
behalf of the respondentState stressed the fact of concurrent
conviction and argued that there existed sufficient evidence to
prove the culpability of the appellantaccused.
11. Heard the learned counsel for the parties through
Video Conferencing and perused the record.
12. As per the prosecution story, the role of the appellant
accused is limited to the demand of dowry of Rs. 10,000/ at
the time of vidai ceremony, and subsequently, harassment on
nonpayment of the same. The High Court has relied upon the
testimonies of Shyam Sunder Sah (P.W.7), Munna Sah (P.W.8),
Champa Devi (P.W.9) and Devendra Sah (P.W.10) to uphold
the factum of harassment for dowry.
13. On perusal of the testimonies of the witnesses, we find
that, Devendra Sah (P.W.10) names the appellantaccused to
have been troubling the deceased for demand of dowry of Rs.
10,000/. However, in his deposition, the appellantaccused is
named in the same breath along with other accused persons
and their family members. Apart from this witness, Shyam
Sunder Sah (P.W.7), Munna Sah (P.W.8) and Champa Devi
(P.W.9) depose that the deceased was being troubled at her
matrimonial home, without particularly naming the appellant
accused, Nimay Sah.
14. It ought to be noted that apart from these vague
allegations, no specific instance of hostile attitude or
persistent demands of dowry have been pointed out by any of
these witnesses. Further, Shyam Sunder Sah (P.W.7), brother
of the deceased, has admitted in his crossexamination that
the deceased used to write him letters from her matrimonial
place, and that, none of the letters mention any harassment
on account of demand of dowry.
15. All other independent witnesses have turned hostile
and have not supported the prosecution story. In fact, even
Panchanan Sah (P.W.2) who is the paternal uncle of the
deceased and a witness named in the FIR, has not supported
the prosecution story.
16. Thus, on consideration of the oral testimonies of the
witnesses, the ingredients of Section 498A IPC have not been
proved against the appellantaccused by the prosecution at the
standard of beyond reasonable doubt. In such circumstances,
there is nothing on record to convict the appellantaccused for
the charge under Section 498A IPC.
17. In light of the above, we are of the view that the
conviction of the appellantaccused cannot be sustained.
Accordingly, the judgment and order dated 11.02.2010,
passed by the High Court of Jharkhand at Ranchi in Criminal
Appeal (S.J.) No. 176 of 2001 is hereby set aside and the
appellantaccused is acquitted of the charges levelled against
him. By order dated 17.09.2010, this Court had enlarged the
appellantaccused on bail. His bail bonds stand discharged.
18. The appeal is accordingly allowed in the
aforementioned terms. Pending applications, if any, shall also
stand disposed of.
(N. V. RAMANA)
DECEMBER 2, 2020.