Satbir Singh vs The State Of Haryana on 28 May, 2021


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

Satbir Singh vs The State Of Haryana on 28 May, 2021

Author: Hon’Ble The Justice

Bench: Hon’Ble The Justice, Surya Kant, Aniruddha Bose

                                                                              REPORTABLE

                                   IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                                 CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION



                               CRIMINAL APPEAL Nos. 1735­1736 OF 2010



      SATBIR SINGH & ANOTHER                                           …APPELLANTS

                                                  Versus



      STATE OF HARYANA                                               …RESPONDENT



                                               JUDGMENT

N. V. RAMANA, CJI.

1. The present appeals arise out of the impugned judgment dated

06.11.2008 passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at

Chandigarh in Criminal Appeal Nos. 3­SB of 1998 and 16­SB of

1998, whereby the High Court dismissed the appeals preferred

by the appellants and upheld the order of conviction and

sentence passed by the Trial Court on 11.12.1997.
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
SATISH KUMAR YADAV
Date: 2021.05.28
18:00:04 IST
Reason:

1

2. The case of the prosecution is that the deceased and accused­

appellant no.1 were married on 01.07.1994. On 31.7.1995, at

about 4 or 4.30 P.M, some persons informed the complainant

that his daughter was ailing and admitted in the hospital. On

this information he, along with his wife and son, reached the

hospital and found that the deceased passed away due to burn

injuries. The prosecution’s case was that the deceased

committed suicide by setting herself ablaze just after one year

of her marriage and that soon before her death she was

subjected to cruelty and harassment on account of bringing

less dowry by both the accused.

3. The appellants were convicted by the Trial Court vide order

dated 11.12.1997 for the offences under Sections 304­B and

306, IPC and were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment

for seven years for the offence punishable under Section 304­B,

IPC and to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years for the

offence punishable under Section 306, IPC.

2

4. Aggrieved thereby, the appellants approached the High Court to

set aside the order of conviction and sentence passed by the

Trial Court. The High Court vide impugned judgment dated

06.11.2008, upheld the order of the Trial Court and dismissed

the appeal filed by the appellants. The appellants have filed the

present appeals by way of Special Leave, challenging the

concurrent findings of the Courts below.

5. The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellants

submitted that the possibility of accidental fire has not been

ruled out in the present case. Moreover, most importantly, the

prosecution failed to prove that there was a demand for dowry.

Lastly, the prosecution has failed to prove that the demand,

assuming there was one, was made proximate to the death of

the deceased­victim.

6. On the other hand, the learned counsel for the respondent­

State submitted that the appellants had not been able to show

any material which would merit the interference of this Court in

the concurrent findings of the Courts below. The counsel

3
especially emphasized upon the fact that the suspicious death

of the deceased victim occurred within almost 1 year of

marriage. Moreover, the witnesses have stated the specific

instances of demand for dowry with consistency.

7. Having heard counsel appearing on either side and perusing

the material on record, this Court needs to answer following

questions:

I. Whether the Trial Court, and the High Court, was correct in

convicting the accused on the charge under Section 304B, IPC?

II. Whether the Trial Court, and the High Court, was correct in

convicting the accused on the charge under Section 306, IPC?

ISSUE I

8. At the outset, it is pertinent to analyze the law on dowry death.

Section 304­B IPC, which defines, and provides the punishment

for dowry demand, reads as under:

“304­B. Dowry death. —(1) Where the death of
a woman is caused by any burns or bodily
injury or occurs otherwise than under normal

4
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).

(2) 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.”

Section 304B (1) defines ‘dowry death’ of a woman. It provides

that ‘dowry death’ is where death of a woman is caused by

burning or bodily injuries or occurs otherwise than under

normal circumstances, within seven years of 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, in connection with demand for dowry. Sub­clause (2)

provides for punishment for those who cause dowry death.

5
Accordingly, in Major Singh v. State of Punjab, (2015) 5 SCC

201, a three­Judge Bench of this Court held as follows:

“10. To sustain the conviction under Section
304
­B IPC, the following essential
ingredients are to be established:

(i) the death of a woman should be caused by
burns or bodily injury or otherwise than
under a ‘normal circumstance’;

(ii) such a death should have occurred within
seven years of her marriage;

(iii) she must have been subjected to cruelty
or harassment by her husband or any
relative of her husband;

(iv) such cruelty or harassment should be for
or in connection with demand of dowry; and

(v) such cruelty or harassment is shown to
have been meted out to the woman soon
before her death.”

9. The first contentious part that exists in the interpretation of

Section 304­B, IPC relates to the phrase “soon before” used in

the Section. Being a criminal statute, generally it is to be

interpreted strictly. However, where strict interpretation leads

to absurdity or goes against the spirit of legislation, the courts

may in appropriate cases place reliance upon the genuine

6
import of the words, taken in their usual sense to resolve such

ambiguities. [refer Commissioner of Customs (Import),

Mumbai v. Dilip Kumar & Company, (2018) 9 SCC 1, State

of Gujarat v. Mansukhbhai Kanjibhai Shah, 2020 SCC

OnLine SC 412]. At this juncture, it is therefore necessary to

undertake a study of the legislative history of this Section, in

order to determine the intention of the legislature behind the

inclusion of Section 304­B, IPC.

10. Section 304­B, IPC is one among many legislative initiatives

undertaken by Parliament to remedy a long­standing social evil.

The pestiferous nature of dowry harassment, wherein married

women are being subjected to cruelty because of covetous

demands by husband and his relatives has not gone unnoticed.

The Parliament enacted the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 as a

first step to eradicate this social evil. Further, as the measures

were found to be insufficient, the Criminal Law (Second

Amendment) Act, 1983 (Act 46 of 1983) was passed wherein

Chapter XX­A was introduced in the IPC, containing Section

498­A.

7

11. However, despite the above measures, the issue of dowry

harassment was still prevalent. Additionally, there was a

growing trend of deaths of young brides in suspicious

circumstances following demands of dowry. The need for a

stringent law to curb dowry deaths was suo motu taken up by

the Law Commission in its 91st Law Commission Report. The

Law Commission recognized that the IPC, as it existed at that

relevant time, was insufficient to tackle the issue of dowry

deaths due to the nature and modus of the crime. They

observed as under:

“1.3 If, in a particular incident of dowry
death, the facts are such as to satisfy the
legal ingredients of an offence already
known to the law, and if those facts can be
proved without much difficulty, the existing
criminal law can be resorted to for bringing
the offender to book. IN practice, however,
two main impediments arise ­­

(i) either the facts do not fully fit into
the pigeon­hole of any known offence; or

(ii) the peculiarities of the situation are
such that proof of directly incriminating
facts is thereby rendered difficult.”

(emphasis supplied)

8

12. Taking into consideration the aforesaid Law Commission

Report, and the continuing issues relating to dowry related

offences, the Parliament introduced amendments to the Dowry

Prohibition Act, as well as the IPC by enacting Dowry

Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1986 (Act 43 of 1986). By way of

this amendment, Section 304­B, IPC was specifically

introduced in the IPC, as a stringent provision to curb the

menace of dowry death in India. Shrimati Margaret Alva, who

presented the Amendment Bill before Rajya Sabha observed as

follows:

“This is a social evil and social legislation,
as I said cannot correct every thing. We are
trying to see how and where we can make it
a little more difficult and therefore we have
increased the punishment. We have also
provided for certain presumptions because
upto now one of our main problem has been
the question of evidence. Because the bride
is generally burnt or the wife is burnt
behind closed doors in her in­law’s home.
You have never really heard of a girl
being burnt while cooking in her
mother’s house or her husband’s house.

It is always in the mother­in­law’s house
that she catches fire and is burnt in the
kitchen. Therefore, getting evidence

9
immediately becomes a great bit
problem. Therefore, we have brought in a
couple of amendments which give
certain presumptions where the burden
of proof shifts to the husband and to his
people to show that it was not a dowry
death or that it was not deliberately
done.”

(emphasis supplied)

13. There is no denying that such social evil is persisting even

today. A study titled “Global study on Homicide: Gender­related

killing of women and girls”, published by the United Nations

Office on Drugs and Crime, highlighted that in 2018 female

dowry deaths account for 40 to 50 percent of all female

homicides recorded annually in India. The dismal truth is that

from the period 1999 to 2016, these figures have remained

constant. In fact, the latest data furnished by the National

Crime Records Bureau indicates that in 2019 itself, 7115 cases

were registered under Section 304­B, IPC alone.

14. Considering the significance of such a legislation, a strict

interpretation would defeat the very object for which it was

10
enacted. Therefore, it is safe to deduce that when the legislature

used the words, “soon before” they did not mean “immediately

before”. Rather, they left its determination in the hands of the

courts. The factum of cruelty or harassment differs from case to

case. Even the spectrum of cruelty is quite varied, as it can

range from physical, verbal or even emotional. This list is

certainly not exhaustive. No straitjacket formulae can therefore

be laid down by this Court to define what exacts the phrase

“soon before” entails. The aforesaid position was emphasized by

this Court, in the case of Kans Raj v. State of Punjab, (2000)

5 SCC 207, wherein the three­Judge Bench held that:

“15. … “Soon before” is a relative term which
is required to be considered under specific
circumstances of each case and no
straitjacket formula can be laid down by
fixing any time­limit. … In relation to dowry
deaths, the circumstances showing the
existence of cruelty or harassment to the
deceased are not restricted to a particular
instance but normally refer to a course of
conduct. Such conduct may be spread
over a period of time. …. Proximate and
live link between the effect of cruelty
based on dowry demand and the
consequential death is required to be

11
proved by the prosecution. The demand of
dowry, cruelty or harassment based upon
such demand and the date of death should
not be too remote in time which, under
the circumstances, be treated as having
become stale enough.”

(emphasis supplied)

A similar view was taken by this Court in Rajinder Singh v.

State of Punjab, (2015) 6 SCC 477.

15. Therefore, Courts should use their discretion to determine if the

period between the cruelty or harassment and the death of the

victim would come within the term “soon before”. What is

pivotal to the above determination, is the establishment of a

“proximate and live link” between the cruelty and the

consequential death of the victim.

16. When the prosecution shows that ‘soon before her death such

woman has been subjected by such person to cruelty or

harassment for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry’, a

presumption of causation arises against the accused under

Section 113­B of the Evidence Act. Thereafter, the accused has

12
to rebut this statutory presumption. Section 113B, Evidence

Act reads as under:

“113B. Presumption as to dowry death—When the
question is whether a person has committed the
dowry death of a woman and it is shown that soon
before her death such woman has been subjected by
such person to cruelty or harassment for, or in
connection with, any demand for dowry, the Court
shall presume that such person had caused the
dowry death.

Explanation. ­ For the purpose of this section,
“dowry death” shall have the same meaning as in
section 304B of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860)”

17. This Court, in the case of Bansi Lal v. State of

Haryana, (2011) 11 SCC 359, emphasized the mandatory

application of the presumption under Section 113­B of the

Evidence Act once the ingredients of Section 304­B of IPC stood

proved:

“19. It may be mentioned herein that the
legislature in its wisdom has used the word
‘shall’ thus, making a mandatory application
on the part of the court to presume that
death had been committed by the person who
had subjected her to cruelty or harassment in
connection with any demand of dowry. …

13
Therefore, in view of the above, onus lies on the
accused to rebut the presumption and in case of
Section 113­B relatable to Section 304­B IPC,
the onus to prove shifts exclusively and heavily
on the accused. …

20. Therefore, in case the essential
ingredients of such death have been
established by the prosecution, it is the duty
of the court to raise a presumption that the
accused has caused the dowry death.”

(emphasis supplied)

18. Therefore, once all the essential ingredients are established by

the prosecution, the presumption under Section 113­B,

Evidence Act mandatorily operates against the accused. This

presumption of causality that arises can be rebutted by the

accused.

19. The usage of rebuttable presumption of causality, under

Section 113­B, Evidence Act, creates a greater responsibility on

Judges, defense and prosecution. They need to be extra careful

during conducting criminal trials relating to Section 304­B,

IPC. In order to address this precarious situation, procedural

law has some safeguards, which merits mentioning herein.

14

20. It is a matter of grave concern that, often, Trial Courts record

the statement of an accused under Section 313, CrPC in a very

casual and cursory manner, without specifically questioning

the accused as to his defense. It ought to be noted that the

examination of an accused under Section 313, CrPC cannot be

treated as a mere procedural formality, as it is based on the

fundamental principle of fairness. This provision incorporates

the valuable principle of natural justice­ “audi alteram partem”,

as it enables the accused to offer an explanation for the

incriminatory material appearing against him. Therefore, it

imposes an obligation on the part of the Court to question the

accused fairly, with care and caution. The Court must put

incriminating circumstances before the accused and seek his

response. A duty is also cast on the counsel of the accused to

prepare his defense, since the inception of the trial, with due

caution, keeping in consideration the peculiarities of Section

304­B, IPC read with Section 113­B, Evidence Act.

21. Section 232, CrPC assumes importance, which reads as, “If,

after taking the evidence for the prosecution, examining the

15
accused and hearing the prosecution and the defence on the

point, the Judge considers that there is no evidence that the

accused committed the offence, the Judge shall record an order

of acquittal”. Once the Trial Court decides that the accused is

not eligible to be acquitted as per the provisions of Section 232,

CrPC, it must move on and fix hearings specifically for ‘defence

evidence’, calling upon the accused to present his defense as

per the procedure provided under Section 233, CrPC, which is

also an invaluable right provided to the accused. Existence of

such procedural right cohesively sits with the rebuttable

presumption as provided under Section 113­B, Evidence Act.

22. The second contentious part relating to Section 304­B, IPC is

that it does not take a pigeonhole approach in categorizing

death as homicidal or suicidal or accidental, as was done

earlier. The reason for such non categorization is due to the fact

that death occurring “otherwise than under normal

circumstances” can, in cases, be homicidal or suicidal or

accidental. However, the Section 304­B, IPC endeavors to also

16
address those situations wherein murders or suicide are

masqueraded as accidents.

23. Therefore, if all the other ingredients of Section 304­B IPC are

fulfilled, any death whether caused by burns or by bodily injury

or occurring otherwise than under normal circumstances shall,

as per the legislative mandate, be called a “dowry death” and

the woman’s husband or his relative “shall be deemed to have

caused her death” unless proved otherwise. The section clearly

specifies what constitutes the offence of dowry death and also

identifies the single offender or multiple offenders who has or

have caused the dowry death. [refer Maya Devi v. State of

Haryana, (2015) 17 SCC 405, Shanti v. State of Haryana,

(1991) 1 SCC 371]

24. After having observed the law on Section 304­B, IPC, we may

now turn to the merits of this case. It is clear that the

submissions of the counsel for the appellants must be rejected.

It is an admitted fact that the deceased and accused were

17
married on 01.07.1994, and the death of the lady occurred on

31.07.1995.

25. With respect to the cause of death, the doctor (P.W.3) found the

smell of kerosene oil on the body of the deceased who had

suffered 85% burn injuries. Therefore, in the present case, the

deceased victim succumbed to burns. As the death was

relatable to burn injuries within seven years of marriage, it

clearly satisfies the first two ingredients of the offence.

26. Coming to the issue of dowry demand, the evidence on record

indicates that when the brother of the deceased (P.W.7) visited

her in the matrimonial house after one month of marriage on

the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, the deceased had disclosed

that the accused, husband and mother­in­law, used to

physically harass her on the account of bringing insufficient

dowry. Furthermore, the accused persons had made a specific

demand of a scooter. Pursuant to this disclosure, she was

brought back to her paternal house where this fact was

disclosed to father of the deceased (P.W.6). It is pertinent to

18
note that, only a month prior to her death, the deceased had

returned to her matrimonial house. However, the accused still

used to harass the deceased for dowry. The aforesaid fact was

revealed by the deceased to her father, when she had come to

visit him.

27. It must be emphasized herein that, just a week before the

death, on the occasion of Teej festival, another brother of the

deceased (P.W.10) had visited her while she was in her

matrimonial home. The deceased had reiterated her plight to

her brother. Thereafter, on 31.07.1995, the father of the

deceased was informed by some villagers that his daughter has

been admitted in the hospital. Upon reaching, the father

discovered that the deceased succumbed to burn injuries. The

aforesaid chain of circumstances proves that there existed a live

and proximate link between the instances of demand of dowry

and the death of the deceased. The Trial Court, and the High

Court, upon a close appreciation of the aforesaid witnesses

came to the conclusion that the statements were corroborative

and consistent. They found the witnesses to be reliable and on

19
the basis of the same held that the deceased was subjected to

cruelty soon before her death as she failed to bring sufficient

dowry. We are in complete agreement with the aforesaid finding

of the Trial Court and the High Court.

28. From the above analysis, it is clear that the prosecution was

able to successfully prove that the death of the deceased due to

burn injuries took place within approximately one year of her

marriage. It has further been proved that soon before her death

she was subjected to harassment and cruelty pursuant to

demands of dowry. Since the ingredients of Section 304­B, IPC

stand satisfied, the presumption under 113­B, Evidence Act

operates against the appellants, who are deemed to have

caused the offence specified under Section 304­B of IPC.

29. The burden therefore shifts on the accused to rebut the

aforesaid presumption. The counsel for the appellants has

canvassed before us that it was a case of accidental death, and

hence no liability can be fixed upon them. However, in the

present case, the accused persons failed to place any evidence

20
on record to prove that the death was accidental or

unconnected with the accused persons.

30. Here, it ought to be noted that, according to the evidence of the

doctor, the entire body of the deceased was doused with

kerosene oil. Therefore, the possibility of an accident can be

safely ruled out. As the Trial Court concluded:

“All these circumstances go to prove that either
deceased committed suicide by sprinkling
kerosene oil on her body or she was burnt by
sprinkling kerosene on her body either by the
accused or by somebody else and the plea of
accident tried to be made out by the learned
counsel for the accused, is not at all proved.”

31. Therefore, the presumption adumbrated in Section 113­B,

Evidence Act takes full effect in this particular case, which has

not been rebutted by the accused­appellants herein. The

appellants have failed to make out a case for us to interfere in

the concurrent opinions of the Courts below, convicting the

accused­appellants under Section 304­B, IPC.

ISSUE II

21

32. Apart from their conviction under Section 304­B, IPC, the

appellants have also additionally challenged their conviction

under Section 306, IPC. Section 306, IPC relates to the

abetment of suicide and is extracted below:

“306. Abetment of suicide. —If any person
commits suicide, whoever abets the
commission of such suicide, shall be
punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to
ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

33. A bare reading of the provision indicates that for the offence

under Section 306, IPC the prosecution needs to first establish

that a suicide has been committed. Secondly, the prosecution

must also prove that the person who is said to have abetted the

commission of suicide, has played an active role in the same.

With respect to this latter requirement, Section 113­A, Evidence

Act creates a presumption against the husband and/or his

relative with respect to the abetment of suicide of a married

woman, under certain conditions. Not going into the other

conditions, a perusal of the provision indicates that such

presumption shall be attracted only if the factum of suicide has
22
been established by the prosecution first. The necessary

ingredients to constitute an offence under Section 306, I.P.C.

were considered by this court in Wazir Chand v. State of

Haryana, (1989) 1 SCC 244, wherein this Court held that:

“5. …Reading Sections 306 and 307 (sic 107)
together it is clear that if any person instigates any
other person to commit suicide and as a result of
such instigation the other person commits suicide,
the person causing the instigation is liable to be
punished under Section 306 of the Penal Code,
1860 for abetting the commission of suicide. A
plain reading of this provision shows that
before a person can be convicted of abetting
the suicide of any other person, it must be
established that such other person committed
suicide.”

(emphasis supplied)

34. In the present case, the Trial Court and the High Court have

concluded that the deceased committed suicide. However, we

are of the considered opinion that the conclusion reached by

the Courts below is based on assumptions, as there is no

evidence on record to support the same. The reasoning of the

Trial Court in this regard is as follows:

23
“Further, there is no direct evidence having
been adduced by the prosecution the (sic)
any of the accused caused death by
sprinkling kerosene on the body of the
deceased, the only possibility is that Meena
Kumari put an end to her life by sprinkling
kerosene on her body.”

35. In light of the fact that there was insufficient evidence to prove

the factum of suicide beyond reasonable doubt, the

presumption under Section 113­A, Evidence Act, is not of much

help for the prosecution. The essential ingredient of deceased

committing suicide has not been proved by the prosecution by

adducing sufficient evidence. In the present case, the

prosecution has failed to establish that the death occurred due

to suicide. Therefore, we are of the opinion that the finding of

the Courts below convicting the appellants under Section 306,

IPC merits interference by this Court.

CONCLUSIONS

36. At the cost of repetition, the law under Section 304­B, IPC read

with Section 113­B, Evidence Act can be summarized below:

24
i. Section 304­B, IPC must be interpreted keeping in mind the
legislative intent to curb the social evil of bride burning and
dowry demand.

ii. The prosecution must at first establish the existence of the
necessary ingredients for constituting an offence under Section
304
­B, IPC. Once these ingredients are satisfied, the rebuttable
presumption of causality, provided under Section 113­B,
Evidence Act operates against the accused.

iii. The phrase “soon before” as appearing in Section 304­B, IPC
cannot be construed to mean ‘immediately before’. The
prosecution must establish existence of “proximate and live
link” between the dowry death and cruelty or harassment for
dowry demand by the husband or his relatives.

iv. Section 304­B, IPC does not take a pigeonhole approach in
categorizing death as homicidal or suicidal or accidental. The
reason for such non categorization is due to the fact that death
occurring “otherwise than under normal circumstances” can, in
cases, be homicidal or suicidal or accidental.

v. Due to the precarious nature of Section 304­B, IPC read with
113­B, Evidence Act, Judges, prosecution and defence should
be careful during conduction of trial.

vi. It is a matter of grave concern that, often, Trial Courts record
the statement under Section 313, CrPC in a very casual and

25
cursory manner, without specifically questioning the accused
as to his defense. It ought to be noted that the examination of
an accused under Section 313, CrPC cannot be treated as a
mere procedural formality, as it based on the fundamental
principle of fairness. This aforesaid provision incorporates the
valuable principle of natural justice “audi alteram partem” as it
enables the accused to offer an explanation for the
incriminatory material appearing against him. Therefore, it
imposes an obligation on the court to question the accused
fairly, with care and caution.

vii. The Court must put incriminating circumstances before the
accused and seek his response. A duty is also cast on the
counsel of the accused to prepare his defense since the
inception of the Trial with due caution, keeping in
consideration the peculiarities of Section 304­B, IPC read with
Section 113­B, Evidence Act.

viii. Section 232, CrPC provides that, “If, after taking the evidence
for the prosecution, examining the accused and hearing the
prosecution and the defence on the point, the Judge considers
that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence,
the Judge shall record an order of acquittal”. Such discretion
must be utilized by the Trial Courts as an obligation of best
efforts.

26
ix. Once the Trial Court decides that the accused is not eligible to
be acquitted as per the provisions of Section 232, CrPC, it must
move on and fix hearings specifically for ‘defence evidence’,
calling upon the accused to present his defense as per the
procedure provided under Section 233, CrPC, which is also an
invaluable right provided to the accused.

x. In the same breath, Trial Courts need to balance other
important considerations such as the right to a speedy trial. In
this regard, we may caution that the above provisions should
not be allowed to be misused as delay tactics.

xi. Apart from the above, the presiding Judge should follow the
guidelines laid down by this Court while sentencing and
imposing appropriate punishment.

xii. Undoubtedly, as discussed above, the menace of dowry death is
increasing day by day. However, it is also observed that
sometimes family members of the husband are roped in, even
though they have no active role in commission of the offence
and are residing at distant places. In these cases, the Court
need to be cautious in its approach.

37. In light of the above findings, after perusing the relevant

material and the evidence available, we find that the High Court

and Trial Court have not committed any error in convicting the

appellants under Section 304­B, IPC as the appellants failed to
27
discharge the burden under Section 113­B, Evidence Act.

However, upon appreciation of facts and circumstances we are

of the opinion that the offence under Section 306, IPC is not

made out. We therefore set aside the conviction and sentence

under Section 306, IPC.

38. Appeals allowed to the above extent. Pending applications, if

any, stand disposed of.

………………………..CJI.

(N.V. RAMANA)

…………………………. J.

(ANIRUDDHA BOSE)
NEW DELHI;

MAY 28, 2021

28



Source link