Pat HC | Lack of evidence to prove injuries sustained by the deceased, Court refuses to convict on mere statements given by witnesses

Patna High Court: The Division Bench comprising of Hemant Kumar Srivastava Prabhat Kumar Singh, JJ. dismissed an appeal on the admission stage itself since they did not find any faults in the findings of the trial court.

A criminal appeal was preferred under the proviso of Section 372 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 against the Judgment of acquittal by which the respondents were acquitted from charges framed under Section 304-B of the Penal Code, 1860.

The appellant claimed that his daughter, namely, Najma Khatoon who was married to the respondent 3, six years ago but, the respondent’s 2, 3 and 4 started misbehaving with his daughter and, she was killed by respondent’s 2, 3 and 4. The appellant further claimed that as soon as he was informed about the death of his daughter went to her in-laws’ house and found that the body of his daughter was lying in a room and had marks of assault on it. It was also submitted that the respondent’s 2, 3 and 4 forcibly buried the body.

The respondents were charged for the offence punishable under Section 304-B of the IPC. In the course of the trial, ten prosecution witnesses were examined and some documents were also exhibited. The trial court having evaluated the evidences available on the record came to the conclusion that prosecution did not succeed to prove all the ingredients of Section 304-B of the IPC and accordingly, the learned trial court acquitted the respondent’s 2, 3 and 4.

The learned counsel for the appellant submitted that during the course of trial, appellant, as well as some other prosecution witnesses, had supported the prosecution’s story stating that deceased the was subjected to cruelty and harassment by respondents’s 2, 3 and 4 due to non-fulfillment of the illegal dowry demand, she was killed by the respondents. The witnesses also claimed that they had seen injury marks on the person of the deceased when they had visited the house of respondents 2, 3 and 4 after receiving information regarding the death.

On perusal of the impugned Judgment, the Court held that the learned trial court noticed that the appellant had filed a complaint case after one month of the alleged occurrence and although the prosecution witnesses claimed to have seen the injuries on the person of the deceased just after her death, none of them made any attempt to report the matter to concerned police station immediately after noticing the injuries. The trial court had no grounds to believe the witnesses as there was not a single shred of paper to prove that the deceased had sustained injuries. The appellant had not disclosed the factum of dowry in his complaint petition and the aforesaid story was introduced during the course of the trial.

In view of the above-noted facts, the instant appeal was dismissed since the Court did not find any perversity in the findings of the trial court.[Mohammad Hanif v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine Pat 1683, decided on 24-09-2019]

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