Criminal Appeal Nos. 1973-1974 of 2008. Case: Patel Maheshbhai Ranchodbhai Vs State of Gujarat. Supreme Court (India)

Case NumberCriminal Appeal Nos. 1973-1974 of 2008
JudgesM. Yusuf Eqbal and Abhay Manohar Sapre, JJ.
IssueIndian Evidence Act, 1872 - Section 113A; Indian Penal Code (IPC) - Sections 114, 201, 306, 498A; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) - Section 313
Judgement DateSeptember 26, 2014
CourtSupreme Court (India)


M. Yusuf Eqbal, J.

1. This is an exceptional case where this Court has taken serious note, the way the Sessions Judge disposed of the Sessions case within a period of nine days, which can be briefly narrated herein-below:

All accused were acquitted, except the main accused (husband), who was convicted Under Section 498A, Indian Penal Code to the period already undergone since he remained in jail for three days. In the appeal arising out of said judgment at the instance of the State, the High Court in the impugned judgment dated 16.6.2008 has also taken note of this fact and finally reversed trial court's findings of acquittal against all the accused and convicted the present Appellants-accused of the charges Under Section 306 read with Section 114 of Indian Penal Code, as also convicted Appellant-accused No. 2 (father-in-law of the deceased) and Appellant-accused No. 3 (mother-in-law of the deceased) for the offence punishable Under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. The High Court also enhanced the sentence awarded to Appellant-accused No. 1 (Husband of the deceased) for the offence punishable Under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code. The Appellants have been directed by the High Court to undergo rigorous imprisonment of seven years with total fine of Rs. 15,000/-. The trial court had acquitted all the accused except accused No. 1 (husband), who was convicted for offence Under Section 498A, Indian Penal Code and sentenced him for three days simple imprisonment, which was already undergone by him.

2. The facts leading to the prosecution story pertains to the village Panchot of Mehsana District, Gujarat, where on 16.12.1997 suicide was committed by one lady Renukaben Maheshbhai Patel, who was married to Appellant No. 1 for two years before the incident. From this wedlock, couple had a female child. Appellant No. 1-husband of deceased had been serving in Africa and before three months of the incident, he had come to village Panchot. It is alleged that Appellant/accused No. 3 (mother-in-law of deceased) was doubting the character of the deceased and subjected her to mental cruelty, and the deceased was also constantly beaten by her husband. Prosecution case is that preceding three days of the incident, all the three accused persons, who are Appellants before us, were extremely harassing the deceased and upon instigation of Appellant Nos. 2 and 3, husband-Appellant No. 1 had been beating deceased Renukaben, which continued for three days. On account of this and compelling circumstances, on 16.12.1997, at about 13.30 hours, Renukaben, at her in-laws house, poured kerosene of the quantity of five litres upon her and ignited herself and consequently she started burning in flames. Her husband (1st Appellant) immediately tried to save the deceased and it has come to the evidence that while making such an attempt, the 1st Appellant also suffered injuries. Thereafter, she was taken to General Hospital of Mehsana in ambulance and was treated by Dr. A.K. Kapadia and he found burns on all over her body, deep in nature.

3. In the meantime, Mehsana Taluka Police Station was informed and ASI PW4 reached at the Emergency of the Hospital where Renukaben was admitted and her treatment was going on. The Doctor who was attending Renukaben requested ASI Hargovanbhai to record her statement. The said police official, therefore, through his writer recorded the statement of victim...

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