Karnataka High Court has held that the 'word' used under Section 304B of IPC, though it is used soon before the death', cannot interpreted as prior to the death immediately, even it has to be taken into consideration depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case and the entire statement of the witnesses and charge sheet material has to be looked into in this behalf.
Justice B A Patil while dismissing the petition filed by Harish T R and other, challenging a lower court order dismissing their discharge applications, said "On going through the statement of the witnesses and charge sheet material there appears to be some material about ill-treatment and harassment meted out by the accused for the purpose of demand of dowry. Be that as it may. Even there is a presumption in law with regard to the said offence is concerned. That has to be seen with reference to the factual matrix of the case. In that light, if the entire material is looked into, there appears to be a prima facie material as against the accused to frame the charge."
Marriage of the deceased was got performed with Harish, on November 30, 2011. At that time Rs.2,00,000/- and other gold ornaments were given.
It is further alleged that whatever the amount and gold which has been given was not sufficient in that context subsequently, in the matrimonial home the ill-treatment and harassment continued and the same was used to be informed by the deceased to her parents and her sister.
There is demand for more dowry by the accused persons. When the said harassment was continued frequently, the complainant gave Rs.60,000 to the first accused and subsequently, she became pregnant and delivered twin two female children. For that also, the harassment continued. They demanded a sum of Rs.1,30,000/- towards medical expenses, which he had spent on the delivery of the deceased.
It is alleged that on the intervening night of January 3, 2014, accused called the complainant and told that it is not possible for him to manage with his sister in respect of matrimonial dispute and requested the complainant to come and solve the issue by advising his sister.
On 04.01.2013, the complainant received a call from his aunt that the deceased has committed suicide along with her two children.
The main grounds urged by the learned counsel for the petitioners/accused are that there is no material to attract the provisions of Section 304B of IPC. In order to attract the provision of Section 304B of IPC, soon before the death, there must be ill-treatment and harassment caused to the deceased for demand of dowry. It is her further submission that the statement of the witnesses recorded during the course of investigation indicates that no such demand of dowry.
It is her further submission that on the intervening night of the alleged incident, the matter was reiterated to the brother of the deceased and has informed that it is not possible for the accused to manage with his sister in respect of matrimonial dispute and the same has been advised by consoling that in between the husband and wife, small issues will be there. That itself clearly goes to show that the ingredients of Section 304B of IPC were not present at the time when the alleged incident has taken place. When the ingredients of Section 304B of IPC were conspicuously absent, then under such circumstance, the petitioners/accused are entitled to be discharged for the said offences.
The charge sheet material clearly goes to show that at the time of marriage, there was a demand of dowry in the form of cash, gold and silver. Subsequently also, there was ill-treatment and harassment for demand of dowry and as the accused has lost Rs.7,00,000/- in IPL betting, he demanded to bring Rs.7,00,000. It is his further submission that the said ill-treatment was continued for having been given birth to two female twin babies.
Even there is a presumption in law with regard to the said offence is concerned. That has to be seen with reference to the factual matrix of the case. In that light, if the entire material is looked into, there appears to be a prima facie material as against the accused to frame the charge.
It added But on going through the factual matrix of the case there arises a doubt in the case of the accused and if there are two views on a similar factual situation, at this juncture it is not a fit case to discharge the accused.
Click here to download the Order