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Punishment for IPC 306, 498A reduced to 9 months for 75 year old, 5+2 year to 2+2 year for husband

January 28, 2018



498A, 306 IPC punishment reduced for mother in law

A Bench of Supreme Court Judges, Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre dismissed the appeal filed in Mst. Anusuiya @ Saraswatibai & Anr. v. State of Madhya Pradesh, Criminal Appeal No. 1224 of 2008.


The case is that the marriage of Rekhabai and Chandrashekhar was performed on 12.05.1989, six months prior to her death. Appellant No.1 is the mother-in-law of the deceased. On 21.11.1989, a Marg Report was recorded at Chandameta Police Station that Rekhabai was brought dead in W.C.L. Hospital Bandkuhee by Gajanand. After preparing the inquest panchanama(Ex.P/8), the dead body was sent for post mortem. Dr. R.K. Basor performed the post mortem and submitted the report. According to the Doctor, the death of Rekhabai was quite unnatural. Thereafter the viscera collected from the dead body was sent to Forensic Science Laboratory for Chemical examination.

On 25.11.1989, Saligram, father of Rekhabai, submitted a written report to the police station, Chhindwara mentioning therein that her daughter had committed suicide because her in-laws were harassing her for not bringing dowry in marriage and demanding one Fan and Rs.500/- from her parents. He further said that on 19.11.1989, one day before the death of Rekhabai, his daughter and son-in-law came to his house and stayed there for the night and on the next morning, his son-in-law again demanded a Fan and Rs.500/- from him and on not being given the same, he started quarreling and went away saying that consequence would be heard of the next day. On the next day, when Rekhabai suddenly became ill, Surendra Pathak(CW-1) examined her on the request of Chandrashekhar and advised him to take her to the Hospital. On the way to Hospital, Rekhabai died.

On 30.03.1990, report of the Forensic Science Laboratory was received mentioning therein that the death of Rekhabai was caused by consuming rat poison. After investigation, charge sheet was filed and by order dated 29.12.1990, the case was committed to the Court of Sessions. The accused persons(appellants) denied the charges.

By judgment dated 02.04.1992, the First Additional Sessions Judge, Chhindwara convicted the appellants for the offences punishable under Sections 306 and 498A IPC and sentenced both of them under Section 306 to undergo rigorous imprisonment of seven years and a fine of Rs.1000/- each and in default of payment of fine, to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for six months. So far as the sentence under Section 498A was concerned, both the appellants were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years.

The sentences were to run consecutively.

Challenging the judgment of the Trial Court, the appellants (accused) filed appeal before the High Court.

The High Court, by impugned judgment dated 14.02.2007, partly allowed the appeal, upheld the conviction but modified the sentence awarded to the appellants under Section 306 from Seven years to five years and a fine of Rs.1000/- each, in default, to further undergo RI for three months and so far as sentence under Section 498A was concerned, it was modified from three years to two years. Both the sentences were to run concurrently.

Against the judgment of the High Court, the accused have filed appeal by way of special leave before Supreme Court.

The court said that "We have perused the evidence with a view to find out as to whether the prosecution was able to prove their case under the twin Sections, namely, Sections 306 and 498-A of the IPC, which resulted in death of Rekhabai and, if so, whether the two Courts below were justified in convicting both the appellants and awarding to them the sentence as detailed above."

"It is a settled principle of law that if there is no perversity noticed in the findings of the Courts below and more so when the findings of the two Court below are of concurrence then such findings would be binding on this Court while hearing the appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution. Such is the case here."

"It is not in dispute that the appellant No.1-mother-in-law has undergone total jail sentence for a period of 9 months or so out of the jail sentence awarded to her, during the pendency of the appeal. It is also not in dispute that she is now around 75 years of age and is not keeping well. It is also not in dispute that she is presently on bail granted by this Court." 


"So far as appellant No.2-husband is concerned, he too has undergone around 1 year 1 month approx. Apart from what is taken note of above, learned counsel for the appellants made a statement at the bar that appellant No. 2 has remarried with a girl from the family of deceased, i.e., the deceased's aunt's daughter and since then the relations between the two families have become quite cordial."

"So far as appellant No. 1-mother-in-law is concerned, we modify her sentence and reduce the same to already undergone. In this view of the matter, appellant No. 1-mother-in-law is not required to undergo any more jail sentence."

"So far as appellant No. 2-husband of the deceased, Rekhabai, is concerned, his sentence is reduced from 5 years to 2 years under Section 306 IPC. So far as sentence of 2 years awarded under Section 498-A is concerned, it is upheld. The fine amount awarded in both is also upheld. Both the sentences are to run concurrently."




Read the Judgment of Supreme Court of India in Mst. Anusuiya @ Saraswatibai Anr. v. State of Madhya Pradesh dated 25.1.2018



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