HC: Six month delay in complaint, Accused acquitted of 498A and 307
Ramkumar @ Chhota vs State Of Madhya Pradesh on 12/5/2000
S.P. Khare, J.
1. Appellant Ramkumar has been convicted under Sections 498A and 307, I.P.C. and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for two years and three years respectively. He has also been sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000/- for the first offence and Rs. 5,000/- for the second offence.
2. After hearing the learned Counsel for both the sides and after careful scrutiny of the evidence on record this Court is of the opinion that the conviction of the appellant for the aforesaid offences is not sustainable. Bundabai (P.W. 2) is wife of the appellant. She has three children from him. The marriage took place about 14 years ago. She has deposed that she was sleeping and at about 1 a.m. the accused poured kerosene on her and set her on fire as he suspected her fidelity. She reported the matter to the police after six months of the incident. The accused was getting her burn injuries treated by a doctor. Ralli (P.W. 3) is her father. He has deposed that his daughter Bundabai (P.W. 2) did not tell him that her husband has caused burn injuries to her. Ganeshia (P.W. 4) is mother of Bundabai (P.W. 2). She has. deposed that Bundabai (P.W. 2) told her that her husband has caused these injuries to her, and this was revealed by her in the presence of her father Ralli (P.W. 3). It is not probable that the father of the victim would not support her testimony. The evidence of both the parents is contradictory. Hira Singh Yadav (P.W. 5) has deposed that a Panchayat was convened in which Bundabai (P.W. 2) disclosed that she herself set on fire out of anger. Though this witness has been declared hostile his version finds support from the testimony of the father of Bundabai. Therefore, a reasonable doubt is created whether the accused caused burn injuries to his wife or she herself poured kerosene of her body and ignited the match stick. The medical evidence of Dr. B.P. Mishra (P.W. 1) shows that this woman had sustained burn injuries as per his report Ex. P-2 but he could not throw light on the point whether the burns were self-inflicted or caused by someone else. Bundabai (P.W. 2) has submitted an application before this Court for permission to compound the offence. As both the offences are non-compoundable the application is rejected. But the charges against the appellant are not proved beyond reasonable doubt and, therefore, he must be acquitted of those charges.
3. The appeal is allowed. The conviction and sentence are set-aside and the appellant is acquitted of the charges under Sections 498A and 307, I.P.C. Fine amount if deposited, be refunded to him.