Indian Penal Code, 1860 — sections 498-A, 306 — cruelty upon women by her husband and his relatives, abetment to suicide — acquittal of respondent of the charges under — in challenge — no case for abetment of suicide by the respondent made out, particularly when the deceased left behind a suicide note absolving the respondent and all others from the responsibility for the step taken by her to commit suicide by taking poison — the evidence of PW-1 nowhere showed that on the day the deceased committed suicide, the respondent in any way guilty of any willful conduct which was likely to drive the deceased to commit suicide, nor did the respondent cause any grave injury to the deceased — acquittal order upheld — appeal dismissed.

Page 1
Criminal Appeal Nos. 1605 & 1604 of 2007 1
NON-REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO(s). 1605 OF 2007
K.R.J. SARMA Appellant (s)
VERSUS
R.V. SURYA RAO & ANR. Respondent(s)
WITH
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO(s). 1604 OF 2007
THE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR, Appellant (s)
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
VERSUS
R.V. SURYA RAO Respondent(s)
JUDGMENT
These are appeals against the judgment dated 25-
11-2002 of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Criminal
Appeal No. 1207 of 2002.
2. The facts very briefly are that the
respondent was married to Vijaya Bala. Vijaya Bala died
on 27-06-1994 by consuming poison and committing
suicide at her residential apartment in Soverign
Shelter Apartments, Hyderabad. After investigation, a
charge-sheet was filed against the respondent under
Sections 306 and 498A, IPC. The Trial Court, however,Page 2
Criminal Appeal Nos. 1605 & 1604 of 2007 2
found that the deceased Vijaya Bala had left a suicide
note (Ext.P1) addressed to the police to the effect
that no one was responsible for the death of the
deceased and there was no pressure either from her
parents, husband (respondent), children or friends and
relatives and that the decision to commit suicide was
taken by her on her own will and the suicide note was
also signed by the deceased. The Trial Court, after
considering the contents of Ext. P1 and after
considering all other evidence, held that the
prosecution has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt
that the respondent had abetted the deceased to commit
suicide and accordingly acquitted the respondent of the
charges under Sections 498A and 306, IPC.
3. Aggrieved, the State carried Criminal Appeal
No. 1207 of 2002 and by the impugned judgment, the High
Court held that the suicide note said to have been left
behind by the deceased wife and marked as Ext.P1,
obviously exonerates the respondent on both the charges
under Sections 498A and 306, IPC. The High Court
further held that it was discernible from the evidence
that the deceased had a suicidal tendency which was
expressed on several occasions and except the only
circumstance that the door was bolted from outside
there was no other evidence that was available onPage 3
Criminal Appeal Nos. 1605 & 1604 of 2007 3
record against the respondent and there was also no
evidence that the respondent had subjected the deceased
to any harassment or cruelty. Accordingly, the High
Court did not interfere with the order of acquittal.
4. So far as Criminal Appeal No. 1605 of 2007 is
concerned, the same was filed by the complainant and it
has been brought to our notice by the learned counsel
for the parties that the complainant has expired during
the pendency of the criminal appeal. Hence this
criminal appeal abates.
5. In support of Criminal Appeal No. 1604 of
2007 filed by the State, learned counsel for the State
Mr. D. Mahesh Babu submitted that there was evidence of
PW 1, the son of the deceased, to show that there were
quarrels between the deceased and the accused over the
innumerable loans taken by the accused and that the
accused used to take away the salary of the deceased
who was employed as a teacher. He further submitted
that there was also evidence of PW 1 that the accused
used to lock the house from outside and keep with him
the keys with the deceased inside the house. He argued
that the aforesaid evidence makes out the case of
harassment, cruelty and abetment of suicide and
therefore, the respondent was guilty of the charges
under Sections 498A and 306, IPC.Page 4
Criminal Appeal Nos. 1605 & 1604 of 2007 4
6. We have perused the evidence of PW 1 and we
find that the respondent had taken PW 1 and his younger
brother for a movie when the deceased committed
suicide. This is what PW 1 has stated in his evidence
with regard to what happened on the day the deceased
committed suicide:
“…On the fateful day, neither
myself nor my father requested my
mother to accompany us to see
movie, as my mother was in a
disturbed mood and my father asked
us not to press her to come along
with us. It is not true to suggest
that there were no quarrel on that
day and that I am saying for the
first time contradictory statement.
My father did not quarrel with us
on that day. Myself and my brother
accompanied my father to watch
movie willfully, my mother did not
oppose for us to go to movie and
did not oppose for being the main
door locked from outside of the
home. My mother did not put the
lock from outside or that she would
bolt the door from inside by
herself. At the time when we were
leaving from our flat my mother was
well awake and saw us going for
movie. My mother knows that we were
going to movie. My brother also
told my mother that we are all
going to movie. My mother did not
show any interest to accompany us.
Neither my father nor myself or my
brother ever had any thought that
she would attempt to commit
suicide.”
It is clear from the aforesaid evidence of PW 1 that
the deceased herself opted not to go to the movie on
that day along with the respondent and their two sonsPage 5
Criminal Appeal Nos. 1605 & 1604 of 2007 5
and neither the respondent nor the two sons had any
thought that the deceased would commit suicide when
they have gone to the movie. This being the evidence
of the prosecution witness (PW 1), we fail to see how
the case for abetment of suicide by the respondent
could be made out, particularly when the deceased had
left behind a suicide note (Ext. P1) absolving the
respondent and all others from the responsibility for
the step taken by her to commit suicide by taking
poison.
7. Also from the evidence of PW 1 we do not find
any act of cruelty or harassment as such committed by
the respondent within the meaning of Clauses (a)
and (b) of the Explanation to Section 498A, IPC.
Clause (a) of the Explanation to Section 498A, IPC
states that any willful conduct which is of such a
nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit
suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life,
limb or health, whether mental or physical of the
woman amounts to ‘cruelty’. We have noticed from the
evidence of PW 1 that on the day the deceased
committed suicide, the respondent was not in any way
guilty of any willful conduct which was likely to
drive the deceased to commit suicide, nor did the
respondent cause any grave injury to the deceased.Page 6
Criminal Appeal Nos. 1605 & 1604 of 2007 6
Clause (b) of the Explanation to Section 498A, IPC
states that harassment of a woman with a view to
coercing her or any person related to her to meet any
unlawful demand for any property or valuable security
or is on account of failure by her or any person
related to her to meet such demand amounts to
‘cruelty’. Though PW 1 has stated that the respondent
used to take away the salary of the deceased, he has
very fairly conceded in cross examination that he had
not stated before the police that the respondent used
to take away the salary of the deceased. Considering
this evidence of PW 1, we are of the view that the
concurrent findings of the Trial Court and the High
Court that the respondent was not guilty of the
offences under Sections 498A and 306, IPC should not
be interfered with by us in exercise of our powers
under Article 136 of the Constitution.
8. The appeals are accordingly dismissed.
……………………….J.
(A.K. PATNAIK)
……………………….J.
(SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA)
NEW DELHI,
APRIL 01, 2013

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