Charges under Section 306 and 498A IPC are independent of each other; Acquittal u/s 306 is not by itself a ground for acquittal u/s 498A IPC
Kaushal Kishore Vs State NCT of Delhi
CRL.REV.P. 129/2018 & Crl.M.A.2863/2018
About/from the judgment:
Acquittal of a charge under Section 306 doesn’t by itself become a ground for acquittal under Section 498A IPC but some cogent evidence is required to bring home the charge of Section 498A as well, without which the charge cannot be said to be maintained.
In a challenge to framing of charge for Section 498A of Indian Penal Code despite finding the offence under Section 306 to be not made out, the High Court made it clear that Sections 498A and Section 306 IPC are independent and constitute different offences.
The summary of the case goes around where a wife commits suicide leaving a suicide note that states her action was voluntary but the mother-in-law and brother-in-law of the husband put harassment allegations on him.
They accuse him of torture and abuse but lacks evidence to prove the same. The suicide note of the deceased doesn’t indicate any cruelty sign on her. The Police though files a charge-sheet under Section 498A IPC which the husband challenges in Court.
Petitioner’s lawyer contended that Charge Sheet was filed both under Section 306 and Section 498A IPC, however, the Trial Court found insufficient material to proceed under Section 306 IPC. He submitted that cruelty under Section 498A IPC is to be of such a nature which is likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury etc. and as the Trial Court found insufficient material to proceed under section 306 IPC, on the same analogy, there was insufficient material to even frame a charge under Section 498A of IPC.
The Trial Court was of the view that the suicide note exonerated the petitioner and stated that the deceased was taking the step voluntarily. The Court stated that since the suicide note exonerated the petitioner, there was insufficient material against him in so far as the offence under Section 306 IPC was concerned.
High Court observed “In Girdhar Shankar Tawade (supra), the Supreme Court has clearly laid down that charges under Section 306 and 498A IPC are independent of each other and acquittal of one does not lead to acquittal of the other. Acquittal of a charge under Section 306 does not by itself become a ground for acquittal under Section 498A IPC but some cogent evidence is required to bring home the charge of Section 498A as well, without which the charge cannot be said to be maintained”.
It also observed “As noticed above, an acquittal or discharge under Section 306 IPC would not ipso facto amount to an acquittal or discharge under Section 498A IPC. Ingredients of both the Sections are different”.
It observed “Though, there may be an overlap with regard to cruelty being meted out to the deceased in both the Sections, however, the degree of cruelty to constitute abetment under Section 306 IPC would be of higher than the degree of harassment and cruelty to constitute an offence under Section 498A IPC. It cannot be held that because petitioner has been discharged of an offence under Section 306 IPC, it would automatically lead to a discharge of the offence under Section 498A IPC”.
High Court then held “In the present case, there is sufficient material on record in the form of the statements of the mother as well as the brothers of the deceased, alleging both physical and mental harassment by the petitioner of the deceased. There are specific allegations that petitioner had maltreated the deceased and committed physical and mental cruelty on her and even made demands for money to purchase a plot. In my view there is sufficient material on record to give rise to grave suspicion against the petitioner for framing a charge under Section 498A IPC”.
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