Kanchanben Purshottambhai Bhanderi Versus State of Gujarat

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1152 OF 2009

Kanchanben Purshottambhai Bhanderi …..Appellant

Versus

State of Gujarat …..Respondent

The sole appellant, Kanchanben is the mother-in-law of the deceased and is facing conviction under Section 304B and 498A of the Indian Penal Code (hereinafter referred to as IPC) with sentence of RI for eight years and penalty of Rs.1,000/- with default stipulation. She has also been convicted under Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act with simple imprisonment for five years and penalty of Rs.3,000/- with default clause. For conviction under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, she has been inflicted with simple imprisonment of six months and penalty of Rs. 500/-. The sentences have to run concurrently. For the offence in question in which the daughter-in-law of the appellant namely Hina died a suicidal death after consuming poison within seven months of her marriage with the son of the appellant, the Police chargesheeted three persons, accused No.1 Nilesh Kumar, who is the husband of the deceased, the appellant as accused No.2 and appellant’s husband Purshattambhai as accused No.3. As per prosecution case, the marriage between the deceased and Nilesh was solemnized on 4.12.1997. She went from her parental house at Surat toher matrimonial home at Vidyanagar which falls on the way from Surat to Ahmedabad and is just one hour drive from Ahmedabad. According to the prosecution case, during the short span of matrimonial life the deceased faced demands for dowry as well as mental and physical harassment from the accused persons. She confided her sad plight with her mother, the informant Chandrikaben (PW 8), as well as her cousin sister Aartiben (PW 10) and a friend Sonalben (PW 18).According to the prosecution case, the accused persons wanted various articles by way of dowry and the demand was conveyed to the deceased mainly by her mother-in-law, the appellant who allegedly, also used to instigate her son Nilesh to ill-treat his wife the deceased. The specific case of the prosecution is that on 5.7.1998, Hina informed her mother at about 8.30 a.m. on telephone that due to ill-treatment she was fed up and was going to end her life. Soon thereafter, the father-in-law of the deceased informed the parents of the deceased-Hina that she had consumed poison and was being removed to hospital. The parents left Surat by road but by the time they reached the hospital after 2 p.m., Hina was unconscious andwas gasping for breath and soon she died. The material on record discloses that on the date of death of Hina i.e.5.7.1998 itself, first information report was lodged by PW-8 Chandrikaben disclosing physical and mental harassment of the deceased particularly at the hands of her mother-in-law as well as demands for various articles by way of dowry. The post-mortem examination of dead body of Hina was conducted after necessary panchnama and on receipt of report from the Forensic Science Laboratory, it was confirmed that she had died of aluminum phosphate poisoning….read more