SHER SINGH @ PARTAPA Versus STATE OF HARYANA

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 1592 OF 2011

SHER SINGH @ PARTAPA …..APPELLANT

Versus

STATE OF HARYANA …..RESPONDENT

Two separate appeals were filed before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh, one by Devinder Singh (brother-in-law) along with Jarnail Singh (father-in-law) and another by the Appellant herein. The High Court allowed the appeal filed by Devinder Singh and Jarnail Singh and acquitted them with an observation that the prosecution has failed to prove any torture committed by them and, therefore, Sections 304B and 498A IPC were not attracted. Quite palpably, unlike the Trial Court, the High Court construed even Section 304B requires the prosecution to ‘prove’ beyond reasonable doubt in contradistinction to ‘show’ the participative role of the husband’s relatives as a prelude to the deemed guilt kicking in. It was also observed by the High Court that in such cases there is a tendency of roping in all the family members disregarding the fact that they resided separately. However, the Appeal filed by the Appellant was dismissed holding that it was for the accused/Appellant to explain that the unnatural death of his wife Harjinder Kaur was not due to cruelty meted out to her in the matrimonial home and that he has failed in doing so. Learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the Appellant has submitted that the conviction of the Appellant is liable to be set aside as there is a specific finding of the learned Sessions Court that there is no positive evidence on record to the effect that the accused persons ever raised a demand for a motorcycle and a fridge and that both the Courts below have failed to fully appreciate the inconsistencies in the depositions of PWs 4 and 7, which could not be relied upon as both were interested witnesses. It is further submitted that the High Court, on same set of pleadings and evidence, was not justified in acquitting the other accused persons, namely, Devinder Singh (brother-in-law) and Jarnail Singh (father-in-law), while convicting the Appellant. In support of this argument, learned Counsel for the Appellant has relied on the decision of this Court in Narayanamurthy v. State of Karnataka (2008) 16 SCC 512. It is also contended that the prosecution has not established that soon before her death, the deceased had been subjected to any cruelty or harassment in connection with any demand for dowry. Support has been drawn from Durga Prasad v. State of Madhya Pradesh (2010) 9 SCC 73….read more