Nagpur: The Bombay High Court here came to
the rescue of a husband by ruling that words spoken during a
quarrel are not always uttered with a criminal intent.
"Words such as `go and die` uttered in a quarrel or on the
spur of moment can`t be termed as uttered with criminal
intent," ruled High Court Judge Justice Ashok Bhangale.
While upholding a lower court verdict, Justice Bhangale
dismissed the state government`s criminal appeal filed in
1996 against neighbouring Wardha resident Vasant Chudiwale who
was accused of allegedly abetting his wife Maya’s suicide for
dowry. "There should be concrete evidence to indicate criminal
intent," the High Court bench observed.
The petitioner entered into a wedlock with Maya way back
in 1985. After a couple of years, relations between the two
turned bitter. Vasant allegedly started ill-treating Maya on
the alleged ground that she was having an extra marital affair
with his brother-in-law Rakeshkumar.
On July 19, 1987, the couple came to the city and stayed
at the residence of Maya`s uncle Madanchand. During her stay,
Maya confided with her uncle about the alleged ill treatment
meted out to her by her husband.
Three days later, Maya committed suicide by pouring
kerosene on her body and setting herself ablaze. In her dying
declaration, she blamed Vasant for taking the extreme step.
On the basis of her brother`s complaint, Tehsil Police
station chargesheeted Chidiwale for offences punishable under
Sections 498A and 306 of the IPC.
The Nagpur District and Sessions Judge convicted him on
both counts and sentenced him to one year of rigorous
Chudiwale challenged the lower Court order before the
additional Joint District Judge through an appeal and got
respite. The State challenged this order in the High
Court through a criminal appeal. The deceased`s uncle also
filed a criminal revision application against Chidiwale.
The state contended that in her dying declaration, Maya
blamed husband for taunting her about her alleged extra
marital affair with Rakeshkumar.
"To constitute the offence under abetment to suicide,
there must be evidence to prove that the accused instigated
the person," the court observed.
Before dismissing both cases, Justice Bhangale stated
that the deceased`s dying declaration merely does not mean an
offence punishable under section 306 of IPC.