Presumption under Section 113-B of Evidence Act can be drawn only where ingredients of Section 304-B IPC are fulfilled

Delhi High Court: Acquitting the appellant of charges under Section 304-B read with 34 IPC, the Single Judge Bench of P.S. Teji, J. said that since the prosecution has failed to establish the necessary ingredient of dowry death i.e. cruelty or harassment meted out to the deceased by the appellant soon before her death, the presumption under Section 113-B of the  Evidence Act cannot be raised.

It was not in dispute that the deceased died due to burning within one year of her marriage and the bodily injuries resulted in death otherwise than under normal circumstances but the most important ingredient of Section 304-B that the deceased was subjected to cruelty and harassment on account of demand of dowry by her husband or any relative of her husband soon before her death could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution. The Court relied  on the ratio in Vipin Jaiswal v. State of A.P., 2013 STPL 198 SC where the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that in the absence of specific allegations like date, time and incident that too by public witnesses who were not found reliable and trustworthy, the prosecution had failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased was meted with cruelty and harassment by the accused persons for or in connection with demand of dowry.

This Court further observed that it was necessary to establish the offence of Section 498-A IPC to prove the charges under Section 304-B IPC and thereafter the presumption under Section 113-B of the Evidence Act can be drawn. [Ramesh Chander v. State of Delhi, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 6473, decided on 21.12.2016]

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