Presumption Under Section 113B Evidence Act Is Only Triggered When All the Elements of the Offense Under Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code Are Proven by the Prosecution: Jharkhand HC

In a judgment, the High Court of Jharkhand at Ranchi acquitted the accused in a dowry death case, highlighting the pivotal role of evidence in criminal proceedings. The judgment, pronounced by Justice Subhash Chand and Justice Ananda Sen, emphasized the need for the prosecution to establish all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case stemmed from a conviction under Section 304(B)/34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by the Additional Sessions Judge-VII, Dhanbad. The accused, Raja Ram Mandal, Gurupad Mandal, and Sandhya Mandal, were convicted for their alleged involvement in the death of Chandrika Devi.

During the trial, the defense counsel, Mr. Mahesh Tewari, advocated for the appellants, challenging the prosecution’s case. The judgment extensively quoted the arguments put forth by both the defense and the prosecution, represented by Mrs. Priya Shrestha, Additional Public Prosecutor.

The court stated, “The prosecution must spell out the ingredient of the offense under Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code, and then only a presumption arises under Section 113B of the Evidence Act.” 

The court referenced several legal precedents, including the cases of Shamnsaheb M. Multtani vs. State of Karnataka, Shindo vs. State of Punjab, and Satbir Singh vs. State of Haryana, to underscore the legal principles governing dowry death cases.

The judgment meticulously analyzed the evidence presented during the trial, including witness testimonies and documentary evidence. It noted the prosecution’s failure to establish a direct nexus between the alleged cruelty related to dowry and the victim’s death. Quoting from the judgment, “There is no evidence in regard to any harassment based on the demand of dowry made on behalf of the appellants-convicts.”

Furthermore, the court elucidated the statutory presumption under Section 113B of the Indian Evidence Act, emphasizing its applicability only when the prosecution proves all elements of the offense under Section 304B IPC. The judgment highlighted the importance of a proximate and live link between cruelty related to dowry and the victim’s death.

Also Read

In light of the analysis, the High Court concluded that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a shadow of reasonable doubt. Both Criminal Appeals were allowed, and the judgment of conviction and sentence passed by the trial court were set aside.

Case Name: Raja Ram Mandal Vs. The State of Jharkhand 

Case No.: Cr. Appeal (DB) No. 886 of 2018 With Cr. Appeal (DB) No.365 of 2018

Bench: Justice Sri Ananda Sen and Justice Sri SU

Order Dated: 06.5.2024

Related Articles

Latest Articles