Supreme Court of India
Kuljit Singh vs The State Of Punjab on 8 December, 2021Author: A.S. Bopanna

Bench: Hon’Ble The Justice, A.S. Bopanna, Hon’Ble Ms. Kohli





Kuljit Singh & Anr. .…Appellant(s)


The State of Punjab ….Respondent(s)


A.S. Bopanna,J.

1. This appeal is directed against the judgment dated

18.01.2011 passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana,

Chandigarh in CRA­S­307­SB of 2002. By the said judgment

the High Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the appellants

herein and upheld the conviction of the appellants ordered by
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by

the learned Sessions Judge, Amritsar in Sessions Case No.74 of
Date: 2021.12.08
16:49:15 IST

1999 registered for the offence under Section 304­B of Indian

Penal Code (‘IPC’ for short). The sentence of rigorous

imprisonment for 8 years imposed on both the appellants by

the learned Sessions Judge was however modified. In that

regard, the period of imprisonment to be undergone by the

appellant No.2 – Raj Rani alone was reduced to 7 years. The

appellants thus being aggrieved by their conviction and

sentence are before this Court in this appeal.

2. We have heard Mr. Himanshu Gupta, learned counsel for

the appellants, Ms. Jaspreet Gogia, learned counsel for the

respondent and perused the appeal papers.

3. The undisputed facts are that the appellant No.1 and the

deceased Manju i.e. the eldest daughter of Gurnam Singh were

married in the year 1997. The incident in question leading to

the death of Manju had occurred on 02.03.1999 i.e in a short

span of about 2 years from the date of marriage. The death of

Manju, the wife of the appellant No.1 was an unnatural death.

The cause of death as spoken to by the expert witnesses was

due to consumption of insecticide. Therefore, ex facie it is

noticed that the circumstances provided under Section 304­B

IPC to the extent; the death of the woman being caused

otherwise than under normal circumstances and such death

having occurred within 7 years of her marriage, would stand


4. In that background, since the appellants were charged of

having committed the offence under Section 304­B IPC, the

factual aspects which were required to be established by the

prosecution in the course of trial is about the deceased being

subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any of

his relatives and that such cruelty or harassment was for or in

connection with demand for dowry.

5. In the instant facts, to establish this aspect of the matter,

the father of the deceased (Gurnam Singh) was examined as

PW1 and the mother of the deceased (Charanjit Kaur) was

examined as PW8, while another witness Bidhi Chand was

examined as PW7. From the evidence of the said witnesses, the

trial court as well as the High Court has noted that the demand

for a television set and Rs. 10,000/­ (Rupees ten thousand) was

being put forth ever since the marriage of the deceased with the

appellant No.1. The evidence tendered by the said witnesses

has stood the test of cross­examination and has been rightly

accepted by both the courts. In that background, the evidence

of Dr. Gurnamjit Rai (PW2) and of the Sub­Inspector (Jaswant

Singh) (PW5) would establish that the death had occurred due

to organo phosphorous poisoning. Hence, as noted, the death

was unnatural and there was demand for dowry. In those

circumstances, the further evidence of PW1 and PW8, the

parents of the deceased would also refer to the circumstances

when the deceased had been sent back to the parental home to

secure fulfilment of the said demand, but the parents being

unable to fulfil the demand, had counselled and sent her back.

It was also stated by them that during such visit she had

mentioned about the ill­treatment meted out to her. But the

question would be as to whether such evidence will be sufficient

to hold both appellants guilty of committing the offence.

6. Considering the fact that on all these aspects of the

matter, the trial court has referred to the evidence in detail and

the High Court has reappreciated the same in its correct

perspective, to the extent of both the courts holding the

appellant No.1 (Kuljit Singh) guilty, convicting him and

imposing the sentence in the manner as done, is justified and

does not call for interference.
7. The only aspect which requires consideration herein is as

to whether the conviction and sentence handed down to the

appellant No.2 (Raj Rani) is justified or not? The learned

counsel for the appellant in that regard has strenuously

contended that except for making vague statements to the effect

that the husband and the in­laws of their daughter had made

demand for dowry and inflicted cruel treatment, the trial court

had not referred to any specific instances where the appellant

No.2 namely, the mother­in­law of the deceased had been

ascribed any specific role in making the demand and inflicting

cruelty. As noted from the statement recorded under Section

313 of Cr.PC, the appellant No.2 (Raj Rani) had denied any role

and had also contended that she was not present in the house

when death of her daughter­in­law had occurred. It is true that

the appellant No.1 (Kuljit Singh) had also stated that he was

not present when the death had occurred. On that aspect, as

rightly noted by the trial court, it had come in the evidence

through the deposition of Bittu (DW1) that he and appellant

No.1 (Kuljit Singh) had taken the deceased to Dr. Kalsi and

thereafter to Shri Guru Ram Dass Hospital, Amritsar though

the version given by the said witness was, because she was
pregnant. However, it has been established that such shifting to

the hospital was after the deceased had collapsed due to the

poisonous substance being consumed. Therefore, though the

presence of the appellant No.1(Kuljit Singh) was established,

the presence of the appellant No.2 (Raj Rani) was not spoken

about. Apart from that, there is no specific evidence with regard

to such demand being made by the appellant No.2 or cruelty

being inflicted by her pursuant to such demand. From the

evidence referred by the trial court, it is noticed that wherever

this aspect has been referred to, a sweeping statement has been

made that the husband and in­laws of the deceased had

inflicted cruelty or it has been stated that the husband and his

mother had done so, without specifying their roles. However, as

already noted, the said evidence would be sufficient to hold the

appellant No.1 (Kuljit Singh) guilty but same would be

insufficient to hold the appellant No.2 (Raj Rani) guilty. Hence,

we are of the opinion that the appellant No.2 (Raj Rani) is

entitled to be acquitted.

8. For the reasons stated above, the conviction and

sentence imposed on the appellant No.1 (Kuljit Singh) is

affirmed, while the conviction and sentence imposed on the
appellant No.2 (Raj Rani) is set aside. The judgment dated

08.01.2002 in Sessions Case No.74/1999 and the judgment

dated 18.01.2011 in CRA­307­SB of 2002 stand modified to the

above extent.

9. The appellant No.1 (Kuljit Singh) who is on bail, shall

surrender within two weeks from the date of this judgment and

serve the remaining sentence. The appellant No.2 (Raj Rani) is

set at liberty if not wanted in any other case and the bail bonds

executed by her is ordered to be cancelled.

10. The appeal is allowed in part to the above extent.

11. Pending applications, if any, shall stand disposed of.



New Delhi,
December 08, 2021



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