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Allahabad High Court releases man convicted for detaining married woman with criminal intent

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The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has ordered release of a man convicted under Section 498-A IPC (enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman), giving him benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act.

A Single Bench of Justice Brij Raj Singh passed this order, while hearing a Criminal Appeal filed by Ranno Devi and Another.

The High Court observed that the incident took place 22 years back and there were no further criminal antecedents against the accused.

The criminal appeal has been preferred against the order dated 27.10.2004 passed by the Additional Sessions Judge/Fast Track, Lucknow in Sessions Trial arising out of Case, Police Station – TalKatora, District – Lucknow, whereby the appellants have been convicted and sentenced under Section 498-A IPC for one and half years’ Rigorous Imprisonment along with fine of Rs 500.

As per the prosecution case, Poonam Mishra lodged a report mentioning that she was married as per Hindu rites with Bubloo Mishra and her parents had given dowry as per their capacity.

In the FIR, it has been stated that after marriage, her in-laws and husband started harassing her and also beat her many times. The in-laws and the husband demanded Rs 50,000 and a Hero Honda Motorcycle as dowry and warned that in case she does not fetch the money and motorcycle, they would kill her.

On the basis of her written Tahreer, an FIR was lodged on 23.04.2001 at 17:35 hours. The FIR was lodged under Sections 498-A, 323, 504, 506, 376/511 IPC and Section 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.

The accused Saghan Kumar Mishra @ Bubloo, Uma Shankar Mishra, Vinod Kumar Mishra and Ranno Devi were charged with offence under Sections 498-A, 323, 506 IPC and Section 3/4 DP Act and Uma Shankar Mishra was also charged for offence under Section 376/511 IPC.

The accused were confronted under Section 313 Cr.P.C and they deposed before the court that they were falsely implicated because the complainant wanted to live separately and to settle the score she did so. The charges were framed and the accused pleaded not guilty and requested for trial.

After examining the witnesses and adducing the evidence on record the trial court passed the judgment and order and the appellant was convicted and punished under Section 498-A IPC for one and half years’ Rigorous Imprisonment along with fine of Rs 500. Hence, the present appeal.

It has been submitted that the general role of dowry demand has been assigned and the complainant wanted to settle her personal score.

Counsel for the appellants does not want to press the appeal on merits. He has submitted that the incident took place in 2001, around 22 years ago and there are no further criminal antecedents against the appellants and they may be extended the benefit of UP Probation of Offenders Act.

He further submitted that it is an old matter and the appellant may not be sent to jail.

He also submitted that the appellant is ready to pay compensation to the complainant.

Additional Government Advocate has opposed the appeal and submitted that there is no material irregularity or illegality committed by court below and keeping in view the evidence on record, accused-appellant have been rightly convicted.

“The Court bears in mind the fact that the matter is old and general allegations of dowry demand have been leveled. It is also pertinent to take into account the fact that more than 22 years have passed from the date of incident.

Therefore, on merits, so far as conviction part is concerned, I do not find any illegality, perversity or infirmity in the order passed by the court below, but keeping in view the discussion made above, the sentence inflicted on the appellants-accused requires modification”, the Court observed.

The Court partly allowed the appeal with following modifications:-

The conviction of the accused-appellant by courts below is upheld. The sentence of appellant-accused is modified to tune that he is provided the benefit of Section 4 of the UP Probation of Offenders Act and he is released on probation on the condition that he will keep peace and good conduct for two years from today and shall file two sureties to the tune of Rs 40,000 along with a personal bond before the court below.

It is further directed that he will deposit Rs 5,000 to the UP State Legal Services Authority within three months from today. The appellants, will also deposit Rs 15,000 before the court below within two months from today and the court below will release the said amount in favour of the complainant Poonam Mishra. In case the complainant is not alive, the said amount shall be released in favour of legal heirs of the complainant.

In case of breach of any of the conditions mentioned above, if proved, the appellants will be subjected to undergo the sentence as directed by the court below. The bonds aforesaid will be filed by the appellants-accused within two months from today, before the court below.

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