Citations: Anand Kumar Vs State of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 2009 SC 2155

Date of Judgement: 20/02/2009

Equivalent citations: AIR 2009 SC 2155; 2009 AIR SCW 2786; (2009) 3 SCC 799; (2009) 1 Crimes 383; (2009) 2 SCC (Cri) 28; (2009) 2 All Cri R 1440

Case No: Criminal Appeal no. 337/2009

Case Type: Criminal Appeal

Appellant: Anand Kumar

Respondent: State of Madhya Pradesh

Bench: Hon’ble Justice Harjit Singh Bedi, Hon’ble Justice Dalveer Bhandari

Court: Supreme Court of India

Statutes Referred:

  • The Indian Evidence Act, 1872; Section 113A, 113B
  • The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961; Section 4
  • The Indian Penal Code; Section 6

Case referred:

  • State of Punjab Vs Iqbal Singh and Others (1991) 3 SCC 1


  • Appellant was married with the deceased, Karuna from 1981.
  • The Gauna of Karuna was in 1986.
  • After a month on 18th june, 1986 she visited her parents to attend a family function.
  • She returned to her matrimonial house with her brother-in-law, but eat sulphas tablet on 20th june, 1986.
  • She got admitted in Civil hospital, Satana for the treatment but declared as dead on 29th june.
  • The Naib Tehsildar- cum-Executive Magistrate concerned was called by the doctor who recorded her dying declaration. 
  • A case under Section 498 A and 306 of the IPC and Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act was registered.
  • After the queries, the four accused i.e. the appellant, his father Manmohan Gautam, mother Ramdulari and brother Anoop Kumar Gautam were committed to face trial and duly charged for the offences.
  • The trial court after recording the evidence of 20 witnesses and taking into account especially the ocular evidence, acquitted the parents and brother of the appellant but placing reliance on a letter dated 27th February 1986 Exhibit P-20 allegedly written by the appellant to his father-in-law held the case against the appellant proved and accordingly convicted and sentenced him.

Issue Involved:

  • Whether the appellant is liable for forcing the deceased for dowry?
  • Did the deceased attempt suicide under the pressure of her in laws?

Contention of Appellant:

  • Mr. Tankha at the place of appellant challenged the order of Trial court and High Court.
  • He has submitted that in the fact that the State had not chosen to challenge the acquittal of other three acquittals, it had to be held that the evidence with regard to the present appellant too was ambivalent and insufficient to bring home the charge against him.
  • The Lower Court also rely on the letter exhibit P-20 for the evidence, but the said letter has not been proved.

Contention of Respondent:

  • The appellant and his family were demanding for dowry from the deceased.
  • They forced her to commit suicide.
  • The letter written by the father-in-law of the deceased was one of the proof against the appellant’s family.


  • The Court decided that excerpt from the evidence cannot be said to be proof of the document as no statement was made that he recognized the handwriting or the signature of the appellant.
  • Moreover, this letter had not been produced before the police during the course of the initial investigation and had been handed over to the police after several months.
  • The Court argues that even of the letter got ignored still there would be sufficient argument to maintain his conviction.
  • The Mother-in-law of the decease get acquitted after reading the testimonies of the witnesses.
  • The Court also saw the case as an abetment of suicide by a married woman, as envisaged under Section 113-A of the Evidence Act to contend that the onus lay on the accused to prove his innocence. But Section 113-B places a heavier onus on an accused, the onus placed under Section 113-A is far lighter.

The court, therefore, decided to release the appellant.

Ratio Decidendi:

  • Justice Ms. Makhija compares the two provision with the facts and highlighted that under Section 113-A. The Court `may presume’, having regard to all the other circumstances of the case, an abetment of suicide as visualized by Section 306 of the IPC but in Section 113-B which is relatable to Section 304-B the word `may’ has been substituted by `shall’ and there is no reference to the circumstances of the case.
  • The conviction of the appellant has been recorded under Section 306 which is relatable to Section 113-A and though the presumption against an accused has to be raised therein as well, the onus is not as heavy as in the case of a dowry death.


After listening to all the facts, Bench come to the decision to release the appellant and set aside all the allegation upon him. Ms. Makhija’s arguments that the onus shifts exclusively and heavily on an accused in such cases is not entirely correct and in the background of sketchy ocular evidence and the additional fact that the dying declaration recorded by the Naib Tehsildar completely exonerates all the accused of any misconduct, clearly dispels any suspicion with regard to their involvement in this unfortunate incident. Therefore, the appeal dismissed.

Drafted by: Mumuksha Singh, University of Rajasthan, Five-year Law College.

Edited by: Aashima Kakkar, Associate Editor, Law Insider

Published On: November 08, 2021 at 18:49 IST

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