Allahabad HC Acquits Husband In Dowry & Harassment Case; Says Court Can Not Qualitatively Pick Part Of Testimony Which Suits Its Legal Conscious

Chambers of Ishaan Garg

Ch. No. 217, Western Wing, District & Sessions Court, Tis Hazari, New Delhi, Delhi 110054

+91 8851742417, +91 8800386163

The Allahabad High Court has acquitted and quashed the conviction and sentence of a husband in a case under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act (DP Act) and Sections 498A, 307, 323 and 34 of the IPC based on lack of credibility in the testimony of wife.

The Court also held that the trial court should not qualitatively select the part of the testimony which suits their judicial conscious and should decide a case with an open mind, not a preconceived notion. The Division Bench of Justice Rahul Chaturvedi and Justice Mohd. Azhar Husain Idrisi observed, “While deciding the case relating to the dowry harassment or even dowry death, the law courts are facing a novel feature, there is a exorbitant demand of the additional dowry by the accused persons to give a more serious and grim look to the entire incident. While jotting down the FIR the informant often oblivious of his own financial condition as well as the financial condition of his counter part. The Court is flabbergasted to see this new development in the recent days, it is unthinkable rather it would be mockery, that a person would demand a BMW or Audi Car from his counter part, who is a small roadside vendor or have meagre income. There has to be a financial compatibility with the demand made by the accused persons qua with his earning and financial status…Learned Trial Judge in paragraph 16 and 17 of the judgement qualitatively selected those part of the testimonies, which suits their legal judicial conscious and book the husband Sajid for the offence.”

Senior Advocate SFA Naqvi appeared for the Appellant while G.A. Mohd. Afzal appeared for the Respondent. It was alleged that the Appellant-husband and other family members were dissatisfied by the dowry given by the Wife of the Appellant-husband, and hence, subjected her to cruelty and maltreatment. It was also alleged that the Husband and his family members also tried to set her on fire by pouring oil on her.

After analysing facts and circumstances, the Court said, “The moot point of the determination of the present appeal is that, there is paradigm shift in the stand of the prosecution with ulterior motive and purpose. There was not a whisper of the alleged purchase of plot in the FIR nor 161 Cr.P.C. statement. For the first time, this angle was introduced during the examination-in-chief of the prosecution witnesses, that too half heartedly. Neither the sale deed of alleged plot purchased by the informant’s Shahjad Ali was produced nor financially he was capable of purchasing two plots successively, keeping in view his meagre earning of Rs. 18,000-20,000/- per month when he has already seven sons and daughter to his responsibility. This fact itself indicate the hyperbole used by the prosecution without any cogent basis or reason.”

The Court observed that the prosecution had cleverly hidden the subsequent progress in the case and the wife had tried to twist and turn the facts of the case, resulting in the entire testimony being untrustworthy. “The possibility of self immolation by Nazrana on account of the said civil proceedings cannot be ruled out completely. Out of sheer disgust, she might have poured oil upon her and set herself ablaze.”, the Court said.

The Court held, “It is a judicial propriety that the judge should decide a case with a open mind and not with a pre-conceived notion and thereafter, twist the testimonies whimsically to justify his conclusion. In the instant case, the learned trial judge has conducted an exercise of pick and have chosen those facts, which suitable and inconsonance with pre-determined conclusion to book the husband Sajid. This would lead to grave injustice to the husband.”

Accordingly, the Court concluded that after assessing the entirety of the circumstances of the case, the sentence awarded to the Appellant-husband was erroneous and lopsided, hence, the Court quashed the order of conviction and sentence. 

 Case Title: Sajid v. State of U.P. 

(Neutral Citation: 2024:AHC:91066-DB)