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If standard of ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’ not met, conviction of appellant unsustainable: SC

Nimay Sah v. State of Jharkhand

Criminal Appeal No.211 of 2011

Decided on December 2, 2020.

The present appeal was dealt with by a division bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Surya Kant.

The appellant-accused is the elder brother of the deceased’s husband and has been convicted under Section 498A read with Section 34 IPC along with accused no.1, Gora Sah, husband of the deceased and accused no.2, Nitai Sah, father-in-law of the deceased. The prosecution claimed that the deceased, Asha Kumari, and her family were continually harassed for a dowry of Rs. 10,000. On 20.02.1998, the husband took the deceased for a walk and later, she was found dead by her father with strangulation marks on her neck. An FIR was registered against the accused persons under Section 304B read with Section 109 IPC. Once the investigation was completed, the accused were charged under Section 498A read with Section 34 IPC and Section 304B read with Section 34 IPC. This appeal arises out of the impugned judgment of the High Court of Jharkhand dated 11.02.2010, whereby the Court upheld the order of conviction passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Pakur.

The counsel on behalf of the appellant submitted that none of the independent witnesses have supported the prosecution story and that it was full of vague allegations, hence the conviction of the accused cannot be sustained. On the other hand, the counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent-State stressed on concurrent conviction and submitted that there was sufficient evidence to prove the culpability of the accused.

The Court heard the learned counsels for the parties and perused the record.

The Court noted that apart from these vague allegations, no specific instance of hostile attitude or persistent demands of dowry have been pointed out by the witnesses; further, all independent witnesses turned hostile and none supported the prosecution story.

The Court held that the conviction of the appellant cannot be sustained by stating:

Thus, on consideration of the oral testimonies of the witnesses, the ingredients of Section 498A IPC have not been proved against the appellant-accused by the prosecution at the standard of beyond reasonable doubt. In such circumstances, there is nothing on record to convict the appellant-accused for the charge under Section 498A IPC. (Para 16)

The Court set aside the judgment of the High Court of Jharkhand.

View/Download Judgment: Nimay Sah v. State of Jharkhand

Jhanavi M



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