Court:RAJASTHAN HIGH COURT
Bench: JUSTICE S.C. Mital
MOKA RAM Vs. STATE OF RAJASTHAN & ANR. Decided on 2 June 2000
Cognizance of Offence taken on Vague Statements recorded By Investigation Officer of the Rank of Dy. Superintendent of Police : No Specific Allegation Against Petitioner.
This petition under Section 482, Cr.P.C. is directed against the order dated 27.4.1995 made by learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jalore in Crl. Case No. 129/95/F.R. No. 2/94 under Sections 306 and 304-B, I.P.C. By this impugned order the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate allowed the protest petition dated 11.4.1994 filed by the complainant Ami Chand s/o Devi Chand Jain r/o Balwada for taking cognizance against the petitioners for the offences under Section 302, I.P.C. in the alternative 304-B, 306 and 498-A, I.P.C. on the final report submitted by the SHO, P.S. Jalore after investigation in F.I.R. No. 60 dated 17.3.1995. The learned Chief Judicial Magistrate rejected the final report and took cognizance against the petitioner under Sections 498-B, 304-B, 306, I.P.C.
2. I have heard the learned Counsel for the parties and learned Public Prosecutor. I have perused the record pertaining to the police investigation. Learned Counsel for the petitioner has raised the arguments :
(1) There is no material even in the statements of the complainant Ami Chand, the mother of the deceased Smt. Kali Devi and uncle Pukhraj to constitute the ingredients of the offence for which the cognizance has been taken by the learned Trial Court the statements of the above witnesses do not specifically allege against the petitioners.
(2) Moka Ram, petitioner No. 1 is servant and petitioner No. 2 Mohan Lal Jain is the neighbour and the cognizance cannot be taken against them for the offence under Sections 304-B and 498-A because they are not relatives of the deceased (sic. husband), and cognizance has been taken against Uttamchand s/o Babulal whereas the allegation is against Uttamchand s/o Trilokchand and lastly there are glaring contradictions in the statements of the witnesses as well as the F.I.R. and the protest petition. On the other hand, the statements of the other neighbours completely belie the allegations of demand of dowry.
3. The learned Counsel for the complainant and learned Public Prosecutor has vehemently argued and took me through the statements of the witnesses Ami Chand, Smt. Kali Devi and Pukhraj that they have clearly stated against the petitioners regarding the demand of dowry, mal-treatment and cruelty done to the deceased who died an un-natural death within 22 days of her marriage with the petitioner No. 6 Jethmal.
4. I have seriously considered the rival contentions and particularly perused the statements of the above three witnesses on the basis of which cognizance has been taken against the petitioners. The statements have been recorded by Dy. SP, Jaisalmer but I am constrained to observe that the statements have not been properly recorded to avoid all sorts of vagueness and confusion. The Investigation Officer Dy. SP, Jaisalmer has not tried to take clear statements regarding the allegations if any specifically against each of the petitioners by the witnesses. In their statements the demand of dowry has been alleged particularly the inadequate articles in the ‘Aana’ ceremony against all the members of the family of ‘Sasural Walas’. On this allegation it was the duty of the Dy. SP, Investigation Officer to interrogate the witnesses and to clarify that against whom specifically they were alleging the demand of dowry. In my view, the learned Trial Court has not considered the statements from this angle and has passed an omnibus order of taking cognizance against all the petitioners be that a servant or a neighbour. It is a controversy between the parties whether the petitioner No. 2 Mohan Lal is related to the husband of the deceased or he is simply a neighbour, but it is an admitted position that the petitioner No. 1 Moka Ram is a servant of the other petitioners. Obviously cognizance could not have been taken against Moka Ram for the offence under Sections 498-A and 304-B, I.P.C. However, it was open for the Court to take the cognizance for the offence under Section 306, I.P.C.
5. I am not trying to deal with the entire evidence to dispose of this petition which is against the order of taking cognizance because sufficient or even prima facie case is enough to take cognizance. Therefore, it is futile to mention or even consider the contradictions pointed out by the learned Counsel for the petitioners. However, I am clearly of the view that the statements of the above three witnesses which are material ones suffer from vagueness and it is not possible to decipher as to against whom or the member of family of the matrimonial home, the allegations are being made regarding the demand of dowry. I am unable to agree with the contention of the learned Counsel for the respondent that the statements should be read with reference to the names given in the First Information Report and the protest petition that the allegations are being made against all the members of the family and, therefore, the order to take cognizance need not be disturbed. Such vague statements are bound to create worst confusion during the course of trial and to make a proper appreciation of the evidence to pronounce a just and proper decision. I am, therefore, of this view that the cognizance taken on such statements recorded by the Investigation Officer none less than the rank of Dy. Superintendent of Police there being no specific allegation against the petitioner, is not sustainable. There is no sufficient or prima facie material in these circumstances for taking cognizance. In view of this, the impugned order is liable to be set aside but at the same time it was incumbent on the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate looking to the nature of statements as stated above, to hold an inquiry under Sections 200 and 202, Cr.P.C. and to pass order in accordance with law.
6. Consequently, this petition under Section 482, Cr.P.C. is allowed and the impugned order dated 27.4.1995 is hereby set-aside with the direction to the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jalore to hold an inquiry under Sections 200 and 202, Cr.P.C. and examine the complainant and the witnesses and thereafter to pass an order in accordance with law. The complainant is directed to appear before the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate on 25.4.2000.