Examination of an accused under Section 313 of CrPC cannot be treated as mere procedural formality, as it is based on the fundamental principles of fairness.

Service Element of Disability Pension

Law Point : Examination of accused under Section 313 of CrPC is not mere formality. 

Case TitleSatbir Singh and Another vs. State of Haryana (SC) 

Brief of the Case : The present appeals arise out of the impugned judgment of High Court of Punjab and Haryana where the appeal of the appellants was rejected and the order of conviction by the trial court was upheld.

The accused and the deceased got married on 01.07.1994 and within a span of one year the deceased’s father was informed that his daughter has been admitted to a hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. It is the case of the prosecution that the deceased was subjected to cruelty and demands of dowry by the appellant and whereas the appellant was convicted under Sections 304¬B and 306 of IPC and were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years for the offence punishable under Section 304-B of IPC, and to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years for the offence punishable under Section 304-B of IPC.

Whereas it is contended by the counsel for the appellant the the possibility of accidental fire cannot be ruled out and also, the prosecution failed to prove dowry demand and in addition that the demand was proximate to the death of the accused.

The issues before the court is whether the courts below were correct in convicting the appellant under Section 304-B and 306 of IPC. The Apex court ruled that the phrase “soon before death” in the IPC is a contentious part and IPC being a criminal statute, generally is to be interpreted strictly but that would defeat the intent of the legislature. In the case of Kans Raj v. State of Punjab, (2000) the same contention has been emphasized.

The second contentious part relating to Section 304¬B of IPC is that it does not take a pigeonhole approach in categorizing death as homicidal or suicidal or accidental. The reason for such non categorization is due to the fact that death occurring “otherwise than under normal circumstances” can, in cases, be homicidal or suicidal or accidental. As per the merits of the case the doctor who examined the deceased found that there was smell of kerosene oil. As the death was relatable to burn injuries within seven years of marriage, it clearly satisfies the first two ingredients of the offence under Section 304-B of IPC. Since no evidence of abetment of suicide could be found the court set aside the conviction and sentence under Section 306, IPC and upheld the conviction under Section 304-B of IPC.

The court also held that it is a matter of grave concern that, often, Trial Courts record the statement under Section 313, CrPC in a very casual and cursory manner, without specifically questioning the accused as to his defense. It ought to be noted that the examination of an accused under Section 313, CrPC cannot be treated as a mere procedural formality, as it based on the fundamental principle of fairness. This aforesaid provision incorporates the valuable principle of natural justice “audi alteram partem” as it enables the accused to offer an explanation for the incriminatory material appearing against him. Therefore, it imposes an obligation on the court to question the accused fairly, with care and caution.

Read Order.PDF

Read More Similar Articles 

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments