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Case analysis : K. Prema S. Rao vs. Yadla Srinivasa Rao

Authored By : Amrutha Valli


Appeal (crl ) 1457 of 1995.









Facts of the case:

JUDGMENT 2002 Supp(3) SCR 339 DHARMADHIKARI, J. made a judgment of the Court. "Thy name is frailty woman" is how Shakespeare identified one of the female characters in his play in one of his works. This definition is becoming increasingly evident, particularly in rural Indian society, where married women, unable to gather the courage to combat the brutality and humiliation their husbands and family members have committed to them, find no other escape than ending their own lives.

On 26.6.1998, the deceased Krishna Kumari second daughter of PW1 married Yadla Srinivasa Rao (hereinafter referred to as accused No.1). Accused No. l was working as Branch Post Master in the village where the spouses lived with accused No.1 's parents together.

At the time of the marriage father of the deceased who was a teacher, in the course of the marriage ritual described as "Pasupukumkuma" gave a cash dowry of Rupees fifteen thousand and jewels worth fifteen thousand besides gift of five acres of land and a house place. It's clarified that this gift of land was given by the father to the bride for her maintenance in the context of 'Stridhana.'

After three or four months of marriage accused No.1, the deceased 's husband started to demand from the deceased execution of an act in his favor of her gifted land and house site. The deceased's failure to fulfill the demand has been the source of her continuing abuse. Taking advantage of his place as the village postmaster, her father and her sister Nagamani never delivered mail to the deceased, accused No.1. Her younger sister had to appear for Polytechnic Entrance Test after completing the tenth class test. As part of the deceased 's abuse, accused No.1 failed to deliver the Kakatiya University Entrance Card addressed to the deceased's younger sister which resulted in the former losing admission to the study.

In any way, the deceased was able to lay her hands on the letters addressed to her that had been hidden by accused No. 1. She sent the same to her father when she found those letters. The event has led to serious abuse. Accused No. l and his parents, accused Nos. 2-3, drove the deceased out of their house to restore those letters with stern notice. This incident of brutality was so extreme and intolerable that, on 22.10.1989, she committed suicide by swallowing a toxic Endo-Sulphan insecticide. PW4, who witnessed the deceased's incident the day before being forced out of the building, also saw the accused No.1 taking the deceased to Madhira hospital. PW4 informed the deceased 's father (PW1), who rushed into the accused's house to find Krishna Kumari, dead. The father then submitted a Report for First Information, Ex. P1 on the same day, within eight hours.

In Session Case No. 157 of 1999, all three of the accused were convicted by the judge of the Court of Assistant Sessions, Nuzwid, for the crime of dowry death under Section 304B, IPC and in the alternative under Section 498A, IPC for the cruelty and humiliation of such nature as to cause the deceased to commit suicide. The prosecutor scrutinized PW 1-2's deceased parents. PW3-4 is investigated who had seen the deceased pushed out of the house and only brought back by persuasion.

By judgment of 19.8.1991 the trial court admitted the evidence led by prosecuting the deceased 's alleged cruel treatment and harassment which led her to commit suicide. However, it held that IPC is only rendered offense under Section 498A on the facts. They were acquitted of the offense under section 304B, IPC. The three accused on their conviction for offense under Section 498A were sentenced to two years and a fine of Rs . 500 each for rigorous imprisonment. They were also sentenced to two months of simple imprisonment in lieu of payment of the fine.

In the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, the appellants i.e. the parents of the deceased filed Criminal Revision No. 564/91 against the acquittal of the accused under Section 304B, IPC. The defendants chose Criminal Appeal No. 1291/99 before Andhra Pradesh's High Court, which assailed their conviction and sentences.

The learned Single Judge of Andhra Pradesh High Court decided on the revision preferred by the deceased 's parents and the appeal preferred by the accused by a common judgment dated 24.8.1994 which is the subject of these two separate criminal appeals preferred by the deceased 's parents and the Andhra Pradesh state.

The learned Single Judge of Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed the Criminal Revision filed by the deceased 's parents and upheld the trial court's decision that the accused are liable to conviction and punishment only under Section 498, IPC and not Section 304B. IPC.

The High Court allowed the appeal favoured by the accused Nos. 2-3 (Parents of the accused No.1) by the same general judgment and acquitted them of the alleged offences.

Contrary to the High Court 's common judgment, the State of Andhra Pradesh preferred Criminal Appeal No. 1458-59 of 1995 challenging the acquittal of the accused Nos. 2-3 and the deceased 's parents preferred connected Criminal Appeal No.


The evidence found proved that the accused cannot now be challenged for his conviction and punishment under section 498A, IPC. Therefore, our inference is that the same facts and evidence on which the accused No. 1 was convicted under Section 498A and Section 304B can be found guilty and sentenced under Section 306 IPC.