Presumption U/S 113-B Evidence Act Not Attracted If Incident Of Cruelty Has Become So Stale To Not Disturb Mental Equilibrium Of Woman
Case: Govind Versus The State Of M.P.
Coram: Justice R.K. Verma
Case No.: Criminal Appeal No. 1646 Of 1999
Court Observation: The expression “soon before” is very relevant where Section 113-B of Evidence act and Section 304-B of IPC are pressed into service. The prosecution has to establish that “soon before” the occurrence there was cruelty or harassment and only in that case, presumption arises. Evidence in this regard has to be led in by the prosecution. “Soon before” is a relative term an it would depend upon the circumstances of each case and no strait-jacket formula can be laid down as to what would constitute a period of soon before the occurrence. It would be hazardous to indicate any fixed period, and that brings in the importance of a proximity test both for the proof of an offence or dowry death as well as for raising a presumption under Section 113-B of Evidence Act.
The expression “soon before her death” used in the substantive Section 304-B of IC and Section 113-B of Evidence Act is present with the idea of proximity test. No definite period has been indicated and the expression “soon before” is not defined anywhere. There must be the existence of proximity and live link between the effect of cruelty based on dowry demand and the death concerned. If the alleged incident of cruelty is remote in time and has become stale enough not to disturb the mental equilibrium of the woman concerned, it would be of no consequence.