NEW DELHI: A sessions court here has set aside the one-year jail term given to a man for beating and torturing his wife for dowry, saying the alleged cruelty has not been proved as there were contradictions in the woman's testimony.
"There are contradictions, omissions and improvements in the testimony of the complainant," the court said, noting that FIR did not contain allegations made by her in the court room.
Special Judge Praveen Kumar acquitted the man, a Delhi resident, of the charges of subjecting wife to cruelty under section 498A of the IPC while setting aside the sentence and the amount of Rs 1.2 lakh as compensation to the complainant.
"There is no magic wand in hands of a judge to ascertain as to whether a person is telling the truth or not. It's only after assessing evidence that has come on record it can be ascertained whether the case against the appellant/accused has been proved or not," the court said.
The man, in his appeal against his conviction and sentence had contended that it was his wife who had tortured him and his family members because of which his parents had died.
A magisterial court had on April 1 sentenced the man to one year in jail on his wife's complaint alleging that she was mercilessly beaten by her husband and his brother for bringing insufficient dowry and was also hit several times by a pair of tongs.
She had alleged in her complaint that her husband had asked her to bring Rs two lakh from her parental house and was beaten by him in 1999.
The sessions court, while allowing the man's appeal, said it has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged cruelty was of such a gravity as is likely to drive her "to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health."
"Thus, ingredients of section 498A IPC are not proved against the appellant and, as such, he cannot be convicted under the said provision," it said. The court also rejected the allegation against the man that he demanded Rs two lakh from his wife.
"In her crossexamination, the complainant has exaggerated her claim that Rs 25 lakh was demanded by the accused. In view of the material contradiction as regards the amount and other contradictions that have come on record it is not safe to convict the appellant," it said.
It also said that the medical report of the woman did not show injury marks on her as contended by her.
"It is the cardinal principle of justice that whenever there is doubt, benefit of doubt must be given to the accused.
Hence, criminal appeal is allowed. Appellant is acquitted," the court said.
The court noted that the conviction of the man under section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of IPC, was "not proper" as no opportunity was given to him to defend himself for the offence.
The court's order came on the appeal of the husband in the dowry harassment case in which his brother is already serving one year sentence and his mother, who was also an accused, expired during the pendency of trial.
All the three were accused by the complainant of harassing her physically and mentally for dowry. She lodged a complaint in November 1999, after which charge sheet was filed against all of them for committing offences under sections 498A, 323 and 307 of IPC.
The appellant was discharged of the offence of attempt to murder under section 307 of IPC in 2013.