Charan Singh @Charanjith Singh V State of Uttarakhand

Author: SANGAMITHIRAI.V (Chettinad School of Law)


In the current case the appellant is the husband of the deceased woman. He has been convicted of rigorous punishment below section 304 B for 10 years below 498A for 2 years and section201 for 2 years below the Indian Penal Code and the appellant is challenging his conviction by an appeal. The husband, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law have allegedly been suspected of killing the deceased for not fulfilling the demand for a motorcycle which was asked on account of dowry. The appellant and two other accused were declared guilty by the trial court however the mother-in-law and brother-in-law were realized not guilt-ridden by the High Court which maintained the appellant’s conviction.

But below 304B of IPC the high court lowered the appellant’s verdict from 10 years to 7 years. The respondents contended that there was inadequate proof to prove the appellants’ culpability below sections 304B and 498A of IPC.

Keywords: Dowry death, Brutality by husband and relatives, Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, Section113B of IEA


Judgement Cause TitleCharan Singh @Charanjith Singh V State of Uttarakhand
Case NumberCriminal Appeal no 447 of 2012
Judgement Date20th April 2023
CourtSupreme Court of India
QuorumAbhay S.Oka, Rajesh Bindal  
AuthorRajesh Bindal
Legal Provisions InvolvedSection 304B ,498A,201 of IPC Section 113A of IEA


In India, there are many cases relating to dowry death. If a woman dies within 7 years of the commencement of marriage there can be sufficient cause that the death happened due to dowry death. The appellant, Charan Singh also as known as Charanjith Singh has filed a petition stimulating his verdict and sentence below sections 304B,498A and 201 of the Indian Penal Code. The dispute case of Criminal Appeal no.447 of 2012. The appellant, the deceased spouse challenged the trial court verdict and sentenced him to ten years of rigorous labour below section 304B, two years below section 498A and 2 years below section 201 of IPC.

The marriage of the appellants and the Chhilo Kaur which happened in 1993 is at the centre of this case. There have been claims that the appellants and his family members tormented the deceased and made demands for the dowry.

The trial court found the appellant and the other two accused parties guilty after the trial. However, the mother-in-law and the brother-in-law’s conviction and punishment were quashed upon appeal to the Supreme Court, culminating in their acquittal. On the other hand, below section 304B of IPC, the High Court sustained the appellants’ conviction but decreased his sentence from ten years to seven years.

Below sections 304B or 498A IPC, the defence argues that the evidence used in the trial did not support the appellants’ guilt. They assert that there is insufficient proof of brutality or harassment toward the deceased related to dowry demands soon before the death.

Essentials of Dowry Death[1]

  • The woman must be imperilled to brutality or agitation by her husband or relatives.
  • Within 7 years of marriage, the death must occur.
  • The demise of the woman must be by blisters or by any bodily injury otherwise other than normal circumstances.
  • Such brutality must be met soon before the death of the woman.

Section 498A of IPC[2]Brutality by husband or relatives

The woman must be exposed to any brutality by their husband or by her relatives and may be punished for 3 years and also liable for a fine.


The appellant in this case is Charan Singh who is also known as Charanjith Singh. The complaint is the husband of the dead Chilo Kaur. The death of Chilo Kaur took place in the State of Uttarakhand. Chilo Kaur got married to Charan Singh in the year 1993. After two months her in-laws started to demand her motorcycle as a dowry and Chilo Kaur when she visited her parental family informed her father about the dowry which she asked for.

Her father pacified her and sent her back to her matrimonial home and promised that he would buy a motorcycle when he became financially capable. This demand was continued for a long time and later in addition, the appellant family also started to demand land from the Chilo Kaur family as dowry. On June 23 a person from that village Jagir Singh informed Chilo Kaur’s father that she had been murdered by her in-laws. They have immolated the body without informing the plaintiff. When the parents of the deceased visited the village, they came to know that their daughter had been strangled to death by her husband Charan Singh, mother-in-law Santo Kaur, and Brother-in-law Gurmeet Singh. Chilo Kaur’s father complained to the police based on this information and a probe was carried out. Below the “Section 304B (dowry death),498A (brutality to the married woman) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code(IPC)” ” the trial court found Charan Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Santo Kaur guilty parties filed an appeal with the Uttarakhand High Court, which maintained Charan Singh’s conviction but cleared Gurmeet Singh and Santo Kaur from conviction. The High Court did, however, shorten Singh’s sentence from 10 years to 7 years under section 304B of IPC. This appeal resulted from a challenge made to the High Court’s decision to reduce Charan Singh’s sentence before the Supreme Court of India.


The plaintiff and the dead Chhilo Kaur were married in the year 1993. In the marriage, the dead of the father had given enough dowry to the appellant. But after two months the appellant started asking for a motor vehicle, and the deceased father promised that he would buy him when he was able to buy new a one.

The deceased has been repeatedly sent to her parental home demanding dowry. Later the family of the appellant also started demanding land. The previous day on 23/06/1995 in the village of Bhojpuri Dam Jagir told the plaintiff that his daughter had been murdered by her in-laws.

After receiving this knowledge the complaint along with his wife came to the Bhojpuri Dam village on 24.06.1995 and were extremely shocked to know that on 22.06.1995 at morning 8.00 am the plaintiff’s daughter was beaten up and garrotted to death by her husband Charan Singh, mother-in-law Santo Kaur, brother-in-law Gurmeet Singh.

The marriage was only two years old, and the deceased was reduced to ashes without even informing her father. Her maternal grandma and two of her uncles were present at the time of cremation had seen wound marks and her teeth were wrecked. She was killed due to the non-satisfaction of the demand for the dowry of the motor vehicle and the land. The matter was investigated by the police and a charge sheet was filed against Charan Singh, Santo Kaur, and Gurmeet Singh.


  1. Whether the appellant’s conviction and sentence below 304 B,498A is legally sustained?
  2. Whether the evidence submitted by the plaintiff establishes brutality and harassment towards the deceased for the demand of dowry immediately before death.


The counsels for Petitioner / Appellant succumbed that the verdict and sentence cannot be legally persistent either below section 304B or 498A of IPC as none of the witnesses has Stated that they were any harassment or brutality or demand for dowry was made soon before the death. Also, even the parents of the deceased, maternal grandmother and two maternal uncles Stated that she was subjected to brutality. The maternal grandmother and two maternal uncles were active at a distance near the village of the deceased, and they were also present at the time of cremation, and they did not raise any complaint to the police. It is further Stated that indication was also given to the father of the deceased who was living 290 km from the village.

Further argued that Jagir Singh who was named by the plaintiff in the Fir was not produced by the hearing in evidence. He was the person who resided in the village of the deceased and informed about the death to the father of the deceased.


The counsels for Respondent succumbed that it is a case in which a young woman was assassinated by her in-laws in the yearning for dowry. The death of the woman was very unnatural, and the marriage was only two years old. The cremation happened without even informing the father of the deceased, The maternal grandmother and the two of her maternal uncles were present at the time of immolation and saw certain injury marks on the woman and also her tooth was broken.

The maternal grandmother and two of her uncles did not complain to the police as they were being threatened. Also, there is a sufficient material record in the form of Statements provided by the witnesses that the family was demanding for dowry very repeatedly. There is sufficient indulgence by the High Court as they reduced the sentence of the appellant from 10 years to 7 years as provided below in “section 304B of IPC”.


“304B of Indian Penal Code 1860[3]. Dowry death -When a woman’s death is initiated by bodily injury or burns or occurs due to circumstances other than normal and within 7 years of her marriage it must be shown that it must have happened soon before her death and the woman must be subjected to brutality or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband or in connection with any kind of demand for dowry. Such kind of death is known as dowry death and the husband shall be deemed to have the person who caused the death.


Dowry death will have the same meaning in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, and whoever commits the dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than 7 years and the term may extend to life imprisonment.”

489A of Indian Penal Code 1860[4]. Husband or relative of the husband of a woman subjecting her to brutality: When the husband or relatives of the husband subjects a woman to brutality the person can be punished for a term that may extend to 3 years and they can also be liable to fine.

Explanation-the word brutality means.

a) any  kind of wilful conduct that is likely to drive a woman to suicide or cause any kind of grave injury or danger to life health or limb(can be mental or physical)

b) harassment of the woman to coerce her or any person relating to or valuable security or account of failure by her or any person related to meet such demand.”

Section 113B of  Indian Evidence Act 1872[5].Presumption as to dowry death there is a question arising whether a person has committed dowry death and it is very much evident that soon before the demise such women have been subjected to brutality or harassment or in connection with any demand of dowry the court shall presume that such person had caused dowry death.

Explanation-For the purpose of this section “dowry death” shall have the same meaning as in section 304B of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860)”



The petitioner contested the judgment and sentencing by Sections 304B, 498A, and 201 IPC. The defence contended that there was insufficient evidence to establish a presumption of dowry death because the dead had not been imperilled to any abuse or aggravation in the moments leading up to her death. Additionally, the defence claimed that the prosecution had failed to present a relevant witness who could have offered vital evidence.

The prosecution argued that there was enough evidence in the file to back up the appellant’s frequent demands for dowry and acts of brutality. After hearing the arguments, the Supreme Court reviewed the available data. The Court found that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction below Section 304B or 498A IPC. The Court noted that none of the witnesses had mentioned that the deceased had been subjected to abuse or harassment, or that she had been asked for a dowry right before she passed away.

The deceased’s uncles and maternal grandmother, who were present during the cremation, did not object or file a complaint, the court further Stated.

The prosecution was judged to have failed to meet the requirements essential to cultivate an impertinence of dowry death, according to the court. Below sections 304B and 498A of the IPC, the Court quashed the appellant’s conviction and punishment. The appellant was cleared of all charges after the High Court’s decision was overruled.


Charan Singh and Chilo Kaur were spouses. Chilo Kaur has been subjected to brutality in her in-law’s home for dowry by her husband and in-laws. Suddenly one day Chilo Kaur passed away. So the parents of Chilo Kaur filed a complaint against Charan Singh below section 304B,498A,201 of IPC. The prosecution side argued that the woman passed away only because of the dowry torture. The trial court, the defence side argued that there were no proper witnesses to prove the brutality and gave sentences of “two years below section 498A,2 years below section 201 and 10 years of hard imprisonment below section 304B of IPC”[6].But on the appeal on High Court maintained Charan Singh’s sentence from 10 years to 7 years below section 304B. On the challenging of this judgement, they went for an appeal to the Supreme Court as there were no sufficient reasons to make Charan Singh liable below sections 304B,498A and 201 of IPC. Thus Supreme Court set aside the High Court’s verdict.


Important Cases Referred

    Sindo vs State of Punjab (2011)11SC 517[7]: The court while looking into the scope of the purport of Section 304B if IPC and Section 113B of the Indian Evidence Act presumption is contingent on the fact and the ingredients of Section 304B are satisfied to this current  case.

    Ranjeev Kumar vs State of Haryana (2013) 16 SC 640[8]: The court overpowering that one of the main indispensable components of dowry death is that the woman must be subjected to brutality soon before she dies in connection with the demand of dowry. And also it must be proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt. In the current case the deceased was subject to brutality as severe injuries were seen before her death.

    Prema.S.Rao vs Yadla Srinivasa[9]: The court in this case also witnessed that the foremost component is that brutality or aggravation must occur soon before demise.

    Baijnath v. State of M. P[10]: The interpretation of 304B and 498A of IPC was considered in this case.


    • There must be bodily marks or any other cause other than usual conditions.
    • It must be within 7 years from marriage.
    • Brutality occurred soon before the demise.

    Section 498A:

    Below this section, brutality means wilful conduct that could drive a woman to suicide And also includes harassment towards the woman for meeting such demand.

    Important Statutes Referred

    “Indian Penal Code,1860”

    “Indian Evidence Act,1872”

    [1] Essentials of Dowry Death section 304B of IPC

    [2] Section 498A of IPC

    [3] 304B of Indian Penal Code 1860

    [4] 489A of Indian Penal Code 1860

    [5] Section 113B of  Indian Evidence Act 1872

    [6] 304B of Indian Penal Code 1860,489A of Indian Penal Code 1860,201 of Indian Penal Code 1860

    [7] Sindo vs State of Punjab (2011)11SC 517

    [8] Ranjeev Kumar vs State of Haryana (2013) 16 SC 640

    [9] Prema.S.Rao vs Yadla Srinivasa

    [10] Baijnath v. State of M.P

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