Based on Satbir Singh case here, a 3-judge bench comprising the CJI N.V. Ramana, the appellant was held liable for the offence of 304B IPC>Gurmeet Singh Vs State of Punjab on 28 May 2021
Other Sources :
A Division bench of the Apex Court passed these guidelines to the Judges trying the 304 IPC cases.
From Para 36,
Satbir Singh and Anr Vs State of Haryana on 28 May 2021
36. At the cost of repetition, the law under Section 304B, IPC read with Section 113B, Evidence Act can be summarized below:
i. Section 304B, IPC must be interpreted keeping in mind the legislative intent to curb the social evil of bride burning and dowry demand.
ii. The prosecution must at first establish the existence of the necessary ingredients for constituting an offence under Section 304B, IPC. Once these ingredients are satisfied, the rebuttable presumption of causality, provided under Section 113B, Evidence Act operates against the accused.
iii. The phrase “soon before” as appearing in Section 304B, IPC cannot be construed to mean ‘immediately before’. The prosecution must establish existence of “proximate and live link” between the dowry death and cruelty or harassment for dowry demand by the husband or his relatives.
iv. Section 304B, IPC 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.
v. Due to the precarious nature of Section 304B, IPC read with 113B, Evidence Act, Judges, prosecution and defence should be careful during conduction of trial.
vi. 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.
vii. The Court must put incriminating circumstances before the accused and seek his response. A duty is also cast on the counsel of the accused to prepare his defense since the inception of the Trial with due caution, keeping in consideration the peculiarities of Section 304B, IPC read with
Section 113B, Evidence Act.
viii. Section 232, CrPC provides that, “If, after taking the evidence for the prosecution, examining the accused and hearing the prosecution and the defence on the point, the Judge considers that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence, the Judge shall record an order of acquittal”. Such discretion must be utilized by the Trial Courts as an obligation of best efforts.
ix. Once the Trial Court decides that the accused is not eligible to be acquitted as per the provisions of Section 232, CrPC, it must move on and fix hearings specifically for ‘defence evidence’, calling upon the accused to present his defense as per the procedure provided under Section 233, CrPC, which is also an invaluable right provided to the accused.
x. In the same breath, Trial Courts need to balance other important considerations such as the right to a speedy trial. In this regard, we may caution that the above provisions should not be allowed to be misused as delay tactics.
xi. Apart from the above, the presiding Judge should follow the guidelines laid down by this Court while sentencing and imposing appropriate punishment.
xii. Undoubtedly, as discussed above, the menace of dowry death is increasing day by day. However, it is also observed that sometimes family members of the husband are roped in, even though they have no active role in commission of the offence and are residing at distant places. In these cases, the Court need to be cautious in its approach.
A Division bench of the Supreme Court held as follows,
Dwarika Prasad Satpathy Vs Bidyut Prava Dixit and Anr on 14 Oct 1999
“6………………In our view, validity of the marriage for the purpose of summary proceeding under Section 125 Cr.P.C. is to be determined on the basis of the evidence brought on record by the parties. The standard of proof of marriage in such proceeding is not as strict as is required in a trial of offence under section 494 of the I.P.C. If the claimant in proceedings under Section 125 of the Code succeeds in showing that she and the respondent have lived together as husband and wife, the Court can presume that they are legally wedded spouses, and in such a situation, the party who denies the marital status can rebut the presumption………………”
Citations : [1999 ACR SC 3 2547], [1999 AIR SC 3348], [1999 ALD CRI 2 955], [1999 ALR 37 733], [2000 ALT CRI 1 29], [1999 CALLT SC 3 61], [2000 CLT SC 89 167], [1999 GLH 2 1037], [1999 JT SC 8 329], [2000 LW CRL 1 218], [2000 PLJR 1 61], [2000 RLW SC 1 23], [1999 SCALE 6 579], [1999 SCC 7 675], [1999 SUPP SCR 3 684], [1999 SCC CRI 1345], [1999 SUPREME 8 602], [2000 CRLJ 0 1], [1999 RCR CRIMINAL 4 577], [2000 CRI LJ 0 1], [2000 OCR SC 18 348], [1999 AIR SC 3844], [2000 BOMCR CRI SC 731], [1999 CRIMES SC 3 206], [2000 LW CRL 1 217], [2000 CRLJ SC 1], [1999 AIR SCW 3844]
Other Sources :
Wonderful judgment clearly states how law takes care of scenarios where the Police do not investigate a complaint/FIR.
If, notwithstanding the First Information Report, the officer-in-charge of a police station decides not to investigate the case on the view that there is no sufficient ground for entering on an investigation, he is required under sub-section (2) of Section 157 to notify to the informant the fact that he is not going to investigate the case because it to be investigated.
Then again, the officer in charge of a police station is obligated under sub-section(2)(ii) of Section 173 to communicate the action taken by him to the informant and the report forwarded by him to the magistrate under subsection (2)(i) has therefore to be supplied by him to the informant.
Now, when the report forwarded by the officer-in charge of a police station to the Magistrate under sub-section (2)(i) of Section 173 comes up for consideration by the Magistrate, one of two different situations may arise. The report may conclude that an offence appears to have been committed by a particular person or persons and in such a case, the Magistrate may do one of three things:
(1) he may accept the report and take cognizance of the offence and issue process or
(2) he may disagree with the report and drop the proceeding or
(3) he may direct further investigation under sub-section (3) of Section 156 and require the police to make a further report.
The report may on the other hand state that, in the opinion of the police, no offence apppears to have been committed and where such a report has been made, the Magistrate again has an option to adopt one of three courses:
(1) he may accept the report and drop the proceeding or
(2) he may disagree with the report and taking the view that there is sufficient ground for proceeding further, take cognizance of the offence and issue process or
(3) he may direct further investigation to be made by the police under sub-section (3) of Section 156.
Opportunity of filing Protest Petition
We are accordingly of the view that in a case where the magistrate to whom a report is forwarded under sub-section (2)(i) of Section 173 decides not to take cognizance of the offence and to drop the proceeding or takes the view that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding against some of the persons mentioned in the First Information Report, the magistrate must give notice to the informant and provide him an opportunity to be heard at the time of consideration of the report.
Bhagwat Singh Vs Commissioner of Police and Anr on 25 Apr 1985
It was urged before us on behalf of the respondents that if in such a case notice is required to be given to the informant, it might result in unnecessary delay on account of the difficulty of effecting service of the notice on the informant. But we do not think this can be regarded as a valid objection against the view we are taking, because in any case the action taken by the police on the First Information Report has to be communicated to the informant and a copy of the report has to be supplied to him under sub-section (2) (i) of Section 173 if that be so, we do not see any reason why it should be difficult to serve notice of the consideration of the report on the informant. Moreover, in any event, the difficulty of service of notice on the informant cannot possibly provide any justification for depriving the informant of the opportunity of being heard at the time when the report is considered by the Magistrate.
Citation : [1985 AIR SC 1285], [1985 SCALE 1 1194], [1985 SCC CRI 267], [1985 SCC 2 537], [1985 CRLJ SC 1179], [1985 CRIMES SC 1 994], [1985 SCR 3 942], [1986 ACR SC 10 26], [1986 AWC SC 26], [1985 BOMLR 87 421], [1985 PLJR 53], [1985 SHIMLC 260], [1985 UJ 17 820], [1985 CRI LJ 1521], [1985 UJ SC 820]
Other Sources :
The Division bench of Apex Court reduced Death penalty to Life imprisonment for 30 years without remission.
From Para 11,
Madhuranatha and Anr Vs State of Karnataka on 28 Nov 2013
11. Thus, a witness is normally considered to be independent unless he springs from sources which are likely to be tainted and this usually means that the said witness has cause to bear such enmity against the accused so as to implicate him falsely. In view of the above, there can be no prohibition to the effect that a policeman cannot be a witness or that his deposition cannot be relied upon if it inspires confidence.
Citations : [2013 AD SC 12 587], [2014 AIR SC 394], [2014 AJR 3 489], [2014 AKR 1 305], [2014 ALD CRL SC 1 699], [2014 ALLCC 84 329], [2013 JT SC 15 58], [2014 KARLJ 2 158], [2014 KCCR 2 985], [2014 NCC 1 346], [2013 SCALE 14 502], [2014 SCC 12 419], [2014 SCC CRI 6 765], [2013 SCC ONLINE SC 1048], [2014 AIC 133 87], [2014 ECRN 1 668], [2013 SUPREME 8 279], [2013 AIOL 784], [2013 CRIMES SC 4 571], [2013 AIR SC 6766], [2013 AIR SCW 6766], [2014 JCC SC 1 809], [2014 RCR CRIMINAL SC 1 203]
Other Sources :
A Division bench of Apex Court held as follows,
Rajinder Pershad (Dead) By Lrs Vs Darshana Devi on 10 Aug 2001
In the absence of cross-examination of the postman on this crucial aspect his statement in the chief-examination has been rightly relied upon. There is an age old rule that if you dispute the correctness of the statement of a witness you must give him opportunity to explain his statement by drawing his attention to that part of it which is objected to as untrue, otherwise you can not impeach his credit. In State of U.P. v. Nahar Sing (dead) and Ors.,  3 SCC 561, a Bench of this Court (to which 1 was a party) stated the principle that Section 138 of the Evidence Act confers a valuable right to cross-examination a witness tendered in evidence by opposite party. The scope of that provision is enlarged by Section 146 of the Evidence Act by permitting a witness to be questioned, inter alia, to test his veracity. It was observed.
“The oft-quoted observation of Lord Herschell, L.C. in Browne v. Dunn clearly elucidates the principle underlying those provisions. It reads thus:
“I cannot help saying, that it seems to me to be absolutely essential to the proper conduct of a cause, where it is intended to suggest that a witness is not speaking the truth on a particular point, to direct his attention to the fact by some questions put in cross-examination showing that that imputation is intended to be made and not to take his evidence and pass it by as a matter altogether unchallenged, and then, when it is impossible for him to explain, as perhaps he might have been able to do if such questions had been put to him, the circumstances which, it is suggested, indicate that the story he tells ought not to be believed, to argue that he is a witness unworthy of credit. My Lords, I have always understood that if you intend to impeach a witness, you are bound, whilst he is in the box, to give an opportunity of making any explanation which is open to him; and, as it seems to me, that is not only a rule of professional practice in the conduct of a case, but it is essential to fair play and fair dealing with witnesses.”
Citations : [2001 AIR SC 3042], [2001 SCALE 5 203], [2001 SUPREME 6 82], [2001 AIR SC 3207], [2001 SCC 7 69], [2002 UJ SC 1 89], [2001 DLT SC 93 1], [2001 UC 2 415], [2001 ALR 44 843], [2002 LW 1 69], [2001 AIR SCW 3042], [2001 JT SC 6 400]
Other Sources :
A 3-judge bench of Apex Court held that, ‘It is well settled law that it is the duty of the court to respect the legislative intent and by giving liberal interpretation, limitation cannot be extended by invoking the provisions of Section 5 of the Act.‘
From Para 20,
Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise Vs Ms Hongo India (P) Ltd. and Anr on 27 Mar 2009
20) Though, an argument was raised based on Section 29 of the Limitation Act, even assuming that Section 29(2) would be attracted what we have to determine is whether the provisions of this section are expressly excluded in the case of reference to High Court. It was contended before us that the words “expressly excluded” would mean that there must be an express reference made in the special or local law to the specific provisions of the Limitation Act of which the operation is to be excluded. In this regard, we have to see the scheme of the special law here in this case is Central Excise Act. The nature of the remedy provided therein are such that the legislature intended it to be a complete Code by itself which alone should govern the several matters provided by it. If, on an examination of the relevant provisions, it is clear that the provisions of the Limitation Act are necessarily excluded, then the benefits conferred therein cannot be called in aid to supplement the provisions of the Act. In our considered view, that even in a case where the special law does not exclude the provisions of Sections 4 to 24 of the Limitation Act by an express reference, it would nonetheless be open to the court to examine whether and to what extent, the nature of those provisions or the nature of the subject-matter and scheme of the special law exclude their operation. In other words, the applicability of the provisions of the Limitation Act, therefore, to be judged not from the terms of the Limitation Act but by the provisions of the Central Excise Act relating to filing of reference application to the High Court. The scheme of the Central Excise Act, 1944 support the conclusion that the time limit prescribed under Section 35H(1) to make a reference to High Court is absolute and unextendable by court under Section 5 of the Limitation Act. It is well settled law that it is the duty of the court to respect the legislative intent and by giving liberal interpretation, limitation cannot be extended by invoking the provisions of Section 5 of the Act.
Citations : [2009 SCC 5 791], [2009 JT 7 83], [2009 AIR SC 2325], [2009 LW 2 495], [2009 AIOL 407], [2009 ELT SC 315 449], [2009 SCALE 4 374], [2009 SCR 4 1197], [2009 SUPREME 3 120], [2009 ITR SC 315 449], [2009 ELT SC 236 417], [2009 VST SC 24 298]
Other Sources :
Lot of legal points explained with respect to the statements given by witnesses in Court in this landmark decision by a Division bench of Apex Court.
From Para 13,
13. Clause (iv) of Section 207 Cr.P.C. clearly provides that any statement recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C., shall be made available to the accused along with all the other documents that have been filed along with the charge sheet.
From Para 14,
14. Evidence given in a court under oath has great sanctity, which is why the same is called substantive evidence. Statements under Section 161 Cr.P.C. can be used only for the purpose of contradiction and statements under Section 164 Cr.P.C. can be used for both corroboration and contradiction. In a case where the magistrate has to perform the duty of recording a statement under Section 164 Cr.P.C., he is under an obligation to elicit all information which the witness wishes to disclose, as a witness who may be an illiterate, rustic villager may not be aware of the purpose for which he has been brought, and what he must disclose in his statements under Section 164 Cr.P.C. Hence, the magistrate should ask the witness explanatory questions and obtain all possible information in relation to the said case.
From Para 15,
15. So far as the statement of witnesses recorded under Section 164 is concerned, the object is two fold; in the first place, to deter the witness from changing his stand by denying the contents of his previously recorded statement, and secondly, to tide over immunity from prosecution by the witness under Section 164. A proposition to the effect that if a statement of a witness is recorded under Section 164, his evidence in Court should be discarded, is not at all warranted.
From Para 16,
R.Shaji Vs State of Kerala on 4 Feb 2013
16. Section 157 of the Evidence Act makes it clear that a statement recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C., can be relied upon for the purpose of corroborating statements made by witnesses in the Committal Court or even to contradict the same. As the defence had no opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses whose statements are recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C., such statements cannot be treated as substantive evidence.
During the investigation, the Police Officer may sometimes feel that it is expedient to record the statement of a witness under Section 164 Cr.P.C. This usually happens when the witnesses to a crime are clearly connected to the accused, or where the accused is very influential, owing to which the witnesses may be influenced.
Citations : [2013 AIR SC 651], [2013 ALD CRI 2 153], [2013 CRIMES SC 1 217], [2013 JLJR 1 499], [2013 JT SC 2 447], [2013 KLJ 1 620], [2013 KERLT 1 493], [2013 PLJR 2 145], [2013 SCALE 2 186], [2013 SCC 14 266], [2013 SCR 3 1172], [2013 UC 1 673], [2014 SCC CRI 4 185], [2013 SCC ONLINE SC 114], [2013 SLT 1 705], [2013 SUPREME 1 545], [2013 AIOL 72], [2013 AIR SC 1095], [2013 CCR 1 494], [2013 KCCR SN 3 220], [2013 RAJ 1 435], [2013 RCR CRIMINAL SC 1 964], [2013 AIR SCW 1095], [2013 ALLMR CRI SC 1469]
Other Sources :
Referring to a catena of case laws, Division bench of SC said the following:
From Para 5,
It is well settled that Section 195(1)(b) creates a bar against taking cognizance of offences against the administration of justice for the purpose of guarding against baseless or vindictive prosecutions by private parties. The provisions of this Section imply that the Court is the only appropriate authority which is entitled to raise grievance in relation to perjury, forgery of documents produced before the Court, and other offences which interfere with the effective dispensation of justice by the Court. Hence, it for the Court to exercise its discretion and consider the suitability of making a complaint for such offences. However, there is a pertinent difference in the wording of Section 195(1)(b) (i) and Section 195(1)(b)(ii) inasmuch as Section 195(1)(b)(ii) is restricted to offences which are committed in respect of a document which is “produced or given in evidence in a proceeding in any court”. Whereas Section 195(1)(b)(i) applies to offences against public justice which are committed not only in any proceeding in any court, but also “in relation to” such proceeding. Whether such semantical difference bars the analogous application of precedents relating to Section 195(1)(b)(ii) for interpreting Section 195(1)(b)(i) will be discussed by us later.
From Para 8,
Curiously, though the facts of Iqbal Singh Marwah also required a determination as to the applicability of Section 195(1)(b)(i), the Constitution Bench did not express any specific finding on this point. This was perhaps because the limited point for consideration before the Bench was the apparent conflict between Sachida Nand Singh and Surjit Singh (supra). However, it can nevertheless be seen that the Constitution Bench did not interpret Section 195(1)(b)(ii) in isolation, but linked its construction with the overall scheme under Sections 195(1)(b) and 340, CrPC. The Court reiterated the test laid down in Sachida Nand Singh, i.e., that the offence in respect of which only the Court can make a complaint must be one which has a direct correlation to, or a direct impact on, proceedings before a court of justice. It is for this reason that only the relevant Court is vested with the right to consider the desirability of complaining against the guilty party.
From Para 17 (Very important)
Bhima Razu Prasad Vs State of Tamil Nadu on 12 Mar 2021
17. It is possible that Courts may be more proactive in making complaints under Section 195(1)(b)(i), CrPC upon application made by the concerned investigative agencies, than in those preferred by private parties. The former being public authorities would enjoy more credence in seeking inquiry into their claims.Therefore, the aforementioned reasons assigned by the Constitution Bench in Iqbal Singh Marwah for adopting a narrow construction of Section 195(1)(b)(ii), CrPC may not be strictly applicable in the present case. However, the general principles of statutory interpretation laid down by the Constitution Bench should not be disregarded. This is especially given that the Court did not consider Section 195(1)(b)(ii) separately but provided a holistic view of the scheme under Section 195(1)(b).
17.1 Just like a private party who has been a victim of forgery committed outside the precincts of the Court, the investigative agency should not be left remediless against persons who have producing false evidence for the purpose of interfering with the investigation process. Moreover, the present case concerns offences alleged to have been committed under the PC Act. Public interest and the reputation of the State will suffer significant harm if corrupt public servants are facilitated by third parties in hiding their assets from scrutiny. Hence any interpretation which negates against the speedy and effective trial of such persons must be avoided.
17.2 The application of the bar under Section 195(1)(b)(i), CrPC to situations such as the present case can lead to two scenarios. The first is one in which the investigative agency, on the basis of false/fabricated material drops the case. Subsequently, it is brought to their notice that the evidence was falsified. Second, the investigative agency at that very stage suspects that the material produced before them is bogus or forged in nature. In both scenarios, the Court has not had an opportunity to consider the allegedly fabricated evidence, as trial has not yet commenced in respect of the offence. Hence it would not be possible for the Court to independently ascertain the need for lodging a complaint under Section 195(1)(b)(i) read with Section 340, CrPC when the evidence alleged to have been falsified is not even present on its records. Rather, it is the investigating agency which is best placed to verify and prove whether such falsification has taken place, through what means and for what purpose.
17.3 In case the bar under Section 195(1)(b)(i) is applied to offences committed during the course of investigation, the Court may think it fit to wait till the completion of trial to evaluate whether a complaint should be made or not. Subsequently, the Court may be of the opinion that in the larger scheme of things the alleged fabrication of evidence during investigation has not had any material impact on the trial, and decline to initiate prosecution for the same. The investigation agency cannot be compelled to take a chance and wait for the trial court to form its opinion in each and every case. This may give the offender under Section 193, IPC sufficient time to fabricate more falsehoods to hide the original crime. Further, irrespective of the potential impact that such false evidence may have on the opinion formed by the trial court, the investigating agency has a separate right to proceed against the accused for attempting to obstruct fair and transparent probe into a criminal offence. Thus, we are of the view that it would be impracticable to insist upon lodging of written complaint by the Court under Section 195(1)(b)(i), CrPC in such a situation.