Some of the judges trying dowry death cases act in a casual, cursory and perfunctory manner while questioning the accused based on evidences, the Supreme court critically observed.
There is a duty cast upon the trial judge to question the accused based on the evidences under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code. That cannot be treated as mere procedural formality but to be handled with considerable care and caution.
It enables the accused to offer an explanation for the incriminatory materials appearing against him. So there is an obligation cast upon the Court to question the accused fairly and with due care and caution, the Supreme court said.
The SC was examining a dowry death case from Haryana. Wife of Shabir Singh committed suicide on dowry harassment. The trial court punished the accused for seven years. The Haryana high court upheld it but the SC differed it saying the prosecution failed miserably in proving that the death of the woman was due to suicide.
Upon perusing the evidences, the SC held that the trial judge has not acted fairly and judiciously in questioning the accused as per Section 313 of the CrPC. So that the findings of the trial court and Haryana H C warrants interference.
The punishment to the accused was set aside by SC.
The SC was of the opinion that the trial judge has not put incriminating circumstances before the accused to seek his response. That amounted to a serious lapse on the trial judge.