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Lachman Chamar Vs. Emperor - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1920All43; 56Ind.Cas.209
AppellantLachman Chamar
RespondentEmperor
Excerpt:
penal code (act xlv of 1860), section 498 - accused marrying woman represented to be a widow--woman claimed as wife by another--denial by her of marriage and staying preferably with accused--accused, whether guilty of wrongful detention. - - from the evidence given by musammat dhakhia at the trial it is beyond question that she was living with lachman of her own free will and bad not the slightest desire to return to the complainant. she went so far as to deny that she bad ever seen harihar before in her life, or ever had anything to do with him......question is whether from the time when in the month of june the com-plainant harihar arrived at lachman's house and claimed the woman as his wife it ought to be held that lachman had 'reason to believe' this woman to be the wife of another man, and whether from that date he detained her with unlawful intent. from the evidence given by musammat dhakhia at the trial it is beyond question that she was living with lachman of her own free will and bad not the slightest desire to return to the complainant. she went so far as to deny that she bad ever seen harihar before in her life, or ever had anything to do with him. it is not easy to say on the evidence whether the courts below were justified in holding that lachman had reason to believe that harihar was speaking the truth when he.....
Judgment:

Piggott, J.

1. The applicant Lachman has been convicted under Section 498 of the Indian Penal Code of detaining a young woman of the name of Dhakhia with intent that she may have illicit intercourse with himself, he knowing or having reason to believe the said woman to be the wife of his caste fellow, Harihar. The evidence shows that about the month of March 1919 Harihar allowed this woman to go away with her grandmother. A month later the complainant want to look for his wife and was told by the grandmother that she had gone off with somebody and that her whereabouts were unknown. He eventually traced her to the house of the accused Lachman in a village in another district. There is no evidence whatever that Lachman knew or had any reason to believe that Dhakhia was the wife of another man up to the time when Harihar arrived at his house and demanded the woman. There is no real reason for disbelieving Lachman's assertion, supported by evidence, that the grandmother represented Musammat Dhakhia to him as a young widow and that he believed himself to have contracted a lawful marriage with her according to the usual custom in the case of the re-marriage of a widow amongst members of his caste. The question is whether from the time when in the month of June the com-plainant Harihar arrived at Lachman's house and claimed the woman as his wife it ought to be held that Lachman had 'reason to believe' this woman to be the wife of another man, and whether from that date he detained her with unlawful intent. From the evidence given by Musammat Dhakhia at the trial it is beyond question that she was living with Lachman of her own free will and bad not the slightest desire to return to the complainant. She went so far as to deny that she bad ever seen Harihar before in her life, or ever had anything to do with him. It is not easy to say on the evidence whether the Courts below were justified in holding that Lachman had reason to believe that Harihar was speaking the truth when he claimed this woman as his wife. For ought that appears from the record he may have received vehement assertions to the contrary from Musammat Dhakhia and may have felt convinced of the truth of these assertions. In any case I do not think it can be held on the evidence that Lachman 'detained' this woman. According to Harihar's deposition what happened, when he arrived at Lachman's house and claimed the woman, was that Lachman replied that he knew nothing about' Harihar's claim. All he knew was that he had taken the girl from her grand-mother and had contracted what he believed to be a lawful union with her. Having thus defined his position, he told Harihar that, the latter could do what he thought proper. On this the woman deliberately turned her back on Harihar and walked into Lachman's house. I think there can be no mistake about the woman's attitude. She was not being detained there by Lachman but, with or without justification, had absolutely made up her mind to stay with him and not submit to Harihar's claim. Under the circumstances I do not think that the conviction can be sustained. I accept the application of Lachman, set aside the conviction and sentence against him and acquit him of the offence charged. He has already been released on bail, his sureties will, therefore, be discharged.


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