Mr. Rebates

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Demand for dowry can't be a proof for conviction: HC

Justice S N Dhingra, the Golden One of the High Courts. Once more a great decision!

NEW DELHI: Demand for dowry on the part of husband and inlaws is itself not sufficient evidence to convict them for the unnatural death of a woman, the Delhi high court has said.

The court said it is essential to prove that the victim was being harassed in order to convict aperson for dowry death.

"Mere making of demand is not the only pre-requisite for proving an offence under Section 304B IPC. The prosecution was thus, supposed to prove that demand made by accused was coupled with harassment or cruelty in connection with the demand," Justice S N Dhingra said.

The bench acquitted a man after cops failed to provide credible evidence to substantiate that he or any of his family members were harassing his wife for dowry. The witness had only said the family members were demanding dowry from the victim's family.

"Unnatural death can be called a dowry death only if, after making a demand of dowry, the accused perpetuates cruelty on the victim so that his demand gets fulfilled. If the alleged demand of dowry is not coupled with cruelty, harassment or any other such act, the case of dowry death would not be made out," the bench said.

The bench acquitted the man after none of the three brothers of the victim, who had alleged that dowry was being demanded, stated that their sister was harassed by her in-laws.

The court set aside the trial court verdict which had convicted the man and sentenced him to life imprisonment for killing his wife for dowry. "Every suicide after marriage cannot be presumed to be a suicide due to dowry demand," the court said.

Source: Times of India

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