Rebecca Samervel | TNN | Updated: Jun 12, 2017, 02.23 AM IST
MUMBAI: In a recent order, a magistrate court while acquitting a man and his family members of dowry and cruelty charges, has observed that a demand for money on account of financial stringency or for meeting some urgent domestic expenses or for purchasing manure cannot be termed as a demand for dowry.
While dismissing the wife’s case due to lack of evidence, a Borivli magistrate court held, “Even if the accused had demanded an amount of Rs 5 lakh for purchase of household articles, then that does not ipso facto amount to unlawful demand under IPC Section 498 A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty).” The court also pointed out that the FIR was registered with the Dindoshi police two years after the alleged cruelty first started and the delay was not explained.
The court reasoned that the definition of dowry under Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act meant any property or valuable security that should be given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly, at or before or any time after the marriage and in connection with the marriage. “The evidence adduced by the prosecution does not, therefore, show that any demand for ‘dowry’ as defined in Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act was made by the appellants (accused) as what was allegedly asked for was some money for meeting domestic expenses and for purchasing manure,” the court said. The woman lodged a complaint with the cops on March 24, 2015, against her husband and in-laws. The woman said that she married the accused on May 5, 2011 and began to live with her in-laws. She said that she was treated well for a month after the marriage. However, despite giving cash and ornaments at the time of the wedding, the accused started demanding a washing machine, cooler, colour TV and Rs five lakh cash for purchasing a flat. The woman alleged that she told her parents about the harassment. Subsequently her parents handed over Rs 50,000 to her in-laws. She further alleged that on October 12, 2012, her husband and in-laws abused her for the dowry.
The woman said that after she returned to her parents home in March 2013, the husband assured her family about her well-being and took her back home. She said that the assault however continued and on June 24, 2013, she was thrown out of the house.
The defence denied the allegations and said that the delay in lodging the FIR “robbed the genuineness of the prosecution’s case.” The defence submitted that the woman should have approached the cops as soon as she was made to leave her husband’s home and the delay showed that the case was dubious.