Court dismisses appeal challenging acquittal of in-laws in dowry case
The Bombay High Court recently held that a pressure cooker cannot be considered an item of dowry, while dismissing an appeal challenging the acquittal of the in-laws of a woman who committed suicide.
One and a half months after her marriage to Pradeep Nimbhekar, Kusum was allegedly subjected to torture, leading her to end her life on October 3, 1990.
In an FIR lodged the next day, her father Gopal Ram Bharti had alleged his daughter had committed suicide due to pressure for dowry by her mother-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law. Subsequently, the sessions court at Amravati conducted a trial, and found there wasn’t enough evidence to convict the accused.
The State government challenged the acquittal and appealed to the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay HC. It submitted that the accused had allegedly demanded dowry from the victim in the form of a refrigerator and a motorcycle, and hence must be convicted under IPC sections 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 304B (dowry death).
In addition, it was claimed that the mother-in-law had complained to a witness that they had not been given utensils like a pressure cooker by the victim’s family.
The counsel appearing for the acquitted accused submitted that the accused were rightly acquitted as the prosecution had not given evidence supporting the allegations regarding demand for dowry.
They further said that the accused were not present at home on the day of her suicide, and the victim was visited by her father who allegedly assaulted her physically when she refused to leave with him. They argued that this had driven her to commit suicide.
A Division Bench comprising Justices R.K. Deshpande and M.G. Giratkar said in the light of lack of evidence, the lower court had rightly acquitted the accused. They added that an in-law complaining about not being gifted a pressure cooker does not amount to demand for dowry. While dismissing the appeal, the court said, “We believe a cooker is not such an article, which can be taken into consideration as dowry.”
— Read on www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/pressure-cooker-not-dowry-item-hc-rules/article24266342.ece/amp/