While discharging the accused in an alleged dowry harassment case, a Delhi court observed that without finding out the specific role of the accused — and even if the court “assumes” that “instances of physical assault” had taken place — it “cannot lead to a presumption that the accused were torturing the complainant”.
The observation came during a hearing by the sessions court of a revision petition filed by the accused in the case. The trial court had charged the brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law (of the complainant) of offences under sections 498A (cruelty), 406 (criminal breach of trust) with 34 (common intention) of the IPC and under the Dowry Prohibition Act.
Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala also observed that cruelty or torture, as contemplated in Section 498A of IPC, denotes a “continuous process” which was not satisfactorily proved in the present case. “From the allegations made by the complainant, even I am unable to find any case of continuous torture, if committed, by any of the respondents in order to demand dowry…,” the court said.
The woman had filed a case alleging that her sister-in-law and brothers-in-law had subjected her to cruelty by their ‘willful conduct’ and made unlawful demands for dowry.