A chain of incidents following the death of the younger of the two sisters who were married to the same man led to the conviction of a man and his first wife for abetment to suicide and domestic violence, before the Bombay High Court acquitted the duo recently.
The couple was convicted under Sections 498 A (domestic violence) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code by a trial court in Solapur 21 years ago. Renuka, was married off to Dattatraya Vanjare, who was already married to her sister Sushila for 15 years. Nagappa, the women’s father, was reportedly instrumental in getting 18-year-old Renuka married to Dattatraya. In 1994, Renuka died.
Among the 11 witnesses cross-examined in the case, three — including Nagappa — stated that the accused had beaten up the victim, demanded dowry and driven her to consume Endosulfan. The appellants, however, said that Renuka was under distress due to frequent convulsions. Hearing the couple’s appeal against the conviction, Justice Abhay Thipsay of Bombay High Court labelled it as an “unusual” case. He acquitted the man and his first wife, observing the deceased woman had frequent seizures, and it was the father who — though aware of it — married her off.