April 14, 2021 8:04:06 am
The Bombay High Court recently acquitted four members of a family, convicted in 2010 in connection to a woman’s death by suicide within two months of her getting married into the family.
The court held that an entire family cannot be stigmatised for murder due to a woman’s death in her matrimonial home within two months of marriage and a conviction on “moral” grounds was not the substitute for lack of evidence.
A division bench of Justice Sadhana S Jadhav and Justice Nitin R Borkar on April 6 passed the judgment while hearing an appeal by four persons were sentenced to life imprisonment by sessions court in Solapur district, in June 2012.
The four, including the husband, his brother and parents, were booked for offences punishable under sections 302 (murder), 304B (dowry death) and 498A (domestic violence) of the IPC and provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
On September 6, 2010, the woman’s father-in-law approached police to inform about the death by suicide, following which an accidental death case was registered.
Thereafter, the woman’s father filed a complaint based on which the four were arrested on charges of abetting suicide and murder. Advocates Hrishikesh Mundargi and Jayant Bardesakar, appearing for the appellants, submitted that there was cogent and convincing evidence to show that there was no dispute between members of both families over dowry or gold ornaments.
The appellants also submitted that the woman had ended her life due to mental depression and not due to any harassment by her husband or in-laws. Justice Jadhav, who authored the judgment, observed, “…just because wife has died in her matrimonial house within two months of marriage, the entire family cannot be stigmatised as having committed offences… In absence of legally admissible evidence, there cannot be moral conviction.”
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