All sections of society have fallen prey to the evil of dowry, including those financially sound, a Delhi court has observed while holding a man and his family guilty of torturing his 23-year-old wife to death for not fulfilling dowry demands.
The court made the observation while rejecting the claim of the man that his family was wealthier than that of his wife and did not need dowry from her.
“There is no rule that all financially sound people are above the vice of greed. Nowadays, all sections of society have fallen prey to the evil of dowry,” Additional Sessions Judge Sunena Sharma said while noting that the family of the accused purchased a bigger car despite the victim having brought a luxury car.
“The fact that the accused had purchased a Skoda despite the deceased having already brought an Optra in her marriage rather supports the prosecution case that accused family was not satisfied with the brand/quality of the car given in the marriage and when their demands for a Skoda were not met by the deceased’s parents, they bought one second hand Skoda on their own,” the judge noted.
The court also observed that the woman, who committed suicide by hanging herself from the ceiling fan, was mentally tortured by her husband, parents-in-law and brother-in-law.
It said the absence of external injury marks on the woman’s body could not rule out the possibility of her being subjected to cruelty soon before death.
“Cruelty within the meaning of section 304-B of IPC does not only include physical cruelty but also mental cruelty. Persistent harassment in depriving a person from fulfilment of his or her basic needs, constant taunting and nagging in furtherance of unlawful demand of dowry and physical scuffles like slapping, pulling hair, pushing by force although do not cause any external mark of injury on the body but the same may leave indelible scars on the psyche of the person causing him or her immense mental pain and agony which may sometime compel a person to take extreme step of committing suicide,” the court said.
Mere fact that no external injury was seen on the body of the deceased at the time of postmortem does not lead to the conclusion that there was no cruelty meted out to her before her death, it said.
According to the prosecution, the woman got married to the accused in 2005 and her father had given an Optra, gold jewellery, Rs 2.5 lakh cash and other household items as wedding gifts.
However, a few days into the marriage, the accused began demanding more cash, a bigger car and other valuables, it said, adding the woman was tortured and harassed by the in-laws for insufficient dowry.
Unable to bear the torture, the woman committed suicide in 2007, the complaint said.
The accused, however, had denied all the allegations and claimed they were falsely implicated. They also contended that the parents of the woman wanted to usurp jewellery entrusted to them by the in-laws when they were going out of station and that humiliated by the conduct of her own parents, the woman took her life.
The court, however, rejected all the contentions and held them guilty of the offences of 498A (cruelty) and 304B (dowry death) of the IPC.