Bombay high court takes serious view, orders CID to recover woman’s streedhan
Underlining the seriousness of the offence of not returning the streedhan of a woman subjected to harassment by her in-laws, the Bombay high court earlier this week handed over the investigation of such a case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) from the Dadar police station.
Observing that the police had casually dealt with the complaint filed by Sangeeta Dharap, 25, a resident of Worli, justice AM Khanwilkar and justice AP Bhangale were of the view that the investigating officer– police inspector Vijay Shinde - fromthe Dadar police station had not done enough to recover Dharap’s streedhan.
Dharap had filed a complaint under section 498-A (harassment by in-laws) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC against her husband Rajesh and family on October 27, 2009. The section 307 (attempt to murder) was added to her complaint later after she alleged that they tried to kill her by throwing her off her fourth-floor matrimonial home.
In her complaint, Dharap had stated that 368 grams of gold received by her on at her wedding on May 26, 2006 including gold and diamond earings, finger-rings and chains were forcibly taken away from her and have not been returned or recovered by the police despite her complaint. Dharap’s advocate Mahesh Vaswani told the court that the police had made no attempt to recover her streedhan despite a complaint under section 406 and not even conducted a spot panchnama after an offence under section 307 was alleged.
“We are in agreement with the grievance of the petitioner that the Investigating Officer has not done enough for recovery of the streedhan of the petitioner,” the judges held. They further noted that the on December 7, 2009 the husband had told the police that the streedhan was returned to Dharap and they accepted his statement without examining its correctness. “That pre-supposes that the investigation has been done in a very casual manner,” the court observed and handed the case over to the CID.
The court also asked its order to be communicated to Mantralaya to take necessary action against the investigating officer for his “laxity in investigation.”