In a rare judgment, probably the first for the Karkardooma courts, a sessions judge has ordered the prosecution of a man, who allegedly gave dowry to his daughter’s in-laws at the time of her marriage over two years ago.
In fact, it was his daughter’s complaints and multifarious criminal cases against her estranged husband and his family that have spelled legal trouble for Yashpal Kumar.
Married in December 2006 to Ram Khanna, Kumar’s daughter Rita left her matrimonial home a couple of months later and approached the Crime Against Women (CAW) cell, with the complaint that her husband and in-laws were torturing her.
Subsequently, her husband and other in-laws were booked under the charges of atrocity and harassing her for dowry in an FIR. She also filed a maintenance petition before a magistrate.
One common allegation in all her complaints pertained to how she was ill-treated for bringing insufficient dowry despite her father having spent over Rs 8 lakh in meeting the dowry demands of her husband and his father. While Rita made this particular accusation, she could hardly imagine the legal trouble it would bring to her father.
Khanna’s father also moved the court, asking if they were to be prosecuted for demanding and receiving dowry, how could Rita’s father wriggle out of the charges of giving dowry, which is also an offence under the Dowry Prohibition Act?
After the magistrate trying Khanna and his kin found no substance in the plea and dismissed their complaint, Khanna’s father approached the sessions court in revision of the impugned order. The petition filed through counsel Sanjay Gupta and Manish Shrivastava claimed that all they were pleading for was a fair and just view of the issue. As Khanna and his parents were standing a trial for receiving dowry, Kumar, according to the rule of law, should also undergo the judicial scrutiny of a court under the said Act, contended the counsel. They said that the request was based on Rita’s own version before the magistrate.
Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Sharma found favour with the counsel’s arguments. “On considering the entire trial court record, I am of the opinion that the contents of the FIR and the maintenance petition filed by Rita, clearly discloses the allegation that her father gave dowry on the alleged demands of Khanna’s father. Since under The Dowry Prohibition Act, giving of dowry is also an offence, therefore, he is prima facie guilty,” said ASJ Sharma.
Allowing the revision petition, the court then sent the matter back to the trial court, directing it to summon Kumar under Section 3 (penalties for giving/taking dowry that can go upto a five year jail term) of the Act and examine him under the relevant criminal procedures. Notably, the order follows a Rohini court’s order last month asking the police to register an FIR against a bride and her kin for giving dowry.