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guljit_singh_luggani (advocate)     24 May 2008

Husband, in-laws acquitted in rare dowry death case

Husband, in-laws acquitted in rare dowry death case
By A Staff Reporter, Mumbai

DOWRY cases always end with the imprisonment of the husband and in-laws, but in a rare case, an aged mother-in-law and a husband have been acquitted by the Sessions Court of the charge of causing a dowry death.

Riyaz Ahmed, his mother Mumtaz Sheikh and his father Bahshir Sheikh were booked by the Chembur police after Riyaz’s 19-year-old wife, Shabana Bi allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself to the ceiling of their house in Chembur on May 29, 2000.


All three of them were booked under Indian Penal Code sections 498 (A) (dowry harassment), 304(B) (dowry death) and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention). They all were arrested and later released on bail. However, Riyaz’s father died during the trial.


Judge D U Mulla, today acquitted Riyaz and his mother for lack of evidence and prosecution’s failure to prove the charges levelled against them. The witnesses examined by the prosecution also did not support the prosecution’s charges. According to the witnesses, there was a dispute in Ahmed’s house but only on trivial matters.

Ahmed’s lawyers Anil Aggrawal and Guljit Singh Luggani today argued that the death of Shabana was due to her intolerant and sensitive nature and not because of harassment by her husband and in-laws. The lawyers also told the court that this was a misuse of laws which are meant to protect women as the police initially did not find the death to be a consequence of dowry harassment, but later after Shabana’s parents insisted the police booked Riyaz and his age-old parents under 498 (A), 304(B) and 34 of IPC.

Further talking to FPJ, Adv Luggani said that there are many Supreme Court judgements which say that if the death is due to the intolerant and sensitive nature of the wife then the husband and wife’s in-laws cannot be booked for dowry harassment and dowry death.


 6 Replies

Kiran Kumar (Lawyer)     24 May 2008

well certainly the law is on both the sides, since in the instant case there was lack of evidence and the prosecution also did not support the case so the acquittal can not be termed bad.....i ll all depend upon the facts and circumstances of the case.....however it needs a correct and honest interpretation of the facts to order an acquittal.

Prakash Yedhula (Lawyer)     24 May 2008

Many of the cases in India get acquitted due to lack of evidence. Unless we have a professional investigating agency, the guilty would go scot free.

Ajay kumar singh (Advocate)     24 May 2008

If it is found that the victim committed suicide due to intollerance,it must be found what were the compelling circumstances which she could not tolerate.In my opinion,the matter needs to be agitated in the higher court.

Rajesh Kumar (Advocate)     12 June 2008

Victom committed suicide- it does not mean some body should be made an accused, as it has been done in this case. Matter should be properly investigated before some innocent person is made an accused.

In this case the state should compensate the innocent accuseds.

Legal Techie (Men's Rights Activist)     13 June 2008

Is it only in India, that the accused (only marital law accused) are termed as "Guilty untill proven innocent", against the Amnesty International mandate?

If you commit a murder or rape, you are 'Innocent till proven guilty', but if your wife dies (even in a proven accident) or commits suicide (even due to her own proven mental disorder), the husband and his whole family is termed by default as 'Guilty until proven innocent'!

Are we really progressing as a humane country?

Srinivas.B.S.S.T ( Advocate)     16 June 2008

I agree with Legal Techie it is high
time that we should amend our laws relating to marital offences with
the changing circumstances. But i personally think that the Govt will
not move unless and untill cases of groom buring are reported. We are
not so far from hearing about such type of incidents also.

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