SC: Dowry demand not enough for conviction
13_11_2013 - Page - Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad, India.
Merely making a demand for dowry is not enough to bring about a conviction in a dowry death case, the Supreme Court on Tuesday held saying that it must be proved that victim had been treated with cruelty or harassed for it.
“Merely making a demand for dowry is not enough. As held in Kans Raj case, a dowry death victim should also have been treated with cruelty or harassed for dowry either by her husband or a relative,” a bench of justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Madan B. Lokur said.
The bench also expressed concern over delay in disposing of the appeal filed by a man challenging his conviction in dowry death of his sisterin-law which took nine years. Referring to the
delay in dispoal of cases, the court quipped, “It is high time those of us who are judges of this court and decision makers also become policy makers“, without elabo rating.
The bench acquitted the man Bhola Nath in the case saying that family members cannot be made accused in dowry death case just because they stay together under one floor and there must sufficient evidence against each of them.
“While these persons may be staying together, it does not lead to any positive conclusion that each one of them was actively involved in demanding additional dowry from Janki Devi (victim) and also behaving in a cruel or humiliating manner towards her resulting in her consuming poison to end her life,” the bench said.
The court set aside the Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict which had convicted Bhola Nath in the dowry death case.