Civil Procedure Code (CPC)

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DETAILS OF THE CASE

  • Earlier this week, Bombay High Court acquitted husband and in laws of a deceased wife who committed suicide within two months of marriage after observing that just because the wife died in the matrimonial house within a period of two months, the entire family cannot be stigmatized as having committed offences as serious as offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code providing for the punishment for murder.
  • The Bench comprising of Justice NR Borkar and Justice Sadhana S Jadhav set aside a Sessions Court judgment dated 29th June, 2012 convicting husband and other family members for offences punishable under sec. 498-A, 302, 304-B r/w 34 of Indian Penal Code and section 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
  • The Court also observed that the suicide was committed in a "state of stress".


BACKSTORY

  • Sachin and Megha had gotten married on 28th July 2010 and were residing in a joint family. OnSeptember 2010, two months after their marriage, Megha was found hanging to the rafter inside her bedroom.
  • A report was then lodged by her father at the police station alleging that his daughter complained to him that she was subjected to ill-treatment and harassment for not getting a gold ring for Sachin and was also subjected to starvation.
  • In this case, the Bench viewed that the marriage was hurriedly effected by the parents of deceased wife since they found a suitable match for their daughter thereby going against her wishes and will of continuing her education.

RESULTS

  • The Bombay High Court after going to the facts of the case and examination of witnesses, observed that the medical evidence proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the cause of Megha's death was asphyxia due to hanging and therefore, conviction for an offence under section 302 of IPC was unwarranted.
  • The Bombay High Court in addition took note of the statement of the neurologist with whom Megha was taking treatment, that she was under mental stress since 2005 and was a sensitive girl.
  • The Bench stated that, “just because wife has died in her matrimonial house within two months of marriage, the entire family cannot be stigmatized as having committed offences and in absence of legally admissible evidence there cannot be moral conviction.”
  • The Court set aside the impugned judgment.

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