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The Supreme Court of India has given a decision that asking for the wife's share in ancestral property from in-laws would not come under the definition of ‘dowry.’ The judgment has come in the case of Baldev Singh who had moved the apex court challenging a Punjab and Haryana high court verdict where he was punished for abetting the suicide of his wife. However, while his mother and sister were acquitted of dowry harassment charges, Baldev too had appealed for same. In the case, the bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Harjit Singh Bedi held that husband demanding his wife’s share in the ancestral property will not amount to a dowry demand. Interestingly, Baldev could not be acquitted; however his imprisonment has been reduced from ten to seven years. Making dowry death more clear, Justice Pasayat held that there must be existence of a proximate and live link between the effect of cruelty based on dowry demand and the concerned death. If alleged incident of cruelty is remote in time and has become stale enough not to disturb mental equilibrium of the woman concerned (to take extreme step), it would be of no consequence
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