Supreme Court, in State of Karnataka vs. Dattaraj has held that alleged demand of dowry about two years before the death of the Wife would not satisfy the requirement of “soon before her death” contemplated under Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code.
Apex Court Bench comprising of Justices Jagdish Singh Khehar and S.A. Bobde on Monday upheld the Karnataka High Court judgment acquitting the Husband and relatives accused in dowry death case.
On the allegation that the father of the accused Husband made a demand of Rs.20,000/- for the purchase of agricultural land, the court observed that it is apparent that the same was allegedly made when Husband was in Dubai. “The said demand was allegedly made by Ningesh (respondent – accused no.2), the father of Dattaraj, when he had gone to leave Savita at her maternal home. Dattaraj is stated to have returned to India from Dubai eight to ten months, after the above demand. A female child was born to Savita about a year after the return of Dattaraj to India. After the birth of the female child, Savita had remained in her maternal house, for about four to five months. Therefore, even if the above oral allegation is accepted as correct, it was a demand made about two years before the occurrence. The same was too remote to the occurrence, and therefore, would not satisfy the requirement of “soon before her death” contemplated under Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code, “ the Bench said.
The Court also observed that monetary gifts given to Husband and his family members, were in the nature of customary gifts exchanged during different ceremonies, and the Husband’s family has also given return gifts.
Read the Judgment here.