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Dowry Death: Section 304B IPC Does Not Contemplate Harassment Minutes Or Hours Before Death: Delhi HC

Apoorva Mandhani
5 Jun 2017 5:27 AM GMT
Dowry Death: Section 304B IPC Does Not Contemplate Harassment Minutes Or Hours Before Death: Delhi HC
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The High Court of Delhi recently refused to set aside the conviction of a man in a case of dowry death merely on the ground that no harassment had occurred right before the incident.

“Section 304B IPC does not contemplate that the harassment should be within minutes or hours or few days of the time since death but a reasonable period prior to the death when deceased is subjected to cruelty is sufficient to show the live link which in the present case is proved as two days prior to the death, specific demand from the brother of deceased was made,” Justice Mukta Gupta observed.

The Court was hearing an appeal filed by one Mr. Ashok, who had challenged his conviction for offences punishable under Sections 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 304B (dowry death) of the Indian Penal Code.

Justice Gupta noted that the essential ingredients for prosecution under Section 304B are: (i) the death of a woman must have been caused by burns or bodily injury or otherwise than under normal circumstances; (ii) such death must have occurred within seven years of her marriage; (iii) soon before her death, the woman must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relatives of her husband; (iv) such cruelty or harassment must be for, or in connection with, demand for dowry.

Having satisfied itself of the first two conditions, the Court noted that the accused had demanded Rs. 5,000, a color TV and clothes from the deceased from the brother of the deceased two days prior to the incident. Further, during the proceedings, the Court had examined several witnesses to establish that the deceased woman was being harassed for dowry by her husband, mother-in-law, father-in-law and brothers-in-law.

The Court therefore refused to interfere with the impugned judgment, and upheld the sentence of seven years of rigorous imprisonment.

Read the Judgment here.

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