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Dowry Death- Society Has Got The Wrong Message That In-Laws Can Easily Escape Liability If They Live Separately From Victim: Madras HC

Sparsh Upadhyay
21 April 2021 11:52 AM GMT
Dowry Death- Society Has Got The Wrong Message That In-Laws Can Easily Escape Liability If They Live Separately From Victim: Madras HC
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Mere giving birth to a child and providing shelter and good education, and motivating their child to get a job alone is not enough, and the first and foremost responsibility of the parents is that they should groom their children as responsible citizens: Madras HC

While refusing to suspend the sentence awarded to a couple convicted for the offence under Section 498-A of IPC, the Madras High Court recently observed that the first and foremost responsibility of the parents is to groom their children as responsible citizens.

Underlining that the incidents of women committing suicide are rising day by day (due to dowry harassment), the Bench Justice P. Velmurugan observed that the in-laws of the victim woman are escaping from their liability saying that they are not living with their son.

However, the Court noted that despite living separately, they are inducing their son for getting dowry, by way of, money, jewels, two-wheeler, car etc.

The Court also underlined that it has come across several petitions wherein in-laws have argued that since they are not residing with their son and the victim women, their sentence should be suspension of sentence.

The Court further added,

"Taking advantage of that, a wrong message has gone to the Society that the parents can easily escape from their liability and the alleged offence."

Interestingly, the Court also opined,

"Mere giving birth to a child and providing shelter and good education, and motivating their child to get a job alone is not enough, and the first and foremost responsibility of the parents is that they should groom their children as responsible citizens."

The matter before the Court

The petitioners before the Court (accused 2 and 3) are the parents of the first accused, viz., the husband of the deceased. The marriage between the first accused and the deceased was solemnized on 20.06.2016.

As the petitioners/Parents of the Man used to beat and harass the deceased by demanding jewels and money, the deceased suffered mental agony and therefore, she committed suicide on 29th September 2017.

Subsequently, a case was registered by the respondent-Police against the first accused and the petitioners/ Parents of the Man for the offence under Section 498-A of IPC and 304 B of IPC.

The petitioners/ Parents of the Man were found guilty under Section 498-A of IPC and convicted, thus, against such finding, the Criminal Appeal had been filed by them alone.

Along with the instant present Crl.M.P.No.2926 of 2021 had been filed seeking to suspend the sentence.

It was argued on their behalf that the petitioners / accused 2 and 3 never lived under the same roof (with the deceased woman), and as such, there was no possibility for demanding dowry and causing cruelty, as alleged by the prosecution.

However, refusing to suspend the sentence, the Court noted,

"From the materials available on record, there are materials against the petitioners and the learned Sessions Judge, on proper appreciation of materials available on record against the petitioners / accused 2 and 3, convicted them for the offence under Section 498-A of IPC, and acquitted them of the charge under Section 304-B of IPC."

Given the nature and gravity of the offence committed by the accused, the Court didn't suspend the sentence and the miscellaneous petition was dismissed.

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