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Dowry Death | Paramour Of Mother-in-Law Not Family Member Within Ambit Of S. 304B IPC: Madhya Pradesh High Court

Zeeshan Thomas
10 March 2022 6:45 AM GMT
Dowry Death | Paramour Of Mother-in-Law Not Family Member Within Ambit Of S. 304B IPC: Madhya Pradesh High Court
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The High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Gwalior Bench recently held that the paramour of mother-in-law of the deceased would not come within the ambit of Section 304-B IPC, since he cannot be considered to be a family member of the husband of the deceased for the purpose of Section 304-B and 498-A IPC. Justice Anand Pathak was dealing with a criminal revision preferred by...

The High Court of Madhya Pradesh, Gwalior Bench recently held that the paramour of mother-in-law of the deceased would not come within the ambit of Section 304-B IPC, since he cannot be considered to be a family member of the husband of the deceased for the purpose of Section 304-B and 498-A IPC.

Justice Anand Pathak was dealing with a criminal revision preferred by the Applicant, challenging the order passed by the trial court, whereby the court framed charges against him for offences punishable U/S 304-B R/W 109 IPC.

As per the prosecution story, the deceased was being harassed at her matrimonial home. She later committed suicide by hanging, within seven months of her marriage. The F.I.R. was registered against her mother-in-law, husband and paramour of her mother-in-law (Applicant). Charge-sheet was filed by the prosecution for the offences U/S 304-B, 120-B, 34 IPC, and U/S 3/4 Dowry Prohibition Act. Thereafter, vide impugned order, trial court framed the charge against the Applicant as referred above.

The Applicant argued that the trial court erred in framing the charge U/S 304-B R/W 109 IPC against him because he didn't fall within the category of blood relation and family members of the husband of deceased. He submitted that he had never abetted or instigated the deceased or relative of husband of the deceased for demanding dowry. He contended that merely on the basis of allegation of being a paramour of mother-in-law of the deceased, he could not be held liable. He relied on the decision of the Apex Court in State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh.

Concurring with the submissions of the Applicant, the Court observed-

This is a case where as per allegation itself as contained in FIR, petitioner appears to be paramour of mother-in-law of the deceased because his relationship is referred in FIR and in statements of prosecution witnesses. Therefore, as per ambit of Section 304-B of IPC and judgment rendered by the Apex Court in the matter of Gurmit Singh (supra) since he is not in blood relation and family member of the deceased, therefore, he cannot be termed as family member of the husband of the deceased for the purpose of Section 304-B and 498-A of IPC. Moreso, he can be accused of any other offences of IPC.

The Court held that the Applicant may not be tried U/S 304-B R/W 109 IPC. However, it observed that the trial court was at liberty to reframe the charge as per law and explore whether any incriminating material exists against the Applicant for offence U/S 306 R/W 109 IPC or other related offence or not, and thereafter ensure appropriate framing of charges accordingly.

Case title : Raghunandan Dhakad Vs. The State of M.P.

Citation :2022 LiveLaw (MP) 69

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