The Supreme Court has observed that seeking financial assistance can also constitute 'demand for dowry'.
In a criminal appeal related to dowry death case, the contention raised by the accused was that the money demanded by him was for extension of clinic, and not as dowry. Relying on the judgment in Appasaheb & Anr. vs. State of Maharashtra (2007) 9 SCC 721, it was urged that a demand for money on account of some financial stringency or for meeting some urgent domestic expenses or for purchasing manure cannot be termed as a demand for dowry.
The accused in this case [Jatinder Kumar vs. State of Haryana] was found guilty of subjecting his deceased wife to cruelty or harassment in connection with demand for dowry coupled with cruelty during the subsistence of her marriage during her stay in her matrimonial home His mother and two brothers were also convicted by the Trial Court. The High Court, while confirming the conviction of the accused, acquitted others.
Rejecting the contention based on Appasaheb, the bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose observed:
But the view of the Court reflected in that judgment that seeking financial assistance would not per se constitute demand for dowry has been rejected by a later judgment of a three-Judge Bench of this Court in the case of Rajinder Singh vs. State of Punjab (2015) 6 SCC 477.
In Rajinder Singh, a three judge bench had held that any money or property or valuable security demanded by any of the persons mentioned in Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, at or before or at any time after the marriage which is reasonably connected to the death of a married woman, would necessarily be in connection with or in relation to the marriage unless the facts of a given case clearly and unequivocally point otherwise. It was also held that the expression "soon" in section 304B of Indian Penal Code is not to be construed as synonymous with "immediate.
Observing thus, the bench dismissed the appeal.
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