Acquits three for want of evidence to prove their guilt

The Madras High Court Bench here on Tuesday set aside the conviction and 10-year rigorous imprisonment imposed by a lower court on an individual, his father and mother in a dowry death case.

It was booked after his wife committed suicide by hanging within Chathirapatti police station limits in Dindigul district in April 2003.

Allowing a joint criminal appeal filed by the trio in 2011, Justice Aruna Jagadeesan held that there was no material to prove that the woman had died due to dowry harassment.

On the other hand, there was material to prove that she was unhappy with the marriage forced upon her and, therefore, she wanted to end her life.

“From the evidence placed on record, it appears that she was harbouring a hostile attitude against her husband and in-laws from the date of her marriage as she was forced to marry him,” the judge said.

She also noted that the Revenue Divisional Officer, who enquired into the circumstances leading to her death, had deposed before the lower court that the prime reason for the suicide was the forced marriage and the alleged ill-treatment by the in-laws. However, the officer did not state if there was any dowry demand and if so what was the actual demand reportedly made by the appellants.

Ms.Justice Jagadeesan said the present case lacked the essential requirement — a woman having been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband in connection with any demand of dowry — for establishing a case under Section 304B (dowry death) of the Indian Penal Code.

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