Husband, in-laws acquitted in dowry harassment case

Published - October 09, 2011 12:59 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Advising an alleged victim of dowry harassment to forget the past and move on, a court here has acquitted four accused in the case, saying that there is no independent corroboration of the allegations levelled by the woman against her husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law and brother-in-law.

While acquitting Sanjay Kumar, Vijay Kumar, Beena and Ranjit, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau also observed that it was a case of misuse of Section 498A (making unlawful demands from a married woman by the members of her matrimonial home and subjecting her to cruelty for that) of the India Penal Code as the woman had arraigned the entire family of her husband.

“….Section 498-A in recent years has become the consummate embodiment of gross human rights violation, extortion and corruption, and even the Supreme Court of our country has acknowledged this abuse and termed it as ‘legal terrorism'. The provisions of Section 498-A IPC are not a law to take revenge, seek recovery of dowry or to force a divorce but a penal provision to punish the wrong doers. The victims are often misguided into exaggerating the facts by adding those persons as accused who are not connected with the harassment under a mistaken belief that by doing so they are making a strong case as has happened in the present case where the complainant has involved the entire family of the husband i.e. father-in-law, mother-in-law and brother-in-law,” Ms. Lau observed.

The judgment came on an appeal against the acquittal of the accused persons filed by the prosecution submitting that there had been a miscarriage of justice in the matter.

The appeal further said that the Metropolitan Magistrate while acquitting the accused had not applied her mind as there was evidence on oath by a witness who said that the material goods given by the family of the woman to her husband at the time of the marriage were still with the accused persons.

However, the accused persons rebutted the charge saying that the matter had been settled and all the goods had been returned to the woman. In support of it they also produced before the court the memo of understanding duly signed by the woman and members of her husband's family.

Further, the father and the younger brother of the woman also refused to support her charges against the accused persons. She alleged that her husband used to harass her father for television, fridge, scooter and a gold chain. She further charged that she was once admitted to a hospital for treatment of her injuries caused by her husband and her father had paid the medical bill but her father refused to support it.

Her father and brother separately submitted before the court that the victim had no concern with the accused persons, and she was likely to separate from him.

Quoting a relevant stanza from a popular lyric of famous Urdu poet Sahir Ludhianvi which reads: “ Taaruf rog ho jaaye to usko bhoolna behtar; Taalluk bojh ban jaaye to usko todna achcha; Vho afsaana jise anjaam tak laana na ho mumkin; Use ek khoobsoorat mod dekar chhodna achcha ,” Ms. Lau dismissed the appeal and said that “now is the time for the complainant (woman) to move forward”.

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