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Circumstantial Evidence Crucial in Dowry Death Cases: SC

Published: 01st October 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st October 2014 06:00 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: HThe Supreme Court has ruled that the accused in dowry death cases should not escape punishment just because there is no direct evidence to prove their guilt.

A Bench comprising Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel upheld the conviction of a man who was convicted under Section 304-B (dowry death) and 498-A (dowry harassment) of the IPC and said, “The court must adopt that construction which, suppresses the mischief and advances the remedy”.

“It is clear that the earlier law was not sufficient to check dowry deaths. Hence aforesaid stringent provisions were brought in, so that persons committing such inhuman crimes on married women should not escape, as evidence of a direct nature is not readily available except of the circumstantial kind,” the Bench ruled.The Bench did not accept the contention of the accused that mere demand of scooter or fridge would not qualify as dowry and said, “We find from the evidence on record that within a few days after the marriage, the deceased was tortured, maltreated and harassed for not bringing the aforesaid articles in marriage.” 

“Hence the demand is in connection with marriage. The argument that there is no demand of dowry, in the present case, has no force.”

“In cases of dowry deaths and suicides, circumstantial evidence plays an important role and inferences can be drawn on the basis of such evidence,” the court said while upholding the imprisonment of husband for seven years.

According to the case, the accused and the victim got married in February 1990 and in June 1994 the wife was burnt to death. It was alleged by the girl’s family that she was being harassed for dowry all those years and just before her death a demand of Rs 30,000 was made for purchase of land by the husband.

Plea for Fixing Time Limit dismissed

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea seeking to fix a time frame for lodging complaints related to sexual harassment at work place and said such pleas would be discouraging for women, who had stood up against the injustice meted out to them. A Bench headed by Justice J S Khehar dismissed the plea. “Women are still the weakest part (of) our society. If she is facing any kind of harassment and not complaining, it is because she is worried about her reputation and thinks if people would believe her or not,” the Bench observed. 

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