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“Just Because Wife Died in Matrimonial House within Two Months of Marriage, the Whole Family Can’t Be Held Responsible for Murder": Bombay HC

Wife died within two months marriage
The Bombay High Court recently acquitted a woman’s husband and her in laws in a case at hand that accused them of her death.

The woman was said to have committed suicide within two months of marriage, in her matrimonial house. 

The Court observed that the entire family can’t be held responsible for having committed offences as serious as section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC.)

A division bench including Justice NR Borkar and Justice Sadhana S Jadhav set aside a judgement dated 29th June 2012 convicting the husband and his family members for offences punishable under section 498-A, 302, 304-B r/w of IPC and section 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

The High Court stated that the marriage was ‘rushed’ by the parents of the late wife and they married her off against her wishes. The court further stated that the suicide was committed under a state of ‘stress.’

Sachin and Megha got married on 28th July 2010 and lived with a joint family. In September 2010, precisely after two months of marriage, Megha was found hanging in the bedroom. Her father filed a report alleging that her daughter was subjected to ill treatment and was also abused for not getting a gold ring for Sachin. He also said that she was being starved.

The prosecution examined 9 witnesses and the defence examined 4 witnesses. 

There was convincing evidence to support the fact that there was no dispute between both the families over dowry or gold ornaments as such. It was also argued that Megha committed suicide within two months of the marriage, this shows that she was married against her wishes.

On the other hand, the prosecution submitted that Megha died in her matrimonial home because she was mentally tortured. It was also submitted that Megha’s complaints to her father and brother repeatedly emphasized the fact that she was unhappy.

After going through the facts and examining the witnesses, the Court observed that medical evidence proves, beyond reasonable doubt, that Megha’s death was due to asphyxia and conviction under section 302 of IPC was unwarranted. The Court also emphasized on the statement by Megha’s neurologist, who was treating Megha. The neurologist says “Megha was under stress since 2005, She was a sensitive girl.”

“This case doesn’t come under the section 498A of IPC. In cases such as this, just because the wife has died within two months of marriage in her matrimonial house, the entire family can’t be held accountable. In absence of legally admissible evidence, there can’t be moral conviction,” the court observed.

 


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