A division bench comprising of Justice NR Borkar and Justice Sadhana S Jadhav set aside a Sessions Court judgment dated 29th June 2012 convicting husband and in-laws for offences punishable under section 498-A, 302, 304-B r/w 34 of Indian Penal Code and section 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
The High court of Bombay recently acquitted husband and in laws of a deceased wife who committed suicide within two months of marriage after observing that just because the wife died in the matrimonial house within a period of two months, the entire family cannot be stigmatized as having committed offences as serious as offence under Section 302 of IPC,1860 for punishment of murder.
The Court further observed these two scenarios;
1. The marriage was hurriedly effected by the parents of deceased wife since they found a suitable match for their daughter,
2. Thereby going against her wishes and will of continuing her education, The Court also opined that the suicide was committed in a "state of stress".
The couple i.e., SACHIN & MEGHA got married on 28th July,2020. In September 2010, two months after the marriage, Megha was found hanging to the rafter inside her bedroom. A report was then lodged by her father at the police station alleging that her daughter complained to him that she was subjected to ill treatment and and harassment for not getting a gold ring for Sachin and was also subjected to starvation.
The appellants that there was cogent and convincing evidence showing that there was no dispute between the members of both the families over dowry or gold ornaments. It was also argued that the fact that Megha committed suicide within 2 months of her marriage shows that she was married against her wishes.
The other side, prosecution submitted that Megha died in her matrimonial home due to the mental depression leading to her suicide which ought to have been known to the accused persons.
The court observed the facts, that the medical evidence proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the cause of Megha's death was asphyxia due to hanging and therefore, conviction for an offence under section 302 of IPC was unwarranted.
"It prima facie appears that the deceased Megha was willing to continue her education, however, she was married hurriedly by her parents since they found a suitable match for their daughter in all aspects. However, she did not seem to be happy with the marriage and in all probabilities, in a state of stress had committed suicide. All these facts speak for themselves and the appellants/accused deserve to be acquitted. "In a similar case, a Delhi Court earlier this month acquitted husband and in laws of a deceased wife, who committed suicide within one month of marriage of the charges of cruelty, dowry death and abetment to suicide after observing that "normal wear and tear in the family in an initial period of marriage cannot amount that the woman was tortured to an extent that she was compelled to commit suicide.''
The court lastly also observed that "If a bride/girl commits suicide in unnatural circumstances within few days or month of her marriage, the law raises presumption against boy's family but doesn't it also show hyper sensitivity of a girl who did not give time to this pious relationship."
CASE: Sachin Ramchandra Teke v. State of Maharashtra