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If a demand for property or valuable security, directly or indirectly, has a nexus with marriage, in our opinion, such demand would constitute ‘demand for dowry’; the cause or reason for such demand being immaterial.

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NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK

Citation: (2011) 4 SCC 427 –  S. 304B IPC, S.113B Indian Evidence Act and SS. 2 and 4 Dowry Prohibition Act – Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court observed about that there was no dispute of fact that death of the deceased occurred within seven years of her marriage and she was subjected to harassment and ill-treatment by the appellant accused husband and mother-in-law after the father of the deceased refused to accede to their demand for purchase of motorcycle due to financial inability, as established by the evidence. At which, the accused appellant got angry and warned that deceased would not be allowed to stay in her matrimonial home. The Supreme Court further upheld the decision of the Trial Court and stated that unlawful demand of motorcycle was made appellants from deceased and her father and she was being harassed on account of the failure of her father to provide the motorcycle and that led her to commit suicide by hanging. Pertinently, the demand of motorcycle by the accused mother-in-law from deceased’s father was for her son and when her father showed his inability to meet that demand, the accused husband started harassing and ill-treating deceased. In this view of the matter, the Supreme Court held that it cannot be said that there was no demand by accused husband.

The Supreme Court in this case held that the case of “Appa saheb cannot be read to be laying down an absolute proposition that a demand for money or some property or valuable security on account of some business or financial requirement could not be termed as ‘demand for dowry’. It was in the facts of the case that it was held so. If a demand for property or valuable security, directly or indirectly, has a nexus with marriage, in our opinion, such demand would constitute ‘demand for dowry’; the cause or reason for such demand being immaterial.”

Finally, the Supreme Court held that there was no merit in the contention of the counsel for the appellants that “the demand of motorcycle does not qualify as a `demand for dowry’.” It asserted that all the essential ingredients to bring home the guilt under Section 304B IPC were established against the appellants by the prosecution evidence. As a matter of law, the presumption under Section 113B of the Evidence Act, 1872 was fully attracted in the facts and circumstances of the present case and the appellants had failed to rebut the presumption under Section 113B. Thus, the accused persons were sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment of seven years under S. 304B IPC.

BACHINI DEVI VS STATE OF HARYANA – 2011

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