Mumbai:Observing that there must be a “proximity or link” between the death of a married woman and her in-laws’ demand of dowry, Bombay High Court recently acquitted a man, convicted under charges of dowry death and cruelty. The HC even said that a “prudent” father would not leave any opportunity to disclose harassment of his daughter to the police.
A single-judge Bench of Justice Anant Badar was hearing an appeal by Dinesh Bondre who was sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment.
It was the prosecution’s case that Bondre married Dipika Gharat in May 2008 and within four months, he and his family started harassing Dipika to bring Rs 55,000 so that they can purchase a car. The prosecution claimed that due to the constant torture and harassment, Dipika died an “unnatural” death in March 2009, within a year of marriage.
After scrutinising the evidence, Justice Badar upheld the lower court’s finding that Dipika died an unnatural death. However, he disagreed with conviction under charges of dowry death and cruelty.
Justice Badar said, “Proximate and live link between the cruelty on account of demand of dowry and the resultant death of married woman is required to be established to convict someone under charges of dowry death. Remote and stale allegations about cruelty are of no consequences in such offences.”
Justice Badar also noted that Dipika’s father lodged a complaint only after her death, despite knowing that she was being harassed and tortured by her in-laws. “If he (Dipiak’s father) really knew about ill-treatment and cruelty to his daughter, then as a prudent father, on the very first available opportunity, he would have had disclosed this to the police.”
Justice Badar concluded that although the prosecution successfully established that Dipika died an unnatural death, it failed to link her death to the alleged cruelty and harassment. He acquitted Bondre of all charges.