A Bombay High Court bench of Justices Vishwas Jadhav and Shrikant Kulkarni at the Aurangabad seat held on Wednesday that while demanding Rs 50,000 to purchase a motorcycle from the parents of the bride would amount to a dowry demand, asking them for a one tola (10 grams) gold ring during a festival could not be construed as one.
Accordingly, the bench convicted a man under charges of dowry death and domestic violence, sentencing him to 10 years in prison.
“In the instant case, merely one month after the marriage, the (now) deceased wife had informed her parents to give Rs 50,000 to her husband for purchasing a motorcycle,” the judges noted, adding, “We are aware of the mindset of the people in our society, particularly, the husband’s side. It is always expected from the wife and her family, even after marriage, to present the husband a new motorcycle, luxury articles like TV, refrigerator, washing machine, etc.”
“In the instant case, the demand of Rs 50,000 for purchasing a bike is not for the purpose of business or any other cause, especially because the accused was already having one prior to the marriage. If we understand dowry, a well-known social custom and practice in India, in the facts of the instant case, since the demand of Rs 50,000 for purchasing a motorcycle was made one month after the marriage, the only irresistible inference which could be drawn is that the said demand constitutes a ‘dowry demand’,” the bench held.
But as far as the demand for a 10-gram gold ring during a festival is concerned, the judges said, “We agree with the counsel for the accused that generally, a gold ring is presented to the husband and, therefore, the same falls under customary payment and thus does not come within the ambit of word dowry.”
The bench was dealing with a criminal appeal filed by one Sharad Thange, who challenged his conviction under domestic violence and dowry death. He was convicted after his wife died due to 100 percent burn injuries.
Medical reports even confirmed presence of ‘poisonous liquid’ in his wife’s stomach.
The bench noted that there was no explanation for how the wife sustained 100 per cent burns and how poison had entered her body.