The Bombay High Court, recently, said that just because a bride has committed suicide within seven years of her marriage, her in-laws cannot be held guilty for the same without convincing evidence. It added that the entire family cannot be stigmatised just because the bride committed suicide.
A bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and NR Borkar was dealing with a plea filed by a family convicted under domestic violence by a lower court. The family was convicted as the newly wed bride committed suicide within two months of her marriage.
The family was convicted on the basis of the allegations that they ill-treated her for not honoring the husband and his family during the marriage ceremony.
Having heard the contentions, Justice Jadhav said, "In cases like the present one, just because the wife has died in her matrimonial house within two months of marriage, the entire family cannot be stigmatised as having committed offences as serious as an offence under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. In absence of legally admissible evidence, there cannot be moral conviction."
"In the present case, it cannot be said that she has died in suspicious circumstances. It is a case of suicide within two months of marriage. The prosecution has failed to prove any ill-treatment meted out to the victim within two months of her matrimony," the judges added. The bench further noted that the deceased bride didn't want to marry and wanted to study further.
"It prima facie appears that the deceased 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," the bench observed. "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 accused deserve to be acquitted," the judges held while acquitting the family.