A bench of M.Y. Eqbal and P.C. Ghose JJ. of the Supreme Court of India, while upholding the life term of the appellant, said that, dowry can be demanded at any time, and it is not necessarily before marriage. It was a case were the appellant was sentenced for life term for poisoning and burning his wife to death.
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Appellant pleaded before the Honourable Supreme Court that, he has not demanded any dowry. However, court did not agree to his contention. Supreme Court rejected the plea of the appellant and his family members with a note that, there was no missing link in the circumstantial evidence brought by the prosecution to justify their plea.
Court further pointed that, if some or any of the chain in the above-mentioned circumstances found to be missing, and then the accused is entitled for the benefit of doubt. However, in this case, no such missing links were found with respect to the evidences produced in support of the claims presented by the prosecution. Therefore, court concluded that, the appellant is not entitled for the benefit of doubt.
- Read more on Section 498A: Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty
It is a well-established principle that, there must be a chain of evidence so complete as not to leave any reasonable ground for the conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused and must show that in all human probability the act was done by the accused.
Dowry system is one of the major social evil existing in India since ages, which put great financial burden on the family of bride. The existence of dowry system is one of the major cause, which leads to different kinds of crimes against women in India ranging from harassment to death. In India, dowry system is prohibited under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, Section 304B and 498A, of the Indian Penal Code.
Read the Full Judgment of Bhim Singh v. State of Uttarakhand (Decided on 11-02-2015, Supreme Court)