A Delhi court has convicted the husband and parents-in-law of a woman, who died by suicide within 23 days of marriage in 2015, of subjecting her to cruelty and causing her death for dowry.
The court was hearing a case against Mohammed Imran and his parents, Mohammed Zuber Ansari and Shahnaz, who were accused of cruelty and harassment which allegedly drove Sabina to end her life by hanging on November 3, 2015.
“This court is of the view that the prosecution has successfully proved the case and established the offence under sections 498 A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), 304 B (dowry death) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the accused persons by leading cogent evidence on record,” Additional Sessions Judge Vishal Pahuja said in a recent order.
“Accordingly, the accused persons stand convicted,” the judge added. The court directed the convicts to file an affidavit regarding their assets and income on November 21. Arguments on the quantum of sentence to be awarded will be heard after the submission of the requisite documents. The court noted the prosecution had examined four witnesses who were the family members of the deceased and the case of the prosecution rested on their testimonies.
Also, Seema, the elder sister of the deceased, was a crucial witness to whom Sabina revealed the conduct of the accused and how she was subjected to harassment and cruelty.
“Testimony of prosecution witness 4 (Seema) is very convincing, reliable and inspires confidence ruling out the possibility of false implication of accused persons,” the court said. Rejecting the argument that legal action was not taken against the accused by Sabina’s family before her death, the court said the victim got married and died by suicide within 23 days and there was hardly any time for them to take legal steps to stop harassment.
The court also said Sabina’s parents hardly had an opportunity to take legal action against the accused as the deceased, according to the testimonies, shared her plight only with Seema on the condition that she will not reveal it to their parents to avoid causing them stress and tension.
Noting the deposition of the family members of the deceased, the court said the accused demanded Rs 80,000 cash of which Rs 50,000 was paid before the marriage as dowry. After marriage, there was a demand for a smartphone and almirah as well, the court said.
The statements of the witnesses clearly established the demand for dowry by the accused persons, it said. Cruelty means wilful conduct with a view to coercing the woman or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property, and it can be safely concluded that the deceased was subjected to cruelty or harassment on account of unlawful demand for dowry which drove her to suicide, the court said. Malviya Nagar police had registered an FIR against the accused on the basis of the statement of the deceased’s father.
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