Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Offence of dowry death will be dealt with iron hand: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court of India has said that the legislative intent of incorporating Section 304­B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is to curb the menace of dowry death.

A division bench comprising of of Justice MR Shahand Justice BV Nagarathna in an order said that society must get a strong message that anyone who commits the offence of dowry death will be dealt with iron hand and there would be no exemptions.

The Court said “The offence under Section 304­B – offence of dowry death is the offence against society. A strong message must go in the society that a person who commits such an offence of dowry death and/or the offences under the Dowry Prohibition Act shall be dealt with an iron hand.”

The Court also upheld an order that was given by the Jharkhand High Court imposing a 10 year rigorous imprisonment sentence on the father­-in-law and mother­-in-­law of a deceased woman.

The appellant-accused moved to the Supreme Court asking for a lesser punishment as they are old and asked that the Apex court must give them lesser punishment in view of their advanced age.

The Court, reviewed the case and found that the deceased woman had died within one year of marriage . The demand for dowry and harassment were established in the case and proven by the prosecution.

The Court upheld the decision of Jharkhand High Court and said:

“The accused came out with a false case/theory that the deceased died because of Diarrhoea, which has not been established and proved by the defence. The minimum punishment for the offence of dowry death is 7 years and the maximum punishment is life imprisonment. The trial court has awarded the sentence of 10 years rigorous imprisonment.” 

The Court further said that the legislative intent of incorporating Section 304­B was to curb the menace of dowry death with a firm hand.

The order stated that “In dealing with cases under Section 304­B, such legislative intent has to be kept in mind”

The court said that offence of dowry death is a crime and offence that can impact the society at large. In the facts and circumstances of the case, imposing 10 years imprisonment cannot be said to be disproportionate to the offence committed, the Court held.

The appeal was dismissed.

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