Friday, November 12, 2010

SC acknowledges gross abuse of ANTI DOWRY LAWS - Bombay high court rapped for wrongly convicting man

SC acknowledges gross abuse of ANTI DOWRY LAWS - Bombay high court rapped for wrongly convicting man

New Delhi, Nov 12(PTI) Noting that his wife had committed suicide after her illicit relationship stood exposed, the Supreme Court has set aside the conviction imposed on a doctor and his parents by the Bombay High Court, saying it was a clear-cut case of gross abuse of dowry laws.

The apex court minced no words in expressing displeasure at the manner in which the High Court had convicted Dr Sunil Kumar Sambhudayal Gupta by erroneously reversing the acquittal order passed by the Sessions Court.

"The High Court dealt with the case very casually, adopting a very superficial approach to the whole matter and brushed aside the allegation of an illicit relationship for which there had been documentary evidence on record," a Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B  Chauhan observed in their judgement.

The apex court said the manner in which the doctor and his parents were framed by the in-laws revealed the extent to which the anti-dowry laws were being abused in the country."It is a clearcut case of gross abuse of dowry laws.

The High Court did not make any attempt to appreciate the evidence with accuracy and reversed the findings of the trial court which were based on the evidence on record and for which detailed reasons had been assigned," the apex court said.

The court ruling came on an appeal by the doctor, a Mumbai-resident, and his parents. Married in December 1978, Gupta''s wife committed suicide in September 1985 by hanging herself.

Following the suicide, her brother Rajesh lodged a complaint with the police accusing the husband of illtreating his sister for dowry culminating in the suicide.The trial court acquitted the three as the prosecution failed to prove the charges against them.
Referring to her going into depression following the exposure of her illicit relationship with a neighbour and her strained life at home, the trial court concluded that Gupta''s wife "had been suffering from epilepsy, psychosis and depression and had been getting regular treatment for the same."

"Therefore it was not a case of dowry demand or treating her with cruelty," the trial court had held.But the High Court had convicted them, saying the defence had not been able to prove its version.Concurring with the trial court''s view, the apex court said, "The high court committed an error in shifting the burden of proof to the defence".

"In fact, the prosecution has to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and the failure of the defence to prove its version cannot be ground for conviction.

"We find it difficult to sustain the conviction of the appellants (the man and his parents) on aforesaid counts (of dowry harassment and abetment to suicide)," said the Bench, while acquitting the man and his parents yesterday," the court said.

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Delhi courts - Woman files Domestic violence case against daughter-in-law

72-yr-old says daughter-in-law frequently beat her up, turned her out of her home; bahu says opposite is true

A 72-Year-old woman has filed a case against her daughter-in-law under the Domestic Violence Act.
Complainant Kanta Sudhakar Sharma claimed her daughter-in-law Ruby had beaten her up frequently and extorted money from her on several occasions.

Ruby had another story to tell, saying it was she who was the aggrieved party.
"My husband Ajay is living with another woman and is hand-in-glove with his mother. Both have plotted to force me to leave home," said Ruby. "For this man I left my family and changed my religion. But when they asked for dowry and harassed me, I did not bow to their demands. Now that he has found someone else, he and his mother are trying every trick to force me to vacate my flat."

Kanta refuted the allegations. She said she had filed a police complaint at the Hinjewadi police station in October 2009, but found the police took no action.

She then filed a case under the Domestic Violence Act 2005, under Sections 18, 19 and 23, seeking restoration of her legal right to live in the property which she jointly owns with her son.
"Ruby mortgaged my flat for Rs 10 lakh without consulting me. My son left home after he was subjected to continuous torture by my daughter-in-law," said Kanta. "He has sent her a notice for restitution of conjugal rights in May this year. Even after I was driven out of my home, my daughter-in-law continued to demand money to pay the electricity bill."

Kanta has also sought police protection and Rs 5,000 monthly maintenance from her son and daughter-in-law.

Legal position
Her lawyer, Advocate Dinkar Bhavsar said his client would continue to fight for justice.
"We filed a case on August 2 this year. My client has filed a case against her daughter-in-law and son after she was shown the door. We are talking about a complainant who is 72, is a blood pressure patient and has been frequently beaten up," said Bhavsar. "The respondent even took objection, saying that the respondent in a domestic violence case can not be a woman, but according to the law the respondent can be any person related to the husband. In this case the respondents are the son and his wife." Ruby said it was difficult for her to go through the tormenting situation.

"Whatever she says is a lie. I got married to Ajay in 2005, changed my religion and became Hindu for them," said Ruby. "Ajay is living with the other woman and whatever my mother-in-law is doing is just to vacate the flat. Ajay even stooped to the level of calling me just to force me to listen to him making love to the other