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HC convicts husband in dowry death case
HT Correspondent
Allahabad, March 29, 2006
First Published: 00:26 IST(30/3/2006)
Last Updated: 00:26 IST(30/3/2006)

A PERSON, who was earlier acquitted by the Sessions Court from the charge of killing his wife for dowry, was convicted by the Allahabad High Court for the same offence.

While reversing the judgement of  acquittal, the Allahabad High Court convicted  an accused  (husband) charged  under Section 304B (dowry death) and 498A (harassing for dowry) IPC  and sentenced him  to undergo six years’ rigorous imprisonment for causing the death of his wife Kalawati for non-fulfilment of dowry demand.

He was earlier tried  along with three other  family members for the  same offence by the Ist Additional Sessions Judge, Jhansi, who had acquitted all the accused  on February 22, 2001.

In a Government Appeal (no. 2029 of 2001),  filed by the State Government, a  Division Bench comprising  Justice Mahesh Chand Jain  and Justice KN Ojha,  while partly allowing the appeal,  found the  acquittal order wholly unjustified  and manifestly  erroneous, which was given without an  in-depth  analysis of the evidence  so far as the accused  husband Ramesh Kumar was  concerned.

However, the  acquittal of the remaining  three accused was maintained by the High Court.

The bench observed that  because of non-fulfilment  of the  demand for Rs. 20,000, the accused  rendered the life of his  wife miserable by treating her with cruelty. In  any case, he wilfully neglected her in a studied  manner.

“The bride  leaves her  parental  home  for matrimonial home   with the hope that  she  would  see a new  world full of love  in her  groom’s  house. By  his studied  cruelty  heaped  on the deceased,  accused Ramesh Kumar  shattered  all her  dreams  and legitimate  expectations and  she was driven  to commit  suicide  with no  hope of a happy  future  owing to callous  attitude and behaviour  of her  husband’’, the court observed.

The Bench  also found that the conduct of the accused  husband  Ramesh Kumar  after the  incident was  passive  and unconcerned. It was accused  Ramesh Kumar  who drove his wife to a state of utter  depression and frustration leaving no other  way for her  except ending her life , committing suicide.

To recall, the  deceased Kalawati  was married to Ramesh Kumar Banka  Pahari, Police station  Gursarai, District Jhansi. On September 24, 1998  viz  within 3 years of the marriage, the deceased  met  her unnatural  death inside the house  of her husband.

According  to prosecution, she was being  pressurized and harassed by her in- laws to fetch  a further  amount of Rs. 20,000  from her  parent as dowry. The non-fulfilment of the said dowry  resulted in her suicide. A ligature mark was found  around her neck. The  trial judge  did not believe the  prosecution  story and  evidence and as such  acquitted all the  accused on February 22, 2001.

Hence, the State Government filed the present Government Appeal challenging the decision of acquittal given by sessions court.


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