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.