Taking a dig at the mindset of the society and the usually stereotyped line of investigations in dowry death cases, the Delhi High Court made a statement that “being a mother-in-law is not a crime in itself”.
Justice SN Dhingra while granting bail to a dowry death accused Rachna Tyagi made this statement.
According to the prosecution, Tyagi’s daughter-in-law had committed suicide by consuming poison on November 16, 2009, two years after her marriage due to her being “harassed and tortured” for dowry.
Tyagi’s lawyer Kirti Uppal argued that the lower court had granted anticipatory bails to the married sisters-in-law of the deceased, their husbands and her brother-in-law and father-in-law on grounds of ambiguity in the statement of her father. Her father had told the court the “mother-in-law was denied bail only because she was a mother-in-law and there was no greater evidence against her”.
“How can the mother-in-law be singled out for denial of bail when allegations against her are the same as those against other family members. Being a mother-in-law is not a crime in itself and on the ground of parity, bail should be granted to her,” argued Uppal.
Upholding the view, Justice Dhingra said, “Bail cannot be denied to the mother-in-law despite the allegations against her and other accused persons being same simply because she is the mother-in-law. Being a mother-in-law is not a crime in itself.”
The deceased was married to Rajat Tyagi on April 14, 2007. Her father had told the police that her in-laws began harassing her for dowry a month after the marriage. He also said she had called him a day before committing suicide and had told him about being beaten up for dowry.
Tyagi’s lawyer told the court that in his initial statement to the executive magistrate, the deceased’s father had not spoken about any harassment or cruelty meted out to her by her in-laws and it was only in his statement made to the police after several days of the suicide that he made vague allegations against every member of her in-laws’ family.