Punjab and Haryana HC’s word of caution to trial courts on dowry complaints
It can’t be forgotten that there is a tendency to rope in the relatives of the husband in a matrimonial dispute, the Punjab and Haryana high court has said, cautioning the magistrates that they were required to scrutinise the evidence and ask questions to the complainant and the witnesses to find out the truth.punjab Updated: Oct 11, 2016 10:09 IST
It can’t be forgotten that there is a tendency to rope in the relatives of the husband in a matrimonial dispute, the Punjab and Haryana high court has said, cautioning the magistrates that they were required to scrutinise the evidence and ask questions to the complainant and the witnesses to find out the truth.
The high court bench of justice Anita Chaudhary said by merely on “conjectures and implications”, the relatives of a husband, can’t be said to be involved for the offence of demand or misappropriation of dowry articles. The HC was hearing a petition filed by three persons from Hoshiarpur, who had approached the court challenging summoning orders by a trial court.
Those arrayed as accused by the woman, besides her husband, were her brother-in-law and 80-year-old father-in-law. The trio was living separately of husband and wife. “The allegations against the petitioners are vague, omnibus and general in nature and appear to have been made out of frustration just to widen the net and continuation of proceedings against the petitioners on the basis of such bald and baseless allegations is nothing but an abuse of process of law,” the high court bench said cancelling summoning order against them.
The court found that there were no specific allegations against the petitioners, father in-law, grandfather-in-law and brother-in-law of the complain ant. No specific overt act was assigned to them in the com plaint and allegations were general in nature of demanding a motor cycle and later a car.
The court also said that gifts given at the time of marriage to these persons were not dowry items and actually were “customary gifts” given at the time of marriage and can’t be said to be “istridhan” of the complainant
The complainant had alleged that sufficient dowry was given in the marriage but the accused were not satisfied and maltreat ed her. It was also alleged that she was beaten up.