Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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๐™ฐ๐™ต๐™ต๐™พ๐š๐™ณ๐™ฐ๐™ฑ๐™ป๐™ด & ๐™ฐ๐™ฒ๐™ฒ๐™ด๐š‚๐š‚๐™ธ๐™ฑ๐™ป๐™ด

IPCMODEL ANSWER

DOWRY DEATH

Explain briefly the offence of dowry death given under section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

According to every religion, marriage is a pious activity which unites two persons to perform dharma, artha and kama. The concept of marriage is not only beneficial for the couple but it is also beneficial for the society because it allows the parties to add a unit into the society.

But in todayโ€™s world, the concept of marriage has been changed totally and now it is considered as a general contract and if parties want to solemnize marriage, then one of the parties has to pay consideration to another party. Now a days, family of groom does not give their consent until the family of bride agrees to pay dowry to the former party.

So, it can be said that groom does not give his consent for a bride but he gives his consent for the dowry which is given by the family of bride to the family of groom and because of this dowry only million of brides have been killed by their in- laws since the time immemorial.

So to protect the brides from killing and to stop dowry deaths, the legislature has enacted a law regarding dowry death and inserted section 304B in the Indian Penal Code, 1860. This section was not inserted initially but it was inserted in the year 1986 by the act 43 of 1986.

According to section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860, if any woman is died due to any unnatural consequence within the seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty by her husband or his relatives and the purpose behind cruelty or harassment was just to coerce her to fulfill their unlawful demands, then in such a case, it can be considered that she has been killed by her husband or his relatives and they all can be held liable for having committed the offence dowry death given under section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

In the leading case of Pathan Hussain Basha Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh (SC 2012), the Honโ€™ble Apex court has propounded that if a married woman dies in unnatural circumstances at her matrimonial home within seven years from her marriage and these are allegations of cruelty or harassment upon such married woman for or in connection with demand of dowry by the husband or relatives of the husband, the case would squarely come under “dowry death” and there shall be a presumption against the husband and the relatives.

According to section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860, in case of dowry death, there is no need to prove mens rea. It is a socio- economic offence and according to our Indian Legal System, in such cases, the prosecution has no need to prove mens rea. He can secure the conviction only by proving actus reus.

In case of dowry death, the initial burden of proof is upon prosecution but in this case, the burden of proof is not as strict as in other cases and the prosecution has to prove the ingredients of section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860, by preponderance of probability.

In the leading case of Sher Singh vs. State of Haryana (SC 2011), the Honโ€™ble Apex Court held that in the case of dowry death initial burden of proof lies upon prosecution to prove the ingredients of section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860, by the preponderance of probability.

According to section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860, if prosecution wants to prove dowry death, then he has to prove that soon before the death of woman she was subjected to cruelty or harassment. If the prosecution fails to prove that soon before her death, she was subjected to cruelty then in such a case, prosecution cannot secure the conviction of the accused and the court will have to give benefit of doubt to the accused.

In the leading case of Satbir Singh vs. State of Haryana (SC 2010), the Honโ€™ble Apex Court held that the word โ€˜soon before the deathโ€™ does not mean immediately before the death. It means that there must be a link between the cruelty and death.

According to our Indian Legal System, section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860, is not only applicable upon valid marriages but it is also applicable upon void marriages and if the defense proves the fact that marriage was not valid marriage and it was void marriage then also, he cannot claim exemption and the court will held the accused liable.

In the leading case of Reema Aggarwal vs. Anupam & others (SC 2004), the Honโ€™ble Apex Court held that section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860, is applicable upon void marriages also and for this section void marriage will be deemed valid marriage.

According to our Indian Legal System, in case of dowry death, the prosecution will not read section 304B individually. It will read the offence under section 304B along with section 302 or 306 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 and if prosecution proves his case beyond reasonable doubt, then in such case, it becomes very difficult for the opposite party to deny the case of prosecution because of section 113B of Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

According to section 113B of Indian Evidence Act, 1872, if it is pleaded that accused has committed the dowry death then in such a case, the court shall presume that he has committed the dowry death and if prosecution proves his case, then the burden of proof shifts upon accused which is strict in nature and if accused fails to deny the case of prosecution, then he can be held liable for having committed the offence of dowry death given under section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

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