Supreme Court of India: Prosecution Must Provide Strong Evidence of Dowry Demands Beyond Reasonable Doubt

Landmark Judgment Law Insider (1)

Published on: May 18, 2024 19:06 IST

Court: Supreme Court of India

Case: Vijayabai v. State of Maharashtra 1995

Honourable Supreme Court of India has held that prosecution has to lead the evidence beyond all reasonable doubt that of any demand of dowry. It is held that Prosecution is burdened with responsibility to produce Steller Evidence against a persons of any demand of dowry either directly or indirectly, from the parents or other relatives or guardian of a bride or bridegroom.

9. Learned counsel, however, submits that since the amount was to be kept in a fixed joint account, it cannot be said that either there was a receipt of dowry or demand of dowry. Whether there was a demand of dowry or not, it is a matter to be inferred from the facts and circumstances of each case. It is beyond one’s comprehension when A-1 pleads that when he received Rs 10,000 to be kept in the joint account it does not partake the character of dowry.

We fail to see as to in what other capacity he could have received this amount of Rs 10,000. The amount is intrinsically connected with the marriage proposals and betrothal ceremony and it is only in connection with the said marriage that Rs 10,000 were given to him. The fact that he may not be able to withdraw the same immediately is of no consequence. This amount of Rs 10,000 under the circumstances, must have been given to him only either because there was express demand or an implied demand. This is a reasonable inference in the facts and circumstances of the case and, therefore, the absence of charge under Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act does not make any difference since an offence under Section 4 of the Act ibid is clearly made out against A-1. So far as A-2 and A-3 are concerned, there was no material whatsoever to show that they made any demand or in any manner, received any amount or any property which come within the meaning of dowry.

The only allegation is that they were present at the time of betrothal ceremony in connection with marriage proposal. In a criminal case the guilt of each individual is to be proved by the prosecution and to bring home the guilt of the accused beyond all reasonable doubt. So far as A-2 and A-3 are concerned, we do not think the prosecution has established their guilt. In the result, the convictions and sentences awarded against A-2 and A-3 are set aside and their appeal arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No. 1097 of 1993 is allowed and the fine, if paid already, shall be refunded.

Drafted By Abhijit Mishra

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