[Vismaya Dowry Death Case] Kerala HC: Legal System Must Remain Immune to Public & Media Pressure

Kerala HC Law Insider

Savvy Thakur

Published on: October 28, 2022 at 17:36 IST

While considering the convict’s appeal in the Vismaya Dowry Death Case on Wednesday, the Kerala High Court stated that the legal system must remain immune to public and media pressure when handling sensational cases.

Kiran Kumar has filed the appeal against the conviction and sentence he received from the trial court in the case involving his wife’s death.

The division bench of Justices Alexander Thomas and Sophy Thomas stated that, when dealing with sensationalized cases, the legal system should be sensitive to the public interest but should not be influenced by too much public pressure.

“We ought to be somewhat free of the general pressure.”

The Court said orally, “To be swayed or influenced by too much public pressure and public criticism is another. Public interest is one thing.”

In addition, the bench stated that the court and the prosecuting agency should not be influenced by the enormous media pressure simply because a case becomes sensational.

“For instance, check out what happened three days ago; People are speaking authoritatively about public law as if they are public law experts. We must approach these issues objectively.”

Justice Alexander stated, “We, the Court and the lawyers, should be immune from all this, even though discussions after discussions are taking place.”

Last year, Vismaya, an Ayurveda medical student who was 22 years old, was found dead in her marital home under a series of enigmatic circumstances.

After being harassed about the dowry, she allegedly committed suicide. Within the first year of her marriage, the death occurred.

In May 2022, a Kollam Additional District and Sessions Judge found her husband guilty of violating the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Sections 498A (subjecting a woman to cruelty for dowry), 306 (abetment of suicide), and 304B (dowry death), and sentenced him to ten years in prison and a fine of 12.5 lakh rupees.

The appealed convict has argued that the finding was wrong and was based on assumptions, hypotheses, and speculations.

Additionally, a petition to be impleaded as an additional respondent has been filed by Vismaya’s father.

The Public Prosecutor wanted more time to respond to the arguments made by the victim’s husband in the application for a sentence suspension, so the matter was moved to November 2.

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