MUMBAI: “In the absence of legally admissible evidence there cannot be moral conviction,” said the Bombay high court as it set aside a 2012 murder conviction and life sentence of three people, including a man whose wife had died due to asphyxiation from hanging.
A bench of Justice Sadhana Jadhav and Justice N R Borkar recently ruled in a 2010 “cruelty to wife” case that there was evidence for conviction under section 498A of IPC.
“In cases like the present one, just because the wife has died in her matrimonial house within two months of marriage, the entire family cannot be stigmatized as having committed offences as serious as (murder),” the HC said. It acquitted the family of all charges, including the ones under the Dowry Prohibition Act and dowry death.
The victim, a postgraduate in science, had married the accused, a lecturer in a college, in July 2010. In September 2010, she was found hanging behind closed doors in a town in Solapur district.
The husband was not at home at the time of the suicide, noted the HC.
The prosecutor said the husband and his family “ought to have known” the reason for “her suicide” and her father had complained of “ill-treatment” over unmet dowry demands.
The HC said evidence establishes that there were no disputes between members of both families or the husband and wife and “medical evidence also proves beyond reasonable doubt that the cause of death was asphyxia due to hanging and therefore conviction for offence under section 302 IPC is unwarranted.”