VIKAS Vs. STATE OF RAJASTHAN
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: RAJASTHAN)
STATE OF RAJASTHAN
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Shah, J. -
(1.)Daily, demon of dowry is devouring lives of young girls, who marry with high hopes of having heavenly abode in their husband's house. In few cases, guilty are punished but it has no deterrent effect on mothers-in-law or sisters-in-law who might have suffered similar cruelty/tyranny. This deep rooted social evil requires to be controlled not only by effective implementation of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, but also by the Society. The Society has to find out ways and means of controlling and combating this menace of receipt and payment of dowry. It appears that instead of controlling payment and receipt of dowry in one or other form, it is increasing even in educated class. May be that, it is increasing because of accumulation of unaccounted wealth with few and others having less means follow the same out of compulsion.
(2.)In the present case, Ms. Neeta was married on 10th March, 1988 with appellant-Vikas son of Shripatlal Doshi, resident of Banswara, Rajasthan. Her dead body was found in the river on 1st July, 1990. Appellant Vikas, along with his mother, father and sisters, was prosecuted for the offences punishable under Sections 498, 364, 302, 302 r/w. 120-B, IPC. Additional Sessions Judge, Banswara by judgment and order dated 1st August, 1997 - (1) convicted the appellant-Vikas for the offences punishable under Sections 364, 302, 498-A and 304-B of IPC; (2) convicted Shripat (father), Sohanbai (mother) for the offences punishable under Sections 498-A and 304-B, IPC; (3) however, acquitted sisters of the appellant, Jyoti and Yojna by giving benefit of doubt. Against that judgment and order, convicted accused preferred Criminal Appeal No. 374 of 1997 before the High Court of Rajasthan at Jodhpur. By judgment and order dated 18th April, 2000, the High Court partly allowed the appeal and convicted the appellant-Vikas for the offence punishable under Section 302, IPC and maintained the sentence of imprisonment for life. The Court also maintained the conviction of Vikas, Shripat and Sohanbai for the offence punishable under Section 498-A, IPC, however, reduced the sentence to the period they had already undergone. The conviction of Vikas, Shripat and Sohanbai for the offence punishable under Section 304-B, IPC has been set aside and they have been acquitted for the said offence. The Court also set aside the conviction of the appellant for the offence punishable under Section 364, IPC.
(3.)It is alleged by the prosecution that the accused persons were not satisfied with the dowry brought by Ms. Neeta. Therefore, she was being ill-treated and tortured. She gave birth to a female child at her parents house. On 28th July, 1990 at about 7.00 p.m. when Ms. Neeta was at the residence of PW 3 Smt. Kamla Bai (father's sister), Vikas went there and they went out on a motor bike. On the next morning PW 10 Sanjiv was sent by his parents to the house of appellant-Vikas for delivery of medicines to Ms. Neeta. At that time, Vikas was sitting in the shop and he refused to accept the medicines saying that Ms. Neeta is not at the residence. Sanjiv returned to the house and disclosed this fact to his father.
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