Report dowry torture immediately: Court

Vital evidence is often lost by not doing so, says Delhi court

A Delhi court on Saturday told parents of dowry victims to inform the police and authorities about the harassment quickly so that action can be taken against the accused instead of raising allegations during the trial. This gives time to the accused and they get away.

The court made the observations while acquitting a man and four members of his family booked for charges of cruelty under Section 498 A and dowry death under Section 304 B of the Indian Penal Code on Saturday.

Additional Sessions Court Judge Kamini Lau said the laws in place to end dowry menace would not help unless such cases were reported before the authorities well on time.“We must realise that vital evidence is often lost by not reporting such incidents (immediately) and the guilty frequently get away,” the court said.  

Observing the loopholes in the case, the court pointed out that the allegations of dowry demands such as Rs 50,000 in cash and a car made against accused Kapil Mudgil and others by parents of victim Seema, who had committed suicide in 2006, four months after her marriage, could not be substantiated as they had never brought harassment issues before any authority or the family when she was alive.

“The evidence in the present case is totally lacking. If there was harassment or demand of dowry, why was it not reported? Why was the issue not taken up and discussed with the friends, relatives and other family members? Why, the victim was compelled to join the family of the accused? Why, at the first instance after her death, her family members did not inform the SDM and the Investigating Officer about the various instances of harassment,” the court asked.

The court rued that despite numerous legislation to end dowry menace, ground realities have not changed.  

The court also hit out at the social system which forces women to live in a painful marriage and criticised the attitude of parents who abandon their daughter after her marriage.

The judge asked why society insists on a woman to continue to live in a torturous relationship which overrides her individual life. The court questioned the rightfulness of the parents of a woman who “disown” soon after her marriage but “cry foul” after she is dead.

“Is this not the hypocrisy of our social system?” the judge asked.

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