Bangalore man gets 7-yr jail for wife's death

Bangalore man gets 7-yr jail for wife's death

The Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and a seven-year jail term awarded to a Bangalore man for the death of his spouse within 11 months of his marriage as he failed to rebut the statutory presumption of guilt for the unnatural death before seven years from the date of marriage.

A bench of Justices M Y Eqbal and Pinaki Chandra Ghose confirmed the Karnataka High Court order against A K Devaiah, holding him liable for the offence of dowry death under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other offences under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

The court referred to Section 304B of the IPC which stated that there would be presumption, unless rebutted, that husband or relatives had committed the offence of dowry death wherein the death of a woman was caused by any burns, bodily injury or other means within seven years of marriage.

Leelavati, married to Devaiah on April 16, 1989, was living in the house of the appellant at Konanakunte in Bangalore. She committed suicide by setting herself on fire in their house in the morning of March 16, 1990, within a year of marriage.

The trial court acquitted the man of all charges but the high court reversed the verdict.

On an appeal by Devaiah, the apex court relied upon a statement of family members, which revealed that there was an altercation between the man and his wife due to the woman’s failure to bear a child. Besides, the evidence suggested demand for dowry and the woman’s harassment.

It was also pointed out that the man was in the habit of drinking liquor and subjecting his wife to physical cruelty.

Devaiah’s plea that he belonged to “Kodava” community which did not have any custom of dowry also could not impress the apex court which rejected his appeal. The high court  had sentenced the accused to seven-year jail term.

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