New Delhi: Dowry demands make a newly-wed woman’s life a “living hell” and she is considered a business venture from where profits can be yielded, a Delhi court has said while sending to jail a man and his two family members for harassing his wife.

Metropolitan Magistrate Shefali Barnala Tandon observed that due to in-laws’ greed for dowry, entire life of a young woman is spoiled and she is considered a business venture from where profits can be yielded by demanding dowry from parents for the sake of the girl’s happiness and to save her marriage.

While the court sentenced the man to three years in jail, it awarded one year imprisonment each to his brother and sister-in-law for harassing the woman for dowry.

The court also directed that a compensation of Rs four lakh be given to the woman, out of which Rs two lakh would be paid by the man while Rs one lakh each be given by his two family members.

“It cannot be ignored that demand of dowry is a social menace and victims undergo tremendous pressure and harassment at the hands of husband and in-laws in these type of cases. Every newly married girl enters her matrimonial home with a lot of dreams, hopes and aspirations but greed for dowry makes her life a living hell.”

“Section 498A (harassment to married woman) of IPC is not an offence, where there is only economic loss or physical suffering, but it entails and involves human emotions as well,” the magistrate said.

The court refused to grant benefit of probation to the convicts saying that it was not a repetitive kind of offence like theft or extortion and must be dealt with seriously.

According to the prosecution, the man, a resident of Rohini in north west Delhi, got married to the woman in November 1991, and soon after their marriage, he along with his family members started harassing and cruelly treating his wife to bring more dowry.

The woman deposed in the court that numerous articles, including jewellery and cash, were given to her in-laws at the time of marriage but they were unhappy and wanted more dowry.

She stated that she was also tortured by her in-laws when she was pregnant and gave birth to a boy and ever since, her husband never came to meet their son.

During the trial, the man and his two family members denied the allegations against them and alleged that the woman had demanded a partition in the family and Rs 50 lakh and when they refused to do so, she lodged a false case against them.

The court said that the woman has given clear and specific details of atrocities and cruelties committed upon her by her in-laws for demand of dowry.

It added that being a husband, it was the man’s legal and moral duty to maintain and protect his wife but he failed to do so and she was physically and mentally tortured by the convicts even during her pregnancy.


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