M A I N   N E W S

SC: No less than life term for dowry deaths
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, June 10
The Supreme Court has ruled that nothing less than life sentence should be awarded to anyone convicted for brutally killing his wife for not meeting dowry demands and then pleading that the death was accidental.

If the killing was found to be “brutal” and the accused had lied to prove that the death was an accident, the judiciary normally would not exercise its discretion to award “lesser sentence than life imprisonment,” a Bench comprising Justices Swatanter Kumar and Ranjan Gogoi held.

The apex court gave the ruling while dismissing the appeals of Mukesh Bhatnagar and his brother Rajesh from Roorkee in Haridwar district of Uttarakhand for their involvement in the killing of Renu (wife of Mukesh) in February 1996 for her failure to meet their dowry demand for a television and a cooler. The Second Additional District Judge, Haridwar, had sentenced them to life imprisonment on December 2, 1996, while the Uttarakhand High Court dismissed their appeal on October 14, 2009. Rejecting the convicts’ claim that Renu had died in an accidental fire while cooking, the SC pointed out that the victim had suffered first and second degree burn injuries which proved that kerosene had been sprinkled on her. Further, they had gone absconding after her death.

Mukesh had pleaded that he sustained injuries while trying to rescue her.

"The arguments of the defence are strange because if the accused had attempted to save the deceased, then he would have suffered some burn injuries. "But as per the above details of injuries, there was not even a single burn injury found on the body of the accused Mukesh," the Bench said.

According to the prosecution, the trio subjected Renu to severe mental and physical torture as she failed to bring additional dowry — a TV set and cooler.





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |