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Dowry harassment
Trial only if charges are specific: SC
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 26
Observing that newly wed women involved in matrimonial disputes tend to level allegations against the entire family of the in-laws, the Supreme Court has ruled that the accused persons in such cases should be subjected to trial only if there were specific allegations in the FIRs.

It was a “fact borne out of experience that there is a tendency to involve the entire family members of the household in the domestic quarrel taking place in a matrimonial dispute specially if it happens soon after the wedding,” a Bench comprising Justices TS Thakur and Gyan Sudha Misra held in a judgment in a dowry harassment case.

Therefore, unless specific allegations were levelled against the accused in the FIR “it would be clear abuse of the legal and judicial process to mechanically send the named accused in the FIR to undergo the trial,” the Bench clarified in the verdict, authored by Justice Misra.

For making the accused persons named in the FIR to stand trial, there should be “specific allegations” in the FIR against them.

Further, the allegations should be of the nature “which would persuade the (trial) court to take cognizance of the offence alleged against the relatives of the main accused,” the apex court held.

The judiciary was expected to assess as to whether the FIR “in fact discloses commission of an offence” or “prima facie discloses a case of over-implication by involving the entire family of the accused at the instance of the complainant, who is out to settle her scores arising out of the teething problem or skirmish of domestic bickering while settling down in her new matrimonial surrounding,” the SC said. “Even if there are allegations of an overt act indicating the complicity of the members of the family named in the FIR in a given case, (taking) cognizance would be unjustified” in the absence of specific allegations, the Bench held.





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