Punjab & Haryana HC Dismisses Plea for Retaining Dowry Items Filed by Man Convicted for Murdering Wife

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Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta

Last Updated: December 22, 2022, 01:52 IST

The HC pointed out that in the present matter, the case was with regard to the custody of articles of dowry that were meant for the use of the deceased, which was quite different from the position of other property in the hands of the deceased. (Representational pic: News18)

The HC pointed out that in the present matter, the case was with regard to the custody of articles of dowry that were meant for the use of the deceased, which was quite different from the position of other property in the hands of the deceased. (Representational pic: News18)

The man sought custody of the items given in the dowry to the wife he killed in view of Section 15 (1) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, which provides that after death of wife, her belongings shall devolve upon her children and husband

The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently dismissed an appeal moved by a husband convicted for his wife’s murder against the order of the trial court releasing dowry items in favour of the father of the deceased.

The division bench of Justice MS Ramachandra Rao and Justice Sukhvinder Kaur rejected the contention raised by the convict that the trial court had not appreciated that as per Section 15 (1) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, after the death of the wife, her belongings shall devolve upon her children and husband.

The bench held that the provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, cannot be overlooked by invoking the provisions of Hindu Law relating to succession.

It said that the case at hand squarely fell within Clause 3 of Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, so as to maintain the custody of dowry articles with the father of the deceased.

The HC pointed out that in the present matter, the case was with regard to the custody of articles of dowry that were meant for the use of the deceased, which was quite different from the position of other property in the hands of the deceased.

The argument put forth by the convict that he was the owner of the ornaments/articles as they were recovered by the police from his house did not stand, the court opined.

According to the HC, the convict failed to place any material on record to prove his ownership of the said dowry articles; rather the record indicated that the dowry articles changed hands at the time of marriage.

Therefore, the court held, “The trial Court has rightly placed reliance upon Balbir Singh’s case supra, wherein it was held that husband was not entitled to retain dowry even if he was acquitted and dowry articles will remain with father of deceased”.

The court stressed that the dowry articles were ordered to be given to the father of the deceased wife, even though the accused husband had been acquitted by giving benefit of doubt after the trial, while in the present matter, the husband had been convicted for the wife’s murder.

Therefore, the court found no illegality or irregularity in the impugned order passed by the trial court and dismissed the appeal moved by the convicted husband.

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