SC Confirms Conviction In Dowry Death Case
The Court stated that the absence of poison detection in the viscera report alone should not be considered definitive proof that the victim didn't die from poison
The Supreme Court of India recently confirmed the conviction of the appellants in a case of dowry death, even though there was no positive confirmation of poison in the victim's viscera report.
The Court stated that the absence of poison detection in the viscera report alone should not be considered definitive proof that the victim didn't die from poison. They emphasised that when someone dies due to poisoning, isolating and identifying the poison is often challenging, and a lack of positive evidence in this regard should not dismiss the entire prosecution case if other circumstances point to the accused's guilt.
The Supreme Court bench, consisting of Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Prashant Kumar Mishra, was hearing an appeal against a Calcutta High Court judgment that had sentenced the appellants to 7 years for dowry death under Section 304-B IPC and 3 years for cruelty under Section 498-A IPC.
The case stemmed from an FIR filed by Uma Shankar Shah (PW-1), who alleged that the deceased was harassed for additional dowry after her marriage. The prosecution's case was based on the claim that the deceased committed suicide by consuming poison due to incessant harassment.
Although the post-mortem and viscera reports didn't confirm the exact cause of death or the presence of poison, the Court noted that other evidence strongly indicated poison consumption. This included froth from the mouth and nose and symptoms consistent with poisoning.
The Court also highlighted the precedent that chemical examination of viscera is not mandatory in every dowry death case, especially when there is evidence of poisoning. They stressed the importance of promptly preserving and sending materials for forensic analysis to prevent the potential loss of crucial evidence in poison-related cases.
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