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Crl App No 1097 of 2016J.Amitava RoyBaijnath vs State of Madya PradeshIPC 304B

Presumption of Dowry Death Must be Soundly Backed by Evidence of Cruelty

This Court while often dwelling on the scope and purport of Section 304B of the Code and Section 113B of the Act have propounded that the presumption is contingent on the fact that the prosecution first spell out the ingredients of the offence of Section 304B as in Shindo Alias Sawinder Kaur and another Vs. State of Punjab (2011) 11 SCC 517 and echoed in Rajeev Kumar Vs. State of Haryana (2013) 16 SCC 640. In the latter pronouncement, this Court propounded that one of the essential ingredients of dowry death under Section 304B of the Code is that the accused must have subjected the woman to cruelty in connection with demand for dowry soon before her death and that this ingredient has to be proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt and only then the Court will presume that the accused has committed the offence of dowry death under Section 113B of the Act. It referred to with approval, the earlier decision of this Court in K. Prema S. Rao Vs. Yadla Srinivasa Rao – (2003) 1 SCC 217 to the effect that to attract the provision of Section 304B of the Code, one of the main ingredients of the offence which is required to be established is that 'soon before her death' she was subjected to cruelty and harassment 'in connection with the demand for dowry'.