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Criminal Lawyer: The conviction under Section 304-B IPC cannot be sustained in absence of testimony of independent witness-when he is available but not examined; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta

The SC sets aside the conviction of the appellant under Section 304-B IPC and, consequently, sets aside the concurrent findings of the courts below convicting the appellant for dowry death of his wife.

The SC {Mahesh Kumar Versus State of Haryana} holds that no independent witness was examined by the prosecution to prove demand of dowry, even though the witness was available. It was held that the statements of father and brother of the deceased are not sufficient to prove that the deceased was treated with cruelty relating to demand of dowry soon before her death. It was further held that even in spite of settlement which was produced by the prosecution before the court -  was entered upon in presence of members of Panchayat between the family members - but no member of Panchayat was examined by the prosecution. Therefore, the case has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the accused was acquitted and set free by the SC. 

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