Dowry death case cannot be quashed based on settlement between parties

Dowry death case cannot be quashed based on settlement between parties

Dalbir Singh Vs State GNCT of Delhi

Delhi HC

17/12/2021

W.P.(CRL.) 2137/2021

About/from the judgment:

Case registered for dowry death of wife cannot be quashed on the basis of settlement between accused and complainant, the Delhi High Court recently held while refusing to quash the first information report (FIR) registered against accused-husband after his wife died by suicide allegedly due to harassment for dowry.

The High Court said that demand for dowry is a social evil and the death of women due to the same is a crime against society.

"In the present case a woman has committed suicide within five months of the marriage due to the harassment caused by the husband and his family members and the offence punishable under Section 304-B IPC is not only a grave and heinous offence but an offence against the society actuated by the social evil of demand of dowry, thus needs deterrence and, therefore, cannot be quashed on the basis of settlement arrived at between the accused and the complainant,” the Court said.

The Court was dealing with a petition seeking the quashing of FIR registered against one Dalbir Singh, and his family members for allegedly harassing his wife for dowry which ultimately led to her suicide.

The marriage between the deceased and Singh was solemnised in March 2021, and even though no demand was made by the groom’s family at the time of marriage, it was alleged that they soon started demanding a motorcycle as dowry.

The woman came back to her house in August and told her parents that she was upset. A few days before Rakhi, she went back to her in-laws after her parents tried to solve the dispute.

On August 30, the woman’s family received a call saying that their daughter had died by suicide.

The Court was informed that during the pendency of the investigation, the families had entered into a memorandum of understanding stating that they hold no grudges against each other.

Based on the same, they sought quashing of the FIR.

The Court, however, cited the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Parbatbhai Ahir case to hold that when serious and grave offences are involved, quashing of the FIR cannot be allowed on the basis of compromise.

The single-judge noted that in the present case, the woman had committed suicide just five months after her marriage and that the offence is punishable under Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

“Thus, this Court, is not in conformity with the view taken by the learned Single Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and is of the considered opinion that the case of Narinder Singh and Others (supra) will have no application in the cases where offences of serious nature are involved,” the Court said.

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