Punjab and Haryana High Court: While deciding the appeal filed by the husband, the division bench of M.S. Ramachandra Rao, J., and Sukhvinder Kaur, J., upheld the order of Additional Sessions Judge to release the stridhan of deceased wife to her father.

In the case at hand, the stridhan of deceased wife was ordered to be given to the father of deceased wife by the Additional Sessions Judge. The husband convicted under 304-B/34 of Penal Code, 1860 for murder of his wife, challenged the order before this Court.

The husband contended that as per Section 15(1) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, after death of wife, her belongings shall devolve upon her children and husband. Later, the husband claimed that he is owner of these dowry articles which is contrary to the argument raised before. The Court held that once the husband has taken the plea that provisions of Section 15(1) of Hindu Succession Act were to be applied, it amounts to implied admission on his part that he was not owner of these articles.

The Court observed that the position regarding custody of dowry articles is quite different from the position of other property in the hands of deceased.

The Court further took note of Section 6(3) of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 which states that where the woman entitled to any property dies within seven years of marriage before receiving it, the parents of the woman shall be entitled to receive it in case of no children.

The Court stated that the deceased died unnatural death other than in normal circumstances within 7 years of marriage. Thus, the case squarely falls within Section 6(3) of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. The Court held that the provisions of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, cannot be overlooked by invoking the provisions of Hindu Law relating to Succession.

Placing reliance on State v. Mallesha, 2002 SCC OnLine Kar 153, the Court dismissed the appeal.

[Sandeep Tomar v. State of Punjab, 2022 SCC OnLine P&H 3720, decided on 19-12-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Counsel for Appellant: Advocate Suvir Sidhu, Advocate G.S. Badal, Advocate G.S. Dhillon;

Counsel for Respondent: Advocate J.S. Mehndiratta, Advocate Sumeet Goel, Advocate Viraj Gandhi, Advocate Adarsh Dubey.

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