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Report No. 91

2.6. The fifth factual component.-

A presumption (as recommended above)1 to the effect that death taking place in the specified circumstances was not accidental, would, of course, still leave unresolved the tie between suicide and homicide. One may now turn to the fifth factual component of a dowry death,2 namely, the condition of the victim of the tragedy. Let it be pointed out that the woman had no other cause of unhappiness such as ill health, failure in some big venture, death of a very near relative, serious financial difficulty or the like. Assuming that the death was due to suicide, which itself was impelled by a feeling of disgust with life caused by great unhappiness, one can state that the woman's unhappiness was not due to any other facet of her life, excepting the demands for dowry.

On this reasoning, persistent demands for dowry may be legitimately presumed to be a major causative factor of her death. The manner in which the chain of causation actually operated in a particular case would, of course, still remain uncertain. We do not yet know whether the case was one of suicide or homicide, but there is ground for presuming that it was one of the two. Further, in the circumstances, there is ground for presuming that the demand for dowry which the woman could not meet either forced her to take her own life in the end or impelled the members of her husband's family to take her life.

1. Para. 2.4, supra.

2. Para. 2.1, supra.



Dowry Deaths and Law Reform - Amending the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Back




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