Dowry death committed in matrimonial home

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My sister is married in last year. His husband is an engineer and living in Bangalore. We have given rs 20 lakh as dowry at the time of marriage. My sister was very jolly and well educated and also an engineer working at Pune. Just after the marriage her father-in-law started demand of more dowry for buying a flat in Bangalore.

Her father-in-law is a senior IAS of U.P. He always shows his official and political approach for the purpose of dominating us. Whenever we visit my sister’s in-law’s home his father and mother-in-laws used to humiliate us in the manner to feel us a miser family. My father is a chief engineer in power corporation.

On 12 august , on the birthday of my sister he informed us that your daughter found dead in her bedroom and they are going to cremate her. Probably cause of death is heart attack so if you want to see her dead body you may attained her funeral. 

She was lying at the entrance of her bedroom and we noticed a ligature marks on the neck of my sister,  thereafter we went to the police station to lodge an FIR under section 302/306/304 B/ 498 A IPC and section 3/4 DP Act.What would be the next course of action and what her father-in-law can do to protect his family?

Question from - Criminal Law

All the sections mentioned in FIR are constitute commission of cognizable offence. Police is bound to intiate investigation without the permission of the court. However deceased’s father-in-law is an IAS officer so he may influenced the investigation. But you should borne in mind that court is not bound to accept findings of investigation submitted by the police under section 173 of CRPC.

If you find that final report submitted by the police under section 173 of CRPC is manipulated by someone and that report is accepted by the court then you have right to file protest petition before the same court.

In Arun Bhandari vs State of U.P. 2013 SCC: when investigating Officer, after completing the investigation, submitted the final report stating that the case was of a civil nature and no criminal offence had been made out. In this situation the informant of FIR may file a protest petition before the learned Magistrate.

Court may take that protest petition as a complaint from the informant and pass appropriate order after application of his judicial mind. Court may return or reject final report of the police and may order for re-investigation of the case. On reject of the protest petition you may file appeal before the court of sessions.

In Manojbhai Bhagwandas Shah vs State Of Gujarat AIR 2001: on submission of final report the court may issued notice to the informant of FIR for filing of protest petition. If informant does not want to file such petition then court, if finds that further investigation is needed because of manipulation of the final report, may take cognizance of the case under section 190 CRPC and direct for further investigation.

But at this time investigation is conducted by police so you should collect some evidence regarding the case and state your version before the investigating officer (IO). IO may record all the statements of the witness which is relevant to the case. Section 161 of CRPC empowers the IO to record such statements. Charge sheet or final report will be based on the collection of evidence by the police during the investigation.

Your case is immature for the purpose of any order from the court regarding investigation. Court has limited power regarding investigation and court cannot interfere in the investigation. Court may pass appropriate order after filing of police report under section 173 CRPC.

He may manipulate the investigation or destroy some evidence but ultimately justice will be done. Today courts are so strict in offences against woman ans specially in dowry death cases. If some concrete evidences come before the court then court may pronounce judgment on them. Even statement recorded in examination in chief is sufficient if it is corroborate with some other evidence. Burden to proof innocence is on the accused because death is committed in their home and some injuries also found in the deceased body. Which needs to be explained in trial.

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