Vismaya case: Kerala court sentences husband to 10 yrs in jail for dowry death


PTI, May 24, 2022, 8:09 PM IST

Kollam: Kerala court on Tuesday sentenced to 10 years in jail the husband of Vismaya, an Ayurveda medical student who hanged herself in her marital home in June last year, for driving her to commit suicide by perpetrating dowry related cruelties on her.

Additional District and Sessions Judge-1 Sujith K N also sentenced the husband –S Kiran Kumar– to six years and two years imprisonment for the offences of abetment to suicide and dowry harassment under the IPC.

Kumar was also sentenced to six years for the offence of taking dowry and one year for demanding dowry under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

The court said the sentences would run concurrently.

A total fine of Rs 12,55,000 was also imposed on Kumar by the court which said that out of the same, Rs 2 lakh be paid to the parents of the victim.

In his 441-page long judgement, the judge said that ”the accused (Kumar) had perpetrated utmost sorts of dowry related cruelties on his wife and thereby, driven her to commit suicide.” ”He (Kumar) was bound to protect his wife and he was capable of doing that. However, he had chosen a different decision to taunt and harass his wife. His wife was also having dreams. She might have entered into the family life with good hope and great expectations. But the menace of dowry dashed all her aspirations,” the court observed.

It also said that a wife was ”not a chattel in the hands of the husband” and has her own dignity and individuality.

”When dignity is lost, the breath of life gets into oblivion. Whilst her sufferings, once Vismaya had suspected: whether she is a valueless commodity? That bespeaks her miseries in life.

”She thought, through her matrimony, she may not get a bright future, but she was forced to swallow the bitter pill. Ultimately, she embraced the decision of ending her life,” the judge observed in his judgement.

While considering the quantum of sentence, the court observed that Kumar had an excellent educational background and had earned a government job during his prime years and therefore, the chance of reformation ”cannot be ruled out”.

It, however, also said that the evidence available in the case clearly indicated the ”horrific incidents the victim was forced to suffer” and therefore, the accused was not entitled to any ”extreme leniency” as sought by him.

After the sentence was pronounced, Special Public Prosecutor G Mohanraj told reporters outside the court that he was satisfied with the sentence awarded to the convict. He said that he had urged the court to impose a sentence which would be a message to the society and a deterrent against such incidents of dowry harassment and death in future.

The SPP also said that he had argued in court that a milder sentence would send out a wrong message to society.

However, the victim’s mother, who appeared disheartened after hearing about the order, said she was not happy with the outcome as she had expected the convict would get life term.

Addressing the media at her residence, she said the family would appeal against the sentence. She also said that they would be continuing their efforts for action against the others who were allegedly responsible for Vismaya’s suicide.

Vismaya’s father, on the other hand, told reporters outside the court that he was happy with the punishment given to Kumar. He said he as well as his daughter have got justice and that the punishment was also a message to society. He also said he had not expected that life term would be given to Kumar.

Whether to appeal or not would be decided after discussing it with the SPP.

Welcoming the court’s order, Kerala State Women’s Commission chairperson advocate P Satheedevi told reporters that there were so many incidents of giving and taking of dowry and the judgement in the present case would hopefully act as a deterrent against such practices.

The court order on sentence came after hearing arguments on behalf of the prosecution and the convict on the quantum of punishment.

Special Public Prosecutor G Mohanraj had urged the court to impose a punishment which would act as a deterrent against such incidents of dowry in the society.

Kumar’s lawyers sought a compassionate view from the court claiming that he is the sole provider for his family comprising his ailing parents.

Earlier in the day, Vismaya’s father left for court in the car which was given as dowry. He told scribes outside his home that his daughter loved the car and he believes her soul is there with him in the vehicle.

The court on Monday had convicted Kumar for the offences of dowry death (section 304B), abetment of suicide (section 306) and dowry related harassment (section 498A) under the IPC and various provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act.

Kumar, who was an assistant motor vehicle inspector, was dismissed from service after his arrest in the case and state Transport Minister Antony Raju on Monday had said that there will be no change in that irrespective of whether the court convicts him or not.

Vismaya, 22, was found dead in the house of her husband at Sasthamkotta in Kollam district on June 21, 2021. A day before the incident, Vismaya had sent WhatsApp messages to her relatives over the alleged harassment by Kumar over dowry, as well as photos of wounds and marks of beatings on her body.

Her father had said 100 sovereigns of gold (one sovereign is equal to 8 grams gold) and over one acre land, besides a car worth Rs 10 lakh were given as dowry to Kumar during the wedding in 2020. But Kumar did not like the car and wanted Rs 10 lakh in cash. As he was told it was not possible, he used to torture her, the father had said.

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