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Kerala court convicts husband in Vismaya Dowry death case

The death of Vismaya had triggered a strong protest in Kerala against dowry and domestic violence

Sabrangindia 25 May 2022

dowry deaths

On May 23, 2022, District Court in Kerala pronounced its verdict in the infamous dowry death case of Visamaya Nair and found her husband Kiran Kumar guilty of harassment and abetment of suicide of his wife.

Vismaya Nair, a 24-year-old Ayurveda Medical student, was found dead in her in-law’s house in June 2021. Earlier reports of the case alleged the incident to be suicide but later investigations found it to be a potential homicide.

Additional District and Sessions Judge at Kollam, Sujith KN delivered the verdict, that the accused, Kiran Kumar is guilty in this crime and convicted him under sections 304-B (Dowry death), 498A (Husband or relative subjecting a women to cruelty for dowry) and 306 (Abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code. The hearing on sentencing will take place on May 24, 2022.

About the case

Vismaya got married to Kiran Kumar on May 30, 2020. As per some news reports, one acre of land, gold ornaments weighing over 100 sovereigns and a luxury car were reportedly given as gifts by her parents during the marriage. Within weeks after their marriage, Vismaya told her parents about the harassment she was put through by her husband Kiran Kumar.

On June 21, 2021 Vismaya was found hanging from the window of a bathroom in Kumar’s House under mysterious circumstances. The shocking incident took place in the state last year after she complained of dowry harassment. The death of Vismaya had occurred within a year of the marriage.

Vismaya’s parents had reported to Sooranadu police station and registered a case for dowry death and matrimonial cruelty. Her husband Kiran Kumar was arrested following the FIR. Kiran Kumar was charged under Sections 304B (Dowry death), 498A (Husband or relative subjecting a women to cruelty for dowry), 306 (Abetment of suicide), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt.) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code. Kumar, who was serving as an assistant motor vehicles inspector, was suspended from the service and steps to terminate him were also initiated. Kumar was kept under judicial custody for over a year.

Kumar’s bail applications were rejected by Sasthamcotta, Judicial First Class Magistrate as well as by Kerala High Court, during the course of trial observing that he had been charged for a serious crime of dowry death. He was finally released on bail by the Supreme Court in March 2022 on the ground that the trial in the case was set to be done.

The Evidences

This dowry harassment case might be the first such case where the prosecution had relied mostly on digital evidence to prove the accused guilty. As reported by LiveLaw, a total of 42 witnesses, 108 documents and several call records were examined by the court. A 507-page charge sheet was submitted by the police indicating that Vismaya had committed suicide due to dowry harassment.

Advocate G. Mohanraj, representing the Prosecution in this case, had submitted crucial evidence to the Court which to prove the guilt of Kiran Kumar (husband of the deceased). The audio messages sent by Vismaya regarding the torture she had been put through by her husband, acted major digital evidence in the charge sheet.

A day before her death, Vismaya had also sent various messages to her relatives about the harassment by Kumar over dowry, along with the photographs of the wounds and marks on her body.

According to LiveLaw, the prosecution case was strengthened after a voice recording purportedly belonging to Vismaya surfaced a day before the verdict. The audio clip is a phone call between Vismaya and her father where she is heard crying and complaining about the harassment, thereby revealing that she was subjected to severe torture by her husband.
 

Impact on society

The shocking incidence of dowry death of Vismaya, had triggered a strong protest in the state of Kerala against dowry and domestic violence. As per the Deccan Herald report, there was a strong call for stringent measures to curb the practice of dowry itself. Kerala Women's Commission had even proposed a legislation to make declarations regarding gifts received by brides and bridegrooms at the time of marriage mandatory for registration of marriage. But those recommendations still remain only on paper.

According to a Bar and Bench report, leaders of all parties, including Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had strongly condemned the incident with Vijayan releasing a statement that called for reforms to rid society of the dowry system.

In a circular issued on July 16, 2021, the government had also ordered all Heads of Departments of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), autonomous bodies, cultural and other institutions under the government to obtain a declaration from all male government servants within one month from the wedding of such person, that he has not taken any dowry in connection with his marriage, reported the Bar and Bench.

Related:

Dowry death cases: SC observes casual approach of trial courts, issues guidelines

Mother of dowry victim urges Muslim men to condemn dowry

Justice Done, Delhi HC Reads into evidence of ‘hostile witnesses’, convicts husband on charges of dowry driven murder

Dowry case: Woman seeks collector’s help

Building Lives after Domestic Abuse

Kerala court convicts husband in Vismaya Dowry death case

The death of Vismaya had triggered a strong protest in Kerala against dowry and domestic violence

dowry deaths

On May 23, 2022, District Court in Kerala pronounced its verdict in the infamous dowry death case of Visamaya Nair and found her husband Kiran Kumar guilty of harassment and abetment of suicide of his wife.

Vismaya Nair, a 24-year-old Ayurveda Medical student, was found dead in her in-law’s house in June 2021. Earlier reports of the case alleged the incident to be suicide but later investigations found it to be a potential homicide.

Additional District and Sessions Judge at Kollam, Sujith KN delivered the verdict, that the accused, Kiran Kumar is guilty in this crime and convicted him under sections 304-B (Dowry death), 498A (Husband or relative subjecting a women to cruelty for dowry) and 306 (Abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code. The hearing on sentencing will take place on May 24, 2022.

About the case

Vismaya got married to Kiran Kumar on May 30, 2020. As per some news reports, one acre of land, gold ornaments weighing over 100 sovereigns and a luxury car were reportedly given as gifts by her parents during the marriage. Within weeks after their marriage, Vismaya told her parents about the harassment she was put through by her husband Kiran Kumar.

On June 21, 2021 Vismaya was found hanging from the window of a bathroom in Kumar’s House under mysterious circumstances. The shocking incident took place in the state last year after she complained of dowry harassment. The death of Vismaya had occurred within a year of the marriage.

Vismaya’s parents had reported to Sooranadu police station and registered a case for dowry death and matrimonial cruelty. Her husband Kiran Kumar was arrested following the FIR. Kiran Kumar was charged under Sections 304B (Dowry death), 498A (Husband or relative subjecting a women to cruelty for dowry), 306 (Abetment of suicide), 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt.) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code. Kumar, who was serving as an assistant motor vehicles inspector, was suspended from the service and steps to terminate him were also initiated. Kumar was kept under judicial custody for over a year.

Kumar’s bail applications were rejected by Sasthamcotta, Judicial First Class Magistrate as well as by Kerala High Court, during the course of trial observing that he had been charged for a serious crime of dowry death. He was finally released on bail by the Supreme Court in March 2022 on the ground that the trial in the case was set to be done.

The Evidences

This dowry harassment case might be the first such case where the prosecution had relied mostly on digital evidence to prove the accused guilty. As reported by LiveLaw, a total of 42 witnesses, 108 documents and several call records were examined by the court. A 507-page charge sheet was submitted by the police indicating that Vismaya had committed suicide due to dowry harassment.

Advocate G. Mohanraj, representing the Prosecution in this case, had submitted crucial evidence to the Court which to prove the guilt of Kiran Kumar (husband of the deceased). The audio messages sent by Vismaya regarding the torture she had been put through by her husband, acted major digital evidence in the charge sheet.

A day before her death, Vismaya had also sent various messages to her relatives about the harassment by Kumar over dowry, along with the photographs of the wounds and marks on her body.

According to LiveLaw, the prosecution case was strengthened after a voice recording purportedly belonging to Vismaya surfaced a day before the verdict. The audio clip is a phone call between Vismaya and her father where she is heard crying and complaining about the harassment, thereby revealing that she was subjected to severe torture by her husband.
 

Impact on society

The shocking incidence of dowry death of Vismaya, had triggered a strong protest in the state of Kerala against dowry and domestic violence. As per the Deccan Herald report, there was a strong call for stringent measures to curb the practice of dowry itself. Kerala Women's Commission had even proposed a legislation to make declarations regarding gifts received by brides and bridegrooms at the time of marriage mandatory for registration of marriage. But those recommendations still remain only on paper.

According to a Bar and Bench report, leaders of all parties, including Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had strongly condemned the incident with Vijayan releasing a statement that called for reforms to rid society of the dowry system.

In a circular issued on July 16, 2021, the government had also ordered all Heads of Departments of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), autonomous bodies, cultural and other institutions under the government to obtain a declaration from all male government servants within one month from the wedding of such person, that he has not taken any dowry in connection with his marriage, reported the Bar and Bench.

Related:

Dowry death cases: SC observes casual approach of trial courts, issues guidelines

Mother of dowry victim urges Muslim men to condemn dowry

Justice Done, Delhi HC Reads into evidence of ‘hostile witnesses’, convicts husband on charges of dowry driven murder

Dowry case: Woman seeks collector’s help

Building Lives after Domestic Abuse

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