NEW DELHI (TrustLaw) - An Indian man whose constant demands for money and gifts from his in-laws drove his mentally tortured wife to commit suicide has been sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in New Delhi, the Hindu newspaper reported on Monday.
Dowries - often jewellery, expensive clothing, cars and money - are given in India by the bride's family to the groom and his parents, traditionally to ensure the bride will be comfortable and looked after in her new home. The custom, outlawed more than four decades ago but still widely practiced, is often exploited with the groom's family demanding more money after marriage.
This mental and sometimes physical harassment often drives the woman to suicide or, even worse, she is murdered by her husband and his family for not fulfilling their demands.
According to the report, the man named as Praveen began demanding a motorcycle from his wife's family in New Delhi three months after their marriage in 2005.
He also demanded other items such a refrigerator, gold chain and large sums of cash until his wife, Renu, hung herself in 2008 because of the constant harassment.
"The harassment caused by the convict to his wife compelling her to meet the illegitimate demands raised by him is unpardonable and he deserves no mercy," additional sessions judge Kamini Lau, was quoted as saying when reading out the verdict.
Figures from the National Crime Records Bureau shows that more than 8,000 women were murdered and 90,000 faced cruelty by their husbands and relatives due to dowry-related issues in 2009 alone.