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DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT: LEGAL PROVISIONS

In 1961, the Dowry Prohibition Act was enacted to annihilate the tradition of dowry. It
comprised of 10 sections. The punishment for giving and taking endowment was consolidated in
Section 3 of the Act. But the Act had its own flaws, and the disciplinary action fixed for
demanding, receiving and giving dowry were inadequate. So the Act has been revised quite often
to be practical with time.1

The Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act of 1984 endorsed a base disciplinary action of two
years detainment and fine to anybody requesting for dowry. On account of this Dowry
Prohibition Act, any person who receives or demands, or helps in the receiving or taking of
dowry can be sentenced to imprisonment for 5 years and fined ₹15,000/ - or the measure of the
estimation of dowry, whichever is more.2 This Act to offer or to consent to offer was forbidden,
directly or indirectly, any property or important security, regarding a marriage. The giving of or
consenting to the giving of any sum either in cash or kind, ornaments, property, articles and so
on with regards to a marriage was completely forbidden by the Dowry Prohibition Act.3 Also,
the request of receiving dowry is additionally now forbidden and it is culpable with a jail term of
5 years and a fine of ₹10000.4

In order to make the legal provisions for dowry prohibition more efficient, the Government has
chosen to make it compulsory for couples to make rundown of gifts traded amid the services of
marriage. The Dowry Prohibition (Maintenance of lists of presents to the Bride and Bridegroom)
Rules were enacted in 1985 in compliance of similar function. It specifically expressed that the
rundown of gifts, in type of a sworn affirmation, must be validated, verified by a protection
official or a dowry prevention official and kept by both the sides. Not fulfilling the provisions
can result in punishment including imprisonment for 3 years for bride-groom, their parents
included.5

To prevent the instances of cruelty by husband or by his relatives on wife, Section 498A has
been included the Indian Penal Code6, and Section 198A had been included in the Criminal
Procedure Code from 1983. In the event of suicide by a married woman, inside 7 years from the

1
The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, Ministry of Women and Child Development, URL=
http://wcd.nic.in/act/dowry-prohibition-act-1961 (Viewed on 16/10/2016).
2
Section 3(1) and Section 4
3
Vikas v. State of Rajasthan (2002) 6 SCC 728.
4
National Crime Records Bureau, New Delhi, URL=
http://ncrb.nic.in/StatPublications/CII/CII2014/chapters/Chapter%205.pdf (Viewed on 16/10/2016).
5
See also Dowry Prohibition (Bihar Amendment) Act, 1975; Dowry Prohibition (West Bengal Amendment) Act,
1975; Dowry Prohibition (Orissa Amendment) Act, 1976; Dowry Prohibition (Haryana Amendment) Act, 1976;
Dowry Prohibition (Himachal Pradesh Amendment) Act, 1976; Dowry Prohibition (Punjab Amendment) Act, 1976.
6
Inserted by Act 46 of 1983, Section 2.
date of her marriage, the Court may assume that such suicide has been abetted; influenced by her
husband or his relatives.7 This legal provision had been included the Indian Evidence Act, by
including Section 113B.8

Section 304B was included in the Indian Penal Code in 1983. It was concerned with Dowry
Death. It specifies that where the demise of a woman is brought about by any burns or substantial
harm or happens generally than under ordinary conditions, inside seven years of her marriage;
and it is demonstrated that soon before her passing she was subjected to mercilessness or
physical and mental torture by her husband or any relative of her better half regarding any
interest for dowry, such demise might be called ‘dowry death’ and such husband or relative
should be considered to have created her demise.

Clause(2) of Section 304B expressed that whoever influences dowry death shall be sentenced
with a jail term not less than seven years or even life imprisonment.9

As of late for the safeguarding of women from domestic violence, an Act was framed in the year
2005 which was called as the Domestic Violence Act. The main focus of the Act was to stop the
abusive behavior at home against women and to give insurance to ladies from the aggressive
behaviour at home. A few measures were taken at the international level for prevention of
aggressive and abusive behaviour at home against women and announced 25th November as the
International day to stop violence against women.

7
AIR 1961 SC 1532, 1537; Shanti v. State of Haryana, AIR 1991 SC 1532.
8
Inserted by the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 1983, Sec. 5 vide Cr. P.C., 1973, Section 198A, a court
can take cognizance of the offence upon police report or upon a complaint by party or women’s parents, brother,
sister, etc. The offence is non-bailable. 113A and 113B of Evidence Act, 1872 have shifted the burden of proof on
the accused.
9
Narender Kumar, “Dowry deaths: A critical study of emerging judicial trends in India” ,URL=
http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/7838/10/10_chapter%203.pdf (Shodhganga) (Viewed on
16/10/2016).