Laws Prohibiting Dowry in India

Laws Prohibiting Dowry in India

The term “dowry” is very common and widespread in Indian families. This has become a parasite in Indian society and has eroded the beautiful marriage system. This is not a new practice, but it has been used for a long time, and its influence in Indian society is It is so large that people can try to reduce it, but not completely eliminate it. Several laws have been enacted to ban dowry, but the legal means are weaker than dowry. In addition, this article should also list the society and laws that dowry Consequences and other aspects.

What is a dowry?

According to section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, the term “dowry” refers to any property or securities given or agreed to be given directly or indirectly.

(A) One party to the marriage and the other party to the marriage, or

(B) At or before [or at any time related to the marriage of the parties concerned] or by any parent of any party to the marriage, any party or any other person of the marriage, but for ” The persons targeted by the Muslim Personal Law (Islamic Law) do not include doves or brooms.

In Arjun Dhondiba Kamble v. Maharashtra, the court ruled that, in the sense of the expression envisaged in the Dowry Prohibition, “dowry” is a requirement for valuable safe property inseparably linked to marriage, That is, the consideration of the bridegroom’s parents or relatives by the bride’s parents or relatives is a consideration that allows the bride to be allowed to marry. However, if the requirements for property or securities are not related to marriage considerations, then they will not be equal to the requirements for dowry.

In Rajeev v. Ram Kishan Jaiswal , the court held that any property of the bride’s parents does not need to consider marriage, and can even be linked to marriage and constitute a dowry.

According to the law, who will be the offender?

According to Sec- 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, both accepting and giving dowry are crimes. Therefore, the bridegroom’s family will bear the responsibility for the dowry, so the bridegroom’s family will agree to give the dowry.

India’s legal framework against dowry

The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961

Fines for giving and receiving dowry (Section 3)-After the implementation of this law, anyone giving or receiving a dowry shall be punished with imprisonment of not more than five years, imprisonment and 10,000 The higher of 5,000 rupees or the dowry value is fined.

Fines required for dowry (Section 4)-According to Section 4, if anyone directly or indirectly requests the bride, groom’s parents, relatives or guardians to dowry, he shall be sentenced to more than six months in prison and imprisoned. A fine of less than two years may be imposed, and a fine of 10,000 rupees may be imposed.

The Supreme Court ruled in Pandurang Shivram Kawathkar v. Maharashtra that only dowry before marriage is an offence.

In Bhoora Singh v. Uttar Pradesh, the court ruled that the deceased had written to her father before her mother-in-law was set on fire, stating that she was being abused, harassed and threatened with terrible consequences for unmet dowry needs . Therefore, the crime of dowry required by Section- 4 has been committed.

Prohibition of advertising (section 4-A)-According to section- 4-A, anyone considering marriage should advertise no less than six in any newspaper, periodical or any other medium or property, business, money, etc. Monthly imprisonment is punishable by imprisonment for less than five years or a fine of less than 15,000 rupees.

Determination of crimes-According to section- 7, judges who are not less than the metropolitan magistrates or magistrate magistrates shall try crimes under this law. The court should only determine the crime based on the report of the victim, the victim’s parents or relatives, the report of the police, or the fact that he knew the facts of the crime.

According to section-8, certain crimes in this law should be identifiable, not bailable and not aggravated.

The Indian Penal Code of 1860

Dowry death (section- 304 B)- reads as follows:

If a woman’s death was caused by a burn or personal injury, or died under circumstances other than normal within seven years of marriage, it means that her husband or any relative of her husband suffered cruelty or harassment shortly before the death. Her husband’s death due to a dowry request or related to it should be called “dowry death”, and the husband or relative should be regarded as the cause of his death.

Explanation – For the purposes of this subsection, the meaning of “dowry” should be the same as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961.

Those who dowry to death are sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of more than seven years.

In Vemuri Venkateshwara Rao v. Andhra Pradesh, the court established the following criteria for establishing the offence under section 304(B), which are:

Require the defendant to dowry and harass

The dead are already dead,

Death occurred under unnatural conditions. Since there was a need for dowry, harassment and death within 7 years of marriage, other things happened automatically and proved a crime under section 304-B.

Husband or relative of husband subjecting women to cruelty (section 498-A) –

Women’s husbands or relatives of their husbands are cruelly treated-anyone who is treated as a husband or relatives of a woman’s husband should be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than three years and imprisonment. May be fined.

Explanation – In this section, “cruel” means –

Any deliberate acts that are of a deliberate nature that may prompt the woman to commit suicide or cause serious harm or danger to the woman’s life, body or health (whether mental or physical), or

Harassing the woman to force her or anyone related to her to meet any illegal requirements for property or valuable collateral, or to harass her because she or anyone related to her has failed to meet the requirements

In Bhoora Singh v. The State,[6] ruled that the husband and in-laws brutally abused his wife, resulting in insufficient dowry, and eventually burned it, resulting in a three-year prison sentence and a fine of Rs. 500 /-Violation of section 498-A of the Indian Criminal Code.


The Indian Evidence Act of 1872

Presumption about dowry death (section 113 B) –reads as follows:

When the question is whether a person has committed a dowry and indicates that the woman suffered cruelty or harassment for any dowry request shortly before death, the court should assume that the person caused the dowry to die.

Explanation-For the purposes of this section, “dowry death” shall have the same meaning as section 304B of the Indian Criminal Code (No. 45 of 1860).

Social disadvantages of dowry

The practice of dowry has caused many adverse effects on society, and eroded the beautiful marriage system into an exchange contract that only exchanges money and precious assets for marriage. The dowry practice brings some social disadvantages-

Insecticides for women – Even today, there are still many laws prohibiting insecticides for women, but statistics on the law far exceed expectations. One of the biggest reasons behind this practice is that if a baby girl is born, it turns out that this will be a burden on the property of their parents, because they must spend a lot in marriage. Therefore, it was found that the root cause of the problem was “girls”.

Young girls commit suicide – many times, parents cannot marry their daughters due to dowry, which brings harassment to the family, causes young girls to commit suicide, and ends the mental harassment of the family.

Uneducated girls-many families do not provide good education for their daughters in order to save education costs for dowry purposes.

Girls are often harassed because of their dark skin color, obesity, or other appearances that lack appearance, because parents or relatives think they will marry them with a lot of dowry, and they will often be ridiculed and hurt. These remarks not only mentally harassed the girls, but also brought them a sense of inferiority.

 Misuse of Dowry laws by Women

Coins always have two sides. Similarly, every law has its place of use and abuse. Anti-dowry has proven to be a panacea for women, and they have also proven to be annoying to men. Not all dowry cases filed by women are true, in more than 40% of cases; the women’s allegations are wrong.

Two judges of the Supreme Court, presided over by Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, recently said in a 21-page order that the easiest way to harass her husband is to arrest him and his relatives.

The judges pointed out a noteworthy point that in many cases, bedridden grandfathers and husbands’ grandmothers and sisters who have lived abroad for decades have been arrested.

The judges also reminded the authorities that before pointing out complaints related to dowry, they must follow the so-called nine-point checklist, which is part of the anti-dowry law.

The court also said that in case of police arrest, the magistrate must approve the further detention of the accused.

According to statistics from the National Bureau of Criminal Records, in 2012, about 200,000 people were arrested for dowry, including 47,951 women, but only 15% of the accused were convicted.


“Dowry” as a custom is deeply rooted in Indian society and cannot be completely eradicated. The main reason for not being able to eradicate this custom is the mentality, thoughts and way of thinking of the Indians. In India, boys are well-educated, so parents can demand dowry in marriage. The higher the education level of this person, the more stable his financial situation, the more dowries.

Similarly, the girl’s parents will give them a lot of education so that they can marry her to a rich family. They do not hesitate to provide dowry, because this custom has now become a custom, despite many laws, but only a handful of criminals have been convicted. This kind of social evil can be eradicated only when people’s mentality changes. When people may know that marriage and dowry are like selling their daughters and sons, then the roots of customs will begin to erode and the customs will be completely eradicated, but this period seems to be far away.

Author: Anubhuti Agrawal,
Jagran Lakecity University,Bhopal

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