Dowry Prohibition Laws in India

In India, Dowry prohibition laws are governed by the Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act and Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961. In the Indian Penal Code, Section 304B and Section 498A comprehensively linked to such matters while Section 113A and Section 113B lays down the procedural aspect and Section 3, 4 and Section- 8 of the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 prohibits demanding of dowry.

 

How these provisions come into effect for a women’s protection?

  • A woman who is subjected to cruelty or mental torture for demand of dowry– In such cases, a woman can file an FIR in the nearest police station against her husband and her in laws for subjecting her to cruelty for meeting their dowry demands under Section- 498A of IPC, Section- 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 and Section- 3 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.

In addition to it, where cruelty has been of such nature that it can be easily categorised under Section- 307 of IPC (Attempt to murder), she can also include this section under the report registered u/s 154 CRPC.

 

  • A woman commits suicide as a consequence of harassment or mental torture for demand of dowry (within 7 years of her marriage)- In such cases, the woman who committed suicide i.e. the deceased, her father or mother or relatives of maternal home can file an FIR in the nearest Police Station against her husband and her in laws who were involved in such act for committing dowry death u/s 498A, abetment of suicide under Section 306 (Abetment of Suicide) of IPC and Section 3, 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act 1961.
  • A woman commits suicide as a consequence of harassment or mental torture for demand of dowry (after 7 years of her marriage)- In such cases, Section- 304B i.e. Dowry Death shall not be attracted and the sections that would be attracted are Section- 498A, 306 IPC and Section- 3, 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act 1961.
  • A woman is killed by her husband and her in laws in matrimonial home due to dowry demand (within 7 years of her marriage) – In such cases, where a woman is murdered or gets killed due to the cruelty or harassment then Section 304B of IPC would be attracted, Section 3, 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act 1961.
  • A woman is killed by her husband and her in laws in matrimonial home due to dowry demand (after 7 years of her marriage)- In such cases, Section- 302 gets attracted along with Section- 34 of IPC, Section 3, 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act 1961.

 

When the case reaches Trial Court- Burden of Proof & Pre- requisites

  • Case registered under Section 498A of IPC, Section- 3, 4 of Dowry Act and Section 3 of DV Act | Burden of Proof is on the accused under Section 8 of the Dowry Act 1961, as the Court shall presume that such dowry was demanded | Burden of Proof for section 498A is always on the prosecution | In case it is shown through MLC or any medical that the woman at the time of commission of offence was residing at her matrimonial home then u/s 106 of Evidence Act burden of proof is on the accused(s) as they possess the special knowledge w.r.t that event.

But Section 106 of Evidence would get activated only when the prosecution has lifted its burden of proof to the satisfaction of the Court u/s 101 and 102 of Evidence Act.

 

  • Case registered under Section 498A, abetment of suicide under Section 306 (Abetment of Suicide) of IPC and Section 3, 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 (within 7 years of marriage)
  • Burden of Proof for demand of dowry- It is on the accused u/s 8 of the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, as the Court shall presume that the dowry was demanded.
  • Burden of Proof for committing an offence u/s 498A, under Section 113A of Evidence Act when the prosecution proved before the Court that suicide was due to cruelty subjected by her husband and within 7 years of marriage, then the Court may presume that such suicide was abetted by the accused(s).
  • Case registered under Section- 498A, abetment of suicide 306 IPC and Section- 3, 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 (after 7 years of marriage)

Burden of Proof w.r.t the dowry demand is on the accused u/s 8 of Dowry Act 1961 | for offence u/s 498A and 306 IPC is on the prosecution as the death takes place after 7 years of marriage, although Section 106 Evidence may apply if burden is satisfied u/s 101 and 102 Evidence Act.

 

  • Case registered under Section- 304B of IPC and Section 3, 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act 1961(within 7 years of marriage).
  • Burden of Proof for demand of dowry- It is on the accused u/s 8 of the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, as the Court shall presume that the dowry was demanded.
  • Burden of Proof for committing on offence u/s 304B- Firstly, Section 304B itself states that after satisfying initial burden of proving that:
  • The death of woman was caused by bodily injury or burns or otherwise
  • Soon before he death she was subjected to cruelty
  • Death took place within 7 years of marriage

The Court shall presume that the death was a dowry death, so the burden of proof shifts on the accused. Secondly, u/s 113B of the Evidence Act also on the satisfaction of the above three conditions imposes burden on the accused (shall presumes).

  • Case registered under Section 302 read with 34 of IPC and Section 3, 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 (after 7 years of marriage).

Burden of Proof for demand of dowry u/s 3, 4 of 1961 is on the accused | for offence u/s 302 read with section 34, burden is lifted by prosecution. Section 106 Evidence may apply if burden is satisfied by prosecution u/s 101 and 102 Evidence Act.

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