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The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 PDF Print E-mail
(35 Votes)
Written by Govt. of India   
Saturday, 20 May 1961 00:00
1. The Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1984.
2. The Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1986.

1. Short tile, extent and commencement - (1) This Act may be called the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
(3) It shall come into force on such date (Note: It came into force on 1st July, 1961) as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

2. Definition of ‘dowry’.- In this Act, "dowry" means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly.
(a) By one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage, or
(b) By the parent of either party to a marriage or by any other person, , to either party to the marriage or to any other person,
At or before [(Note: Subs. by Act 43 of 1986, sec.2) or any time after the marriage] [(Note: Subs. by Act 63 of 1984, sec.2) in connection with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include] dower or mahr in the case or persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applied.
(Note: Explanation I omitted by act 63 of 1984, sec.2).
Explanation II- The expression "valuable security" has the same meaning as in section 30 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).


(i) "Dowry" in the sense of the expression contemplated by Dowry Prohibition Act in a demand for property of valuable security having an inextricable nexus with the marriage i.e. it is a consideration from the side of the bride's parents or relatives to the groom or his parents and/or guardian for the agreement to wed the bride-to-be. But where the demand for property or valuable security has no connection with the consideration for the marriage; it will not amount to a demand for dowry. The demand for valuable presents made by the appellants on the occasions of festivals like Deepavali is not connected with the wedding or marriage and these demands will not constitute dowry as defined in section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961; Arjun Dhondiba Kamble v. State of Maharashtra, 1995 AIHC 273.
(ii) Any property given by parents of the bride need to be in consideration of the marriage, it can even be in connection with the marriage and would constitute dowry; Rajeev v. Ram Kishan Jaiswal, 1994 Cri L.J. NOC 255 (All).
(iii) The definition of dowry is wide to include all sorts of properties, valuable securities etc. given or agreed to be given directly or indirectly. Therefore the amount of Rs.20,000/- and 1.5 acres of land agreed to be given at the time of marriage is dowry, even though the said land was agreed to be transferred in the name of the deceased as 'pasupukumkuma' by executing a deed; Vemuri Venkateswara Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 1992 Cri L.J. 563 AP HC.
(iv) There had been no agreement between either parties to give any property or valuable security to the other party at or before or after the marriage. The demand of T.V., refrigerator, gas connection, cash of Rs. 50,000/- and 15 tolas of gold are not demand of dowry but demand of valuable security in view of section 2; Shankar Prasad Shaw v. State, I (1992) DMC 30 Cal.
(v) While dowry signifies presents given in connection with marriage to the bridal couple as well as others, stridhan is confined to property given to or meant for the bride; Hakam Singh v. State of Punjab, (1990) I DMC 343.
(vi) Dowry, means, any property given or agreed to be given by the parents of a part to the marriage at the time of the marriage or before marriage or at any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage. So, where the husband had demanded a sum of Rs. 50,000/- some days after the marriage from his father-in-law and on not being given became angry, tortured the wife and threatened to go for another marriage, it was held that the amount was being demanded in connection with the marriage and it was a demand for dowry though it was demand after the marriage; Y.K. Bansal v. Anju, All L.J. 914.
(vii) The furnishing of a list of ornaments and other household articles such as refrigerator, furniture, electrical appliances etc. at the time of the settlement of the marriage amounts to demand of dowry within the meaning of section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act,1961; Madhu Sudan Malhotra v.K.C. Bhandari; 1988 BLJR 360 (SC).
(viii) A sum of money paid by a Mohemdan in connection with his daughter's marriage toprospective bridegroom for the purchase of a piece of land in the joint name of his daughter and would-be son-in-law in not 'dowry' within the meaning of the Act; Kunju Moideen v. Syed Mohamed, AIR 1986 Ker 48.
(ix) Where the demand was made after the marriage  for the purchase of a car, it was held that it did not fall within the definition; Nirdosh Kumar v. Padma Rani, 1984 (2) Rec. Cr. R. 239.
(x) Where the demand was made at the time when marriage ceremony was in progress and was repeated after the marriage, it was held that it fell within the definition of dowry; L.V. Jadhav v. Shankar Rao, (1983) 2 Crimes 470.
(xi) Traditional presents and other articles given at the time of the marriage are the individual property of the Hindu wife. She is the absolute owner of the property and can own it in her own right, Vinod Kumar v. State of Punjab, AIR 1982 P &H 372: 1982 HLR 327: 1982 PLR 337.