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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
3. Penalty for giving or taking dowry.- [(Note: Section 3 re-numbered as sub-section (1) thereof by Act No.63 of 1984, sec.3) (1)] If any person, after the commencement of this Act, gives or takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than [(Note: Subs. by Act 43 of 1986, Sec.3) five years, and with fine which shall not be less than fifteen thousand rupees or the amount of the value of such dowry, whichever is more:] Provided that the Court may, for a adequate and special reasons to be recorded in he judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment of a term of less than [(Note: Subs. by Act 43 of 1986, Sec.3) five years.]
(2) [(Note: Ins. by Act 63 of 1984, sec.3) Nothing is sub section (1) shall apply to, or in relation to, -
(a) Presents which are given at the time of a marriage to the bride (without any demand having been made in that behalf).
(b) Presents which are given at the time of a marriage to the bridegroom (without any demand having been made in that behalf).
Provided that such presents are entered in a list maintained in accordance with the rules made under this Act.
Provided further that where such presents are made by or on behalf of the bride or any person related to the bride, such presents are of a customary nature and the value thereof is not excessive having regard to the financial status of the person by whom, or on whose behalf, such presents are given.

COMMENTS

(i) Section 3 does not contravene articles 14, 19, 21 and 22 of the Constitution and therefore this section is not ultra vires of the said articles; Indrawati v. Union of India, I (1991) DMC 117 (All).
(ii) The offence is founded in the relationship of the property demanded as abettor with the nature of demand. It should not bear a mere connection with marriage; Madan Lal v. Amar Nath, (1984) 2 Rec Cr. 581.
(iii) Abetment is a preparatory act and connotes active complicity on the part of the abettor at a point of time prior to the actual commission of the offence; Muthummal v.Maruthal, 1981 Cr. LJ 833 (Mad).

4.  Penalty for demanding dowry.- If any person demands, directly or indirectly, from the parents or other relatives or guardian of a bride or bridegroom, as the case may be, any dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend to two years and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees. Provided that the Court may, for a adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months.]

COMMENTS
(i) Demand of dowry under section 4 is not a continuing offence but every demand of dowry whenever repeated constitutes another offence and the date of commission of offence under section 4 would be when the demand was made initially and also when the said demand was repeated afresh. The offence of demanding dowry stood committed even before the marriage was performed and also when the demand was repeated again and again after the performance of marriage in respect of the same items of dowry; Harbans Singh v. Smt. Gurcharan Kaur alias Sharan Kaur, 1993 Rec. Cr. R 404 (del).
(ii) The deceased had before being set on fire by her in-laws had written a letter to her father that she was being ill-treated, harassed and threatened of dire consequences for non-satisfaction of demand of dowry. Thereby proving that an offence of demanding dowry under section 4 had been committed; Bhoora Singh v. State, 1993 Cri LJ. 2636 All.
(iii) There had been not agreement between either parties to the marriage nor their relations to give any property or valuable security to the other party at or before or after the marriage. Held that the demand of TV, refrigerator, gas connection, cash of Rs.50,000/- and 15 tolas of gold will not amount to demand of dowry but demand of valuable security and the said offence does not attract section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act; Shankar Prasad Shaw v. State, I (1992) DMC 30 Cal.
(iv) Furnishing of a list of ornaments and other household articles at the time of settlement of marriage amounts to demand of dowry and accused are liable to be convicted under section 4; Raksha Devi v. Aruna Devi, I (1991) DMC 46 (P&H).
(v) Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act is not ultra vires nor does it contravene any articles 14, 19, 21, 22 of the Constitution; Indrawati v. Union of India, 1 (1991) DMC 117 All.

4A. Ban on advertisement .- If any person -
(a) Offers through any advertisement in any newspaper, periodical, journal or through any other media, any share in his property or of any money or both as a share in any business or other interest as consideration fore the marriage of his son or daughter or any other relatives.
(b) Prints or published or circulates any advertisement referred to in clause (a), he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend to five years, or with fine which may extend to fifteen thousand rupees.
Provided that the Court may, for adequate and special reasons to be recorded in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months.

5. Agreement for giving or taking dowry to be void - Any agreement for the giving or taking of dowry shall be void.