Punishment for Dowry
Before punishing the accused, first let’s understand the term ‘dowry’. Dowry is any valuable or property, or money, given by the bride’s family to the bridegroom, his parent or relatives, as a condition of marriage. It is usually in the form of money or valuable gifts, and along with cash, it includes jewellery, car, furniture, appliances, etc.
The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961:
It is an act to prohibit any giving or taking of dowry:
- By one party to a marriage to other party to the marriage;
- By the guardians of either gathering to a marriage or by some other individual, to either gathering to the marriage or to some other person;at or before or at whatever time after the marriage regarding the marriage of said gatherings however does exclude dower or mahr on account of people to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies.
Penalty for giving or taking dowry: section 3
- 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 five years, and with the fine which shall not be less than fifteen thousand rupees or the amount of the value of such dowry, whichever is more.
- Nothing in sub-section (1) shall apply to or, in relation to, presents which are given at the time of a marriage to the bride (without nay demand having been made in that behalf).
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.
Penalty for demanding dowry: section 4
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 adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months.
Further, section 4A, ban on advertisement. If any person:
- 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 for the marriage of his son or daughter or any other relative,
- prints or publishes or circulates any advertisement referred to Cl. (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.
Burden of proof: when any person is prosecuted for taking or abetting the taking of dowry, under section 3, or demanding of dowry under section 4, the burden of proof, that he had not committed an offence under those sections shall be on him.
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