“Dowry” in the sense of the expression contemplated by Dowry Prohibition Act in a demand
for the 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
demand dowry. section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act,1961 states that the dowry’ means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly:

  • by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or
  • by the parents 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 or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of said parties but does not include dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies.

Along with the Dowry Prohibition Act the section 304B of the Indian Penal Code talks about and lays down the essential ingredients for the Dowry Death. It states that Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or har­assment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.
(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprison­ment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life. Penalty for demanding dowry.-
(1)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 fewer than six months.

Agreement for giving or taking dowry to be void. Any agreement for the giving or taking of dowry shall be void. Offenses to be non-cognizable, available, and non-compoundable. Every offense under this Act shall be non-cognizable, available, and non-compoundable. Section 113B of the Evidence Act states that the when the question is whether a person has committed by dowry death of a woman and it is
shown that soon before her death such woman had been subjected by such person to cruelty or
harassment for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, the court shall presume that such
a person had caused the dowry death.

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