what is dowry prohibition act

Dowry Prohibition Act, Indian law, enacted on May 1, 1961, intended to prevent the giving or receiving of a dowry. Under the Dowry Prohibition Actdowry includes property, goods, or money given by either party to the marriage, by the parents of either party or by anyone else in connection with the marriage

    1. Penalty for giving or taking dowry.-

(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 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:

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 five years.
* * * Explanation I omitted by Sec.2 w.e.f 2nd October, 1985
(2)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 that such presents are entered in list maintained in accordance with rule made under this Act;

presents which are given at the time of 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 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.

    1. 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 less than six months.
4-A. Ban on advertisement. If any person-

      1. 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,
      2. 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.
    1. Agreement for giving or taking dowry to be void: Any agreement for the giving or taking of dowry shall be void.
    2. Dowry to be for the benefit of the wife or heirs.
      (1) Where any dowry is received by any person other than the woman in connection with whose marriage it is given, that person shall transfer it to the woman –

      1. if the dowry was received before marriage, within three months after the date of marriage; or
      2. if the dowry was received at the time of or after the marriage within three months after the date of its receipt; or
      3. if the dowry was received when the woman was a minor, within three months after she has attained the age of eighteen years, and pending such transfer, shall hold it in trust for the benefit of the woman.

(2) If any person fails to transfer any property as required by subsection (1) within the time limit specified therefor or as required by sub-section(3), he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend two years or with fine which shall not be less than five thousand rupees, but which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.

(3)Where the woman entitled to any property under sub-section (1) dies before receiving it, the heirs of the woman shall be entitled to claim it from the person holding it for the time being:
if she has no children, be transferred to her parents, or
if she has children, be transferred to such children and pending such transfer, be held in trust for such children.

(3-A) Where a person convicted under subsection (2) for failure to transfer any property as required by sub-section (1)or sub-section (3) has not, before his conviction under that sub-section, transferred such property to the women entitled thereto or, as the case may be, her heirs, parents or children, the Court shall, in addition to awarding punishment under that sub-section, direct, by order in writing, that such person shall transfer the property to such woman, or as the case may be, her heirs, parents or children within such period as may be specified in the order, and if such person fails to comply with the direction within the period so specified, an amount equal to the value of the property may be recovered from him as if it were a fine imposed by such Court and paid to such woman, as the case may be, her heirs, parents or children.

(4)Nothing contained in this section shall affect provisions of Sec. 3 or Sec. 4.

    1. Cognisance of offences.-

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2of 1974),- no Court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class shall try any offence under this Act; no Court shall take cognizance of an offence under this Act except upon –

      1. its own knowledge or a police report of the facts which constitute such offence, or
      2. a complaint by the person aggrieved by the offence or a parent or other relative of such person, or by any recognized welfare institution or organization:

Explanation.- For the purposes of this sub-section, “recognised welfare institution or organization” means a social welfare institution or organization recognized in this behalf by the Central or State Government.

(2) Nothing in Chapter XXXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2of 1974), shall apply to any offence punishable under this Act.)

Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, a statement made by the person aggrieved by the offence shall not subject such person to a prosecution under this Act.

    1. Offences to be cognizable for certain purposes and to be bailable and non-compoundable.

(1) The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) shall apply to offences under this Act as of they were cognizable offences-

      1. for the purpose of investigation of such offences; and
      2. for the purpose of matters other than-
        1. matters referred to in Sec. 42 of that Code, and
        2. the arrest of a person without a warrant or without an order of a Magistrate.

(2) Every offence under this Act shall be non-bailable and non-compoundable.

8-A. The burden of proof in certain cases: Where any person is prosecuted for taking or abetting the taking of any dowry under Sec. 3, or the demanding of dowry under Sec.4, the burden of proving that he had not committed an offence under those sections shall be on him.

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