It is a known fact that even after the marriage

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It is a known fact that even after the marriage, demand for more valuables is continuously made. What is more difficult is make the distinction between “voluntary” and “involuntary”. In the case of Chandrashekaran v. State Representative Inspector of Police 8 the issue was whether the demand for more customary gifts at the time of “Pongal Servasi” would amount to demand for dowry? The Counsel for the accused submitted that expecting gifts at the time of a function would not fall under the definition of dowry. In the case of S. Reddy v. State of Andhra Pradesh 9 the Supreme Court has clearly said that Dowry as a quid pro quo for marriage is prohibited and not the giving of traditional presents to bride or the bridegroom by friends and relatives. Thus voluntary gifts given at or before or after the marriage as the case may be would not fall within the ambit of dowry. In these cases what needs to be looked into is not the fact as to whether a particular item is “Customary” in nature or not. What needs deeper analysis is whether the fact of “demand” was present or not. Would the demand for valuables under the cover of “customary gifts” be an indirect way of demanding Dowry? What needs to be looked into is whether that item was “Demanded” or not. The definition of dowry, under the DPA, must therefore include an explanation of the term “indirectly” to include all conduct or harassment to coerce the woman into meeting any demands for property or valuable security. Conclusion: Amendments required in the definition of “dowry” The definition of dowry along with the exceptions should be provided under one provision. The expression “presents” to be substituted by the term “gifts” to indicate the voluntary nature of the exchange. An explanation to be provided to the items that constitute “gifts” and should include a reference to items received as stridhan and mahr An explanation to be included to explain the term “voluntary” in relation to the exchange of gifts. An explanation of the term “indirectly” to be included. A proviso should be introduced allowing for the registration of lists of gifts maintained under this Act by the Protection Officer appointed under the Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, 2005. (Hereinafter the “PWDV Act”) 1 AIR 2003 Mad 2 AIR 1996 SC 2184
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115 2. SECTION 3: PENALTY FOR GIVING OR TAKING DOWRY Present Law Proposed amendments Remarks (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 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].
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  • Fall '19
  • DPA, Stridhan

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