Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (India) deals with the penalty for giving or taking dowry. The provision specifically prohibits the giving, taking or demanding of dowry and stipulates punishment for such offenses.
The act defines “dowry” as 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 at or before or after the marriage as consideration for the marriage. It includes gifts given in connection with the marriage ceremony.
The section clearly states that if any person gives, takes, demands or abets in giving/taking of dowry, he/she shall be punishable with imprisonment up to five years and a fine which shall not be less than fifteen thousand rupees or an amount equivalent to the value of such dowry whichever is more.
It is pertinent to note that even participation in any act leading up to demand/giving/taking of dowry also attracts punishment under this section. The Supreme Court has also held that even indirect involvement in such acts would lead to conviction under this section.
There have been numerous cases where individuals have been convicted under Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act, including Narinder Singh vs State Of Punjab and Pramod Kumar Vs State Of Uttar Pradesh. In these cases, it was established that even if there was no direct evidence proving receipt/demand/giving of dowry but circumstances leading up to it indicated its existence then too action could be taken under Section 3.
Non-resident Indians (NRI) are not exempt from this law since they are still considered citizens/subjects bound by Indian laws irrespective of their physical location. In fact, NRIs might be more prone towards committing such offenses due to cultural differences/misunderstandings leading them into wrongdoings related to marriages/dowries involving Indian citizens residing within India itself.
Therefore as per recent amendments made to the law, if an NRI is found guilty under Section 3 of Dowry Prohibition Act or any other related provisions, it shall be considered a compoundable offense.
In conclusion, it is imperative to understand that dowry-related offenses are serious and punishable by law. It is therefore important for NRIs to educate themselves on Indian laws and cultural norms before engaging in any act leading up to demand/giving/taking of dowry. Law enforcement agencies should also take strict action against offenders irrespective of their residency status to ensure justice and uphold the sanctity of marriage.