As a law firm, we would like to elaborate on Section 3 of The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 which deals with the prohibition of giving and taking dowry. The section clearly states that if any person is found guilty of giving or taking dowry or abetting the same after the commencement of this Act, 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 such dowry whichever is more.
The purpose behind enacting such legislation was to eliminate the menace of dowry system prevalent in India. This act covers all forms of gifts given before or after marriage either directly by the groom’s family to bride’s family or vice versa as well as where they are demanded from either side.
In light of Non-Resident Indians (NRI), this legislation becomes even more relevant because it has been observed that in many cases NRIs demand huge amounts in cash, jewellery, property etc. as part of dowry forcing brides’ families into debt traps. Thus, it becomes crucial for Indian authorities to take strict action against such demands made abroad so that our country can project itself as zero-tolerant towards these malpractices.
Moreover, there have been several landmark case laws relating to cases under Section 3 whose outcomes have helped shape legal precedents around them:
1) In Suresh Kumar vs State Of Haryana & Ors [2015 SCC OnLine P&H 951] – It was held by Punjab & Haryana High Court that mere exchange/negotiations about settlement/agreement without exchange/actual delivery does not attract culpability under anti-dowry provisions.
2) In Aman Deep Singh v Harveen Kaur [2017(12) SCJ 444]– It was held by Supreme Court that gifts exchanged between two families at time wedding are not part of dowry under Section 2.
3) In State vs Rajkumar & Ors [RCR (Criminal) No. 22 of 2010]- It was held by Rajasthan High Court that for a person to be convicted under Section 3, it is necessary to prove that he/she voluntarily took the dowry or had knowledge about the same being given/taken as part of evidence must lead to an inference capable of showing beyond reasonable doubt guilt on this score.
4) Sudhir Kumar v State Of U.P [2001 CriLJ 701] –It was observed in this case by Allahabad High Court, that if there is no demand for cash/dowry directly from bride’s family, then giving money and other articles cannot be alleged as accompanying an offender”
In conclusion, section 3 provides stringent measures against those involved in demanding or accepting dowry, thereby making it mandatory to put an end towards such malpractices. By taking strict actions against cases related to NRIs and their demands abroad would make our country more progressive and protect vulnerable sections like brides from falling prey into these vicious circles.