As a law firm specializing in Indian laws, we deem it necessary to discuss the implications of Section 9 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (India) on Non Resident Indians (NRIs).
Section 9 of the Dowry Prohibition Act provides that any person who demands or accepts dowry shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not less than six months but which may extend up to two years. Additionally, such a person is liable to pay a fine that can go up to ten thousand rupees. This provision applies irrespective of whether the accused individual is an Indian citizen residing in India or an NRI living abroad.
The purpose behind enacting this law was to curb dowry-related practices prevalent at the time and prohibit individuals from engaging in such acts within India’s territorial boundaries as well as overseas. It was primarily introduced due to widespread cases of violence and harassment inflicted upon women by their in-laws and husbands after they failed to meet unreasonable dowry demands.
Over time, there have been several significant case laws dealing with issues arising under Section 9 of The Dowry Prohibition Act involving NRIs. One commonly cited case is Kanwarjit Singh vs State of Punjab where it was held that demanding money can be considered illegal even if one only requests through conversations rather than directly.
Similarly, in Manjula Kachwaha v/s Bahadur Singh Kachwaha & Ors., while considering Section 3 and Section 4(2) IPC, it was held that refusal by husband or his relatives to receive woman back after she lodges complaint against them amounted virtually compelling her into matrimony against her wishes.
In Harshadkumar Mansukhlal Shah v/s Rameshchandra Ambalal Mehta & another; AIR1996SC464], Supreme Court observed- “the burden will shift on those who assert consideration having been passed for existence or non-existence of consideration. In case the consideration is proved, it would be for the court to take a view whether such an agreement which is sought to be enforced is prohibited by law.”
Another notable case relating to NRIs and Section 9 of The Dowry Prohibition Act includes Smt. Renu Mittal vs Shri Rajinder Kumar Mittal & Ors., where the Delhi High Court held that any demand for money in lieu of dowry was unlawful and punishable under this provision.
The above-cited cases reflect how courts have rigorously dealt with offenses related to dowry demands and accepted that such illegal practices cannot be tolerated under any circumstances, even if they happen abroad.
In recent years, there has been an increase in cases filed against NRIs alleging dowry harassment or demands within India’s jurisdiction that pose significant challenges. This may sometimes entail initiating legal proceedings against parties residing overseas, which can present practical difficulties when it comes to enforcing judgments or seeking cooperation from foreign countries’ authorities.
Therefore, as a law firm dealing with NRI concerns in general, we must make our clients aware of these relevant provisions concerning Section 9 of The Dowry Prohibition Act while advising them on legal implications arising out of marriage laws and give proper guidance based on individual situations.
To sum up, as per Indian laws including The Dowry Prohibition Act (Section-9), demanding or accepting dowry is strictly forbidden regardless of one’s residence status. It is essential for NRIs who are considering getting married or involved in matrimonial disputes involving issues around dowries/illegal demands explicitly seek professional legal advice before taking any action that could lead them into trouble at a later stage.