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Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

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The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 was amended twice - in 1984 and 1986

Act No 28 of 1961

[20th May, 1961]

An Act to prohibit the giving or taking of dowry.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Twelfth Year of the Republic of India as follows.-

Sections from the Act

  • Section 1: Short title, extent and commencement
  • Section 2: Definition of "dowry"
  • Section 3: Penalty for giving or taking dowry
    • Presents given at the time of marriage of bride without any demand having been made in this behalf and entered in a list made at the time of marriage, does not attract provisions of Section 3. But, property is demanded, it would fall within the term of dowry.
    • Has penal provisions of imprisonment up to 5 years and fine of Rs. 15,000 or the amount of dowry, which ever is more...
  • Section 4: Penalty for demanding dowry
    • Mere demand for dowry is an offense. Punishment could be from 6 months and extended to 2 years. Fine can be up to 10,000 rupees.
  • Section 5: Agreement for giving or taking dowry to be void
  • Section 6: Dowry to be for the benefit of the wife or her heirs
  • Section 7: Cognizance of offences
  • Section 8: Offences to be non-cognizable, bailable and non-compoundable
  • Section 9: Power to make rules
  • Section 10: Repeals

Important Points

  • If a person who is prosecuted under Section 3 and 4 of the Act, the burden of proving his innocence falls on the accused only.

Related Cases / Recent Cases

  • Inder Sen vs State, 1981 Cr LJ 1116 (Del.): 1986 Amendment: Anything given or agreed to be given after was not dowry unless it was agreed or promised to be given as 'consideration of marriage'.
  • Shanmighavelu vs State, 2004 Cr LJ (Mad.): Demand of dowry made after three years of marriage cannot be said to be demand in connection with marriage.
  • Sameer vs State of Orissa, 2003 Cr LJ 2923: The objective of the Section 4 is to discourage the very demand of dowry as consideration for marriage.
  • Section 14 of Specific Relief Act, 1963: A Contract for marriage cannot be specifically be enforced.

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