Question: What is a “dowry death”? State briefly the law relating to dowry death with the help of some illustrative cases. [R.J.S. 1989, M.P.C.J. 2006, U.P.C.J. 1992, 1999, U.P.H.J.S. 1995, 1996, 2012, MPCJ 1981] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What is a “dowry death”? State briefly the law relating to dowry death… Read More »

Question: What is a “dowry death”? State briefly the law relating to dowry death with the help of some illustrative cases. [R.J.S. 1989, M.P.C.J. 2006, U.P.C.J. 1992, 1999, U.P.H.J.S. 1995, 1996, 2012, MPCJ 1981] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What is a “dowry death”? State briefly the law relating to dowry death with the help of some illustrative cases.] Answer: Dowry death is defined and made punishable under section 304-B (1), IPC. Where the death of...

Question: What is a “dowry death”? State briefly the law relating to dowry death with the help of some illustrative cases. [R.J.S. 1989, M.P.C.J. 2006, U.P.C.J. 1992, 1999, U.P.H.J.S. 1995, 1996, 2012, MPCJ 1981]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What is a “dowry death”? State briefly the law relating to dowry death with the help of some illustrative cases.]

Answer:

Dowry death is defined and made punishable under section 304-B (1), IPC.

Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called ‘dowry death’, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.

The essential ingredients of section 304-B are:

  1. the death of a woman should be caused by burns or bodily injury or otherwise than under normal circumstances;
  2. such a death should have occurred within seven years of her marriage;
  3. she must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or by any relative of her husband;
  4. such cruelty or harassment should be for, or in connection with, the demand for dowry; and
  5. such cruelty or harassment is shown to have been meted out to the woman soon before her death.

Section 304-B imposes a statutory obligation on a court to presume that the accused has committed the dowry death when the prosecution proves that: (i) death of his wife has occurred otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage; and (ii) soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relatives in connection with demand for dowry.

If any accused wants to escape from the said catch, the burden is on him to disprove it. If he fails to rebut the presumption, the court is bound to act upon it.

In the case of Keshab Chandra Pande v. State (1995) Cr LJ 174 (Ori), the case where the accused had assaulted his wife due to non-fulfillment of demand for dowry once with an iron rod and after the said incident there was no reported violence or cruelty. After about one year the victim died.

The prosecution contended that the said assault had left an impression in the mind of the victim and that her death was due to violence and cruelty by her husband. The court, however, held that there was no proximate link between the incident of an act of assault and the death that occurred. Hence, the case is not satisfying the requirement of the law i.e., “soon before death”


In Nunna Venkateswarlu v State of Andhra Pradesh [(1996) Cr LJ 108 (AP)], the deceased had consumed pesticides and died an unnatural death after five years of marriage. There was evidence that she was tortured continuously and was harassed to sell the five acres of land gifted to her by her father at the time of marriage and to give the sale proceeds to her husband.

Unable to bear the harassment, she committed suicide. Though there was ample evidence that the demands for dowry were made, the High Court of Andhra Pradesh observed that the prosecution has to prove that there was a prior agreement by the parents of the girl to the husband or the in-laws to pay valuable security, money, etc.

Unless the existence of the prior agreement between the parties was proved, the court held that the accused would not be liable to be punished for an offense under Section 304-B. The high court held that since the demands made by the accused were not demands which were agreed to be paid by the father of the deceased at the time of the marriage, they would not amount to demands for dowry.

So, the high court convicted the accused only under Sections 498A and 306 and not under Section 304-B. The high court, it seems, was influenced by the words ‘agreed to be given in the definition of dowry in the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. IPC Mains Questions Series Part I: Important Questions
  2. IPC Mains Questions Series Part II: Important Questions
  3. IPC Mains Questions Series Part III: Important Questions
  4. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IV: Important Questions
  5. IPC Mains Questions Series Part V: Important Questions
  6. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VI: Important Questions
  7. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VII: Important Questions
  8. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VIII: Important Questions
  9. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IX: Important Questions
  10. IPC Mains Questions Series Part X: Important Questions
Updated On 2021-07-21T08:36:04+05:30
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