Tag Archives: Consideration of MArriage

Voluntary Presents of Traditional Nature – Are Not Dowry

 The definition of the expression “dowry” contained in Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act cannot be confined merely to be “demand” of money, property or valuable security made at or after the performance of marriage. The legislature has in its wisdom while providing for the definition of “dowry” emphasized that any money, property or valuable security given, as a consideration for marriage, “before, at or after” the marriage would be covered by the expression “dowry” and this definition as contained in Section 2 has to be read wherever the expression “dowry” occurs in the Dowry Prohibition Act. Meaning of the expression “dowry” as commonly used and understood is different than the peculiar definition thereof under the Dowry Prohibition Act. Under Section 4, mere demand of “dowry” is sufficient to bring home the offence to an accused. Thus, any “demand” of money, property or valuable security made from the bride or her parents or other relatives by the bridegroom or his parents or other relatives or vice versa would fall within the mischief of “dowry” under the Dowry Prohibition Act where such demand is not properly referable to any legally recognized claim and is relatable only to the consideration of marriage. Marriage in this context would include a proposed marriage also, more particularly where the non-fulfilment of the “demand of dowry” leads to the ugly consequence of the marriage not taking place at all. The expression “dowry” under the Dowry Prohibition Act has to be interpreted in the sense which the statute wishes to attribute to it. The definition given in the statute is the determinative factor. The Dowry Prohibition Act is a piece of social legislation which aims to check the growing menace of the social evil of dowry and it makes punishable not only the actual receiving of dowry but also the very demand of dowry made before or at the time or after the marriage where such demand is referable to the consideration of marriage. Dowry as a quid pro quo for marriage is prohibited and not the giving of traditional presents to the bride or the bridegroom by friends and relatives. Thus, voluntary presents given at or before or after the marriage to the bride or the bridegroom, as the case may be, of a traditional nature, which are given not as a consideration for marriage but out of love, affection or regard, would not fall within the mischief of the expression “dowry” made punishable under the Dowry Prohibition Act. Reema Aggarwal v. Anupam, (2004) 3 SCC 199

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