Section 2. Definition of ‘dowry’

In this Act, “dowry” means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly.

  1. By one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage, or
  2. By the parent of either party to a marriage or by any other person, , to either party to the marriage or to any other person,

At or before [(Note: Subs. by Act 43 of 1986, sec.2) or any time after the marriage] [(Note: Subs. by Act 63 of 1984, sec.2) in connection with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include] dower or mahr in the case or persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applied.

(Note: Explanation I omitted by act 63 of 1984, sec.2).

Explanation II- The expression “valuable security” has the same meaning as in section 30 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

Comment: “…even if the demand is long after the marriage the same could constitute dowry, if other requirements of the section are satisfied.” : State of H.P v. Nikku Ram, AIR 1996 SUPREME COURT 67

Section 3. Penalty for giving or taking dowry

[(Note: Section 3 re-numbered as sub-section (1) thereof by Act No.63 of 1984, sec.3) (1)] If any person, after the commencement of this Act, gives or takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than [(Note: Subs. by Act 43 of 1986, Sec.3) five years, and with fine which shall not be less than fifteen thousand rupees or the amount of the value of such dowry, whichever is more:]

Provided that the Court may, for a adequate and special reasons to be recorded in he judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment of a term of less than [(Note: Subs. by Act 43 of 1986, Sec.3) five years.]

(2) [(Note: Ins. by Act 63 of 1984, sec.3) Nothing is sub section (1) shall apply to, or in relation to, –

  1. Presents which are given at the time of a marriage to the bride (without any demand having been made in that behalf).
  2. Presents which are given at the time of a marriage to the bridegroom (without any demand having been made in that behalf).

Provided that such presents are entered in a list maintained in accordance with the rules made under this Act.

Provided further that where such presents are made by or on behalf of the bride or any person related to the bride, such presents are of a customary nature and the value thereof is not excessive having regard to the financial status of the person by whom, or on whose behalf, such presents are given .

Section 4. Penalty for demanding dowry

If any person demands, directly or indirectly, from the parents or other relatives or guardian of a bride or bridegroom, as the case may be, any dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend to two years and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees.

Provided that the Court may, for a adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months.

Section 8-A. Burden Of Proof In Certain Cases

Where any person is prosecuted for taking or abetting the taking of any dowry under Sec. 4, or the demanding of dowry under Sec. 4, the burden of proving that he has not committed an offence under those sections shall be on him. 

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