Dowry death under indian penal code


The dowry system in India refers to the bride’s family gives to the bridegroom, his parents, or relatives as a condition for the marriage. Dowry death is the death of a married woman who is murdered or driven to suicide by continuous harassment and torture by their husband and in-laws over a dispute about their dowry making the women’s homes the most dangerous place for them to be. Dowry death is defined in Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Also Section 113B of the Indian Evidence Act,1872 states the presumption as to dowry death.

We have been seeing the demand for dowry for centuries, but to stop dowry, its demand must be properly understood by society so that its practice stops. There are various causes to demand dowry-

  • People call it a tradition or a custom followed at weddings. In the name of tradition to be followed by the bride’s family gives valuable gifts to the groom’s family.
  • The grooms family voluntarily seeks dowry to keep their son in a good job and to have a great reputation.
  • Earlier people believed that giving dowry would bring a good name to society. Over time it became a show-off concept in society and people started comparing it with others.

According to section 304Bof the IPC-

  1. 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.
  2. Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.


  • Death should be caused by burns or bodily injury or by any other circumstances.
  • Death must occur within the seven years of marriage.
  • It must be revealed that soon before her marriage she was exposed to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any other relative.
  • The cruelty or harassment on her should be in connection with the demand for dowry.

The offence of 304-B is

  • Cognizable
  • Nonbailable
  • Non- compoundable
  • Tribal by Court of Session

Section 113-B presumption as to dowry death

When the question is whether a person has committed the dowry death of a woman and it is shown that soon before her death such woman had been subjected by such person to cruelty or harassment for, or in connection with any demand for dowry. The court shall presume that such a person had caused the dowry death.

Case Laws

  • Hansraj V. State of Punjab
    In this case, SC held that the term normal circumstances mean not a natural death.
  • Rameshwar Das V. State of Punjab, 2008
    In this case, Sc held that pregnant women, the woman would not commit suicide unless the relationship with her husband comes to such a passed that she would be compelled to do so, accused is liable to be convicted on the failure to prove his defense.

According to Section 2 of the dowry prohibition act 1961 which states that dowry is any property or valuable security directly or indirectly agreed to be given –

  • By one party to a marriage to another party to the marriage or
  • By the parent of either party to a marriage or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or any other person, at or before or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of the said parties.

Practicing in the name of a so-called tradition that is dowry is seen existing in every place in India whether rural or urban. The menace of dowry custom has reached far down in society. Despite making so many provisions practicing demand for dowry still has not stopped. No matter how many laws the government makes it still can’t eradicate it from society. To fully eliminate it the people of the society has to understand that it is wrong.

By enacting strict laws in society it can be controlled but can’t put an end to it because of the unawareness of the laws in the society and also no support from the families. Even if the girl complains to her parents about the torture she faces by the husband’s family the parents of the girl opt to compromise instead of bringing it to the light. The laws and support from society together can solve the issue.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

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