Dowry Laws in India


June 24, 2019
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty



LEGALITY: Dowry is illegal in India under the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961.

OFENDER: Under the said Act, both taking and giving of dowry is punishable.

PUNISHMENT: The punishment for violating the law is 5 yrs imprisonment and Rs.15000 fine (or the value of dowry given, whichever is more)

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SCOPE:

  • Any demand made by the groom/his family which involves a direct/indirect deal with the family is considered as dowry.

  • Demand can be in form of cash, property or any other favours.

  • Demand can be made before, during or after the wedding.
     

HOW TO IDENTIFY A DOWRY DEMAND:

  • Includes anything that the bride’s side does not offer on its own

  • Includes anything that the groom’s side may ask for directly, or indirectly by dropping hints

  • Any demand which makes the bride’s side compelled to fulfil it

  • Giving of anything as a pre-condition to marriage, without which the bride’s side anticipates that the marriage might be called off

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  • Negotiation for a lesser deal from the groom’s side when the bride’s side is unable to fulfil the actual demand/’real deal’

  • Making the bride’s family fulfil demands as compensation for marrying their daughter after the wedding


WHEN IS A GIFT NOT DOWRY:

In the following scenarios, the bride’s side will not be violating any dowry laws:

  • Gifts of their own choosing by the bride’s parents to the newly married couple without being pressured or asked

  • List of such gift/s should be drawn up by their lawyer along with their cost and a declaration that that they were given to the couple out of their own choosing

  • The groom’s family should have a copy of the said list

  • Any gift for the couple will belong to the both of them

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WHAT IS STREEDHAN?

  • Anything gifted by the bride’s parents to her and not to the groom is the sole property of the bride and is called ‘streedhan’ (the wife’s property)

  • Streedhan can be given before, during or after the wedding

  • Streedhan includes property inherited by the bride

  • Also includes gifts given in cash or kind by her own family and/or husband’s family

  • Bride is the absolute owner of streedhan

  • Husband and his family have no right over it

  • In case she leaves the marriage, she will get her streedhan back

  • In case of unforeseen death of the bride, streedhan is returned to the bride’s family.



 

These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.


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4.9 - 17 reviews
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