Dowry given during wedding time does not raise presumption that it was entrusted to parents in law of the bride to attract the Offence under Dowry Act: SC [Read Judgment]

Dowry given during wedding time does not raise presumption that it was entrusted to parents in law of the bride to attract the Offence under Dowry Act: SC [Read Judgment]

Supreme Court on Tuesday has held that giving of dowry and the traditional presents at or about the time of wedding does not in any way raise a presumption that such a property was thereby entrusted and put under the dominion of the parents-in-law of the bride or other close relations so as to attract ingredients of Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The Three judge bench comprising of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justices A.K. Sikri and R. Banumati made this observation in Bobbili Ramakrishna Raju Yadav vs. State of Andhra Pradesh.

It is also held that If the dowry amount or articles of married woman was placed in the custody of his husband or in-laws, they would be deemed to be trustees of the same. The person receiving dowry articles or the person who is dominion over the same, as per Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, is bound to return the same within three months after the date of marriage to the woman in connection with whose marriage it is given. If he does not do so, he will be guilty of a dowry offence under this Section.  The section further lays down that even after his conviction he must return the dowry to the woman within the time stipulated in the order.

Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act lays down that where the dowry is received by any person other than the bride, that person has to transfer the same to the woman in connection with whose marriage it is given and if he fails to do so within three months from the date of the marriage, he shall be punished for violation of Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. 

Context

In this case, the father of deceased wife, had lodged a complaint under Section 6 of the Dowry prohibition Act against her husband and her In Laws for not returning the Dowry articles even after her death. The accused are already facing criminal prosecution under Section 304 B and Section 498 A of IPC. High Court declined to quash the proceedings under Section 6 of Dowry Prohibition Act. The accused appealed to Apex Court.

The Apex Court observed that the deceased wife and husband were living in Bangalore at their matrimonial house. The court also said that, in respect of ‘stridhana articles’ given to the bride, one has to take into consideration the common practice that these articles are sent along with the bride to her matrimonial house. It is a matter of common knowledge that these articles are kept by the woman in connection with whose marriage it was given and used by her in her matrimonial house when the other appellants have been residing separately it cannot be said that the dowry was given to them and that they were duty bound to return the same to (deceased wife), the bench said.

The Court quashing the criminal proceeding against the In Laws said that giving of dowry and the traditional presents at or about the time of wedding does not in any way raise a presumption that such a property was thereby entrusted and put under the dominion of the parents-in-law of the bride or other close relations so as to attract ingredients of Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.

Read the Judgment here.