Syed Majid Gilani

Dowry is defined as a demand for money or valuables from the groom’s family to the bride’s family in exchange for marriage. 

A huge number of dowry cases are everyday filed before our Hon’ble Courts by women along with their family members or at the behest of their family. While some cases are based on facts and deserve prosecution, there are instances where some women and their family members level false allegations of demand of dowry in a marriage and such cases are even filed decades after the contract of marriages. If someone has demanded and taken dowry, he and his family members are necessarily to be sternly dealt with under the law under Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. However, on the one hand this Act provides for the penalties for giving or taking dowry as imprisonment for not less than 5 years and a fine not less than Rs. 50,000 or the amount equal to the value of the dowry, whichever is higher, while on the other hand, if a wife or her family gives dowry or has given dowry, she and her family members too are not to be spared by law; they are to be dealt with by law under same section and attract the same penalities and imprisonment.  

If demanding and taking dowry is a crime, giving dowry is also a crime. Women and their family members should have filed dowry cases with the police department before giving any dowry. According to section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, it is an offence to both take dowry and give dowry. So the family of bridegroom would be liable for taking dowry so would the family of bride be to consent to give dowry. It is better to think twice before filing any frivolous cases against your husband and in-laws. In addition to this a woman and her family members have to satisfy/prove that the dowry was demanded, given and taken, and produce the witnesses, evidences, original requisite receipts, counterfoils of cheques, bank transaction receipts, and above all, the source of income of the woman and her family members,who had brought and given the dowry, along with their details of source of income Substantiated by copies of duly filed Income Tax Returns (ITR’S) as a proof. She and her family members have  to substantiate their claim of having given dowry and ito this end,submit the genuine Sales Tax/VAT/GST invoices of the items demanded, given and taken as dowry as an evidence. It is worthwhile to mention that in case a false allegation backfires, the consequences for the lying woman and her family members will often be greater than the initial damage. Once the truth is uncovered, the lying wife’s  credibility (and perhaps even the credibility of their legal representation) will be greatly diminished. There may also be financial penalties and legal issues for those who spread false allegations about their husband and in laws. It is better to book demanding would be husbands and his family members, but never to marry off our sisters and daughters with greedy people, and save her life from becoming hell. We need to approach the Police department and ensure to see those who demand dowry are put behind bars. Likewise, we should never appreciate and encourage our sisters/daughters in levelling baseless false accusations against their husbands and in laws just to settle scores with them, because, both giving dowry and taking dowry, that too by educated people is a crime. 

Syed Majid Gilani is a GST Inspector, J&K and can be reached at [email protected]

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