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Report No. 202

1.6 Question in issue

If all the four conditions stated above are present in a given case, then the husband or the relative concerned shall be deemed to have caused her death and such death will be called dowry death. The traditional criminal law dictum that an accused is presumed to be innocent unless proved guilty of the offence he is charged with, is not applicable on account of the legal fiction embodied in the provisions of Section 304B whereby he is deemed to have caused the death and the onus shifts on him to prove otherwise.

Where there is evidence that the accused committed the murder of woman in terms of Section 300 defining the offence of murder, he will be charged with the commission of the offence of murder and liable to be proceeded against accordingly. If the conditions of Section 304B or, for that matter, any other section of the Penal Code are present in such a case, the accused will be charged with the commission of that offence also.

The presence of such conditions pertaining to any other offence will not take out the case from the ambit of Section 300 dealing with the offence of murder. In view of the aforesaid, the Commission will consider in the succeeding chapters as to whether there is any warrant for appending capital punishment to Section 304B, for the reason that the offence of dowry deaths are highly despicable and shocks the conscience of the society.

Proposal to amend Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code Back

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