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Report No. 202

2.2 Law to regulate dowry

2.2.1 The Government, from time to time, has come up with legislations to protect the women and to punish those committing atrocities on them. In 1961, the Dowry Prohibition Act (Act 28 of 1961) was passed prohibiting taking or giving dowry. By the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act 1983 (Act 46 of 1983) Chapter XXA was introduced in the Penal Code with Section 498A, creating a new offence of cruelty, which provides for punishment to the husband or relatives if they harass the women with a view to coerce her to meet any unlawful demand for property.

Section 174 Cr.PC was also amended to secure Post Mortem in case of suicide or death of a woman within seven years of her marriage. Section 113A has been introduced in the Evidence Act, 1872 raising a presumption of cruelty as defined under Section 498A, I.P.C. against the husband or his relative if the wife commits suicide within a period of seven years from the date of her marriage.

2.2.2. These provisions reflect the anxiety of the Government to deal firmly with the menace of dowry and to curb the offences for which the root-cause is dowry. The Government again made sweeping changes in the Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1984. A new offence called "Dowry Death" has been inserted by introducing Section 304B in the Penal Code. Section 304, has been brought into force with effect from November 19, 1986. The relevant G.S.R. reads as follows:-

"G.S.R. 1185(E)-(New Delhi, the 5th Nov, 1986) - In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 1 of Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1986 (43 of 1986) the Central Government hereby appoints the 19th day of November, 1986 as the date on which the Act shall come into force".

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

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