DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Social Issues)

News-CRUX-10     16th May 2024        
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Context: The Allahabad HC directed the Uttar Pradesh government to file an affidavit on whether Dowry Prohibition Officers have been appointed to oversee that the provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act are complied with.

Dowry Prohibition Act

  • About: Enacted on May 20, 1961, the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 was the first legislative measure aimed at addressing the issue of dowry.
  • Definition of Dowry: Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, offers a comprehensive definition of dowry, encompassing various forms of property or valuable security exchanged in relation to marriage.
  • Prohibition of Dowry: The primary aim of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, was to eradicate the practice of giving and receiving dowry, recognizing it as a harmful social phenomenon.
  • Legal Consequences: The act unequivocally prohibits both the giving and receiving of dowry, with Section 3 outlining penalties, including imprisonment and fines, for those involved.
  • Exclusions: Section 3(2) of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, exempts certain gifts exchanged during marriage ceremonies from being considered as dowry, subject to specific conditions.
  • Offenses and Penalties:Those found guilty of breaking this law face imprisonment for a minimum of five years and a fine of at least Rs 15,000, or an amount equivalent to the value of the dowry, whichever is greater.

Amendment to the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1984

  • About: It prescribes a minimum punishment of two years imprisonment and fine to anyone demanding dowry. 
  • Prohibited Items: It explicitly prohibits the giving, directly or indirectly, of any property or valuable security in connection with a marriage.
  • Absolute Prohibition on Dowry: Any exchange of cash, kind, jewelry, articles, or properties in respect of a marriage is strictly prohibited under the Dowry Prohibition Act.
  • Punishment: The Act mandates a minimum punishment of two years imprisonment and a fine for anyone found guilty of demanding dowry.

o Even the act of making a demand for dowry is now prohibited and carries a punishment of imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of Rs. 10,000/-.