Two essential ingredients of Section 304-B IPC, apart from others, are (i) death of woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances, and (ii) woman is” subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for “dowry”. The explanation appended to sub-section (1) of Section 304-B IPC says that “dowry” shall have the same meaning as in Section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. Section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act reads as under: “2. Definition of “dowry”—In this Act “dowry” means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly— (a) by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or (b) by the parent of either party to a marriage .or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or to any other person, at or before or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (shariat) applies. In view of the aforesaid definition of the word “dowry” any property or valuable security should be given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly at or before or any time after the marriage and in connection with the marriage of the said parties. Therefore, the giving or taking of property or valuable security must have some connection with the marriage of the parties and a correlation between the giving or taking of property or valuable security with the marriage of the parties is essential. Being a penal provision it has to be strictly construed. Dowry is a fairly well known social custom or practice in India, It is well settled principle of interpretation of Statute that if the Act is passed with reference to a particular trade, business or transaction and words are used which everybody conversant with that, trade, business or transaction knows or understands to have a particular meaning in it, then the words are to be construed as having that particular meaning. (See Union of India vs. Garware Nylons Ltd., AIR 1996 SC 3509 and Chemicals and Fibres of India vs. Union of India, AIR 1997 SC 558). A demand for money on account of some financial stringency or for meeting some urgent domestic expenses or for purchasing manure cannot be termed as a demand for dowry as the said word is normally understood. The evidence adduced by the prosecution does not, therefore, show that any demand for “dowry” as defined in Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act was made by the appellants as what was allegedly asked for was some money for meeting domestic expenses and for purchasing manure. Since an essential ingredient of Section 304-B IPC, viz., demand for dowry is not established, the conviction of the appellants cannot be sustained.
APPASAHEB AND ANOTHER
STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
Therefore, my view is, if the demand for money is not related to marriage if it happened during normal course of life, do not use provisions of DP Act and 304B. I am no acquainted with the facts of your case. But keep in mind the above judgment. Only if it is specifically related to marriage, it will be treated as dowry otherwise, it is not treated as dowry death. Sec.302 IPC + Sec.498A is sufficient. Others will only help the cause of accused by creating confusion in the minds of judges.