as a general rule if death is cause within 7 years of marriage then there is a presumption that it is a dowry death, if there is sufficient satisfaction of other essentials of Section 304B also. what if death is caused after 6 years and 9 months of marriage. Presumption will still prevail????
where a death of a women is caused by burns or bodily injuries within seven years of marriage and if there is clear evidence that soon before her death she is subjected to cruelty or in connection of dowry and demand of any such dowry , the such death is called dowry death and her husband and relatives are deemed to have caused her death.
death caused after 6 years and 9 months falls under the stipulated time frame of 7 years. so it falls under the preview of 304B. but dowry should be a catalyst and there should be sufficient evidence to prove that she was subjected to cruelty.
The presumption as to dowry death can be found on a conjoint reading of Section 113B of the Indian Evidence Act and Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code. It shows that there must be material to show that soon before her death the victim was subjected to cruelty or harassment. It should be a death occuring otherwise than in normal or natural circumstances. If the victim dies within 6 years 9 months of the marriage, the court has to determine the period which can come within the term "soon before" depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case.
The interval should not be too much between the concerned cruelty or harassment and the death in question in order to fall within the term "soon before". The court has to decide in each case whether the facts and circumstances suggest that the death of the victim is dowry death.
The legal provision pertaining to the presumption of dowry death within 7 years of marriage is provided under section 113B of Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Here 'within 7 years' means anytime from the day of marriage to the day of completion of 7th year of marriage.