Demand for Money after three years into Marriage also comes under the ambit of Anti-Dowry Law

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In a landmark judgment that could potentially have a far reaching impact on India’s war against medieval dowry practices, the Supreme Court of India has ruled that demand for money even after three years into marriage can come under the ambit of the Dowry Prohibition Act.

A three-judge bench consisting of Justices T.S. Thakur, Rohinton Nariman and Prafulla C. Pant, stated that any materialistic possession including money, property, or valuable security demanded by the husband or his family (anybody mentioned in Section 19 of the Dowry Prohibition Act) before, during or anytime after the marriage that could be reasonably linked to the death of a married woman must come under dowry.

Justice Nariman said, “Time lags may differ from case to case. All that is necessary is that the demand for dowry should not be stale but should be the continuing cause for the death of the married woman under Section 304B of the IPC (dowry death).”

It is worth mentioning here that different two-judge bench of the apex court had previously stated that if money or property is demanded long after the marriage on account of financial strategy or to meet some urgent household expenses, that cannot be termed as a demand for dowry.

However, the current bench stated: “There must be a nexus between the demand of dowry, cruelty or harassment, based upon such demand and the date of death. The test of proximity will have to be applied. But, it is not a rigid test. It depends on the facts and circumstances of each case and calls for a pragmatic and sensitive approach of the court within the confines of law.”

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