NEW DELHI: Demands made by the husband to his wife to bring money from her father even three years after marriage will come within the ambit of dowry under the Dowry Prohibition Act, the Supreme Court has held.
Giving this ruling, a three-judge bench comprising Justices T.S. Thakur, Rohinton Nariman and Prafulla C. Pant said that any money or property or valuable security demanded by any of the persons mentioned in Section 19 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, at or before or at any time after the marriage which could be reasonably connected to the death of a married woman, would necessarily come under dowry.”
Writing the judgment, 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).
Different two-judge benches of the top court had earlier said that a demand for money made long time after marriage on account of some financial stringency or for meeting some urgent domestic expenses or for purchasing manure could not be termed as a demand for dowry as the said word was normally understood.
Clarifying the law, the present three-judge bench said Sati and dowry deaths, two great social evils practised against women had plagued this nation for centuries.
It said: “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.