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Section 4- The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

4. Penalty for demanding dowry.-

1 Penalty for demanding dowry.- If any person demands, directly orindirectly, from the parents or other relatives or guardian of a bride or bridegroom, as the case may be, any dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend to two years and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees.

Provided that the Court may, for a adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months.]


(i) The mere demand of dowry before marriage is an offence; Pandurang Shivram Kawathkar v. State of Maharashtra, 2001 Cr LJ 2792 (SC).

(ii) The offence of demanding dowry stood committed even before the marriage was performed and also when the demand was repeated again and again after the performance of marriage in respect of the same items of dowry; Harbans Singh v. Smt. Gurcharan Kaur alias Sharan Kaur, 1993 Rec Cr R 404 (Del).

(iii) The deceased had before being set on fire by her in-laws written a letter to her father that she was being ill-treated, harassed and threatened of dire consequences for non-satisfaction of demand of dowry. Thereby proving that an offence of demanding dowry under section 4 had been committed; Bhoora Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 1993 Cri LJ 2636 All.

(iv) There had been no agreement between either parties to the marriage nor their relations to give any property or valuable security to the other party at or before or after the marriage. Held that the demand of TV, refrigerator, gas connection, cash of Rs. 50,000 and 15 tolas of gold will not amount to demand of dowry but demand of valuable security and the said offence does not attract section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act; Shankar Prasad Shaw v. State, I (1992) DMC 30 Cal.

(v) Furnishing of a list of ornaments and other household articles at the time of settlement of marriage amounts to demand of dowry and accused are liable to be convicted under section 4; Raksha Devi v. Aruna Devi, I (1991) DMC 46 (P&H).

(vi) Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act is not ultra vires nor does it contravene articles 14, 19, 21, 22 of the Constitution; Indrawati v. Union of India, 1 (1991) DMC 117 All.


1. Subs. by Act 63 of 1984, sec. 4, for section 4 (w.e.f. 2-10-1985).

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The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

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