1) Introduction 

               In  1986 a new offence known as dowry death was inserted in the Indian Penal ode by the Virtue of Section 304-B. The provisions Under Section 304B of Indian Penal Code are more stringent than provided under Section 498A of Indian Penal code. The offence under Section 304-B is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Court of Session.
                      

2) Dowry Death (Section 304-B)

         (1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called "dowry death", and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.


Explanation -

           For the purposes of this sub-section, "dowry" shall have the same meaning as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act,1961 (28 of 1961).

               

3) Ingredients 

Essential Ingredients of Dowry Death are as follows :

(i) Death of woman should be caused by burns or bodily injured or otherwise than under normal circumstances.

(ii) Death should have occurred  within Seven years of her marriage

(iii) The woman must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or relatives of her husband 

(iv) Such Cruelty or harassment should be for or in connection with the demand for dowry.

(v) Such cruelty or harassment should have been subjected soon before her death

       If death of woman caused under the above circumstances , the husband and husband's relatives will be presumed to have caused a'dowry death'and be liable for the offence, unless it is proved otherwise.

4) Punishment 

           Under Section 304-B (2) of Indian Penal Code  Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.


5) Procedure 

           The offence under Section 304-B is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Court of Session.


6) Relevant Case Law 


a) Hans Raj Vs State of Punjab 

    In this case Supreme Court held that the term normal circumstances apparently means not the natural death.
     

b) Rameshwar Das Vs. State of Punjab (2008 Cri. L. J. 14000 SC) 

       In this Supreme Court held that, Pregnant woman would not commit suicide unless relationship with her husband comes to such a pass that she would be compelled to to so. Accused liable to be convicted on failure to prove his defence.
              

7) Conclusion 

        Cruelty or harassment of a Married  women when it result in death of the women would attract Section 340B of Indian Penal Code.


See also 

1) Offences Relating to Elections : Indian Penal Code 1860

2) Punishments under the Indian Penal Code,1860

3) Difference between Unlawful assembly and Affray

4) Distinction / Difference between Robbery and Dacoity

5) Difference between Common Intention and Common Object

         

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