Marriage is believed to be the most sacred and important institution in personal laws. In a marriage, two individuals pledge to enter into a sacred norm with a promise to maintain marital obligation. It is one of the bases for the continuation of a civilized human race. There are some promises that one party made to other at different occasions of a marriage, but in certain circumstances, where the Groom and his relatives demand dowry from the bride and her relatives which sometimes when not fulfilled, a perverted sense of revenge and anger occurred within the mind of the husband and his relative which further lead to the harassment of the wife and her relative which sooner or later resulted in domestic violence or even to the extent of the death of the wife.

To eradicate such evil, legislators inserted section 498 A in the Indian Penal Code, 1860, by an amendment in 1986. The objects are curbing and combating the causes of Dowry’s deaths and to deal with the same with a firm hand. By the same amendment, sec 113 B had been added to the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.  It raises a presumption as to dowry against a person if it is shown that soon before her death such a woman had been subjected to cruelty or harassment at the hands of such person, in connection with the demand of dowry. However, it is a rebuttable presumption which means an assumption made by a court that is taken to be true unless someone comes forward to contest it and the onus of proof lies on the accused.


Essential Ingredients of section 304 B:

To apply this section, the following essentials must be satisfied:

  1. Death must be caused by burns or bodily injury or it must occur otherwise than under normal circumstances and also the death must occur within seven years of marriage.
  2. It must be shown that soon before the death of the woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relatives and such cruelty or harassment must be for or in connection with any demand for dowry.

The term dowry has not been defined in the Indian Penal Code but in Dowry Protection Act, 1961, it has been defined as any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage or by the parents of either party to a marriage or by any other person to either party to the marriage or any other person.

Further in the case of Pawan Kumar and ors. vs the State of Haryana, the court held that Section 113B and 304b should be conjointly read. The prosecution has to prove the essential ingredients beyond the reasonable doubts after raising the initial presumption of deemed dowry death.

The problem in Implementation of Law:

Even it is very evident that the intention of the Indian legislators is to eradicate this evil but it has failed to make an effective repair in this situation where the dowry victims are placed.

Although the fault in implementation can be seen in almost all the factors such as social, medico-legal, Police, Judicial factors, etc.


Dowry death is a social evil. It can be eradicated from its root only with a collective effort of the society along with the Judicial and Administrative System. Also, the education system needs to make more practical-based, the education status of women needs to improve and women should be made aware of their rights and privileges.

Along with this, I believe more female Police personnel should be induced so that, in situations where a woman is subjected to violence and harassment, feel free to approach the Police.

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