Traditional presents given to the bride or the bridegroom by friends, family, and relatives are not dowry- Calcutta HC.
The Calcutta High Court in the case of Netai Ghosh v. State of West Bengal has ruled that voluntary gifts given by relatives and friends before or after the wedding to the bride or the bridegroom and which are not given as a consideration for marriage but out of love and affection, will not fall within the definition of ‘dowry’ under the Dowry Prohibition Act.
While dowry as a quid pro quo for marriage is prohibited, giving traditional presents to the bride or the bridegroom by friends and relatives is not dowry, Justice Bibek Chaudhuri ruled.
The Court was hearing an appeal filed by the accused against a judgment of Trial court convicting them for offenses under Sections 498A and 304B of the IPC.
The case originated from a complaint of dowry death filed by Nirmal Ghosh regarding the death of his daughter, Soma.
It was presented that Nirmal Ghosh would give a gold chain to the appellants within 6 months of the marriage of his daughter Soma with Netai Ghosh. But immediately after marriage, the appellants started abusing Soma. The same was conveyed by the daughter to the complainant and other paternal relations.
Afterward, the complainant came to know that his daughter died by consuming poison and according to him Soma ended it all neglecting to bear physical and mental torment on demand of dowry inflicted upon her.
In this regards, the High Court Stated that “Any demand of money, property or valuable security made from the bride or her parents or other relatives by the bridegroom or his parents or other relatives or vice versa would fail within the mischief of “dowry” under the Act where such demand is not properly referable to any legally recognized claim and is relatable only to the consideration of marriage,”
Further, the Court set aside the order of the trial court and acquitted the accused.
By team SLC @sociolegalcorp