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Husband’s request for money from his wife’s parents to support their child is not considered a dowry demand: Patna HC

It has been recently observed by the Patna High Court that when a husband requests money from his wife’s parents to meet the expenses of the upbringing of the couple’s newborn child, then such a demand does not amount to dowry harassment.

Justice Bibek Chaudhuri had observed this, while he set aside the man’s conviction under section 498 of the IPC and section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

The couple got married in 1994 and had three children.

It has been claimed by the wife that after their daughter’s birth in 2001, the relatives and the husband demanded Rs. 10,000 from the wife’s father for meeting the expenses of taking care of the girl child. It was further alleged that she was subjected to torture for failing to fulfill demands.

The husband was convicted by the trial court for the guilt of dowry harassment and subjecting the wife to cruelty. The appellate court upheld the same, which prompted the man to approach the High Court for relief through a revision petition.

It was noted by the High Court that the main question before the same was whether requesting money to support the proper upbringing of the couple’s child constitutes a dowry demand.

The court noted that the husband’s request for ₹10,000 was solely for the maintenance of their daughter, unrelated to marriage.

The charge of cruelty under Section 498A (b) of the IPC, which defines dowry, was deemed invalid. Explanation (b) of Section 498A of the IPC doesn’t explicitly mention “dowry”, legal precedents interpret it as such.

The court acknowledged cultural practices where expenses for newborns are typically covered by the woman’s parental home until the child is three to six months old.

Ultimately, the court overturned the man’s conviction in the case and granted his revised plea.

Written By:- Shianjany Pradhan (@SHIANJANYPRADHAN)

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