Demand for property or valuables which has a connection with marriage constitutes “dowry” even if it is made by the husband or in-laws for starting a new business, the Supreme Court has ruled.
“If a demand for property or valuable security, directly or indirectly, has a nexus with marriage, in our opinion, such demand would constitute 'demand for dowry'; the cause or reason for such demand being immaterial,” the SC said.
A bench of justice Aftab Alam and justice RM Lodha passed the judgement while dismissing the appeal filed by Bachini Devi and her son challenging the seven years’ rigorous imprisonment awarded to them in a dowry death case.
The bench rejected the argument of the convicts, who citing a 2007 apex court judgement in the Appasaheb vs Maharashtra case, claimed that if a demand was made by the husband or in-laws for starting a business, the same would not constitute "dowry".
"There is no merit in the contention of the counsel for the appellants that the demand of motorcycle does not qualify as a 'demand for dowry'. All the essential ingredients to bring home the guilt under Section 304B IPC are established against the appellants by the prosecution evidence.
“As a matter of law, the presumption under Section 113B of the Evidence Act, 1872 is fully attracted in the facts and circumstances of the present case. The appellants have failed to rebut the presumption...,” justice Lodha said.