14 October 2007
The Supreme Court has decided to examine whether a person can be prosecuted for an offence under the Dowry Prohibition Act without marriage actually taking place.
A Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhan and D K Jain on Friday admitted a petition filed by sub-engineer Manohar Lal Rawat against his conviction for an offence under Sec 4 (demanding dowry) of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1951 .
Earlier, counsel for the petitioner, Suresh Chand and K Shivraj Chaudhary contended before the court that Rawat has been wrongly convicted by the Madhya Pradesh High Court after 20 years for demanding dowry at the time of marriage on May 19, 1986.
The counsel also submitted that the petitioner had agreed to marry the girl without dowry after the intervention of the village elders and it was the bride’s family which refused to give their daughter in marriage to the petitioner and hence no offence can be said to have been committed by the petitioner.
It was also argued on behalf of the petitioner that both the courts below have recorded the finding of withdrawal of demand for dowry by the petitioner.
The court wanted to know whether actual performance of marriage is a precondition for attracting the provisions of the Act or whether a person can be prosecuted even without solemmnizing the marriage.
In the present case, the petitioner had demanded a refrigerator and a scooter during the customary dinner given by bride’s family to the ‘baraat’ and the girl’s family had expressed inability to meet the demand for scooter.
The apex court had granted bail to Rawat on June 18 this year and had also issued notices to the state of Madhya Pradesh.