The Delhi High Court has held that giving dowry under the fear that a proposed marriage may be called off is not an offence.
The court gave the ruling while quashing a first information report (FIR) filed against a bride and her family for conceding the dowry demand of the groom’s family.
Justice Ajit Bharihoke quashed the criminal proceedings against the woman and her family after they convinced the court that the dowry was given under pressure as the groom’s family had threatened to cancel the marriage.
‘As per the allegations in the complaint made by the petitioner (bride), the demand for dowry was made by the father of respondent (groom) at the time of engagement ceremony when he allegedly asked the father of the girl to concede to his demand for dowry, failing which he would call off the marriage,’ the court said.
‘It is obvious that the petitioner and her parents were confronted with the unenviable situation either to concede to the demand or face the loss of honour of their family in society, and if under that fear, the petitioner and her parents conceded to the demand for dowry, they cannot be faulted as they were victims of the circumstances,’ the court added.
The court said she cannot be subjected to prosecution for the offence under the Dowry Prohibition Act.