SC clarifies when dowry deaths may be presumed

What is the news?

In a recent judgement, the Supreme Court of India has interpreted Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code (dowry death). 

Must read: Supreme Court Guidelines on Section 304-B
How has the Supreme Court interpreted Section 304-B?

The Supreme Court has laid down the following prerequisites to be followed for convicting the accused for offence punishable under section 304B IPC:

that the death of a woman must have been caused by burns or bodily injury or occurred otherwise than under normal circumstance;

that such a death must have occurred within a period of seven years of her marriage;

that the woman must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment at the hands of her husband, soon before her death (The expression“soon before her death” implies that the interval should not be much between the cruelty or harassment concerned and the death in question. In other words, there must be an existence of a proximate and live link between the effect of cruelty based on dowry demand and the death concerned).

that such cruelty or harassment must have been for or related to any demand for dowry.

However, these presumptions of dowry death are also rebuttable if the accused is able to demonstrate through evidence that the ingredients of Section 304B IPC have not been satisfied.

Source: This post is based on the article SC clarifies when dowry deaths may be presumed published in The Hindu on 28th Dec 2021.

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