What is dowry?
`Dowry' means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly-
(a) by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or
(b) by the parents of either party to a marriage or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or to any other person;
at or before or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of said parties but does not include dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies.
***Explanation II.-The expression `valuable security' has the same meaning as in Sec. 30 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
What is dowry harassment? Who can complain?
Dowry harassment is a criminal offence in India. Dowry harassment covers a span of behaviours and actions by the man or his parents or other relatives. These are
- The giving or taking of dowry
- Demanding dowry
Which are offences under the Dowry prohibition act? Apart from these, there are offences related to dowry, like cruelty under criminal law (Sec.498A IPC) which are,
- Any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health whether mental or physical of the woman; or
- Harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her meet such demand.
The victim of dowry harassment, victim's parents or victim's relatives can also make a complaint for any of the above offences at the police stations.