Marriage gifts given to brides not dowry: Kerala HCtext_fields
Kochi: The Kerala High Court ruled on Wednesday that presents given to a bride at the time of her wedding for her welfare cannot be treated as dowry under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. The HC bench of Justice MR Anitha observed that such presents which are not given out of demands and have been entered in a list maintained in compliance with provisions of the Act do not violate Section 3 (1) of the Act that prohibits give or take of dowry, Live Law reports.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the husband in a couple married in 2020. The relationship between the couple weakened in time, and the wife went against the husband legally by filing a petition before the dowry nodal officer. She has alleged that her ornaments, gifted during the marriage, are kept in a bank locker and not returned yet. The husband pleaded before the HC that the wife owns the key for the bank locker and controls it. He added that the District Dowry Prohibition Officer has no jurisdiction to accept the wife's petition since the ornaments were gifts instead of dowry.
The HC's ruling has high significance at the moment in Kerala since the state had witnessed multiple cases of dowry-related death, The News Minute reports. A 22-year-old woman of Kadakkal, Kollam, had died of suicide in June, and the incident was allegedly out of dowry harassment. Her husband was arrested later but more similar incidents followed in the state. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had responded to the unfortunate incidents that dowry is a grave social evil, while governor Arif Mohammed Khan undertook day-long fasting to create awareness against the practice and to end cruelty against women.