The Delhi High Court has quashed an FIR against a woman on a complaint by her husband under the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 for giving dowry. It said the woman cannot be booked on the basis of the charges she has levelled against her husband and his family members of harassing her parents for dowry.
The case against the woman had been lodged at the Roop Nagar police station in North Delhi on an order by an Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) on an application filed by the husband of the woman under the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961.
The ACMM had accepted the plea of the woman's husband that she had committed an offence under the Act by giving dowry to him as giving or abetting someone to give dowry is an offence under the Act.
Earlier, the police had lodged a case against the woman's husband on a complaint by her accusing him and his parents of threatening her parents of cancelling the proposed marriage if their demands for white goods, car and cash were not met at the time of engagement.
The husband of the woman had moved the ACMM court following lodging of the case against him and his parents under 498A (subjecting a woman to cruelty by the husband or his relative) and 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) of the India Penal Code.
The husband had argued before the ACMM court that by levelling the allegation that her husband and in-laws had demanded dowry from her parents and the latter had met most of their demands, she had admitted the commission of offence on her part.
Countering his argument, the woman argued that it was a gross abuse of process of law. The woman further argued that Section 7 (3) of the Act actually provides for the protection to the aggrieved by the offence.
Admitting the argument of the woman, Justice Ajit Bharihoke said: “No doubt, as per Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, giving or abetting to give dowry is a punishable offence, but the petitioner (woman) does have protection of Section 7(3) of the Act. Section 7(3) provides that notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, a statement made by the person aggrieved by the offence under the Act shall not subject her to prosecution under this Act.”
Quashing the FIR, Justice Bharihoke said the parents of the woman had no option but to accept the demand of dowry to protect their dignity in society as the parents of the boy had threatened to cancel the marriage.
Keywords: Dowry harassment