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provisions regarding dowry death’ in I.PC ?

According to sec. 304 of L.P.C., (I) Where the death of
a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs oth-
erwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of
her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was
subjected, to cruelty
or harassment by her husband or any rela-
tive of her husband for. or in connection with any demand for
dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death, and such hus-
band or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.”
Explanation : For the purposes of this sub-section, “dowry
Shall have the same meaning as in sec. 2 of the Dowry Prohibi-
tion Act, 1961.

(I) Whatever commits dowry death shall be punished with
imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years
but which may extend to imprisonment for life.
Ingredients: The Supreme court took occasion in Shanti
Vs. State of Haryana (AIR 1991 SC 1226) that this section has
the following essentials : () The death of a woman should be
caused by burns or bodily injury or otherwise than under normal
circumstances, () Such death should have occurred within
seven years of her marriage; (II) She must have been subjected
to cruelty or harassment should be for or in connection with
demand for dowry.

Another ingredient for the section to come into play is that
the cruelty or harassment was meted out “soon before her death”.
The court held that the section was not attracted because there
was no cruelty or harassment soon before her death. The court
compared sec. 304-B with sec. 113-B of the Evidence Act, 1872
where also the words “soon before” occur.
Injuries insufficient to cause death : Where injuries as
found on the person of the deceased could not have caused her
death, the offence would not attract the mischief of the section
304-B, though here might have been history of torture fro dowry.

Comparison with sec. 498 A I.P.C. : The wife died in
mysterious circumstances. There was history of harassment and
cruelty caused to her by the in-laws and the husband. The post-
mortem report indicated that her death was caused by poisoning
but the same was negativaed by C.F.S.L. report. The accused
was charged under sec. 304B and 498A which he challenged. It
was held that the contradictory reports were no ground to dis-
charge him.

Retrospective Operation : The section creates a new of-
fence. An act committed prior to is enactment and enforcement
cannot be tried under this section. The Allahabad proceeded some-
for what differently. In reference to the offence of bride burning
dowry which accurred before coming two force of sec. 304 B,
it cannot be said that section 304 B is an ex post facto lavw and it
cannot apply in conneetion with an occurrence which took place
prior to is enactment. The new offence of bride burning’ was
unknown on the date of occurrence in this case. Section 304 B
does not create a new offence, rather it reiterates in substance
the offence under section 302 under which such offences were
punished. So doctrine of ex post facto would not apply.

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