The payment of a dowry gift, often financial, has a long history in many parts of the world. In India, the payment of a dowry is prohibited in 1961 under Indian civil law and subsequently by Sections 304B and 498A of the Indian Penal Code. These laws were enacted to make it easier for the wife to seek redress from harassment by the husband’s family. Anti-dowry laws have been criticized by men’s rights groups, who accuse women and their families of misusing the laws.
In India, there are civil laws, criminal laws, and special legislative acts against the tradition of dowry. Someone accused of taking dowry is, therefore, subject to a multiplicity of legal processes.
Presently, matrimonial cases are not confined within the realm of civil and family laws. Such cases can have criminal character too. Generally, wherever there is a cruelty exercised by the husband or his relative upon the wife in regard to the demand of dowry, a criminal case under section 498A of IPC is registered against the husband and the other relatives who were causing such cruelty or whose name is mentioned in the complaint by the wife. Along with this, a case under section 406 of IPC is registered for criminal breach of trust besides other provision of IPC and Dowry Prohibitions Act.