Allahabad HC asks UP if it has appointed Dowry Prohibition Officers

The Allahabad HC directed the Uttar Pradesh government to file an affidavit on whether Dowry Prohibition Officers have been appointed to oversee that the provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act are complied with.

The court stated that if Dowry Prohibition Officers have not been appointed till date, the state government should explain as to why they have not been appointed when cases of dowry are rising.

The court passed the order while hearing a petition filed by one Ankit Singh and others.

“… it is then imperative that the steps taken by such Dowry Prohibition officers towards implementation of the provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act is shown in respect of preparation of the list of presents given in the marriage as per section 3(2) of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The State Government shall also disclose the orders issued for implementation of the Dowry Prohibition (Maintenance of Lists of Presents to the Bride and Bridegroom) Rules, 1985… The affidavit shall also disclose how many Dowry Prohibition Officers have been appointed throughout the State and at what level,” the court order issued recently stated.

As per Section 3(2) of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, presents given at the time of marriage to the bride or bridegroom that are entered in the list maintained in accordance with the Rules made under the Act shall not be construed as dowry under Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.

Festive offer

However, Section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 provides if any person gives or takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than 5 years, and with a fine not less than Rs 15,000 or the amount of the value of such dowry, whichever is more.

The court also issued a directive to the state government, urging them to submit an affidavit regarding the implementation of the Dowry Prohibition (Maintenance of Lists of Presents to the Bride and Bridegroom) Rules, 1985 during the registration of marriages.   The court sought clarification on whether the list of presents, as mandated by the aforementioned rules, was being recorded by the officers concerned because it could help settle any disagreements later.

The next date of hearing has been fixed for May 23.