Should prepare a list of wedding presents received: ALL HC

Chambers of Ishaan Garg

Ch. No. 217, Western Wing, District & Sessions Court, Tis Hazari, New Delhi, Delhi 110054

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Allahabad High Court says why it is important

Presents received by the bride or the bridegroom at the time of marriage are not treated as dowry under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

The Allahabad High Court recently highlighted the apparent non-compliance with a rule under the Dowry Prohibition (Maintenance of Lists of Presents to the Bride and Bridegroom) Rules,1985 that requires couples to maintain a list of wedding presents they received.

Justice Vikram D Chauhan noted that parties in cases involving dowry demand allegations were not filing such lists with their petitions.

“It has not been brought to the notice of this Court that the aforesaid provision is in any manner being monitored or implemented by any responsible officer of the State Government. Section 3(2) of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 is required to be implemented in its letter and spirit so that citizens are not subject matter of frivolous litigation,” the single-judge said.

The Court explained that the legislature has carved out an exception by providing that presents given to the bridegroom or bride at the time of marriage would not be construed as dowry under the law. 

However, for the exception to apply, it is necessary that the presents are entered in a list so as to avoid levelling of false allegations by the parties to the marriage and their family members at a later stage.

The list of presents is also required to be signed by both the bride and the bridegroom, the Court noted further.  

“The Dowry Prohibition (Maintenance of Lists of Presents to the Bride and Bridegroom) Rules, 1985 have been framed in this respect by the Central Government in the Indian marriage system gifts and presents act as a token of celebration and honouring the important event. The legislature was aware of the Indian tradition and as such the above mentioned exception was carved out. The above mentioned list would also act as a measure to thrash out the allegations of dowry which are subsequently levelled in matrimonial dispute,” the Court said.

The law also requires appointment of dowry prohibition officers to ensure compliance with the law, the Court said while asking the State whether such officers have been appointed. 

In the event such officers have not been appointed till date, the State government shall explain as to why it has not been done even as disputes relating to dowry are rising, the order stated.

“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 Dowry Prohibition Officers are enjoined with the duty to ensure compliance of the Dowry Prohibition Act and the Rules framed thereunder. The affidavit shall also disclose how many Dowry Prohibition Officers have been appointed throughout the State and at what level,” the Court ordered.

It also asked the State to apprise it whether lists of presents are being taken by the officers from the couples at the time of their marriage.

The State was also asked to inform the Court about any rules passed by it under the Dowry Prohibition Act. The matter will be heard next on May 23.

Case Title: Ankit Singh And 3 Others v. State of UP and Another (2024 All HC