CUTTACK: Customary gifts and presents given to the bride or groom during marriage cannot be considered as dowry, Orissa High Court ruled.In a significant judgment, a single judge bench of Justice SK Sahoo observed that the presents given at the time of marriage either to the bride or groom do not come within the definition of dowry as per the Dowry Prohibition Act.
The court further observed that it is the duty of the police officer investigating cases relating to matrimonial disputes involving dowry demands, torture etc, to collect evidence as to which of the articles are gifts and presents received during marriage.
It is an usual practice while giving statement before police to attribute every article received by the groom side as dowry. A careful approach at the time of investigation is very much necessary not only in the interest of the prosecution but also for a fair trial of the accused and to arrive at the truth, the bench added.
The High Court’s observation came while considering a bail application filed by one Firoz Mahammad of Jagatpur in Cuttack who was in custody for alleged dowry death case of his wife.
The court also forwarded a copy of the order to Odisha DGP to instruct the IICs and OICs of all police stations of the State to keep in mind the observations during investigation of the dowry related cases.