Patna High Court: Child Maintenance Requests Not Dowry

Patna HC: Husband's plea for child support isn't dowry. Clarifies distinction amid IPC 498A. Ruling aids in defining dowry under Dowry Prohibition Act.

The Patna High Court, in a recent ruling, clarified that a husband's request for financial support from the wife's family for their child's upbringing does not constitute dowry under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. This decision came during a revision plea filed by a husband convicted under Section 498A of the IPC.

In the case, the husband and wife married in 1994 and had three children. Three years after the birth of their daughter in 2001, the wife alleged that the husband and his relatives demanded Rs.10,000 from her father for the girl's care.

Examining the Dowry Prohibition Act, the court noted that demands for child maintenance do not fall under its definition of dowry. Section 498A of the IPC, dealing with cruelty against married women, was also considered. While it doesn't explicitly mention dowry, court precedents establish that harassment for any unlawful demand can constitute cruelty.

After analyzing the case and relevant laws, the court ruled that the husband's request for child maintenance did not amount to dowry. It stressed the need for continuous cruelty to establish a Section 498A charge.