There is a specific provision in the Indian Penal Code, S. 304B which deals with Dowry death. This section makes it easier to prove dowry death as against other death-related offences. This is because it shifts the burden of proof on an accused (normally the burden of proof is on the prosecution or the complainant). As long as the prosecutor proves the case, the court will deem that the person has accused committed the offence.
The burden of proof only shifts once the prosecution can show certain things. These are:
- The death of the woman was caused by burns or injuries which are not like ordinary course burns and injuries.
- The victim was a married woman and she died within 7 years of her marriage.
- The victim suffered ‘cruelty or harassment’ because of demands for dowry. So there must be some connection between the death and demands for dowry.
Once all this is shown by the prosecutor, the court will deem that the accused has committed the offence. Now, the accused must prove that she or he did not commit the offence. The burden of proof shifts onto the accused. You can be punished with jail time of up 7 years or more (including jail for life).
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