New Delhi, (Agencies): In a decision on dowry cases the Supreme Court has ruled that demand for property or valuables which has a connection with marriage constitutes dowry even if it is made by the husband or in-laws for starting a new business.

The apex court in a judgement said,"If a demand for property or valuable security, directly or indirectly, has a nexus with marriage, in our opinion, such demand would constitute 'demand for dowry'; the cause or reason for such demand being immaterial.”

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and R M Lodha passed the judgement while dismissing the appeal filed by Bachini Devi and her son challenging the seven years' rigorous imprisonment awarded to them in a dowry death case.

The bench rejected the argument of the convicts who citing an apex court 2007 judgement in the Appasaheb vs Maharashtra case claimed that if a demand is made by the husband or in-laws for starting a business, the same would not constitute "dowry".

In a case of the prosecution that the victim Kanta hanged herself at her in-laws' house in Kurukshetra on August 11, 1990, within three months of marriage, after she was pestered for bringing home a motorcycle to enable the husband carry out his milk vending business.

The deceased's father Pale Ram, a rickshaw-puller, could not afford to fulfil the demand.

The Additional Sessions Judge(I), Kurukshetra, sentenced them to seven years of RI. The Punjab and Haryana High Court affirmed the sentence, following which the duo appealed in the apex court.

The convicts took the plea that there was no evidence of a demand for motorcycle. It was further argued that in any case the demand of motorcycle for the purposes of the business does not qualify as a "demand for dowry" and, therefore, no offence under Section 304-B IPC can be said to have been made out against them.

Rejecting the argument, the apex court said, "The mere demand for dowry before marriage, at the time of marriage or any time after the marriage is an offence.