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Commission of offence

The provision of Section 304B applies when the death of a woman is caused by any burn or bodily injury, or occurs under circumstances other than natural, within seven years of her marriage. It must be shown that soon before her death, she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or the relatives of her husband, to attract the application of Section 304-B IPC.

The essential ingredients are as follows:
  1. The death of the woman should be caused by a burn injury or occur under circumstances other than normal.
  2. Such death should have occurred within seven years of her marriage.
  3. The cruelty or harassment should be in connection with a demand for dowry.
  4. She must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband.
  5. Such cruelty or harassment should be shown to have been meted out to the woman soon before her death.
In the case of the unnatural death of a married woman, as in cases of this nature, the husband could be prosecuted under Sections 302, 304B, and 306 IPC of the Indian Penal Code. The distinction regarding the commission of an offence under one or the other provisions mentioned above came up for consideration before a Division Bench of this court in Satvir Singh and others vs. State of Punjab and another (2001) 8 SCC 633.

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