304B. Dowry death —
(1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.
Explanation —For the purpose of this sub-section, “dowry” shall have the same meaning as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961).
(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.
CLASSIFICATION OF OFFENCE
Punishment—Imprisonment of not less than 7 years but which may extend to imprisonment for life—Cognizable—Non-bailable—Triable by Court of Session— Non-compoundable.
Section 304B is a substantive provision creating a new offence and not merely a provision effecting a change in procedure for trial of a pre-existing substantive offence. As a consequence, accused cannot be tried and punished for the offence of dowry death provided in section 304-B of the Code with the minimum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment for an act done by them prior to creation of the new offence of dowry death; Soni Devrajbhai Babubhai v. State of Gujarat, 1991 Cr LJ (313) (SC).