(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 purposes 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.
The essential ingredients of Section 304-B of IPC are:
1. The death of a woman should be caused by burns or bodily injury or otherwise than under normal circumstances
2. Such death should have occurred within seven years of her marriage
3. She must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband
4. Such cruelty or harassment should be for or in connection with demand for dowry and
5. Such cruelty or harassment is shown to have been meted out to the woman soon before her death. Any presents made at the time of a marriage to either party to the marriage in the form of cash, ornaments, clothes or other articles, shall not be deemed to be dowry within the meaning of this section, unless they are made as consideration for the marriage of the said parties. The presumption of dowry death will arise only when the prosecution has established the basic element of demand for dowry. The initial burden lies on the prosecution to prove the ingredients of Section 304-B, including the fact that soon before her death, she had been subjected by the accused persons to cruelty or harassment for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry. The husband and husband’s relatives shall be presumed to have caused a ‘dowry death’ and shall be liable for the offence unless it is proved otherwise. That is to say, the burden of proof shifts from the prosecution to the accused, unlike other offences where the accused is presumed to be innocent, unless it is proved otherwise. The guilty person shall be awarded imprisonment of not less then 7 years which can extend to imprisonment for life.