One of the dangerous provisions of IPC is Section 304B. If 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 then her husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death. To attract the provisions of section 304B, one of the main ingredients of the offence which is required to be established is that "soon before her death" she was subjected to cruelty and harassment "in connection with the demand of dowry"; (Prema S. Rao v. Yadla Srinivasa Rao, AIR 2003 SC 11). Such death shall be called “dowry death”, punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.
Any common sense would led to believe that the husband or any of his relative could be guilty of the offence only if he or she directly participated in the actual commission of the offence. In contrary, Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code would be applicable if cruelty or harassment was inflicted by the husband on any of his relative for, or in connection with demand for dowry, immediately preceding the death by bodily injury or by burning. In short she should have died in abnormal circumstances within seven years of the marriage. In such circumstances the husband or the relative, as the case may be, will be deemed to have caused her death and will be liable to punishment (Vadde Rama Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 1990 Cr LJ 1666).
This is very dangerous provision in IPC which could implicate a husband or relative to dowry death by associating some stray incidents of cruelty with unnatural death. Under this section the accused are presumed to be guilty of murder in contrary to the basic principle of law that anyone is innocent unless proved guilty. It has been held by the lawmakers that in dowry death cases and in most of such offences direct evidence is hardly available and hence they have enacted a rule of presumption on the basis of which charges can be framed for murder. A person framed under this section would hardly get proper chance to defend himself. Even without any proof that the husband or relative has caused the death they can be branded by the court as murderer.