Dowry and Bridal Gifts (Restriction) (Amendment) Act, 1976

What is “Dowry” and “Bridal Gifts” in the Constitution of Pakistan?

  • Dowry: Any property given before, at or after the marriage to the bride by her parents in connection with the marriage. Property inherited by the bride does not come under the domain of dowry.
  • Bridal Gift: Any property given as a gift before, at or after the marriage by the bridegroom or his parents to the bride in connection with the marriage. Nikah Mehr is not included in the bridal gift category.

Restrictions: The limit of dowry and bridal gifts shall not exceed:

  • 50,000 rupees if marriage is held in urban area.
  • 20,000 rupees if the marriage is held in rural area
  • Bridal gifts and presents of a lesser amount than 50,000 rupees and 20,000 subject to urban and rural areas, can be exchanged.

Demand of Dowry: A bridegroom or anyone on his behalf shall not demand the dowry or give any such indication to the bride or his family.

Marriage Expenses: The total expenditure on a marriage shall not exceed:

  • Twenty five thousand (Urban Area)
  • Ten thousand (Rural Area)

These expenses exclude the value of dowry and bridal gifts but include mehndi, baarat and valima expenses.

Ban on Extravagance and Vanity: All the expenses exceeding the stipulated amount under act be deemed as extravagance. Hence, ban on all forms of extravagance is imposed in marriages, such as:

  • Unnecessary illumination
  • Mujras
  • Firing and firecrackers
  • Serving more than one dish in dinner or lunch

Display of Dowry and Bridal Gifts: At the time of rukhsati, the permitted amount of bridal gifts and dowry should be displayed to the people in attendance so as to be visible to everyone.

Expense List to Registrar: The parents of each party to a marriage shall furnish the following details to the registrar. These details are:

  • List of dowry, bridal gifts and presents given or received in connection with the marriage.
  • Any property given or accepted before, at or after the time of the marriage
  • Details of the property along with the value, signed and attested by at least two witnesses.
  • Parents to provide the details of expenditure incurred on the marriage within one week of marriage.
  •  The Registrar shall forward the details of the marriage expenditure to the Deputy Commissioner within fifteen days of receipt of such list or details of expenditure by the parents.

Punishment for Violation of the Act: Failing to comply with any provision of this will be punishable with:

  • Imprisonment which may extend to six months
  • Fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees
  •  The dowry, bridal gifts or presents shall be forfeited to the Federal Government to be utilized for the marriage of poor
  • If both the parents of a party fail to comply with, any provision of this Act, then the action shall be taken only against the father.
  • Provided further that if the parent is a female, shall be punishable with fine only.

Trial: A violation of this Act will be tried in a Family Court. Family Court will take action only upon a complaint in writing made by the Deputy Commissioner within nine months from the date of nikah or after the date of rukhsati.