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How Filing Dowry Complaints Been Made Easier In India

Mahatma Gandhi once said Any young man, who makes dowry a condition to marriage, discredits his education and country and dishonors womanhood. Today dowry which was once a gift by the family of the bride to the groom has somehow become a condition to marriage as rightly said by Mahatma Gandhi. A condition put forward by the groom's family so that they can improve their financial status. Sadly each year thousands of women commit suicide or are murdered by their husbands and in-laws mainly for not fulfilling their greed for dowry.[1]

According to the data said by the Union Minister Maneka Gandhi in the Lok Sabha Between 2012 and 2014 around 25,000 women killed themselves or got killed due to dowry harassment by their in-laws.[2]

30,000 cases have been filed between 2012 and 2014.[3]India has the highest number of dowry-related cases out of all the countries which include Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.[4]Women are tormented and pressurized by their husband and their family for dowry and in some cases, even after getting dowry they ask for more which clearly shows that greed has no full stop.

As per the figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau around 8233 women committed suicide in 2012 that unfortunately turns out be one death per hour. 7,634 women have died in the country due to dowry harassment according to the National Crime Records Bureau. Moreover, in the national capital 3877 cases of cruelty by in-laws and husbands have been reported.[5]As per the 2015 stats 21 dowry deaths are reported in India every day but only 34.7 percent get convicted. The NCRB states that 7,634 women died in India due to dowry.[6]

It is just astonishing to see that even after 70 years of our independence such a disgraceful act is still followed in different parts of India mainly in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. 30.6 % of dowry deaths have been reported in Uttar Pradesh i.e. 2,335 cases. Bihar came 2ndwith 1,154 cases.[7]How is a country expected to progress when the women who live in it are not respected. So for this purpose requisite steps need to be taken to encourage and make women aware of their rights to raise their voice against this offense which many men think they can get away with. Still, in many parts of our country women don't know that dowry is a crime under the dowry prohibition act of 1961.

The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 punishes any person with imprisonment which may extend to six months or with fine upto Rs 5,000 or both who indulges in dowry either by giving, taking or abetting.[8]The husband and his old parents, brothers, sisters and relatives are arrested and jailed without investigation when an FIR is filed under IPC section 498 A( anti-dowry law.[9]

A woman must realize that what's being done to her is wrong and should raise her voice against such injustice. She must report the offense to the police without any delay and must not think about what the society will think if she complains. Any delay might go against her as it will be seen that she was not serious of what happened. Living a life with dignity and respect is the most important thing in life. The government over the years have simplified and made it more convenient for women to complain to the police if she is being forced to give dowry. With an increase in technology development, women can now even file a complaint online.[10]

Mr. Mukherjee a retired IPS officer stated that "while making a police complaint is that you must give an accurate description of what has happened. “ He further said not give a tepid or half-baked statement and to give the facts”.[11]

No police station in this country can refuse to file your complaint on the grounds that it does not come in their jurisdiction. The FIR can very well be registered under a zero number which will transfer your complaint to a relevant police station. If the concerned authority still refuses you can post the complaint or ask to meet the next senior officer or next officer in command.[12]

One can also complain to the National Commission for Women on their website or any NGO which deals with women protection and safety. The National Commission for Women also accepts complaints through emails. Their email id i[email protected]

Women police stations have also opened up so that women can come and file their complaints. The Tamil Nadu government opened up its first all-female police station in 1992.[13]

Mrs.Gayatri Nagpal (an inspector in Chennai) said that with the establishment of all -women police stations’ it has created a platform where women can express their grievances without having to go through discussing their personal and sensitive issues with men which is quite traumatizing.

“Even police stations have a special women's cell which allows women to express their problems. It's more comfortable for women because the inspector can understand her problem completely and a trust relationship develops. The women will believe that she will be given justice.”[14]

Now police complaints can be filed online as well. Each state police has started is now letting people file FIR's online on their official website.

Well at end of the day you are on your own. No is going to help you unless you yourself take the initiative. Subramanya SirishTamvada, who is the dean of IFIM Law College in Bangalore, had called the practice of dowry a plague in Indian society.[15]

According to him, it affects everyone in the society whether you are rich or poor but the problem is no party speaks about it.Raising your voice to injustice is the most important thing for a woman. It is imperative that women should be educated and employed so that they can live independently so that they are not dependent on someone. According to Mrs.ZebaKhair, a lawyer based in New Delhi who specializes in women's issues“It is a socialproblem, in the end, it's up to us to reform.”Thus, in the end, it is daunting to go to the police station to complain but the police are the custodians of law and are duty bound to help you. It's always better to raise your voice rather than living a life of a slave and be dominated by men.[16]

[1] Making a police complaint. As a woman, here is what you need to know about it, Women's web (2016), visited on Aug 4, 2018).
[2] 25000 died due to dowry harassment between 2012-14: Govt, Hindustan Times (2016), visited on Aug 4, 2018).
[4] Dowry related violence, The Advocates for Human Rights, visited on Aug 4, 2018).
[5] Dean Nelson, Women killed over dowry „every hour' in India, visited on Aug 4, 2018).
[6] 21 lives lost to dowry every day across India; conviction rate less than 35 percent, visited on Aug 4, 2018).
[7] Crime against women- National Crimes Records Bureau, NCRB stat publication (2015), visited on Aug 4, 2018).
[8] The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, (Act No. 28 of 1961), Ministry of Women and Child Development, visited on Aug 4, 2018).
[9] Making a police complaint. As a woman, here is what you need to know about it, Women's web (2016), visited on Aug 4, 2018).
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12]Rebecca Ruiz, India's all women police pursue dowry complaints, visited on Aug 4, 2018).
[13] Supra note 9.
[14] Ibid.
[15] Ibid.

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