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Dowry System In India

Definition of dowry in law

dowry means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly:
  1. by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or
  2. by the parents of either party to a marriage or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or to any other person; at or before or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of said parties but does not include dower or Mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies.

How dowry system came into existence

In India, it has its roots in medieval times when a gift in cash or kind was given to a bride by her family to maintain her independence after marriage. During the colonial period, it became the only legal way to get married, with the British making the practice of dowry mandatory.

In India Dowry regally designed to safeguard the women and it was considered to be Streedhan which means wealth of a woman in form of money ,gift , property given solely to the women by her parents at the time of marriage. The abuse of this custom eroded and aborted the original meaningful function of dowry as a safety net for the woman and was corrupted to become the price tag for the groom and consequently the noose for the bride.

Why dowry is considered crime in India

Dowry is considered the major contributor towards observed violence against the women in India .
Dowry is a social evil that caused unimaginable tortures and crime towards the women. Their are a lot of cases of dowry death which we hear since a decades .In all such cases we hear how the in-laws ,husband and family members torture the women which results either suicide or in some case she get killed by them . This made dowry as a crime .

Their is one story of a women in kerala ,that is not only the story of her but thousands women in India who suffers the same pain. The 24 year old woman,found dead at her husband's home, had alleged in her whatsapp messages she was dragged by her hair and stamped on her face by her husband Kiran Kumar.

The women name was Vismaya Nair, an Ayurveda medicine student ,she was found hanging in a bathroom at her husband's home . Her father Thrivikraman Nair said the family had given 800 grams of gold and over one acre land to Kumar, besides a car worth Rs 10 lakh as dowry. But he allegedly kept assaulting her and demanding more.She was a victim of dowry death.

From the story of her we can conclude that dowry is not only practice in backward class or by uneducated but it is practiced around the world. As a society, we need to reform the prevailing marriage system. Both giving dowry and taking dowry is a crime .As when parents give dowry then it encourage more people in society to do the same but if parents will refuse to give and take then only dowry system will be end . Parents should understand that they are not trading their children in marriage.

How dowry was criminalized by judiciary

Dowry Prohibition Act:
This is a Indian law which was enacted on May 1 1961 which was made to stop giving and taking of dowry .

Under this act ,dowry includes property, money or goods given by either party to marriage, by parents of either party or by anyone who is connected to the marriage.

Types of dowry crime in India

cruelty in the form of harassment or torturing the women. The cruelty could be in the form of verbal attack or may be accompanied by beating or harassment in order to force the woman or her family to yield to dowry demand.

Domestic violence
It includes broad spectrum of abusive and threatening behavior which include physical, emotional harassment.

Abetment to suicide
Continuing abuse by her husband and his family members with treats to harm could lead to a women committing suicide .

The offence of abetment to suicide is significant because in many cases, the accused persons often bring up a defense that the victim committed suicide at her own volition, even though this may not be true in reality.

Dowry death
Most dowry deaths occur when the young woman, unable to bear the harassment and torture, commits suicide by hanging herself or consuming poison. Dowry deaths also include bride burning where brides are doused in kerosene and set ablaze by the husband or his family. Sometimes, due to their abetment to commit suicide, the bride may end up setting herself on fire.

Many times husband or his family member kills the women and then name that murder as a suicide.

Dowry is considered to be a punishable offence under IPC

section 304B was added in IPC , which made dowry death a specific offence punishable with minimum

Sentence of imprisonment of 7 years and maximum imprisonment to life time.

It provided that if the death of a woman is caused by burns or bodily injury or occurs in suspicious circumstances within 7 years of her marriage, and there's evidence to show that before her death, she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relative regarding the demand for dowry, then the husband or the relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.

This topic dowry system not something new but this is prevailing in our society since a very long and now its a time to completely abolish the system and to make it to the end we need to start from our home we much take an oath that neither we will take a dowry nor we will provide a dowry. We have many such laws for dowry but still dowry system prevails in our society which result in crime and violence against the women in the society. This is threat to our society and in the name of dowry people fulfill their greed and this greed had no limits and due to someone's greed the woman has to suffer and sometimes results in loss of her life. In spite of living in 21st century still we are not able to abolish such system prevailing in our society.

Also Read:

  1. Dowry System In The Indian Society

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