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Dowry Death Cases In India

Dowry (dahej) is a present in a form of either cash or things or sometimes given both, to the groom at the time of marriage because as per the Indian tradition there is a notion that the gifts given by the bride sides before the start of nuptial will help the married couple to set up and start their household smoothly.

Normans introduced the dowry system in the 12th century. Earlier to this dowry was given in the form of a gift by the husband at the church gate before the commencement of the ceremony to show the public.

In India, the dowry system has a past significance from the Vedic period when a gift was given in cash or in any other way to the bride by her family to assure and preserve her independence after marriage and that was considered "Sri Dhan".

During colonial times the British made it the sole legal way to get married by stating the practice of dowry compulsory for marriage. The main cause for the practice of asking for a dowry is gaining momentum in present times is the insecurity of maintaining the reputation of the groom's family, the higher the dowry higher the reputation is considered. This thought process persists in 90% of households in India only a few urban areas are devoid of these activities.

Dowry Death: Legal Perspective:

Section 304 B of the Indian penal code in 1986 states the offense of dowry death in India which is more rigid in contrast with the 498A which states cruelty. It is prominent in most parts of the country to take dowry at the time of marriage or as an advance to settle the marriage and if the asked amount or goods is not received during the ceremony the marriage would not perform and the groom and his family would not accept the bride as his wife.

The demand for dowry is punishable under the Dowry prohibition Act,1961. Due to this, Indian law forbids the practice of dowry under the "Dowry Prohibition Act," section 304 B of the Indian penal code, and section 498 A. Failure to pay dowry results in crimes against women such as physical abuse, burning the woman, and mental torture, among other things.

Dowry Death In Different States Of India:

Nearly 7,000 dowry-related murders were reported by India's National Crime Records Bureau in 2020, or about 19 women per day. More than 1,700 women committed suicide in that year, according to the same agency, due to dowry-related concerns. Women have encountered growing occurrences of crime (crime against women saw a 69% decadal surge) in the last several years. The child sex ratio, however, has decreased rather sharply and is now at its lowest level since Independence (914 per 1,000 men).

The child sex ratio in the 1951 Census was 983. Between 2005 and 2012, dowry-related occurrences resulted in the deaths of 63,171 women, or about 7,896 deaths per year, 658 per month, and 22 per day. In India, dowry-related violence claimed the lives of about one woman every hour.

Uttar Pradesh, followed by Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, recorded the highest dowry-related deaths. The cases of dowry deaths have increased in all these states over the years. Even the all-India figures have risen every year. Uttar Pradesh with 12,254 deaths leads the list followed by Bihar with (7,136 deaths) and Madhya Pradesh (with 4,800 deaths).

The worst afflicted state is MP, with 25.4 recorded dowry fatalities per million women in the state, according to a per-capita calculation of the same data. Bihar came in second with 25.2 recorded dowry fatalities per million women, while UP came in third with 23. The total number of dowry deaths in India was 8,473 in 2011, fell to 8,092 in 2012, and now hovers around 8,000 per year on average.

As the child sex ratio data is only available through 2011, the statistics for dowry fatalities in 2011 and 2012 have not been included in the table. This brings the overall number of dowry deaths to 63,171 when combined with those that occurred between 2005 and 2010. Therefore, India has lost, on average, 9,000 women during the past seven years. Contrary to popular belief, we do not find the states of Punjab or Haryana in the list.

It must be noted that the number of dowry deaths is also driven by the population numbers. The North-Eastern states have a lesser population than larger states like UP, Bihar, and MP. The prevalence of dowry and declining child sex ratio can be traced to worries of parents about a girl child being a liability till their marriage and the reverse thought that a boy would take care of them, earn a livelihood, etc.

Between them, the three worst states-Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh-are responsible for a roughly 15-point decline in the child sex ratio. It's interesting to note that kid sex ratios have increased in the majority of states with less than one dowry fatality per day during the past five years.

The patriarchal communities of Punjab and Haryana have done very well in raising the child sex ratio and decreasing dowry fatalities. In this data stacking process, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir are an anomaly since the states have not recorded dowry fatalities even though the child sex ratio has decreased in those areas

Overall, dowry fatalities are on the rise in the majority of Indian states. Similar to the child sex ratio, which has been falling over time-from 962 in 1981 to 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001-is currently 914. If we perform a quick calculation, we find that in every Census, there are 16 fewer girls than boys due to the dowry deaths of almost 80,000 people (8,000 each year) (an average drop between 1981 to 2011). It's interesting to note that in 2001, there were 6,851 dowry deaths overall, with a child sex ratio of 927.

The child sex ratio dropped by 13 points as dowry fatalities accelerated to 8,473 in 2011 (a 23% decadal rise).In both rural and urban regions, women are becoming more educated, employed, and empowered as a result. However, increased dowry deaths, which affect the child sex ratio, are concerning if not addressed quickly. Abortion and dowry laws and coordinated government initiatives do not appear to be having the desired effect. Evidently, even strong rules are insufficient to bring about a shift in people's attitudes regarding women.

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