Written by:Adv. Pooja Gupta

Dowry system – Custom or Crime with case laws

Introduction of the Dowry System: – The societal evil of dowry has degraded the Indian marital system and resulted in heinous crimes and atrocities against women. Dowry is given in the form of kind and cash to a bride’s future in-laws at the time of her nuptials.

In addition to abolishing the dowry system, the government has introduced numerous laws (such as The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961) and reforms in an effort to improve the status of girls through the implementation of various initiatives.

But because this issue is societal in character, the legislation hasn’t had the expected impact on our society.

In order to solve this issue, it may be helpful to make an appeal to people’s social and moral consciences, provide women with access to higher education as well as economic independence, and effectively enforce laws that prohibit the dowry system.

Impact of Dowry System

Gender discrimination

As a result of the dowry system, it has frequently been seen that women are viewed as liabilities, are frequently subjugated, and get inferior treatment in many spheres of life, including education.

Having an impact on women’s careers

Influencing the careers of women The practice of dowry is more frequently placed in perspective by the Lack of representation of women in the workplace and the resulting lack of financial freedom. Less affluent socioeconomic strata send their daughters to work and earn some money so they may save money for their dowry. The majority of middle and upper families send their girls to school, but they don’t encourage career opportunities.

Many Women End Up Being Unmarried

Even if they are more educated and financially capable, many women in the country remain unmarried for the rest of their lives simply because their parents are unable to meet the requirement for pre-marriage dowry.

Objectification of Women

Nowadays, dowries are more like investments made by the bride’s family to get access to influential connections and lucrative economic opportunities. Women essentially become commodities as a result.

Crime against Women

In some instances, the dowry system contributes to crimes against women, including mental abuse, physical injury, and even fatalities.

Solution for dowry system

Understanding the Restrictions of Political Remedies to Social Problems

No legislation can be properly executed without the people’s steadfast support. Adopting law, without a doubt, sets a behavior pattern, involves social conscience, and contributes to social activists’ efforts to get it abolished. Unfortunately, societal ills such as dowry cannot be removed unless the legislation’s fundamental concept is expanded significantly.

Educating Girls

Education, independence, and freedom are among the most valuable and significant gifts that parents can provide to their daughters. This will help her to be economically secure and a contributing member of the family, providing her respect and appropriate stature within the family. So the finest dowry any parents could ever give their daughter is proper education and encouragement to pursue a job of her own choice.

Creating a Social Stigma Around Dowry

It is crucial to acknowledge all generations and make accepting dowry a social (shame) stigma. This requires enhancing public awareness about the drawbacks of the dowry practice. In this sense: The Central and State governments must adopt effective measures to increase public “anti-dowry awareness” via Lok Adalats, radio broadcasts, tv broadcasts, and publications on a “continuous” basis.

The threat of the dowry system can only be effectively eliminated by younger generations. To help them develop their brains and extend their perspectives, they must get moral values-based education.

Dowry is a complicated subject, so society must make a concerted effort to attain gender equality. To address gender inequities, states must examine gender-disaggregated data throughout the life cycle, including nutrition,  education, livelihood, early childhood, healthcare access, and so on. Expanding childcare and ensuring safe public transit are essential, as are reducing hiring discrimination and cultivating supportive work environments. Men should share care responsibilities and domestic chores at home.

Why is the dowry practice illegal, and how does it affect society?

The majority of crimes against married women are committed in India. The dowry system complicates women’s lives throughout the majority of the nation. It causes crimes against women including physical and mental assault, as well as injuries and even fatalities.

The dowry system encourages people to consider women as possessions or commodities to be exchanged rather than as resources that may be developed, which leads to gender inequality. Additionally, it portrays females as a financial strain on the family.

Prior to the British era, the bride’s family used the dowry as a sign of their affection, concern, and care. However, as the situation deteriorated and continued to do so, a law was required to address the issue. Therefore, the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 was passed. The Act made it unlawful to take, give, or advertise dowries.

Additionally, the condition of girls in society needed to be improved. The father & husband considered the female child to be a burden, and she was subjected to female infanticide, mental abuse, and other heinous acts.

The need for the dowry to be rendered unlawful was also prompted by the groom’s family’s custom of demanding exorbitant sums and expensive presents from the bride’s family. Due to the groom’s family’s unending greed or avarice, the bride’s father used to be forced to take on debt in order to marry his daughter.

Every day, there are more and more instances of women being murdered for dowry or attempting suicide under the stress of their in-laws.

To safeguard women and their families, it was important to criminalize dowry in order to address all of these issues. Although the dowery system was officially abolished in India in 1961, it is still in use today.

The Patriarchy Society is the main cause of this. Males ask for dowry in accordance with their price list, which they have.

The system’s strong cultural ties to India are the second justification. Even in the twenty-first century, it is hard to comprehend that giving and receiving dowry is illegal.

The supremacy of the marital institution is the third justification. In Indian culture, marriage is a vital component. And families feel that marriage is a circumstance in which everything is reasonable and fair.

Dowry-related case laws

Ramesh Patil v. the State of Karnataka, 2014

Within seven years after their wedding, the deceased died by suicide. The case involves u/s 113 of I.E.A. The Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, passed in 1983, includes the presumption rule in an effort to address the challenges in obtaining evidence in situations when women are coerced to commit suicide.

Bachni Devi v. the State of Haryana

In the aforementioned instance, the husband & mother-in-law visited the deceased’s residence to demand a motorbike so that they might start a new business. The deceased father, on the other hand, stated that he was unable to do so.

The groom and his mother first tormented and humiliated the bride. For Raksha Bandhan, he brought his spouse to her maternal home and left her there, where she revealed to her father everything.

He later escorted her back home before the event, using the false claim that his brother’s engaged.

After that, the wife was discovered dead under strange circumstances within 10 days.

In this decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the term “dowry” refers to any demand for property or valued security in connection with marriage.

Reema Aggarwal v. Anupam

The legality of dowry demands in regard to an invalid marriage was considered in this case. The court concluded that because the concept of dowry is related to marriage, the statute for dowry death extends to married persons. When the legitimacy of a marriage is called into question, the dowry demand becomes invalid.

Public Prosecutor v. Tota Basava Punniah

The deceased in this case was discovered hanging 3 yrs after their marriage, & evidence revealed that the dowry was demanded. The court concluded that Sec. 304 B of the IPC applies even if the case concerns suicide.

Conclusion of the Dowry System

Dowry is morally wrong and unlawful. To outcome in a “loss of respect” in societal structure for those who seek dowry, society’s conscience must be thoroughly awakened to the iniquities of the dowry system.

Read more: –

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence

Women Rights under the Constitution of India

Dowry related violence in India – A Detailed Study

Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) of 2005 and Maintenance

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