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THE EVIL: DOWRY SYSTEM IN INDIA

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

Written by: Shreemh Agarwal

INTRODUCTION


Dowry is based on the ancient Hindu practises of kanyadan and stridhan. In ‘kanyadan,' the bride's father provides the groom's father money or property, etc., but in ‘stridhan,' the bride receives jewellery and clothing at the time of her marriage, generally from family or friends. In Varadakshina', the groom's father gives him cash or in kind. All of these things might be done willingly and out of affection and love. The Hindu marriage system is a sacred one. Marriage is permanent in this society, and there is no possibility of divorce. Our culture is still ruled by the dowry norm. The male enjoys legacy rights in the majority of Indian households, whereas the girl is given a significant sum at the time of her marriage in lieu of the government-mandated equal rights for girls in the family property. As a result, the dowry system has expanded to nearly every area of the country and every social class. The dowry system exists for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is that it is a required prerequisite for marriage. In a modern globalised economy, a feudal mindset with a materialistic attitude has also emerged. There are a variety of items that people like to have in their homes but cannot afford; they take advantage of the chance presented by a son's marriage to obtain them. The girl's parents do not object to the union since they see it as a stepping stone to higher social standing and better matches for the other children.[1]


Dowry as a phenomenon has spread beyond the marital rite. Such requests are made throughout pregnancy, delivery, and various religious and familial rituals. The previous approach has been replaced by a more refined public picture of an extended giving period. Dowry rituals are currently practised in areas where they were previously unknown. It has reached out to many cases, as well as provinces, education, and religion. Muslims and Christians, including Syrian Christians in Kerala and Roman Catholics in Mangalore, have begun to demand dowry. Dowry crimes are on the upswing, according to official figures. Every year, an increasing number of women are slain in India for dowry. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh continue to have the highest number of dowry crimes, but Bangalore, India's fastest developing city, is now seeing an alarming increase - four women are reportedly killed every day as a result of dowry harassment and domestic violence. Dowry torture is the most common type of crime against women, accounting for 32.4 per cent of all crimes against women in the country.


LAWS RELATED


The Dowry Prohibition Act, which has been in effect since July 1, 1961, was enacted to ban the demand, gift, and acceptance of dowry. In1980, the government formed a committee to recommend changes to the Dowry Prohibition Act, as well as extending the definition of dowry and establishing family courts and a National Commission for Women.In1983,1984, and1986, many parliamentary discussions resulted in certain modifications.In1983, Section 498-A was inserted into the Indian Penal Code and Section 198-A to the Criminal Procedure Code to prohibit husbands or their relatives from being cruel to their wives. The Dowry Prohibition Act clearly states that anyone who gives, takes, or assists in the giving or taking of dowry can be sentenced to 5 years in prison and fined Rs. 15,000/- or the value of the dowry, whichever is greater.[2] The Act also bans gifting and receiving, directly or indirectly, any property or valuable security, any sum in cash or kind, jewels, goods, properties, and so on, in connection with a marriage. Control is given by specifying a limit as well as the names of those gifting and their link to the married pair, which must be signed by both sides of the parents. The Act was modified again in1986, allowing state governments to employ Dowry Prohibition Officers, who not only served as preventative officers but also had the authority to gather evidence against those who received a dowry. Despite protests from women's organisations, significant activity, legislative revisions, special police cells for women, media backing, and increased knowledge that dowry is a crime, the practice persists on a huge scale. Despite its negative connotations, dowry remains the hallmark of marriage. In their struggle against the system, women require genuine social, political, financial, and moral support. They must be empowered so that they may make decisions about their own lives, such as opposing the dowry system.[3]


MEASURES TO STOP DOWRY SYSTEM


Despite the federal government's regulation, the dowry system retains a stronghold in society. Here are several remedies to help you get rid of this problem:


Lack of education is most likely one of the primary causes to societal behaviours such as dowry, caste system, and labour.


People must be trained to promote rational and right thinking in order for such bad habits to be entrenched.


Instead of seeking a well-established husband for his or her daughters and investing all of their financial resources on marriage, individuals could invest in subsequent education and self-sufficiency.


Women must also be educated aware of their rights and how to use them to protect themselves from any form of abuse.


Gender equality is most likely one of the primary drivers of dowry usage.


Children should be educated from an early age that men and women have equal rights and are not superior/inferior to one another.


Furthermore, efforts should be launched to raise awareness of the issue, and the federal government's policies should be tightened.[4]


CONCLUSION


Dowry is the cause of a woman's exclusion from her home; in order to eradicate this problem, it must be severely addressed in the system. The government and the general public should work together to eliminate t

[1]“Dowry”, ZEE NEWS, https://zeenews.india.com/tags/dowry.html(visited on 25th June 2021). [2]“MINISTRY OF WOMEN & CHILD DEVELOPMENT”, https://wcd.nic.in/act/dowry-prohibition-act-1961(visited on 25th June 2021) [3] SINHA, JB “WELCOME STEP AGAINST DOWRY” HINDUSTAN TIMES, JAN 16, 2006, https://www.hindustantimes.com/india/welcome-step-against-dowry/story-po5T41Kp6XeErVYOqi82HO.html (visited on 25th June 2021) [4]“MEASURES ON DOWRY”, IJLSI, JUNE 27,2019

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