Daughter and Dowry

दुल्हन के लिबास में श्रंगार किया था उसने

महसूस की अरमान भरी अग्नि मंडप की रसमें,

रह गये थे वादे समझोते में, अधूरे से उसमें

लालच की अग्नि को आहूति देनी पड़ी, उसे जिसमें!

Dowry Prohibition Act, enacted on May 1, 1961, intended to prevent the giving or receiving of a dowry. Under the act, dowry includes property, goods, or money given by either party to the marriage, by the parents of either party or by anyone else in connection with the marriage.

If any person, after the commencement of this Act, gives or takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both. Penalty for demanding dowry.

According to section 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, it is an offence to both take dowry and give dowry. So the family of the bridegroom would be liable for taking dowry so would the family of the bride be to consent to give dowry.

In an unhappy married life

She tried to become a good wife,

Carrying the scars of shoes and sticks

She gulped her pain even if she was sick!

Her husband was always rowdy

The reason being dowry,

Money was what he wanted

To which the girl’s family never responded!

In a fit of rage, her in-laws would torture her day and night

She was so weak to differentiate between wrong and right!

They would warn her to death

While she would sit and count her breath!

When her family could not fulfil their demand

Her in-laws buried her alive in the sand!

Another daughter lost her life

People got the topic of gossips, while her family cried!

When will this stupid act of dowry stop?

When will the ratio of women’s death drop?

Why is it always a girl’s fault?

Will such crimes ever take a halt?

How many more girls will die?

How much will they cry?

Why don’t you stop such brutal acts?

Is it humanity that you people lack?

Is someone’s life more precious than money?

Do you think murdering someone is funny?

Don’t you people feel the pain

Beating your wives again and again?

It’s time you end it all

Because no one will save you from the crime that’s so cheap and small!

Dowry is essentially like payment in cash or some kind of gifts given to the groom’s family along with the bride and includes cash, jewellery, electrical appliances, furniture, bedding, crockery, utensils, vehicles and other household items that help the newlyweds set up their home.

Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code deals with the violence done on women after her marriage by her husband or her in-laws or any relative of the husband. It prescribes punishment for 3 years and a fine. It gave a new definition of cruelty.

If the act was done is of such a nature that the woman is enticed to commit suicide or cause an injury to herself, which may prove fatal. This was added in the case of Shobha Rani v. Madhukar Reddy. It was held in the case that evidence is required to prove cruelty. If the act was done is to harass women or any other person related to her to meet unlawful demands.

Under the Indian Evidence act- Section 113-Presumption as to abetment of suicide by a married woman When the question is whether the commission of suicide by a woman had been abetted by her husband or any relative of her husband and it is shown that she had committed suicide within seven years from the date of her marriage and that her husband or such relative of her husband had subjected her to cruelty, the court may presume, having regard to all the other circumstances of the case, that such suicide had been abetted by her husband or by such relative of her husband.

Explanation. — For this section, “cruelty” shall have the same meaning as in Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

Indian Penal code- Section 304(B) deals with the Dowry death which says where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death” and such husband or relatives shall be deemed to have caused her death.

Explanation – For the purposes of this subsection, “dowry” shall have the same meaning as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.

In Vemuri Venkateshwara Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh the court has laid down the following guideline for establishing an offence under section 304(B) and they are-

* That there is a demand of dowry and harassment by the accused

* That the deceased had died.

* That the death is under unnatural circumstances. Since there was the demand for dowry and harassment and death within 7 years of marriage, the other things automatically follow and the offence under section 304-B is proved.

Indian Evidence Act Section 113 (B) which deals with Presumption as to Dowry death says when the question is whether a person has committed the dowry death of a woman and it is shown that soon before her death such woman had been subjected by such person to cruelty or harassment for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, the court shall presume that such person had caused the dowry death.

Explanation – For the purpose of this section “dowry death” shall have the same meaning as in section, 304B of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

Although, there are always two sides of a coin; similarly, every law has its use as well as misuse. The anti-dowry laws have proved to be a panacea for women at the same time they have also proved to be a nuisance for men. Not all dowry cases filed by women are true; the allegations made by women are false as well.

Women use it as a weapon than to shield themselves. In Arnesh Kumar v. the State of Bihar, it was stated that bedridden grandfathers and grandmothers and even relatives living abroad were arrested. So, women have started using it as a weapon to get their husbands arrested if they are not satisfied with them.

However, we cannot deny the fact this social evil exists in our society like a curse and it can only be eradicated when there would be a change in the mentality of the people. When people might understand that giving and taking dowry is like selling your daughters and sons may be from then the roots of the practice would start eroding, and the practice shall get eradicated but that period seems to be very far off.

Condemn dowry deaths by not demanding dowry…💫

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