“Dowry” is a word that is very prevalent and common in Indian households. It is a practice that has become a parasite for the Indian society and which has eroded the beautiful institution of marriage. It is not a new practice but has been followed from ages, and its impact is such in Indian society that one can make efforts to reduce it, but it cannot be totally eradicated
The custom of dowry has its origin in the Hindu tradition. Hindus did not give their daughters any share in the family property. Instead, they were given dowries on the occasion of their marriage, as a measure of compensation, in the form of household utilities.
According to section 2 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, the term “dowry” means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly.
(a) By one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage, or
(b) By the parent 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 anytime after the marriage]
[in connection with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include]
dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat).
In Rajeev v. Ram Kishan Jaiswal, the court held that any property given by parents of the bride need not be in consideration of the marriage, it can even be in connection with the marriage and would constitute 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 bridegroom would be liable for taking dowry so would the family of bride be to consent to give dowry.
Legal power against dower in India :
Penalty for giving and taking dowry (Section 3) – According to section 3, if any person after the commencement of the Act gives or takes, abets the giving or taking of dowry shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term not less than five years and with fine which shall not be less than fifteen thousand rupees or the amount of the value of dowry, whichever is more.
Penalty for demanding dowry (section 4) – According to section 4, if any person directly or indirectly demands dowry from the parents, relatives or guardians of the bride or the bridegroom shall be punished with an imprisonment of not less than six months and which shall extend to two years and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees.’
In Bhoora Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh , the court held that the deceased had before being set on fire by her in-laws written a letter to her father that she was being ill-treated, harassed and threatened with dire consequences for non-satisfaction of demand of dowry. Thus an offence of demanding dowry under section 4 had been committed.
“DOWRY” as a practice is deeply rooted in Indian society, and it cannot be totally eradicated. The major reason that this practice cannot be eradicated is the mentality, thought and mindset of Indians. This social evil 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 totally eradicated but that period seems to be very far off.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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