Dowry means the transfer of parental property at the marriage of a daughter. Dowry is a payment of cash or gifts from the bride’s family to the groom’s family upon marriage. It may include cash, jewellery, electrical appliances, furniture, crockery, utensils, car and other household items that help the newly married couple to start their life journey. Dowry is an ancient custom, and its existence may well anticipate records of it. Dowries continue to be expected in many parts of the world and are sometimes used as a condition of the contract. In India, the dowry system puts a great financial burden on the bride’s family. The law-makers, taking the note of seriousness and consequence of the problem legislative measures to plug the loopholes in the law as well as to enact new provisions so as to make the law rational and effective.

There are four situations when a married woman is subjected to cruelty and harassment under Indian Penal Code:

1.   Sec 302 IPC – International Death of woman.

2.   Sec 304B IPC – Dowry Death

3.   Sec 306 IPC -Abatement of suicide of woman

4.   Sec 498A IPC – Cruelty of woman by husband or relative

The legislative mandate is that when a woman commits suicide within seven years of marriage and it is shown that her husband or any relative of her husband had subjected her to cruelty as per the terms defined in section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, the court may presume having regard to all other circumstances of the case that such suicide has been abetted by the husband or such person.

In Kamesh Panjiyar @ Kamlesh Panjiyar vs. State of Bihar case, Session court found appellant guilty and punished him with imprisonment of 10 years. On appeal preferred by appellant before High Court of Bihar, court reduced it to 7 years. Supreme Court upheld the decision of session court saying that under section 304 of IPC it was not necessary to give direct evidence of causing death. Cruelty before death is enough.

In Ashok Kumar v State of Haryana case, Ashok Kumar, his mother and brother were found guilty of an offence punishable under section  34B of the code and sentenced the accused to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and to pay a fine of Rs. 1000/-

While upholding the conviction, the apex court held that since the accused is a young person of 48 years, keeping in view the facts and circumstances of the case the court awarded seven years of rigorous imprisonment.

In Baldev Singh vs. State of Punjab case Session Court found appellant and his mother guilty under section 304B of IPC but acquitted sister of appellant. Accused preferred appeal to High Court of Punjab and Haryana stating the defence and dismissed the appeal. After perusing all the records Supreme Court ordered against appellant and punishment was given of 7 years imprisonment.

Dowry death is a social curse which is a burning issue in Indian society. Organized approach by women welfare organizations, police, public servants and judiciary by applying deterrent punishment for dowry deaths culprit. It can be observed that government of India along with Indian judiciary makes co-operative and supportive law to safeguard the life interest and dignity of women and provide further justice to the victim of harassment or cruelty by husband and his relatives. Change in education system led to an improvement in the education status of female and door to door employment service will lesser down dowry deaths. Still, certain corrective measures need to adopt to eradicate or at least curb this social menace of dowry death, but most importantly it needs a public will and commitment to shun away materialistic greed of dowry demands.

Aishwarya Says:

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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The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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