A detailed study on Dowry Death in India

INTRODUCTION

Marriages are believed to be formed in heaven, but in this day and age, I believe they are formed by the devil himself. After leaving behind her father’s house and her mother’s affection, the last thing a bride wants is for her in-laws to turn into monsters. Dowry desire leads to dowry killing and brutality by husbands and in-laws. Dowry death, murder-suicide, and bride burning are indicators of a specific social disease and an undesirable evolution of our social structure.

This is a distinctively Indian occurrence, a black Plague brought about by the dowry system. Since it is practised by practically every sector of society, regardless of religion, caste, or creed, India has experienced the dark ills of the dowry system in a more intense form in almost all sections of the nation over the last few decades. Not only are married women tormented, humiliated, beaten and pushed to commit suicide, abandon spouses, etc., tortured and ill-treated on a daily basis, but hundreds are even burned to death because parents are unable to satisfy the dowry demands of in-laws or their husbands.

Background

There is no clear proof of dowry in India’s ancient history. According to historical eyewitnesses, dowry was negligible in ancient India, and daughters held the right of inheritance. Evidence suggests that there were cases of bride pricing later in the twentieth century, which resulted in impoverished men being bachelors. The Manu Code sanctioned dowry and bride riches, although it was mostly linked with the aristocratic castes such as Brahmins (Priestly).

However, as part of the conjugal estate, marriage required the reciprocation of gifts. Ancient literature, such as the Vedas, demonstrates that such behaviours did not exist throughout the Vedic period. A woman in ancient India clearly possessed property rights in her father’s property. Dowry was neither present or uncommon enough to be observed, according to Hindu legal literature such as Smritis.

Dowry Practice in India has its origins in the mediaeval period, when a bride was given a gift in cash or in other forms such as lands, jewellery, animals, and so on to retain her independence after marriage. During the Colonial period, Britishers made the practise of dowry mandatory, and marriage became legally sanctioned.

Although the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 made demanding dowry illegal, India still exhibits signs of bride-price negotiation Dowry.

Statistics

India has by far the biggest number of dowry-related fatalities, as well as cruelty by husbands or in-laws. According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), a total of 8,233 deaths due by dowry lust were reported in 2012, which essentially implies that a bride was burnt every 90 minutes.

In 1996, Indian police estimated that they get around 2,500 cases of bride-burning each year. The death toll has risen throughout the years. Every day in 2019-20, a total of 20 brides are killed; why? Dowry is the correct answer.

The severity of such offences is not restricted to rural regions; educated families like mine and yours living in large centres like Mumbai and Delhi are also victims.

Emergence of Dowry Death Cases

Dowry was supposed to be a present for the bride and her in-laws, but who knew a simple gift would become a pawn for expectations, or should I say incorrect expectations? Greed, not money, is said to be the source of all evil. This is precisely how dowry death became as the most heinous of offences. The requirement for a present evolved into dowry rather than a simple gift. Its rise is due to the hope of receiving fancy automobiles, cash, and jewellery. When a parent cannot afford such obligations, he frequently fails to meet them. The failing of a poor parent cost him a life, his own daughter’s life.

Indian Penal Code

The term “dowry” is not defined in the IPC. Section 304B, on the other hand, states that dowry shall have the same meaning as defined in section 2(1) of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, which states that dowry means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly:

  • by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or
  • By either party’s or any other person’s parent, to either party’s or any other person’s parent, to either party’s or any other person’s parent, to either party’s or any other person’s parent, to either party’s or any other person’s

In connection with the marriage of the aforementioned parties, at or before any time after the marriage, but does not include dower or mehar in the case of people to whom the Muslim Personal Law (shariat) applies. However, according to the Supreme Court, customary payments and gifts are not dowry.

Essentials of dowry death:

A careful analysis of section 304B, IPC shows that the section has the following essentials:

  1. A woman’s death should be caused by burns, bodily harm, or anything else other than typical conditions.
  • Her death should have happened within seven years of her marriage.
  • The lady must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any of her husband’s relatives.
  • Cruelty or harassment should be motivated by or related to the desire for dowry.
  • Cruelty or harassment should have been inflicted on the lady before to her death.

CONCLUSION

Dowry death is a societal curse that is a hot topic in Indian society. Organized approach by women’s welfare groups, police, public officials, and the judiciary by imposing deterrent penalty on those responsible for dowry fatalities. It can be seen that the Indian government, in collaboration with the Indian judiciary, develops cooperative and supporting laws to protect women’s lives and dignity, as well as to offer further justice to victims of harassment or cruelty by husbands and his family. Changes in the school system have improved female education status, and door-to-door job services will reduce dowry fatalities. Still, some corrective measures must be implemented in order to eliminate or at least reduce the societal scourge of dowry death, but most crucially, a public will and determination to reject the materialistic hunger of dowry demands is required.

REFERENCES

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.

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In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

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