“Any young man, who makes dowry a condition to marriage, discredits his education and his country and DISHONOURS WOMANHOOD”

Mahatma Gandhi

The custom which initiated as an effort of the parents to ensure the financial stability of their daughter in a patriarchal society has now translated into a means to assure the life of their daughter and a root of the host of social atrocities against women. The concept of dowry owes its origin to the custom where the father presents clothes and jewellery his daughter during ‘Kanyadan’ and cash/kind to the bridegroom during ‘Vardakshina’. The main causes for its emergence were the patriarchal society, performance of religious obligations only by the son, greed, adhering customs and urge to show off. Apparently, it’s not just a mere evil; it’s the mother of many evils. It’s a curse which has resulted in female foeticide, dowry deaths, bride burning and cruelty against women. The Dowry system is the crudest expression of male-dominance in India.

Article 51A (e) of the Constitution states that citizens must endeavour to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 was enacted to curb the menace of dowry and it punishes a person who gives/takes, r abets the giving/taking of dowry with minimum 5 years imprisonment and a fine of minimum ₹15,000 or the amount of dowry, whichever is more.[1] Demanding dowry directly or indirectly is punishable with imprisonment between 6 months to 2 years and fine of maximum ₹5000.[2] The Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1986 made dowry death punishable under IPC with minimum 7 years imprisonment which may be extended to for life.[3] Subjecting a woman to cruelty is also an offence under IPC.[4] As per the government data, 8,455 dowry cases were reported in 2014.[5]

As there are 2 sides of a coin, it is felt that these laws are being misused and that the cases lack genuineness. What is to be considered here is that, the fake cases can be detected but the level of change these laws have brought and justice that has been delivered to the victims is unmatchable and appreciable.

“The bird sitting on the tree is not afraid of the branch breaking, because its TRUST is not the branch but on its wings. BELIEVE IN YOUR SELF and don’t take dowry”

[1] The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, Section 3

[2] The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, Section 4

[3]The Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act,1986 inserted section 304B IPC making dowry death an offence.

[4]The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1986 inserted section 498A.

[5]Open Government Data (OGD) Platform India,data.gov.in,https://data.gov.in/catalog/cases-registered-and-their-disposal-under-dowry-deaths.