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DOWRY-“A SOCIAL EVIL”

           DOWRY-“A SOCIAL EVIL"
    THE DOWRY, NOT THE WIFE, IS THE.         OBJECT OF ATTRACTION.
“When a man puts a cow in a deep abyss of greed, he begins 
to speak the language of Satan, trampling humanity”
                  INTRODUCTION
Dowry is another social evil which is affecting Indian society like a disease and 
there seems to be no solution or cure to this. In fact, dowry is a type of violence 
committed against women. This is a specific crime committed only againstmarried women.In ancient times, the girl used to bring with her dowry, the things she needed as well as some pets, such as cow bulls etc. Today it has become one of the biggest stigma in Indian society. This practice is prevalent in villages and cities also. In earlier times this system was not an exploitative system where any specific 
demands would be made by the family of bride-groom, it was a voluntary systemand family of bride would make gifts according to their capacity.

WHAT IS DOWRY?
Dowry means to demand something. Dowry is the thing when a bride-to-be brings some items from her father's house with her in marriage. It is called Dowry. In
dowry father gives his daughter in marriage to groom. This game of dowry has been going on since ancient times. Society was fine in ancient times, nowadays,dowry has become a kind of business for greed beneficiaries.
                         OR
Dowry or Dahej is the payment in cash or/and kind by the bride’s family to the 
bridegroom’ s family along with the giving away of the bride ( called Kanyadaan)in Indian marriage. Kanyadanam is an important part of Hindu marital rites. 
Kanya means daughter, and dana means gift.

EFFECTS OF DOWRY SYSTEM

The effects/ impact of dowry system is discussed below:
1. Initiates gender imbalance: When we speak of gender inequality in the 
nation, dowry system can be considered the catalyst for this issue. 
According to the social infrastructure of the nation, it is a common 
perception that a woman is a liability and is to be married off someday, 
with a dowry debt at disposal. Well, for the masses, the birth of a girl is an 
inception to long-term plans to pay off the dowry along with the 
child.Hence, this impacts the building blocks of the society and hampers the 
growth of the nation.
2. Social Effects: Society owes its origins to masses and when we speak of 
the constituent evils of the segment in our subcontinent, dowry system isone of the most leveraged one. Being widely practiced across the nation, 
every other family faces the brunt of it. If a demand is not met by the 
bride’s family, she suffers at the hands of her groom’s family leading to 
social imbalance and emotional breakdown. 
3. Decrements status of women: When a girl is born, for particular 
individuals, the societal framework is dismayed. She is no longer a 
happiness and her birth is no more an occasion. She is deprived of basic 
rights to education, freedom and speech. However, owing to the basic 
structure, and the dowry ideology, her ordeal doesn’t end with marriage. 
For a female individual, with little or no self economic support, she exists at 
the assistance of her groom. Hence, when his demands aren’t met, it leads 
to the breakdown of the empathetic relation between the two entities 
leading to disparity. After a period, this ordeal doesn’t come to conclusion, 
rather, it leads to domestic violence and poses a serious threat to the 
future of the family. The girl loses on her freedom once she is married and 
it yet again, comes at the cost of a dowry debt.
4. Promotes domestic violence and crime: Dowry system initiates the 
act of violence in the society. When demands are not met by the bride’s 
family, the atrocities elevate proportionately. At times, extreme steps are undertaken to shell out financial grants or material benefits from the 
bride’s family. Well, yet again these steps can be attributed to the much 
debated domestic violence. The crimes against women take a surge owing 
to this structure of extortion.
5. Economic effects: Economy is not just the financial stockpile of the 
nation. Rather, it is a deep-vested, mass effort to bring the platter for every 
individual. Dowry system, though it seems a minor social evil can affect the 
nation and it’s individuals alike. Owing to this setup, women aren’t granted 
equal rights and opportunities, leading to loss of economic workforce from 
the segment. Women are active participants in the development of thenation, and if their rights are hampered at the domestic level, it affects our 
economic build-up significantly. We lose the consistent workforce at the 
hands of a social evil and hamper the growth of our own home and the 
society.
6. Deteriorating financial status of bride’s family: Dowry doesn’t affect 
the bride alone. Rather, its ordeal extends to bride’s parents and they have 
to bear the financial demands of their counterparts to ensure well-being of 
their child. With regular demands from the groom’s family, reports of 
suicides are yet again common in the country. Needless to say, this social 
evil should necessarily be eradicated for the society and the nation.
7. Loss of self-esteem among the women: The demands being met for 
the welfare of the bride comes at a cost. Out of concern for her parents, 
she loses on self-esteem by believing she is a burden on her family. It costs 
her peace of mind, and her right to a better life. Dowry system has imposed 
an invisible chain upon the freedom and self-respect of women and 
continues to haunt them since time eternal. Observing the problem closely,the greed of an individual ruins the peace of a beautiful brain.

              DOWRY DEATH??
An outcome of Dowry system, it is the inhuman practice of dowry death or Bride 
burning. Each year thousands of young brides are burnt or killed by their-in-laws 
because they fail to fulfill their ever increasing demand of money or property.Therefore the records shows that the there is an alarming increase in cases 
relating to harassment, torture, abetted suicides and dowry death of young 
brides. Only in 2010, more than 9000 dowry related deaths have been reported 
which shows the level of violence being faced by the women in the Society. These 
deaths are in reality cold blood murders by her own husband and relatives.

LAW ENACTED FOR PROHIBITION OF DOWRY

Dowry Prohibition Act- The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1986 makes both giving 
and demanding of dowry a punishable offence. But despite the Act, dowry system is continuing unabated and in fact it’s increasing by the day.
 According to the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, there is a provision of 5 years 
imprisonment and fine of 15,000 rupees for taking, giving or cooperating in 
dowry.
 Harassment for dowry can lead to imprisonment and fine of up to 3 years 
under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, which relates to the matter 
of unlawful demand for property or valuables by the husband and his 
relatives.
 3 years imprisonment or fine, or both, for the girl's husband and in-laws 
under section 406 of IPC, if they refuse to hand over the girl's female body 
to them.
  If a girl dies in unusual circumstances within seven years of marriage and it is proved that she was tortured for dowry before death, the girl's husband is sued under Section 304-B ​of the Indian Penal Code and relatives can besentenced to a minimum of seven years to life imprisonment.
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005:
 Women are one of the most significant assets of the society and are active 
contributors in an all round development of the nation. However, owing to 
the male dominated setup in our society, they suffer both physically and 
mentally. Well, their ordeal is not limited to the society as a whole. Rather, 
several cases reveal that domestic violence is still a significant deterrent 
against the uplift of the woman’s status in the society. To counteract the 
abuse women face at their own abode, the Protection of Women from 
Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was passed.

ABUSE OF THIS LAW

However, the noise of abuse is so tremendous, the legislature and even the 
judiciary are no more. But the figures reveal something else.
1. In May last year, Minister of State Haribhai Parathibhai told the Rajya Sabha 
in response to a question that nine per cent of the cases related to cruelty 
or harassment of women were either wrong or they had forgotten the fact 
or they did not meet the law. However, he clearly stated that there is no 
direct evidence or there is no study that 498A is the most misused in the 
country.
2. As many as 1,18,866 cases were registered in 2013 under the 498-A, 
1,06,527 in 2012 and 99,135 cases in 2011. According to the Minister of 
State for Home Affairs, after the police investigation, 10,193 in 2011,10,235 in 2012, 10,864 cases in 2013 were found to be false or in which there were some errors of fact or they did not fit on the scale of the law.
3. The Supreme Court's decision also has figures from the National Crime 
Records Bureau (NCRB).A recent NCRB figure is worth noting. According to 
the report of 2015, the police investigated one lakh 12 thousand 107 cases 
under 498-A and found 7458 cases to be false. 

QUESTIONS RAISED ON THE DOWRY 
HARRASMENT LAW

1. On July 28 last year, a two-member bench in Rajesh Sharma v. Uttar 
Pradesh issued several guidelines. In it, the dowry harassment case was 
said to prevent the arrest of husband and In-laws without investigation. 
Also, the bench had directed the formation of at least one family welfare 
committee in every district. The apex court had said that every complaint of 
498A should be sent to the committee and the accused should not be 
arrested till the report of the committee. Also, civil society was also 
directed to be involved in this work.
2. In 2003, the then Justice of Delhi High Court, J.J. D. Kapoor had said that 
such a trend is brewing that the girl wraps up not only the husband but also 
his relatives. Because of this the foundation of marriage is shaking and it is 
not right for the society. Justice Kailash Gambhir had said in his judgment 
that in the dowry torture case, the police will not register a case bynegligence, instead it must first get permission from a DCP rank officer. The 
court considered it as a legal terrorism.
3. In 2014, the Supreme Court gave a historic verdict in the case. The court 
had said that in case of imprisonment up to 7 years, there will be no arrest 
without justification and this includes dowry harassment case. High Court 
lawyer Murari Tiwari says that on July 2, 2014, the Supreme Court had said 
that in a case with a provision of sentence of up to 7 years, the police 
cannot arrest only when a case is registered. The court had said that in case 
of a dowry torture case (provision of maximum sentence of three years) 
and in the case of provision of punishment up to 7 years, action can be 
taken against the police without adequate basis. Supreme Court Justice 
C.K. The Bench of Prasad and PC Ghosh had said in their landmark verdict 
that the arrest of anyone cannot be done only because the case is non-
bailable and cognizable and the police has the right to do so.
ROLE OF NEW GENERATION IN ELIMINATING DOWRY SYSTEM

Materialism is the main driving force for the people and in search of the modern 
day life style and comfort; people are willing to go to any extent, even to burn 
their own wives or daughter-in-laws.
May be the only hope lies in new generation of young boys and girls who are 
educated and of modern thoughts. They should come out in open and fight 
against this social evil and also starts protesting within their own families, if any 
such incident happens there.
Also, young brides should start protesting if any dowry demands are made by 
their in-laws and immediately make a complaint to police or proper authorities;they must stop being a victim and start to think themselves empowered as lawsare there to protect them and empower them.

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