DOWRY is lifetime GANG RAPE against women and DOWRY is LIFETIME PROSTITUTION against men”-Jagdeesh Kumar.[1]

‘they beat me really hard’: Daughter In Law Of Retired Judge[2]

Men and women are the two sides of the same coin. As said that both genders are the wheels of the same vehicle and require the co-operation of both ,to move the vehicle smoothly.

Then how did women became victim of most of the heinous crimes worldwide? Is that vehicle moving smoothly now? Recently, Gender Gap Index Report [3]by World Economic Forum was released –India on 135 out of 146 countries, which is a matter of concern.

India is a nation of diversities which includes people of different caste, language, religion, place of birth etc. Diversities have also included discrimination of so called superior v. inferior. But the thing common among all is humiliation and harassment of women. Women have proceeded and proved their excellence in every field but still we need to provide them incentives and when a baby girl born in a house requires everybody to let them know that “goddess laxmi came to their house”.

Parents start thinking of dowry from the birth of a girlchild and parents of boy starts to presume about the quantity of dowry they can get.

Since ages, the concept of gifts to the daughter by her parents on her wedding, was in practise . Professionals says it could be because of absence of inheritance right of daughters(amended after 2005 amendment ) and it could have started as a compensation offered to their daughters. Slowly and gradually this system changed and it shifted from gifts to dowry, from a willful to a forced gifts. The concept of dowry has evolved immensely .Earlier it was given to bride but now given for the family of groom. The concept of groom price[4] came in existence which simply means that a dowry amount could be set as per the qualification salary ,looks ,house ,government job etc.the famous dialogue of a popular movie 3 idiots set perfectly here-

“padhoge nhi toh degree nhi hogi

degree nhi hogi toh naukari nhi hogi

aur naukari nhi hogi toh koi baap apni beti nhi dega[5]

however, in some states of south ,concept of bride price still persist.

The amendment of 2005, in the section 6 of Hindu Succession Act 1956, bought up a significant change in the society . In the light of Prakash V. Phulvati[6] ,it was held that the right over ancestral property could be given from a living coparcenor to a living daughter however the condition that the father must have been alive by 9 september 2005. In another case of Danama V. Amar Singh[7] ,it was held that this amendment would not deprive the women whose father died before 2005. This particular judgement was upheld in Vineeta Sharma V. Rakesh Sharma[8] that daughters right to property will not devolve by the death of the father.

In one of the speech given by former chief justice of himachal Pradesh high court and first women to be chief justice of delhi high court,Leila seth , at TEDx Talks[9] , said that she once countered with a case in which a woman refused to claim her share over ancestral property so that her bond with her brother does not quash. The justice informed her about her rights ,still she refused. Justice urged people to give inheritance to their daughter rather than dowry.

Remember the story of ‘Bom Bahia’ ( Bombay),where Charles II married Catherine of Braganza in 1662 where control of Bombay was shifted to East India Company[10]. This Bombay was given as dowry . though Europeans have abolished dowry in their country by now.

Recently , International Malala Day was celebrated on 12 July. The day to salute the Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai. Her story provides an inspiration for all the girls to capture the zeal to study and make their own identity

Now lets try to define dowry, the gifts given to the bride on her marriage by her parents. However when the parents are incapable of providing it ,the offences like dowry death,cruelty , abetment to suicide ,murder come into action.there have been many provisions to protect women against such offences-[11][12]

● Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 which makes demanding /taking/giving dowry illegal.

● Section 498 A, The Indian Penal Code 1860,which punishes the husband and relative for cruelty over woman.

● Section 304 B ,Of The Indian Penal Code 1860, which punishes for dowry death of woman.

● Section 113 A ,Of The Indian Evidence Act ,1872, as abetment of suicide by a married woman.

● Section 113 B , Of The Indian Evidence Act ,1872, which is also related with the dowry death.

● Women power helpline number-1090 in Uttar Pradesh

● Department of telecommunication ,Government Of India has allocated code-181 to all over the territory of India.

● For women in distress -1091

● National Commission For Women(NCW)- 7827170170, which is available 24*7.

● National Commission For Women – 011-26942369,26944754

● National Human Rights Commission-011-23385368/ 9810298900

● In Delhi , Shakti Shalini(N.G.O.)Women shelter -011-24373737

These are some of the legal provisions which are made by law to prevent dowry death from the nation.there have been huge protests against dowry by activists like Satya Rani Chadha, Raja Rammohan Roy. Satya Rani was a woman who fought against the injustice of her own daughter’s death by burns and represented the pain of every victim of dowry death. She said “this fight is a victory without winner”.[13]

In the definition of dowry death in Section 304 B Of Indian Penal Code 1860, The Supreme Court observed that ‘soon before death’ cannot mean‘immediately before’ in Satbir Singh & Another V. State Of Haryana.[14]

The cases like Kamlesh Panjiyar V. State Of Bihar [15]which said direct evidence of causing dowry death not necessary, Baldev Singh V. State Of Punjab[16] where defendant punished for 7 years of imprisonment for committing dowry death. The cases have no end yet. The victims belong from all backgrounds .

However , number of dowry deaths reported in India from 2005 to 2020 have increased[17]. This is a good sign from a perspective that women are atleast raising their voice because that is the first step to meet the ends of justice.

One solution could be by becoming financially independent however by as per NSS report ,60% women have a lot of household duties and they don’t get time to build themselves.[18]

The laws were in power since long, now the need is required from the society by making your women financially independent, educate them, which could be done by providing proper infrastructure till the remote areas as well as proper transportationfacilities which could provide them with safe and secure environment too.As per IHDS Surveys[19] ,such facilities have helped the women to educate themselves.and last but not the least , the mentality ofthe society which many times prevent women to inform police and if she does she become a cat among pigeons.. But we know that someday this heinous crime would become a chapter of history, by co-operation of all. “SAY NO TO DOWRY!!”

-- [1] Goodreads, www.goodreads.com, July 14, 2022 [2] Smitha,retired hc judge,wife,son harass daughter-in-law for dowry, the quint, 20 September 2019, 9:00 p.m., www.thequint.com [3] Sreejith Ravikumar, INDIA RANKS 135 OUT OF 146 IN GLOBAL GENDER GAP INDEX, The Hindu , 14 July 2022, 8:17 AM, www.thehindu.com [4] Caplan,l1984,”bridegroomprice in urban india class caste and dowry evil’ man,19,p.216-233 [5] Aarnav Gupta, 3 idiots –a millionth re-watch ,reflectionsmag.in, July 13, 2022,www.reflectionsmarg.in [6] Prakash & ors. V. Phulwati & others, civil appeal no. 7217 of 2013 [7] Danamma @Suman Surpur V Amar Singh,(2018)3 SCC 343 [8] Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma ,Diary No. 32601 Of 2018, A.I.R 2020 [9] Leila seth,Women should rethink their inheritance ,tedxgatewaywomen, 14 OCTOBER 2015 ,https://youtu.be/dpC2jGqu4G0, [10] Charles ii ,Catherine of Braganza and Bombay ,rct.uk,14 July 2022,www.rct.uk [11] https://indianhelpline.com/women-helpline, July 14, 2022 [12] (k.d.gaur, 2019) [13] Areeb Uddin Ahmed ,’A victory Without A Winner’; Remembering Satyarani Chaddha,The Face Of India’s Anti Dowry Movement,Bar And Bench, 14 July 2022,9:27 a.m., https://www.barandbench.com/columns/remembering-satyarani-chaddha-the-face-of-indias-anti-dowry-movement [14] Satbir Singh V. The State Of Haryana , A.I.R. 2021 [15] Kamesh Panjiyar @Kamlesh V. State Of Bihar , A.I.R. 2005 [16] Baldev Singh V. State Of Punjab ,A.I.R 2005 [17] https://www.statista.com/statistics/632553/reported-dowry-death-cases-india/, 14 July 2022,9:43 a.m. [18] World bank,labor force participation rate,female(% of emale population ages 15+- india,Nepal,Indonesia,Vietnam,Cambodia ,data.worldbank.org, 14 July 2022, 9:47a.m. [19] https://www.ajinkyakeskar.com/files, 14 July 2022, 10:00 a.m.

This article is written by Sanya Singh of Heeralal Yadav law college.

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