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Dowry System: A Socio-cultural Dilemma In The Society

Dowry is the pathetic culture in our society. A dowry or dahej is a gift of cash provided by the bride’s family to the groom’s family and the newly created home at the time of their wedding. Dowries maybe in the kind of land, livestock farming, clothing or jewelries. The custom of dowry system is very common in India as well as it is also common in other countries like China, Japan, Europe, Greece, Africa, Pakistan and many more other countries.

Dowry is originated from the ancient customs of Hindu society “stridhan” and “kanyadan”. In earlier times, women were not allowed to go out of the house on jobs, so dowry assist as her revenues and her allowance to the house. Due to the dowry systems daughters are not respected as much as sons. Dowry has resulted unspeakable torment and crimes against women.

Nowadays, the authorities came up with many rules and regulations, not only to remove dowry system but also to encourage the situation of the girl by persuading in many programs.

Social impacts of dowry:

  • Betrayal of trust
  • Dowry- related women are victimized
  • Infanticide of baby girls
  • Psychological effects on children
  • Bride burning, later it proves intentionally that it was accidental death or suicide.

Globally adaption of Dowry

Many countries are addressing the challenges of dowry.
  1. India
    • In India, dowry is also called as ‘dahej’.
    • Dowry has been a common custom in India with adaptations on dowry’s custom.
    • Even though Indian legislations against dowries have been impact for years, they have been predominantly criticized like being impotent. The custom of dowry deaths continued that unrestrained in many areas of India and this has moreover increased to the issues of enforcement.
    • The Dowry prohibition act, 1961 article 3 determines that the punishment for taking or giving dowry does not enforce to gifts which are given at the moment of a wedding to the bridegroom or bride, when no requirement for their sake have been done.
       
  2. Pakistan
    • In Pakistan, dowry is also called as ‘jahez’.
    • Approximately, 2000 dowry deaths occur every year and annual rates exceeding 2.45 deaths per 100,000 women from dowry related offences.
    • A 2014 Gallup survey in Pakistan discovered that 84% of Pakistanis believe that dowry plays significant role in wedding, while 69% considered it is not feasible for women to get wedded without a dowry. [i] (khan, 2016)
       
  3. Bangladesh
    • In Bangladesh, dowry is also called as pawn or joutuk.
    • Bangladesh is facing a serious challenge in dowry cases.
    • Legislations prohibiting dowry in Bangladesh which includes Dowry prohibition Act, 1980; Dowry prohibition amendment ordinance, 1982; and Dowry prohibition amendment ordinance, 1986.
       
  4. Nepal
    • In Nepal, dowry is also called as ‘daijo’.
    • Nepal is facing a major problem in dowry related offences.
    • In Nepal, the custom of dowry is closely connected with cultural prestige, and dowry offence particularly common in the Terai belt.
    • In 2009, Nepal legislated the social norms and customs act prohibiting dowry, but there have been no reported cases of enforcement.
       
  5. China
    • In China, women had no legitimate rights for property endowment.
    • No matter what, women belonging gifts is a traditionally a part of marriage.
    • China has bride prices

Dowry statistics in India

In 2019, Uttar Pradesh is the first state to have the increased number of dowry cases. More than 2000 dowry cases were reported, according to the statistics of government. It has been mentioned that 7000 murder cases have been reported in 2019. This type of crime comes under the jurisdiction of Section 304-B of Indian Penal Code. (Department, 2021)[iii]

In Bengaluru, there were 17 dowry cases in the first month of 2019. More data cases were registered under the Dowry Prohibition Act witnessed arise from 690 in 2018 to 739 in 2019. The statistic has resisted at 727 in 2017. The statistics of dowry deaths increased from 48 in 2018 to 52 in 2019. The police noted that the nature of dowry matters is quite disturbing and serious, women are often involved in attacks of crime. (Prasad, 2020)[iv]

According to Indian National Crime Records Bureau, India is the first country in the world where cases of dowry deaths have come to light. Every day at least 20 women become victims in dowry cases and the annual figures are above 7000 deaths. According to authorities, many cases are not reported and the actual death may be three or four times the official figures. Studies have shown that in 2018, approximately 27,281 dowry deaths arise in India according to the reports.

The National Crimes Records Bureau statistics claims that, 87% of dowry deaths are pending in the court of justice. More than 83 percent of the cases have been registered under Dowry Prohibition Act are awaiting trial. (Shine, 2020)[v]

Ayesha suicide case: This incident shook everyone
In 2020, Ayesha lodged a dowry harassment complaint against Arif Khan and his family at Ahmedabad's Vatva police station. Ayesha's father Liaquat Ali said that in July 2018, his daughter got married to Arif Khan, who lives in Jalore, Rajasthan. Since the marriage of Ayesha, her in-laws started physically and mentally harassing her for dowry. A few months later Arif sends Ayesha to her house. Arif also stopped talking to Ayesha. He had put a lot of pressure on Ayesha to take back the dowry case.

Ayesha’s father stated that he gave 1.5 Lakh dowry on 26 January 2020. While a complaint of domestic violence was already filed in Vatva Police station against Arif and his family in 2019.
On the afternoon of 25 February, Ayesha made a 2-minute video and spoke emotionally to her father on the phone.

She pleaded with her father not to file a domestic violence case on her husband. Ayesha also said that before jumping on the Sabarmati river, she was granting freedom to Arif. Her body was recovered in the evening of the same day near Sabarmati River. Police arrested Ayesha’s husband Arif under Indian Penal Code Section 306 for abetment to suicide. (Jha, 2021)[vi]

Dowry prohibition act, 1961

The Dowry prohibition act, 1961 prolongs to the entire nation except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It shall enter into power on such deadline as the Central Government could appoint.
  1. Penalty for demanding dowry:
    • If any individual demands explicitly or implicitly, from the family of bride or bridegroom as any type of dowry then he will be imprisoned which should not be less than 6 months but it could extend to 2 years and with the charges which can be extend to 10 years.
       
  2. Penalty for giving or taking dowry:
    • If any individual give or take dowry then he will be imprisoned which shall not be less than 5 years and with the charges which should not be less than 15,000 rupees.
       
  3. Cognizable offences for a specific objective to be bailable and non-bailable:
    • The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (2 of 1974) applies to violation under this act because they were cognizable offences:
      • In order of issues apart from
      • In order of investigation of such an offence:
        1. Above mentioned issues in Section 42 of that code
        2. The arrest of an individual without a warrant or without a command of a judge.
           
  4. Authority of the government to establish rules
    • Especially, without bias of the generality of the preceding authority, such legislation can provide for everyone or any of the following issues, specifically
    • Additional features to be executed by the Dowry Prohibition Officers under sub-section (2) of Section 8-B.
    • Drawbacks and requirements matter that a Dowry Prohibition Officers can exercise his tasks under sub-section (3) of Section 8-B.
    • All regulations made by the state administration under this section should be placed immediately afterwards it is done before the legislation of the state.
       
  5. Dowry prohibition official
    • The government of the state may designate as much Dowry Prohibition Officers as it considers appropriate and determine the areas in terms of which they may exercise their authority and sovereignty under this act.
       
    • Dowry prohibition officer perform the following authorities and responsibilities:
      • To ensure that law provisions are brought together
      • To prevent, whenever possible the aiding and abetting of demanding dower.
      • To gather proofs, perhaps it is essential for the defense of individuals committing offenses under this act.

The dowry prohibition (maintenance of lists of presents to the bride and bridegroom) rules, 1985
In practice of authority given by Section 9 of the Dowry prohibition act, 1961 (28 of 1961), the Central government thereby makes the following requirements:
  1. Short title and commencement:
    • These legislations perhaps called the dowry prohibition (maintenance of lists of presents to the bride and bridegroom) rules, 1985.
    • They shall be into effect on the 2nd day of October, 2985, even the date assigned for the implementation of the Dowry Prohibition Amendment act, 1984 (63 of 1984).
       
  2. Rules in conformity with which lists of gifts are to be maintained
    • Lists of gifts which are given at the moment of the wedding to the bride must be retained by the bride.
    • Lists of gifts which are given at the moment of the wedding to the bridegroom must retained by the bridegroom.
       
Every list of gifts mentioned in sub-rule (1) or sub-rule (2):
  1. Should be prepared at the moment of the wedding as early as possible after the wedding.
  2. Should be in writing.
  3. It should contain:
    1. A brief overview of every gift
    2. The approximate cost of the gift.
    3. The name of the individual who has given the gift
    4. Where the individual giving the gift is associated to the bridegroom or bride, an explanation of such couple.
    5. Must be signed by the couple. (Development, 2021)[vii]

Impact on the people of the dowry interdiction initiative

  • The family don’t put enough importance on teaching their daughters, because they feel that later husbands will support them.
  • The low-income sections of community who send their daughters out for work to earn their livelihood to support them and can save money for her dowry.
  • Even though the lower class and upper-class people do send their daughters to study in school but they don’t focus on their career opportunities
  • The rich family who gladly help their daughters unless they get married and their capacity to pay out a high amount of dowry.
  • Therefore, learning and freedom is important and precious gift that you can offer your daughter. This will support her to be financially strong and she can be contributor of the family, giving her appreciation and proper position in the family. So, giving your daughter a proper educational training and supporting her to follow a profession of her choice is the finest dowry any family can ever provide their daughter.

Significant steps to eliminate dowry

  • Educate your child
  • Inspire to the children to possess and acknowledge their career.
  • Instruct them to be self-sufficient person and responsible person.
  • Treat your daughter equivalently without any injustice.
  • Don’t inspire the custom of taking or giving dowry.
  • Men and women allowed to get marry only after they become independent.
  • Construct public awareness against dowry.
  • The girl should be given equal rights.

End-Notes:
  1. https://www.slideshare.net/taqdeeskhan2/dowry-as-social-evil#:~:text=In%20Pakistan%2C%20dowry%20is%20called,jahez%2De%2Dfatimi).&text=At%20over%202000%20dowry%2Drelated,100%2C000%20women%20in%20the%20world
  2. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2184757/chinese-city-caps-bride-price-us7450-reduce-wedding-pressure
  3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/633011/reported-dowry-death-cases-by-state-india/
  4. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2020/jan/17/17-dowry-cases-in-16-days-of-new-year-2090576.html
  5. https://indusscrolls.com/dowry-deaths-indian-brides-are-not-for-sale/
  6. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/ayesha-suicide-case-cops-say-husband-arrested-7210119/
  7. https://wcd.nic.in/act/dowry-prohibition-act-1961

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Dalima Poojari - University: National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: AP111545079606-25-0421

Can be Reached at: E-mail: [email protected]

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