The researcher in this research talk about an evil culture of Indian Society
¯.The paper talks about the history of the dowry system, its
impact, laws made for its prohibition, and case law which help us to become more
clear about this system, which is being practiced for a long period in India.¯
Marriage is a source of joy and festivities as well as of new beginnings. Yet,
one of the longest-standing standing evils associated with marriage from a
women's point of view in the Indian system is the Dowry System
¯. The root
of a host of social atrocities against women, the custom of presenting dowry is
the crudest expression of male dominance in society. It is most often a
mandatory custom of a girl parent's having to provide a considerable amount of
Gold in the form of jewelry and things made of it, electronic equipment, movable
or immovable properties, to the groom and his family, at the time of marriage.
Although the origin of the custom lies with parents trying to assure financial
stability for their daughters, in current we can say it has translated into
parents paying up for the assurance of the well-being of their daughters. The
things or we can say that jewelry or the cash a bride brings from her parents
home is often referred to as STREE-DHAN¯ and in theory, is the property of a
girl, but in reality, it is treated as their rightful due by the groom's family.
The sum to be paid as dowry has no set standards, the yardstick greatly depends
upon the groom's social standing and is often perceived by the groom's family as
the compensation for the efforts they have made to educate their boys. In a more
brief manner, we can say that the girl's inferior in comparison to the boy's
family, no more matter what her qualities are and how much educated she is. Thus
they need to be on their behavior and offer lavish GIFTS¯ to please the boy's
family otherwise they will not accept their daughters.
This ideally is ingrained in the psyche of a large number of Indians, they
either practically ruined themselves financially in order to pay for the
appropriate price of the chosen groom, make a bid to eradicate the prospect of
their financial burden by selective gender-biased abortion of female or female
infanticide. This exploitative system has turned up custom of gifts and
well-wishes into a compulsory demand for money, respect and subjugation, is the
one of the major contributing factors hindering the growth of the Indian society
being a woman is still viewed synonymously with being a burden.
The history of dowry is not clear, some scholars believe that dowry was
practiced in antiquity, but some do not. Dowry in ancient India was significant,
and daughter's had inheritance rights, which by custom were exercised at the
time of their marriage. Documentary evidence suggests that at the beginning of
20 century bride price, rather than dowry was the common custom, which often
resulted in very poor boys remaining unmarried boys.
STANLEY J.TAMBIAH¯ claims that the ancient code of manu ancient dowry was the
most prestigious form and associated with BRAHMANIC¯ cast. Bridewealth was
restricted to the lower castes, who were not allowed to give dowry. He cites
studies from the early 20th century with data to suggest this pattern of dowry
in upper cast and bridewealth in lower castes has persitted through the first
half of the 20th century. However, it is that marriages involved both reciprocal
gifts between the two families claims Tambiah, so that in so far the groom's
family give the bride the wealth, it tends to be given back as the culturally
validated dowry to the bride as part of her conjugal state.
Michael Witzel in contrast, claims the ancient Indian literature suggests dowry
practices were not significant during the Vedic period witzel also tells that
women in ancient India had property inheritance rights either by appointment or
when they had no brothers.3
The finding of Macdonell and Keith are similar to Witzel and differ from tambiah;
they cite ancient Indian literature suggesting bridewealth was paid even in
brahima and daiva types of marriage associated with the Brahmanic upper caste.
Dowry was not infrequent when the girl suffered from some bodily defect.
Property rights for women increased in ancient India suggest Macdonell and
Keith, over the era of the epic from 200 BC to 700 AD.
Kane claims ancient literature suggests bridewealth was paid only in the asura
type of a marriage that was considered reprehensible and forbidden by Manu and
other ancient indian eclipses. Lochtefeld suggests that religious duties listed
by Manu and others such as the bride be richly adorned to celebrate marriage
were ceremonial dress and yiwelevy along with gifts that were her property, not
property demanded by the groom; Lochtefeld further notes the bridal adornment is
not currently considered as dowry in most people's mind.4
Above analysis by various scholars is based on interpreting verses of ancient
Sanskrit fiction and inconsistent similarities from India, not eyewitness
accounts. Available eyewitness observations from ancient India give different
pictures. One of these was the correct conquest from Ca. 300 BC as recorded by
Americans and Megasthenes. American first book mentioned a lack of dowry.
Religious constraints imposed by the society is one of the important religions
behind the dowry system, mainly suitability of groom have a contributing factor
towards the dowry problem. These constraints do not condone inter-religious
marriage or even between different religious sects and a suitable groom has to
be found from the same religious backgrounds. These restrictions limit the
number of suitable matches boys of marriageable age with a desirable
qualifications become a prize and this turn encourages the practice of the catch
being caught by the highest bidder.
Aside from similar religious background further constraint impose based on the
caste system and social status. Practice like cast Indore coming and Clan
exogamy has to be kept in mind while arranging a match. Preferred matches has to
belong to the same cast, different Clan, and or higher social standing these
limitations against early depleted the pool of marriageable men leading to
similar consequences for demanding dowry.
The the inferior social standing of women in Indian society is also deeply
rooted in the nation, that this treatment of them as mere commodities is
accepted without the question, not only themselves when marriages are wiped as
the ultimate achievement for women, evil practice like dowry takes its roots
deeper in the society.
Lack of formal education is another cause for the prevalence of the dowry
system. A large number of women are deliberately kept from schools either due to
certain superstitions or from the belief that educating girls to take away from
their eligibility as good wives.
- Short term effect of dowry system- the dose effects of the dowry system
are immediate and permanent picture of daily news.
- Injustice towards girls- dowry bears a huge financial obligation for the
bride's family. As the consequence, a girl child has viewed a possible
source of drain on the family finance ultimately an owns this view evolves
into giant proportions taking the shape of infanticide and feticide of the
girl child. Girls are often married in the areas of education where boys of
the family are given preferences. they are towards domestic cores from a
very early age.
- Violence against women- contrary to hopeful parents, dowry is often not
a one-line pay up. Demands are continuously made by the husband's family
consider the girls' family as a never-ending source of finance. Inherently
by the Girl family often leads to verbal abuse, domestic violence, and even
- Long term effect of dowry system- the short-term effects lead to
following long-term consequences.
- Gender imbalance-the much-abhorred practice like abortion of the female fgetices and killing the girl have resulted in an unnatural skived Haryana and
Rajasthan where these practices are most prevalent, the CSR details to 830 girls
per 1000 boys.
- Status of women- practices like dowry social lists and huge deterrent
towards the improvement of the social status of women in India. Infertility
of women has been impressed upon the minds of the nation and again by the
demands of dowry.
Several laws have been enacted to prohibit the practice of dowry and the
injustice against women. Instead of it, the dowry prohibition act was passed on
20th May 1961 with an aim of eradicating evil practices from society. The act
declares not only the practice of accepting dowry unlawful, but also penalizing
giving of the same. It includes property, valuable security live cash, and
jewelry exchanging hands during the marriage.
Making demands of dowry is
punishable by a minimum imprisonment of 5 years and a minimum fine of 15000
rupees. Includes of cruelty by the husband or his family against the wife had
been suffered. In section 498A in the Criminal Procedure Code. Section 113A
added in the Indian Evidence Act further provides the family of the bride to
change the husband's family of abetting the suicide of their daughter within 7
years from the date of marriage.
It is never enough to just introduce acts and amend sections to fight against
social evil. This requires Strict and ruthless enforcement laws that aspect
still leaves a lot to be desired. Although allegations are taken very seriously
by the authorities; a lack of proper investigation procedures often leads to the
accused going free. The government needs to ensure a zero-tolerance policy for
such offenders and ensure enforcement of the law through systematic changes.
Creating a widespread awareness against the evil of the dowry system is a key
step towards eradicating the practice campaigns should be designed to reach the
deepest strata by the society and aim to spread knowledge about the legal
provisions against dowry. There also is a need to promote the need for educating
the girl child.
I will bitterly explain with the help of case law. So the name of the case is
Kamesh Panjiyar @ Kamlesh Panjiyar vs State of Bihar
4 sec 596 (1996). In this
case jsikali devi was sister of the informant sudhir kumar mahto. She was
married to Ramesh panjiyar in 1986. A sum of Rs. 40000 was demanded in dowry at
the time of marriage and the same was paid. Subsequently, demand for a buffalo
was made by the appellant at the time of marriage.
Which could not be fulfilled.
Informant Sudhir Kumar Mahto went several times to the house of his sister but
the same was not allowed, and on the contrary demand of buffalo was pressed upon
him. The deceased complained of ill-treatment of other members of the family
including her husband was reported. Then Sudhir Kumar Mahto heard some rumors in
the village that her sister, the deceased was murdered by the appellant when she
went to her home, he found the same she was dead.
This case was first filled in the trial court and they appealed to the supreme
court. In the instant case, great stress had been laid on the opinion of the
doctor that the possible cause of death was not ascertainable. As noted by the
trial court & the high court, black stained rough skin on both sides of the neck
was found of the victim. It was tricking from the side of the mouth and brain
matters were found congested. There was no evidence that the death was due to
normal reason so the high court justified that accused was guilty. He along with
his family members would not have tried to get treatment for the deceased. He
was punished under sec. 498 A of IPC and under dowry prohibition act, 1961.7
At last I would like to conclude by saying that girl should refuse to marry boys
who ask for dowry & dowry act should be changed and more strictly followed
otherwise people will never understand. It should be made a non-bailable crime.
Men should change their way of thinking otherwise taking dowry will always be
the last way to get rich and to get more property. If they will decide not to
take dowry then it will be a big support to the women and also helps to raise
their voice to herself, can able to fight for equality. Above all the youth must
be given the freedom to choose their life partners.