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DAMODARAM SANJIVAYYA NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY VISAKHAPATNAM, A.P., INDIA
Submitted To: DR. RADHAKRISHNA
Submitted By: Rajesh Kumar Raman 2016-126, III SEMESTER
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I am grateful to our FAMILY LAW LECTURER DR.RADHAKRISHNA SIR
valuable guidance, significant suggestions and help for accomplishing this project topic “DOWRY ”. I have tried my best to collect information about the project in various possible ways to depict clear picture about the given project topic.
CONTENTS 1) INTRODUCTION 2) CAUSES OF DOWRY SYSTEM 3) EFFECTS OF DOWRY 4) DOWRY RELATED CRIMES 5) LAWS AGAINST DOWRY SYSTEM IN INDIA 6) DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT, 1961 7) PREVENTIVE MEASURES 8) CONCLUSION
INTRODUCTION DEFINITION OF DOWRY Historically, dowry has been an integral and institutionalized aspect of traditional arranged Hindu marriage. Over hundreds of years, however, the definition of the term has evolved from the ceremonial and voluntary gift giving of the bride’s family to a form of monetary extortion demanded by the groom’s family. Dowry originally and ideally denoted gifts of kanyadana, such as ornaments, expensive clothes and other precious items referenced in ancient texts on marriage ritual, voluntarily presented to both the bride and groom’s families during the time of marriage. Moreover, the practice was derived from the high cultural and spiritual merit accorded to gift givers and gift giving in the Vedas and other Hindu literature. As such, dowry was originally used as a means to both sanctify material wealth and also enhance social status in marriage. The modern phenomenon of dowry, however, reflects a change in the system such that the presentation of gifts no longer remains a voluntary process. Presently in India, bride’s families are often compelled to provide dowry in the name of gift giving. Evaluated in terms of total cash value, the amount of the dowry is negotiated by the groom’s family based on their social and economic status. The higher the socioeconomic status of the groom’s family, the higher the dowry demanded. The exact negotiation for dowry is often done through a mediator so that the marriage retains some semblance of sanctity and does not appear to be an entirely monetary transaction. The modern practice of dowry, therefore, is characterized by a shift from voluntary to forced gift giving, as well as the primary role of the groom’s family in determining the demand for gifts from the bride’s family. In the way it is currently understood, the term dowry is a broad reference to the totality of assets transferred from the bride’s family to the groom’s at the time of a marriage. The total transfer can be broken down into three basic parts. Firstly, there are the property transfers to the bride, which according to Indian law should legally be under her name and control.
Second, there are those gifts that continue to be part of the ceremonial aspect of the marriage and symbolize union between the two families. Ideally, these would be matched by reciprocal gifts of equal value from the groom’s family. Finally, there are those assets that can be called “marriage payments” and are given “with the explicit understanding that without them the marriage contract will be voided .” In an economic analysis, it is this final aspect that constitutes the actual significant economic cost of dowry for a bride’s family, and is perhaps the most costly among the three aspects of the dowry. Dowry refers to “the property, money, ornaments or any other form of wealth which a man or his family receives from his wife or her family at the time of marriage”. Dowry is both a practice and a problem with Indian marriage. The practice of giving dowry was meant to assist a newlywed couple to start their life together with ease; however, now it has become a commercial transaction in which monetary considerations receive priority over the personal merits of the bride. Dowry system has given rise to many socio-economic problems with very serious consequences. Numerous incidents of bride burning, harassment and physical torture of newly-wed women and various kinds of pressure tactics being adopted by the husbands/inlaws pressurizing for more dowry have compelled the social reformers and the intelligentsia to give serious thoughts to various aspects associated with the institution of dowry. Govt. of India enacted “Dowry Prohibition Act” in 1961, which was further amended in 1985 to control this menace. In spite of this Act, the “give and take” phenomenon of dowry is practiced widely throughout India, irrespective of caste and class. In many cases, when dowry amount is not considered sufficient, the bride is often harassed, abused and tortured. Dowry related violence and bride burning ( dowry-death) are only peculiar to our country and beside husband, his kin also join together in persecuting the bride as the dowry and related customs provide a good excuse to them for humiliating, insulting and even beating up of woman. The bride is helpless in her new home and physically so powerless that she cannot retaliate against the coercive tactics or actions of other; not many women have the guts to divorce their husbands on the ground of frequent mental or physical torture since they have nothing to fall back upon in a traditionally and poorly developed country like India.
CAUSES OF DOWRY SYSTEM a) GREED-EXPECTATION: When the marriage ceremony talks are initiated, a major sector of the society holds the thought that it is the event for extortion from the bride’s family. Several reasons are cited including the dowry is being demanded to compensate the costs of the groom’s education and liability. Well, the fact that the girl is also a responsibility for the family, not a liability, is ignored widely. The primary reason behind such desperate measures can be justified through the greed factor. Owing to expectations of material benefits from the bride’s family, dowry is demanded for, and at times, when the demands are not met, either the marriage is called off, or the bride is exploited leading to domestic violence. b) SOCIAL STATUS: The ancient India was quite liberal in the event of gift exchange during marriage. All of it would rest upon the financial status of the families. However, at present, the dowry amount and in-kind gift exchange has led to depletion in status of women in the society, and led to depiction of social stance through the networth exchanged. The financial status of the bride’s family is of little or no significance to the groom’s family leading to prospective dowry extortion in a marriage. Yet again, the bride’s family try to pay it out owing to the fact that losing a marriage proposal would deteriorate their status in the society. c) ILLITERACY: With a literacy rate of 74.04% in the country, it is quite valid to consider it the primary cause for different social evils. Being from the segment that is not knowledgeable about the laws and legislation, they face several atrocities owing to dowry exchange practices. They are left with little or no choices and have to meet the demands of the groom’s family, which when not met, leads to exploitation of the women. d) STATUS OF WOMEN: It is quite obvious that women’s status in the society is not an equal one. The plight doesn’t end here. Rather, the society owes its infrastructure buildup to the effective contribution of both genders alike. However, it is significantly ignored and the ultimate sufferers are the women in such setup. The dowry system is the brainchild of such mindset and is the primary reason behind the plight of women in the nation.
e) LACK OF WILLINGNESS TO ADHERE TO LAWS: The Government of our nation has drafted several legislation to counteract the dowry system. However, after the decades of drafting, these laws are still insignificant and this social evil still resides in our society. Seemingly, the primary reason behind the failure is lack of mass participation. People pay no heed to such laws and make sure to exploit the dowry system to gain material benefits under the veil of a marriage proposal. Hence, the demands are made, and owing to ignorance of anti-dowry laws, the bride’s family suffer at the hands of the groom and his family.
EFFECTS OF DOWRY The provisions and acts against dowry in the Indian legal code are largely ineffective. The phenomenon is too pervasive and too prevalent in rural communities to be influenced by basically any kind of legal statutes. Moreover, studies have shown that a majority of police and other security officials regard dowry as a family issue in which the law, the government, or the police should not interfere. As such, the expected punishment for violating legal codes regarding dowry is practically zero, and families continue to practice the giving dowry according to tradition. Furthermore, the ineffectiveness of the legal codes also means that the dowry is essentially irrecoverable upon termination of the marriage. The lack of legal enforcement of laws pertaining to the family results in a depressing but economically legitimate rational for the perpetration of two very serious social ills: wife murder and female infanticide. 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. 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 is one 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. Seventy % of our population resides in the villages and this practice still holds its stance midst the economy and the society as a whole. The society seemingly judges the worth of a person on the basis of dowry accepted or received and this framework can be attributed to the detrimental status of woman in the society. 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 the nation, 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.
DOWRY RELATED CRIMES 1) DOWRY-CRIMES & DOWRY-DEATH The dowry custom is a very old Indian tradition. It was introduced by Hinduism and has extended to all minorities. Even if nowadays some groups, like Muslims, are among those who consider it wrong, it has been and still is largely diffused across diverse Indian cultures. Dowries are presents that family and friends of the bride give to the bridegroom to celebrate the marriage. It is composed of the Kanyadhan, the gift of the virgin bride; the Varadakshina, a gift from the bride’s father; and the Stridah, gifts given by relatives and friends. Initially it was nothing but some simple presents, but after some time it became the only way for women, who were deprived from any property rights, to inherit some goods. Additionally, in presence of rich dowries women were allowed to marry men of higher status. On the other hand, the husbands and their in law may see dowries as a simple form of enrichment. In fact even women in the husbands’ family would accept that they can potentially benefit from dowry by acquiring some clothes or jewels. All these intricate relations and long-standing stories are the social grounds for why the system of dowries was, for a long period, wholly accepted by the Indian society. With the advent of modernisation and its
accompanying increase in acquisitive tendencies, the dowry system began to have particular criminal consequences, and as such it started to be rejected by some cultures. Therefore the government of India took legislative preventative measures in 1961 by enacting the Dowry Prohibition Act in order to erase this social problem. However statistics show that dowry deaths have increased over the last five years, instead of diminishing. One reason for this could be that the Dowry Prohibition Act only addresses the problem from its material cause, which is the lack of inheritance rights for women, but does not look further: “dowry as a social problem was sought to be tackled by the conferment of improved property right on women by the Hindu Succession Act 1956”. Even though this initiative could be considered logical, it neither affects nor changes the initial causes of Dowry-death, which stem from deep rooted negative socio-cultural norms, such as the conception of a woman being under a man’s will and power. Therefore, in a case like Arup Hazra vs Smt Manashi Hazra, the wife was found guitly as she “refused to cook food and serve meals to the husband and any members of his family, and used to move out of home without permission ”. The wife Smt Hazra said that her husband was harassing her because her family refused to submit Rs. 50,000 as a dowry. To escape violence Smt Hazra moved out from home. With this explanation the court eventually acquitted her, but her husband was not found guilty of any offence. The case was heard under the court’s civil jurisdiction, and ended with both parties being granted permission to file for divorce. 2) DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DUE TO DOWRY SYSTEM IN INDIA Dowry is considered a major contributor towards observed violence against women in India. Some of these offences include physical violence, emotional abuses, and even murder of brides and girls. National Crime Records in India reported International Journal of Enhanced Research in Educational Development approximately 6,000–7,000 dowry-related deaths every year and about 43,000–50,000 cases of mental and physical torture over the years from 1999-2003, indicating that violence and dowry are a serious national concern. Due to its high prevalence, domestic violence is probably the most difficult crime to avoid in India. Both Sati and Dowries deaths lead to a murder, and therefore are becoming more and more broadly condemned by people. Whereas 41% of women considered that husbands were justified in hitting their wives if they disrespected them or their in-laws. Moreover, it is difficult to evaluate the amount of domestic violence cases that occur, as
many remain unreported. Many women are not in fact aware of their rights, or ignore the law and tolerate violence. However, India’s Constitution not only guarantees equality, but also stipulates that the state can make special laws and provisions for women, children and other marginalised groups. Moreover, in IPC S. 498-A, the cruelty of an husband to his wife is seen as: “Any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health whether mental or physical of the woman or Harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her”. Even though this description is quite comprehensive, domestic violence is not easily denounced. Nevertheless some cases that are resolved under the law are more focused on resolving civil entanglements, rather than seeking to achieve justice. In Bhagat v Mrs. Baghat, Mr. Baghat accused her wife of being “an earring wife” since she was not satisfying him. He asked for a divorce without the obligation to pay any alimony. The respondent explained that she was continually physically harassed. The court acquitted Mrs. Baghat and refused the plaintiff’s complaints: “This plea does not appear legally convincing to us as it was baseless”, ruled the court, but the case remained circumscribed to a divorce settlement. No process was started against the cruelty of the husband towards his wife. Another interesting case was that of Vidya Vermav vs Dr Shiv Narain Verma, in which the Supreme Court observed that the detention of a woman by a private person is not remediable under Article 21, which exists as a right against the state only and not against an individual. 3) PHYSICAL ABUSE Physical violence against women has been a growing concern in India over the last few decades. Recently married women can be a target for dowry related violence, because she is tied economically and socially to her new husband. As discussed in previous sections on social and economic factors, dowry can undermine the importance of women in society, which might lead to further domestic violence, because dowry may contribute to women’s inferior status in her family and in her culture. In addition, there are studies indicating dowry as a threat, or hostage type situation, in order to attain greater funds from the bride’s family. This can be seen in young
(and often pregnant) brides, who are most vulnerable in the situation. This type of situation can occur with the threat or occurrence of violence, so that the bride’s family is left with no choice but to give more dowry to protect their daughter. In these cases, the husband and his family hold immense power, while the bride is left powerless; this can lead to murder and suicide. The areas of the greatest observed dowry related violence is in the Indian states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar. 4) EMOTIONAL ABUSE The impact of dowry can leave a woman helpless and desperate, which can cumulate in emotional trauma and abuse. Brides are often considered owned by their husbands, and often have very little power in the marriage, which can lead to depression and suicide. Dowry reinforces these beliefs and is considered to escalate effects of emotional trauma in a marriage. 5) MURDER The system of dowry has also been linked to murder of young brides. Physical abuses described above can also result in murder. These murders can arise due to the financial demands from a husband, or dissatisfaction of the bride from the groom’s family. In addition, the concept of “Bride Burning” refers to the sacrificial murder of a bride who is unsatisfactory to her husband in the form of dowry. In these cases, the woman is considered a sacrifice to her husband due to her inadequacy, and is glorified as an honorable woman. These cases reinforce the structured violence against women, while glorified as being “purer or more sacred than a dowry death”. In addition to bride murder, the institution of dowry may also reinforce sex-selective abortion and female infanticide. Due to the social and economic burdens of dowry, families may choose boys over girls, so that they avoid consequences of the system. This then may strengthen gendered violence and preferential male treatment in society. There are laws like Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 that help to reduce domestic violence and to protect women's rights. A) DOWRY-RELATED WIFE ABUSE AND MURDER Because of the practically nonexistent expected punishment for legal violations concerning dowry and because men in Indian society do not generally face any negative economic or societal consequences upon dissolution of a marriage, the existence of dowry in
effect induces a man to eliminate his current wife if the expected gains from doing so exceed the gains from continuing to be with her. Essentially, a man who can gain more from the potential dowry of a second marriage than from the benefits of remaining with his first wife is more likely to murder his current wife, especially if there is a low probability of conviction. In a similar vein, wife abuse may be used as a means of inducing a woman to leave a marriage, thereby allowing the husband to contract a second marriage and appropriate a second dowry without the legal risk of committing murder. Although this economic rational has yet to be adequately substantiated through empirical research, the argument is convincing particularly in light of the incredible pervasiveness of dowry-related wife abuse and murder. Incidents of violence and murders of wives due to issues of dowry first began to be reported in the early 1980’s. Stories emerged of women who were burned to death ,beaten and abused, murdered, and who committed suicide because of families-in-law who relentless harassed brides on issues related to insufficient dowry. By 1994, the Home Ministry’s National Crime Record Bureau clocked a ‘dowry death’ at every 102 minutes. In a country where people rarely report acts of domestic violence, however, even these grossly disturbing figures likely represent only a fraction of the actual dowry deaths that took place during these years. These horrific episodes of violence and murder can be seen as the combined result of an inadequately enforced legal system along with an age-old tradition that inherently undermines the relative economic selfsufficiency of women. 5) FEMALE INFANTICIDE In a similar vein, the dowry system may be seen as partly responsible for the female infanticide that occurs all over rural India. Because of the same lack of legal enforcement that has exacerbated dowry-related abuse and murder, the phenomenon of female infanticide is prevalent among Indian families (particularly in rural communities) where the additional cost of dowry for a third or fourth daughter may greatly exceed the family’s financial capacity. Again, economic empirical work has yet to explore this correlation, but the raw data and prevalent attitudes are staggering. Government employed midwives revealed in interviews that they “feared for a newborn’s life if it was so unfortunate as to be the third or fourth girl born into a poor family of farm labourer such a family could
not possibly afford the price of another girl’s dowry ‘putting the child to sleep’ seemed their only choice”. Both dowry-related murders as well as female infanticide are unfortunate and highly deleterious symptoms of India’s dowry system. Imposing a highly negative impact on the social welfare of women in Indian society, these phenomena must be addressed as what they are symptoms of a more significant root problem: that is, the prevailing social and cultural ideology that led to the existence of dowry in the first place.
LAWS AGAINST DOWRY SYSTEM IN INDIA THE DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT, 1961: The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 was one of the most significant attempt for the uplift of women’s status in the society and the abatement of dowry system. This legislation marked the inception of an evolution leading to development of a legal infrastructure which effectively monitored the exchange and facilitation of exchange of dowry. It imposes a penalty in section 3 in case of exchange or demand for dowry. The minimum term for the lay-off was 5 years and a minimum fine of INR 15,000 or the amount of dowry, depending upon whichever is higher. In case a demand for dowry was made, it was equally punishable in the legislation. Well, if a direct or indirect demand was made, it would invoke a prison term of 6 months at the threshold with a fine of INR 10,000. 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. It facilitated a civil law solution to protect a woman from domestic violence in India. The definition and the segments included in the legislation are diversified and include all forms of abuse, namely, physical ,emotional, economic, sexual or verbal aggression.
DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT, 1961 (COGNIZABLE, NONBAILABLE) Definition under section 2: Dowry means any property or valuable given or agreed to be given directly/indirectly by the girl’s parents to the boy and his family before or after the marriage. In order to prohibit the practice of dowry, a set of laws has been included in the Indian Penal Code: SECTION 304B OF IPC: When a woman dies as a result of burns or bodily injuries within seven years of her marriage and circumstances show that before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relative for any demand of dowry, such death shall be called ‘dowry death’ and the husband and the relatives shall be presumed to have caused her death. Under this section, whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than seven years, which may extend to imprisonment for life. SECTION 113A OF INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT: When the question is whether the act of a suicide by a woman had been abetted by her husband or any of his relatives and it is shown that she had committed suicide within a period of seven years from the date of her marriage and that her husband and his relatives had subjected her to cruelty, the Court may presume, having regard to all the other circumstances of the case, that such suicide had been abetted by the husband or his relatives. CRUELTY (COGNIZABLE, NON-BAILABLE) SECTION 498A of IPC: When a woman’s husband or his relative subjects her to cruelty, they shall be punished with imprisonment (which may extend to three years) and shall be liable to fine. DEFINITION OF CRUELTY UNDER THIS SECTION:
• Any intentional behaviour of the husband or his relative that is likely to force the woman to commit suicide or to cause serious injury to her life or health (whether physical or mental or both). • Harassing the woman with a view to forcing her or any person related to her to meet the unlawful demand for any property or valuable goods, or on account of failure to meet such demands made by the husband or his relatives. DOWRY PROHIBITION ACT, 1961 SAYS: • If dowry is taken before the marriage, it must be handed to the girl within three months of the date of wedding. • If dowry is taken at the time or after the marriage, it must be given to the girl within three months of taking it. • If dowry was taken when the girl was a minor (i.e., below the age of 18 years) then it must be given to the girl within three months of her turning 18 years. • If dowry is kept by a person other than the girl, then it is kept in trust by such person. This means that the person who has the dowry is responsible for keeping it properly and giving it to the girl at the proper time. He or she cannot sell, spend, use or give the dowry to anyone else. • If a person does not return the dowry to the girl within the time laid by law, then she should file a complaint against the person. Such person can be punished with imprisonment from six months to two years or a fine of Rs 5000 upto Rs 10,000 or both. • If a girl or woman dies before receiving the dowry, then her heirs can ask for it from the person in whose trust it is. • It is essential to make a list of all the gifts received at the time of wedding. The list of gifts to the groom should be kept by him. The list of gifts given to the bride should be kept with her. • The list should be made at the time of the wedding or immediately after the wedding. • The list should be in writing • There should be a brief description of each gift in the list.
• The approximate value of the gift should be written. • If the giver is a relative, then the relationship to the bride or groom should be mentioned. • The list should be signed by the bride and the groom. • If the boy and the girl are unlettered, the list should be first read to them and their thumb impressions placed on it. • If the bride and groom so desire, the list can be signed by a relative or person who has attended the wedding
PREVENTIVE MEASURES EDUCATION: Education is the primary catalyst of growth in any nation. If we have to reach out across the nation and make sure the mainstream community is at par with the nation’s prospects, education is a necessity. Lack of education leads to irresponsible decisions leading to financial exploitation from a marriage relation. Dowry system is a social evil and owes its origination to ignorance and illiteracy. Eradicating this evil is not possible without educating the society. The legislation aren’t enough to bring a revolution. Rather, the masses are the ones who hold the concentrate to eliminate the dowry system. MAKING WOMEN SELF-DEPENDENT: The female sect of our society is an active contributor in the development of the home, the society and the nation as a whole. To churn out productivity, and ride upon the reins of development, women empowerment is a necessity. However, owing to the dowry system, they are exploited both emotionally and verbally. It hampers their development and thought process. Hence, ensuring employment opportunities for the female sect and making education feasible seems the first step to ensure annihilation of dowry system from the society. In the long run, legislations will turn out to be effective, if crimes are reported, and a well educated society inclusive of self-dependent women will ensure robust reporting of dowry related crimes. GENDER EQUALITY: The primary reason behind dowry system is the existence of a patriarchal society. Owing to such a social infrastructure, the dowry system still finds its takers and propagators. To ensure removal of dowry system from the nerves of our system, gender equality is the second step.
Educating children about the drawbacks of dowry system, and making sure that they inculcate the spirit to boycott it, is the long-term solution to the issue. To eradicate this evil, we need to learn and educate others about the ill-effects of it and it can be achieved by providing equal rights to both genders. Well, granting equal employment opportunities won’t be enough. Rather, altering the mindset of the masses, and making them realize that a girl child is an entity, not a liability is the long-term solution to the issue. INITIATING MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGNING: Media is the propagator of knowledge and the janitor of information interchange. Well, almost every single revolution owes its origins to media campaigns. Yet again, the dowry system asks for a revolution. The legislation have been in the stock for the past few decades, but they have been ineffective to deal with the case. However, media holds the potential to remove dowry system from the mainstream Indian society. By publishing related news and making the authorities aware of any reported case of dowry related crime, they can keep an effective check upon the prospects. Enhancing information interchange is the first step to a well-aware community and media is the perfect medium for the task. GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES: Government is the body which holds the key to development of a nation. It is the formulator of laws and executes them to make sure people follow them for the betterment of the society. Dowry system has been a part of the society since time eternal. The government has made legislation to limit the dowry exchange. However, it has turned out to be ineffective. Well, to ensure the people follow the laws, proper implementation should be carried out. It should monitor the sentiments of the community and ensure that no dowry exchange exercises are carried out. SOCIAL AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS: When we speak of awareness and revolution, we have to recall that it cannot be brought about by the legislation or the government alone. We as individuals, make up the society, and the first step for change is to be initiated by the society itself. Dowry system has long been exploiting the weak and hampering the right to peaceful existence of a woman. Well, government can formulate rules, it depends upon the community to follow it or not. Hence, social awareness is the necessity to ensure robust annihilation of dowry system from the nation. It is a feat which cannot be achieved by the government alone. Active community participation is the primary requisite to make people
aware of their rights and hence, in the long term, garner women their rights, and grant them apodictic freedom.
CONCLUSION Elimination of dowry and of the negative impact it impresses on Indian social welfare requires a twofold system of policies. Firstly, the domestic violence, murder, and female infanticide that result from the dowry tradition must be abolished through increased enforcement of legal provisions such as those in the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961. By vehemently prosecuting and convicting perpetrators of dowry violence, the expected punishment could be increased enough to offset the benefits of committing such dowry related crime, thereby reducing the overall frequency of occurrence. Secondly, given that crimes related to dowry are rooted in dominant Indian social, religious, and ideological forces, the complete eradication of dowry can only be attained when these social and religious attitudes are forced to change. It has been examined in this paper that the two primary causes of dowry are the excess supply of women in the Indian marriage market and the systematic under-accumulation of market specific human capital by women that causes a discrepancy in marital gains for men and women. In order to stop the perpetuation of the dowry tradition and its associated social ills, the relative gains from marriage for men and women must first be equalized. This can only be accomplished through a fundamental shift in Indian social attitudes about both marriage and women. Perceptions about appropriate roles for women must evolve to include education and employment, the current requirement that brides surrender all future assets to in-laws must be changed so that parents can depend on daughters as well as sons in their old age, and finally, the government must undertake sustained action to prevent employment and wage discrimination against women in the labour market. Unfortunately, there is an enormous period of lag time between the time when calls for social change are actually made and the time when societal beliefs and customs actually begin to transform. Today, dowry continues to be a socially accepted and rational outcome of
the current Indian marriage market. True progress in the elimination of the dowry system will only come through endeavours to create awareness among Indian communities about the negative effects of dowry, through programs and government sanctions that endorse education and employment for women of all ages, and through a fundamental change in the attitudes of Indian peoples.