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Family law dowry

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Dowry concept under Family Law

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Family law dowry

  1. 1. DOWRY<br />By<br />Anuja Aiyappan<br />anujaaiyappan@gmail.com<br />
  2. 2. Dowry – Ancient Scenario<br />The ancient marriage rites in the Vedic period are associated with kanyadan. <br />It is laid down in Dharamshastara that the meritorious act of kanyadan is not complete till the bridegroom was given a dakshina. So when a bride is given over to the bridegroom, he has to be given something in cash or kind which constitute varadakshina. <br />Thus kanyadan became associated with varadakshina i.e. the cash or gifts in kind by the parents or guardian of the bride to the bridegroom.<br />The varadakshina was offered out of affection and did not constitute any kind of compulsion or consideration for the marriage. It was a voluntary practice without any coercive overtones.<br />
  3. 3. Dowry – Present Scenario<br />Today dowry has become a widespread evil and social menace and biggest problem faced by women.<br />Marriage is becoming a big source of exploitation and of getting rich overnight in some communities<br />The spread of education has not helped in curbing the social evil of dowry. The , more highly educated is the youngman, higher are the demands for the dowry.<br />The dowry system is one of the primary cause of female infanticide and foeticide in India.  Domestic violence is another consequence of this evil.<br />Indian Parliament enacted the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, to minimize the evil effects of dowry. The object of Act is to prohibit the giving and taking of dowry.<br />
  4. 4. Definition of ‘dowry’<br />According to Section 2, Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, `dowry’ means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly-<br /> (a) by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage, or<br /> (b) by the parents of either party to a marriage or by any other person<br /> at or before or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of said parties but does not include dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies<br />
  5. 5. Giver, taker and demander or dowry offenders<br />Taking or giving of dowry or abetting to give dowry or abetting to take dowry continue to be offences.<br />Demanding of dowry by any person directly or indirectly from parents or guardian of bride or bridegroom is also a dowry offence<br />Under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, a maximum and minimum punishments has been laid down.<br />It is a unique law which considers the person who commits the act as well as the person against whom the act committed as offenders.<br />
  6. 6. Transfer of dowry to bride<br />If the dowry has actually been received but its receiver is not the bride then the Act lays down that the dowry has to be transferred to the bride.<br /> The failure to transfer the dowry to the bride within the stipulated period constitutes a dowry offence , for which the offender is liable to be awarded the same punishment as the taker of dowry.<br />If the bride dies before the transfer of dowry is effected, her heirs will be entitled to it.<br />
  7. 7. Dowry Offences and Trial<br />Dowry offences are -:<br />Not cognizable; they are cognizable for the purpose of investigation. <br />Non-compoundable offences<br />Non-bailable<br />An agreement for giving or taking dowry is void.<br />Cognizance of dowry offence can be taken up by -:<br />The Magistrate himself or on the basis of police report, or,<br />Complaint lodged by -:<br />A parent<br />Other relation of such person<br />Recognized welfare institute or organization<br />Complaint can be made at anytime after the commission of the offence, but if it is done after considerable delay the court may not entertain it if no reasonable explanation for the delay is given.<br />
  8. 8. Dowry Prohibition Officers<br />Responsibility is to take steps for enforcing and preventing the contravention of the provisions of the act.<br />Should collect evidence for the effective prosecution of offenders.<br />Render all possible aid and advise to victimized persons.<br />Section 8B, Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 stipulates for the appointment of Dowry Prohibition Officers<br />
  9. 9. Section 304-B of IPC<br />Section 304 B was introduced in the Indian Penal Code in order to strictly deal with and punish the offence of Dowry Death.<br />The insertion of the provision in the Indian Penal Code was for providing for a more stringent offence.<br />The necessary conditions for application of dowry death are :-<br />1. When the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury, or occurs under unusual circumstances. <br />2. And the aforesaid two facts spring within 7 years of the girl's marriage. <br />3. And soon before her death, she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or her relative<br />4. And this is in connection with the demand for dowry.<br />If these conditions exists it would constitute dowry death, and the husband and/or his relatives shall be deemed to have caused her death<br />
  10. 10. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.<br />An Act to provide for more effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.<br />Under section 3 of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, definition of domestic violence , in sub-section (b) harassment or any injuries for dowry shall constitute domestic violence.<br />More than 5,000 women are killed annually by their husbands and in-laws, who burn them in “accidental” kitchen fires if their ongoing demands for dowry before and after marriage are not met. Many cases go unreported.<br />
  11. 11. Conclusion<br />Despite protest by women's organizations, serious activism, legal amendments, special police cells for women, media support and heightened awareness of dowry being a crime, the practice continues unabated on a massive scale.<br /> Despite every stigma, dowry continues to be the signature of marriage. <br />Dowry is a complicated phenomenon in the Indian society and it cannot be eradicated by simple legislative measures.<br />It is an accepted fact dowry is not a easy problem to be eliminated. However such a social menace can be combated with effective strategic measures that would protect the dowry of the Indian bride and would allow such dowry to be treated as her exclusive property.<br />

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