Aquib Ul Ahad
Today dowry which was once a gift by the family of the bride to the groom has somehow become a condition to marriage as rightly said by Mahatma Gandhi. A condition put forward by the groom’s family so that they can improve their financial status. Sadly each year thousands of women commit suicide or are murdered by their husbands and in-laws mainly for not fulfilling their greed for dowry.According to the data said by the Union Minister Maneka Gandhi in the Lok Sabha“Between 2012 and 2014 around 25,000 women killed themselves or got killed due to dowry harassment by their in-laws”. Thirty Thousand (30,000) cases have been filed between 2012 and 2014.
India has the highest number of dowry-related cases out of all the countries which include Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.Women are tormented and pressurized by their husband and their family for dowry and in some cases, even after getting dowry they ask for more which clearly shows that greed has no full stop. As per the figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau around 8233 women committed suicide in 2012 that unfortunately turns out be one death per hour. 7,634 women have died in the country due to dowry harassment according to the National Crime Records Bureau. Moreover, in the national capital 3877 cases of cruelty by in-laws and husbands have been reported. As per the 2015 stats 21 dowry deaths are reported in India every day but only 34.7 percent get convicted. The NCRB states that 7,634 women died in India due to dowry.
Remedies: It is just astonishing to see that even after 70 years of our independence such a disgraceful act is still followed in different parts of India mainly in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. 30.6 % of dowry deaths have been reported in Uttar Pradesh i.e. 2,335 cases. Bihar came 2ndwith 1,154 cases.How is a country expected to progress when the women who live in it are not respected. So for this purpose requisite steps need to be taken to encourage and make women aware of their rights to raise their voice against this offense which many men think they can get away with. Still, in many parts of our country women don’t know that dowry is a crime under the dowry prohibition act of 1961. The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961“ punishes anyperson with imprisonment which may extend to six months or with fine upto Rs 5,000 or both who indulges in dowry either by giving, taking or abetting”.The husband and his old parents, brothers, sisters and relatives are arrested and jailed without investigation when an FIR is filed under IPC section 498 A( anti-dowry law).
A woman must realize that what’s being done to her is wrong and should raise her voice against such injustice. She must report the offence to the police without any delay and must not think about what the society will think if she complains. Any delay might go against her as it will be seen that she was not serious of what happened. Living a life with dignity and respect is the most important thing in life. The government over the years have simplified and made it more convenient for women to complain to the police if she is being forced to give dowry. With an increase in technology development, women can now even file a complaint online. Mr. Mukherjee a retired IPS officer said that “while making a police complaint is that you must give an accurate description of what has happened. “ He further said not give a tepid or half-baked statement and to give the facts”. No police station in this country can refuse to file your complaint on the grounds that it does not come in their jurisdiction. The FIR can very well be registered under a zero number which will transfer your complaint to a relevant police station. If the concerned authority still refuses you can post the complaint or ask to meet the next senior officer or next officer in command.
One can also complain to the National Commission for Women on their website or any NGO which deals with women protection and safety. The National Commission for Women also accepts complaints through emails. Their email id email@example.com. Women police stations have also opened up so that women can come and file their complaints. The Tamil Nadu government opened up its first all-female police station in 1992. “Even police stations have a special women’s cell which allows women to express their problems. It’s more comfortable for women because the inspector can understand her problem completely and a trust relationship develops. The women will believe that she will be given justice.” Now police complaints can be filed online as well. Each state police has started is now letting people file FIR’s online on their official website.
(Author a student at Law Department Kashmir University is a freelancer. Views are his own)