A dowry is the transfer of property, money or any other such wealth which is transferred by the bride’s family to the groom’s family for marrying the bride. The property has be in respect to marriage, and it shall be transferred between the parties in the marriage. Dowry is considered to be a social evil in the society as it places burden of the family of the bride, and this custom which has been followed through ages which has been causing very cruel crimes against women, one of which is so called “dowry death” which means the death of the wife is caused as they have not fulfilled to give the required amount of dowry, and there have been reported cases of domestic violence with respect to no giving dowry.
Considering the above scenario, the Parliament has passes a Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 to do away with the social evil, it has been further amended by the Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1986. The main objective is to banish the practise of taking and giving dowry in the society, which further also aims to prevent crimes against women with respect to dowry and cruelty. The act also states the punishments and penalties for offences related to the act. This act also ensures that there is a list of presents is made which are given in the course of marriage, and they must be either duly signed or thumb impression of both the bride and groom must be placed. The list must be made keeping in the provisions of the act. There are certain exceptions in the act, i.e, there can be be presents given by either party of the marriage, property transferred will be considered as presents when they are given without demand, and for the well being of the future of the marriage. There also an additional provision which is beneficial for the woman in the case of dowry, if in case dowry is given then it has to be transferred to the bride’s name within three months of marriage, if in case she is a minor, will be transferred as soon as she attains the age fo 18, otherwise he will be imprisoned and will have to give a penalty as stated under the act. Every person who accepts or gives dowry, aids in the process of taking dowry, publishes any advertisements encouraging dowry, does not transfer the property to the bride within the specified time will be eligible to be punished under this act. This act aims at seeing a future society which is dowry free. The act enables speedy justice to all the victims under the act.
A dowry death is when a married women has either been murdered or forced to suicide by the husband or relatives of the husband, due to various disputes over dowry. There are other legislations which have other provisions of dowry and it’s related crimes, they are section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with Dowry Death and its definition, section 113B of Evidence Act, 1872 deals with prior conditions of dowry death. Along with section 498A which deals with Husband or relatives of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty which indirectly punishes a person for dowry death.
To sum it up, there are many more such social evils which were violating the human rights of women like female foeticide and infanticide, sati which has been banished, child marriage, widowhood, etc. However there have been efforts to change the present condition. Even if the laws are being implemented many of them are not being used especially due to lack of awareness, due to which the women are being easily exploited. We have to find better ways to bring awareness on all the social evils by effective training and awareness campaigns. The development of the society and the nation is dependant on the crimes against women, only if they decrease and totally disappear we can proudly say that we have achieved real development in the nation by bringing change in the society. We might see a day in the future where there is not a single crime related to dowry or general crimes against anyone in the society, especially women. All we have to do is play an important role in the society to bring change through collective efforts.