A Divorced Daughter is Better Than a Dead Daughter: India is a country where women are always being treated as a property before marriage they are property of their parent’s and after marriage husband’s property. It is very heartbreaking that even in 21st century we are in the same position as we were in late 90s.
India +Women +Marriage +Dowry + Dead = 21 death per day that means approximately 7,665 women per year.
These scenario are very depressing. But it is the truth of our society.“Dowry” Some amount of money, property, jewellery and several other gifts given to the daughter by her parents & by family members at the time of marriage as it is for the welfare of the girl in direct sense but indirectly it is for the groom and for his family. So that bride can survive happily in her husband’s house. Dowry system is a social system which is followed by the Indian families from decades.
There are a lot of causes for dowry system in our country, some of the main causes
- It is a tradition
- Greedy groom and his family
- Ignorance of Anti dowry laws
- Families from bride side wants to give
- To build a reputation in the society
- Domestic violence against women
Stree Ek paraayaa Dhan hoti hain…
These words….every girl have to listen this line from her parents, family, members, and relatives & even from her neighbors or any other person but these words are mandatory for her life. It seems that without telling her these lines her life is incomplete.
Historical aspects with the context to Dowry system: Historical reports, suggest in ancient India dowry was insignificant and the daughters had inheritance rights, it was practiced at a time of marriage as a custom& usage. According to the documentary evidences at the beginnings of 20th century bride price was the common custom rather than dowry, it resulted in very poor men remains unmarried.
Dowry varies by the economic status in our society. Upper class people are more likely engaged in than the lower class people. Dowry system evolved in Vedic period. At that time, upper caste families were essentially exercise dowry to benefit the bride, those who were not able to inherit their property under Hindu Law. Upper caste families from bride’s side give dowry to groom or to his family which was registered on the name of bride which was termed as stridhan (bride’s property) , it was to counter Hindu law. While Lower caste families practiced bride price to compensate the loss of income.
Dowry was more prestigious to the Brahmanic (priestly) caste. In ancient period as bridewealth was totally related to the upper castes. Bridewealth was totally restricted to the lower caste families as they were not allowed to give dowry.
Modern Era the concept has been changed the Vedic period traditions are no longer prevailed. Gradually disappear of bride price with the passage of time. Now bride’s family has to transfer some valuable goods to the groom’s family for consideration of marriage, trending dowry system of modern era.
Dowry System Consequences: Dowry harassment is directly or indirectly related to the domestic violence numerous cases of burning bride, beating, harassing, abusing, physical and mental torture of newlywed women and various other types of tactics are being adopted by husbands or by in-laws. Rate of domestic cruelty is 5.9 per 100000. Domestic cruelty against women is the rated top category crime against women.
Dowry Death: When dowry amount is not sufficient for groom & his family, the bride is often abused, harassed, tortured and bride burning.
Is domestic violence is a next pandemic in India?
“Since lock down 100% increase in domestic violence cases” Domestic violence during Corona virus lock down : NO LOCK DOWN FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE data provided by the National Commission of women (NCW) ,the first sign of problem in India during lock down . In 25 days 239 complains received by NCW it is just double the number of complains.
Due to lock down there are financial &economic crisis men are jobless, shortage of money, food and other likelihood leads men to the anger depression, anxiety and many other mental traumas. The immediate victims are the wives as they abuse her, beat, husbands torture their wives mental and physical as they think this is the only way to release their anger.
INDIAN LEGAL SYSTEM ON DOWRY SYSTEM & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961: This Act prohibit the giving or taking of dowry, it was enacted by the parliament in twelfth year of Indian republic.
- Section 2:-Dowry includes goods, money or property given or taken by either parties to the marriage; parents or anyone else related to marriage.
- Section 3:-The penalty for giving and taking dowry, that person shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to six months or fine which may extend to five thousand rupees or both.
Protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005: The act was enacted by the parliament to protect women from domestic violence.
- Section 2(k) “monetary relief” the magistrate may order the compensation to respondent, pay to the aggrieved person.
- Section 31 Penalty for breach of protection order by respondent, he shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year or fine which may extend to twenty five thousand rupees or both.
Provision relating to divorce & maintenance under Hindu law
- Section 13 (1) A marriage can be dissolved by a decree of divorce on ground that the other party- (i-a) after solemnization of marriage, treated petitioner with cruelty.
- Section 24 Maintenance & expenses of proceedings, if wife has no independent income sufficient for necessary expenses of proceedings, on the application, order the respondent to pay her.
- Section 25 Permanent alimony & maintenance the order to the husband to pay her divorced wife monthly or periodically.
Criminal statutes under Indian Penal Code, Evidence Act
Indian criminal law were comprehensively amended to include dowry as a punishable offense.
- Section 304B of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), specific punishment against dowry with minimum sentence of imprisonment for 7 years & maximum imprisonment for life. This is section is related to dowry death.
- Section 113B of Evidence Act, 1872 (Evidence Act), creates presumption before dowry death she was treated with cruelty on account of dowry demand.
- Section 306 of IPC, when death of a women is within a period of 7 years from marriage.
- Section 302 of IPC, allows courts to impose death penalty for the offense.
Role of judiciary tackle the offenses against women:
- Pradeep Kumar Mandal vs. State of Jharkhand 14 August 2018- trial court acquitted all other accused under section 498A of IPC and under section 4 of dowry prohibition act and also accused persons under section 307 & 406 of IPC and under section 3 of Dowry Prohibition act .
- Mr Rj Goswami vs State of Gujarat 4 April, 2013 the provisions of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, considering the case of the parties, learned metropolitan magistrate, Ahmedabad vide judgement and order the case is being of Domestic Violence under the Section 18 of the Act and under Section 19 of the Act, the petitioner husband was directed to provide residential premises to the wife. The Magistrate directed the husband to pay Rs. 5000/- to the wife under Section 20 of the Act , maintenance every month to the wife under Section 21 of this Act. Under Section 22 the husband was also directed to pay an amount of compensation of Rs. 50000/- to the wife of the said Act.
Suggestions & Recommendations
Parents are the first one those who have to understand that “A divorced daughter is better than a dead daughter”, when the daughter is suffering in her husband’s house don’t suggest or force her to compromise.
If she is not happy welcome her back to her own house. She is not a burden, when she is going through domestic harassment either for dowry or for any other reason at the time she needs her own parents support so that she can fight against don’t consider her as a burden. Otherwise daughter are only left with one option i.e. suicide and if they don’t suicide she is being brutally harassed & murdered.
A message from a daughter to her mother & father….
Kal baba ki ungli ko thame chali thi kal baba is lathi bhi bann jaaungi, Amman tere gharonde ki chidiya hoon main bojh nhi main kisi ke sar Ka…
Educate your daughter make her independent we have to understand it and have to change the evil mythology of the people of our country, in India those who don’t understand the difference between responsibility and burden, the difference between property and daughter/ wife.
Why? They don’t get the point that where they are living, the country itself is called as Bharat Mata that means we got in our blood that how we have to respect our daughter, sister, mother and wife.
– Anshima Yadav
Prolawctor’s Top Pick on this topic
- The Dowry Bride by Shobhan Bantwal
- Dowry Murder: Reinvestigating A Cultural Whodunnit by Veena Talwar Oldenburg