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Recommendations on Modifications to the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. PDF Print Email
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 25 September 2008

To:

Ms. Renuka Chaudhary

Minister, Government of India,

Ministry of Women and Child Development,

Shastri Bhavan "A" Wing,

Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road,

ND-110001

Cc: Ministry of Law & Justice & others

Sub: Recommendations on Modifications to the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

Honorable Minister,

We from Save Family Foundation, Delhi are pleased to give our recommendations on modifications of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, as asked in http://ncw.nic.in/page1.htm. We would want to stress that the views and opinions presented by us in the document is a representation of the vast majority of Indian men and women.

Save Family Foundation (Regd) is a strong team of dedicated families comprising of some of them are victims of misuse of 498a, DV Act including NRIs, Senior Citizens, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers, Brother-in-law, Sister-in-law and even 3 years old children, who campaign and create awareness about gross injustice and abuse that happens in Indian Legal system and Committed to Fight against all other Gander Biased LAW, which encourage to promote a "Fatherless Society" by LAW Makers of India.

Gender Biased LAW should immediately to be made crime based instead of any assumption that all women never lie and all the men born as Criminal. "MEN/WOMEN" word to be replaced by word "PER SON" and word "wife/husband" to be replaced with the word "SPOUSE"

Last 60 years more and more duplications of LAW made in the name of dowry and still we are crying the same not stopped and increasing , the basic questions is are our government or NCW really want to stop this so called Dowry System?

If the Answer is "YES", then the first step to be taken on: Section 8B on Dowry Prohibition Officers.

·         Any marriage involve with Dowry to be termed as illegal and void marriage and special task force of Dowry Prohibition officers to be appointed and start raid in marriage functions and all the Dowry articles to be taken in custody and the fine to be imposed on both the party and all the same should go to Government fund and the same will be used for the real empower of women , like their educations/jobs and make them self dependent , instead of treating the Husbands family as Free ATM machine.

·         Parents should give the equal rights to their boy and girls in their assets/property/business share, instead of treating the Girls as a burden and dispose off and then after marriage hide behind the word dowry.


We argue the Ministry , give us this power for one year , we will prove it beyond reasonable drought , what your NCW and their associated organizations not able to  achieve , we will achieve at faster process and will eliminate the whole "Natanki" of so called Dowry system.

Introduction

 

Till a hundred or two hundred years back, the valuables/money/property given to a daughter during her marriage which she would take along with her to her husband's family. This practice was prevalent in many countries across the world including in Europe. In those days, the women were typically not allowed to own property or get inheritance assets/property/business shares and this was a way to give the woman's own right/share to her once she got married. This would save from any disputes between the brothers and this woman after the parents of the wife expired.

In India, is it still not uncommon for women to sign off all rights on their parents properties at the time of marriage and their parents give away the woman's share as expenses of the marriage and as Streedhan. The original definition of so called dowry was what is known as Streedhan in India. The other historical purpose of dowry, or dower from which the word dowry originated, was to provide support for the wife in the case of his death.

Unfortunately, many people abuse the power that money brings. Many brides' family used the power of dowry to "purchase" grooms that the bride could get on her own merits.

Over the years, one thing that has clearly been seen is that there are very rare cases brought up when dowry is demanded and not a single case the dowry givers had been punished. Largely, cases are registered firstly when some marriage dispute occurs due to various reasons and all the disputes termed as Dowry dispute.

Surprisingly, in most of these cases, the matter is not even brought up or looked down initially and this way both giving and taking dowry is justified. It is a well known strategy of stopping crime and terrorism to find the source of funds to these groups and cut this source of funds. Till the time the brides and their families are willing to pay the price for a groom who is better that the bride on merits, this system can't be stopped.

It is now a well know fact that in India, there are now more men than women. This means that for a bride getting a suitable groom should no more be a problem. There is now no real reason for a bride and her parents to pay a "price" for a suitable groom in the current situation. In fact from seeing the matrimonial advertisements nowadays, especially from the larger towns and cities, is it apparent that the new trend is for the to be bride to reject interested from would be grooms who earn less than 3 times of what the girl earns.

Even non-working but educated graduate women seem to be looking for men who make a few lakhs per annum. This is surely a trend that indicates a sort of a reverse dowry and will certainly become a hindrance to the concept of marriage itself in the coming years.

Other noticeable things that have happened is that women have been brought up to the same level as far as men by the amendments to the Succession Act. Some of these amendments had already been made in the South. The concept of Streedhan and that it is something in total control of the bride to whom it is given is also well known and established.

Further we wish to bring your notice, after marriage it is the husband's family are harassed at least 10 times more to get the money/property/business share by the wives and their family members. Result more and more burden put on the head of Husbands and they are ending their life all most double than married women.

·  We wonder Whose life is in More Danger in India : Men or Women?
·  ·  Crime Bure data 2005 : Married Men Sucide : 52k vs Married Women Sucide 28K.Still there is no LAW to Protect Men why?
·  ·  2006 Crime Bure Data : Married Men Sucide:55452 vs. Married Women Sucide:29869.
·  ·  Will Our LAW Maker change the LAW 304B( dowry death) to 304C( Sowry Death) and 498A ( harrasement to wife) to 498B ( Sowry harrasement by wife) 

With High Regards

(Save Family Foundation)

Encl: Other Recommendations

  • Recommendations

With this background of identification of some of the important causes which keep so called dowry system alive and flourishing in India, change in the relevant laws related to succession in India, change in the demographics and sex ratio, improvement in education of women and also the changing face of the family where men are helping in household chores and women are helping with the financials of the family and last but not the least, the misuse of the Dowry Prohibition Act and the peculiar way in how its mostly invoked post offence, the following recommendation are being made to the Dowry Prohibition Act –

  • Recommendation 1:

It is recommended that the clarifications in Section 3, subsection 2, on what shall not be considered dowry be consolidated in Section 2 of the Act. Section 3 will be suitable modified. The new Section 2 will look like follows:

Present Section 2. Definition of "dowry". In this Act, "dowry" means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly-

(a) by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or

(b) by the parents of either party to a marriage or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or to any other person; at or before or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies.

[Explanation I omitted by the Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, (63 of 1984).]

Explanation II : The expression "valuable security" has the same meaning as in section 30 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

Recommended Section 2. Definition of "dowry".

(1) In this Act, "dowry" means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be

given either directly or indirectly-

(a) by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or

(b) by the parents of either party to a marriage or by any other person, to either party to the marriage or to any other person; at or before or any time after the marriage in connection with the marriage of the said parties, but does not include dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies.

Explanation I omitted by the Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, (63 of 1984).

Explanation II : The expression "valuable security" has the same meaning as in section 30 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

(2) Nothing in sub-section (1) shall apply to, or in relation to-

(a) presents which are given at the time of marriage to the bride (without any demand

having been made in that behalf):

PROVIDED that such presents are entered in a list maintained in accordance with the

rules made under this Act;

(b) presents which are given at the time of a marriage to the bridegroom (without any

demand having been made in that behalf):

PROVIDED that such presents are entered in a list maintained in accordance with the

rules made in this Act:

PROVIDED FURTHER that where such presents are made by or on behalf of the bride or any person related to the bride, such presents are of a customary nature and the value thereof is not excessive having regard to the financial status of the person by whom, or on whose behalf, such presents are given.

Comment : Bring this subsection from Section 3 to Section 2 for clarity and consolidation.

  • Recommendation 2:

It is recommended that offering dowry in any form and not just through advertisement be made an offence just like demanding dowry is explicitly made an offence. Similarly advertisement about demand of offer of direct and indirect dowry both should be made an equal offence.

Present Section 4:

4. Penalty for demanding dowry. If any person demands, directly or indirectly, from the parents or other relatives or guardian of a bride or bridegroom, as the case may be, any dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend to two years and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees:

PROVIDED that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months.

4A. Ban on advertisement. If any person-

(a) offers through any advertisement in any newspaper, periodical, journal or through any other media, any share in his property or of any money or both as a share in any business or other interest as consideration for the marriage of his son or daughter for any other relative,

(b) prints or publishes or circulates any advertisement referred to in clause (a),

he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend to five years, or with fine which may extend to fifteen thousand rupees:

PROVIDED that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be recorded in the

judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months.

Comment : Recommendation on Section 4 to make offering dowry an offence just like demanding dowry is an offence.

Recommended Section 4:

4. Penalty for offering or demanding dowry. If any person offers to or demands from, directly or indirectly, the parents or other relatives or guardian of a bride or bridegroom, as the case may be, any dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend to two years and with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees:

PROVIDED that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months.

4A. Ban on advertisement. If any person-

(a)     offers or demands, directly or indirectly, through any advertisement in any newspaper, periodical, journal or through any other media, any share in his property or of any money or both as a share in any business or other interest in consideration for the marriage of his son or daughter or any other relative,

(b)     prints or publishes or circulates any advertisement referred to in clause (a),

he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months, but which may extend to five years, or with fine which may extend to fifteen thousand rupees:

PROVIDED that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be recorded in the Judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than six months.

Comment : Make offering dowry an offence too as giving and taking bribe are both an offence and should be equally punished. Make demand in advertisement an offence too.

  • Recommendation 3:

Section 7, subsection 3 of this act mentions that –

 

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, a statement made by the person aggrieved by the offence shall not subject such person to a prosecution under this Act.

 

Such a provision is totally against the intention of this Act. Also, like it has been argued earlier in the introduction, that there is now no excuse for giving or offering dowry and that it is an equal offence to taking or demanding dowry. Hence it is strongly recommended that this subsection be removed.

 

Many decades back, it could be said that women in a marriage did not have strong support from the law and their own families to complain against such demands after the marriage and hence she or her parents could not risk breaking the marriage by complaining against demands of dowry. However over the years and decades many wonderful and strong laws have been made that would ensure the residence and maintenance of such a woman and her children and hence now there is no excuse to offering or giving dowry even after the marriage. It is certainly not an excuse for any woman or her parents, even one of whom has over 12 years of education.

 

Comment : Remove Section 7, Subsection 3.

  • Recommendation 4:

The present Section 8 makes any offence under Act cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable. The Section 8A mandates ( SHALL ) that there be a presumption of guilt against the accused and that the accused person has to prove his or her innocence.

 

Such a strict law, which seems to be stricter that POTA itself has lent too much abuse and misuse as it well known to everybody. This is a social evil and it's a surprising thing that it has been made much stricter than laws dealing with other crimes or even terrorism. It is not that dowry takers or givers are professional criminals.

Also, over the years, because of the abuse and misuse of these laws, many states have

Already given directions to the police that only very senior officers, typically of the rank of DSP or DCP of police must investigate cases under the Act. Also, to prevent abuse this must be made bailable .

The other IPC itself is capable of taking care of other extreme offences that may accompany any offence under this Act and hence this act itself need not be made non-bailable.

Our Hon'ble Minister Mr. Shivraj Patil has repeatedly said on TV interviews that one of the worst things about POTA was that accused was supposed to prove innocence and the Minister said that this was against over 2000 years of criminal jurisprudence. Obviously making such presumptions in the Dowry Prohibition Act would be against over 2000 years of criminal jurisprudence. Even Afsal Guru or Godse who committed the gravest of crimes were not asked to prove their innocence to escape punishment.

There is another more important thing. The giver of dowry would have best evidence in his or her possession about dowry given. In such a case putting full burden on the accused to prove himself or herself innocent is totally illogical. Cases under this section should only be registered after disclosing source of such funds of dowry and verification of income from tax returns with the corresponding strict compliance of the Rules under the 'Dowry Prohibition (maintenance of lists of presents to the bride and bridegroom) Rules, 1985'. No complaint under this section can be registered, if the Rule 2 of the 'Dowry Prohibition (maintenance of lists of presents to the bride and bridegroom) Rules 1985' has not been complied with.

This must follow the regular standards of criminal jurisprudence of the prosecution having to prove the accusation. Hence it is recommended that Section 8A be removed altogether.

Comment : Recommendation on Section 8 of the Act about who can investigate and also to make offence bailable. Also remove burden of proof subsection.

Present Section 8 and Section 8A:

8. Offences to be cognizable for certain purposes and to be 1[non-bailable] and non-compoundable.

(1) The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of l974) shall apply to offences under this Act as if they were cognizable offences-

(a) for the purposes of investigation of such offences; and

(b) for the purposes of matters other than-

(i) matters referred to in section 42 of that Code; and

(ii) the arrest of a person without a warrant or without an order of a Magistrate.

(2) Every offence under this Act shall be 2[non-bailable] and non-compoundable.]

8A. Burden of proof in certain cases. Where any person is prosecuted for taking or abetting the taking of any dowry under section 3, or the demanding of dowry under section 4, the burden of proving that he had not committed an offence under those sections shall be on him.

  • Recommended Section 8:

8. Offences to be cognizable for certain purposes and to be bailable and non-compoundable.

(1) The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of l974) shall apply to offences under this Act as if they were cognizable offences-

(a) for the purposes of investigation of such offences; and

(b) for the purposes of matters other than-

(i) matters referred to in section 42 of that Code; and

(ii) the arrest of a person without a warrant or without an order of a Magistrate.

(2) Every offence under this Act shall be bailable and non-compoundable.

(3) Every offence registered under this Act shall be investigated by a Police officer of

rank DSP or DCP.

(4) Each arrest made must necessarily be made only after written justification in the police diary which must give specific reasons and investigation done and not just rely on offence being cognizable.

Comment : Recommendation on Section 8A: This section to be removed altogether.

CC: For your kind information's and Necessary actions:

 

1.       Shri K.C. Jain,Joint Secretary (Coordination and Public Grievances),Room No. 9, North Block, New Delhi-110001,Telefax  No.23092392.

2.      .Dr. Manmohan Singh,Prime Minister of India,South Block, Raisina Hill,New Delhi, 110 011.

3.       Chairperson,National Commission for Women,4, Deen Dayal Upadhayaya Marg,New Delhi – 110002.Fax – 91-11-23236154

4.        The Hon'ble Minister,Sh. Hansraj Bharadwaj,Ministry of Law & Justice,4th Floor, A-Wing, Shastri BhavanNew Delhi - 110 001.

5.        The Hon'ble Minister,Ministry of Social Justice and EmpowermentShastri Bhawan, Dr Rajendra Prasad Road ,New Delhi - 110 001 ( India )FAX 91-11-23384918

6.        Ms. Sonia Gandhi,UPA Chairperson,Indian National Congress24, Akbar Road,New Delhi – 110011

7.        Shri, L. K. Adavani,Leader of Opposition in Parliament,BJP Central Office, 11 Ashoka Road,New Delhi 110001

8.        Member Secretary,Law Commission of India,2nd Floor, The Indian Law Institute Building (Opp. to Supreme Court), Bhagwandas Road,New Delhi - 110 001.

9.        Chief Information Commissioner, Central Information Commission,Club Building, Old JNU Campus,
New Delhi - 110 067.Phone:26761137 Fax: 26186536

10.     Ms. Priya Hingorani, 49, Lawyers Chamber,Supreme Court,New Delhi -110001

11.      Ms. Manali Singhal,84, Lawyers Chamber,Supreme Court,New Delhi -110001

 


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