National Consultation on Laws relating to dowry - Part 12

A two day National Consultation on Laws relating to Dowry was held at Gandhi Bhawan , Bhopal from 10th September to 11th September 2011 . It was organized by Human Rights and Law Network. Many Activists & Lawyers were participated from different parts of the state of India. Dowry is a payment of cash or gifts from the bride's family to the bridegroom's family upon marriage. It may include cash, jewelry, electrical appliances, furniture, bedding, crockery, utensils and other household items that help the newly-weds set up their home. Dowry is practiced mainly in South Asian countries, such as India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. In India, the dowry system puts great financial strain on the bride's family. This has been cited as one of the reasons for families resorting to sex selection, favoring the birth of sons over daughters. This has distorted the sex ratio in India (933 females per thousand males) due to sex-selective abortion. Payment of dowry is now prohibited under The 1961 Dowry Prohibition Act in Indian civil law and subsequently by Sections 304B and 498a of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Despite anti-dowry laws in India, it is still a common illegal practice. Other laws attempting to address the problem include the Dowry and Bridal Gifts Restrictions Rules, 1976 and the Dowry Prohibition (Maintenance of Lists of Presents to the Bride and Bridegroom) Rules, 1985, which are intended to document gifts and provide complainants with stronger evidence in the event that prosecution for crimes against the bride occurs later. Meaning of Dowry • Dowry means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given by the bride OR • By the parents of either the bride or the groom or by any other person • At or before or any time after marriage. • Demand for cash, gold, car or any type of property is dowry. • Giving , Taking , demanding or even advertising for dowry is an offence Information: Any person who takes or gives dowry at his or her son's or daughter's or relatives wedding commits an offence. However, the law permits some presents which are given at the time of marriage to the bride or to the bridegroom but requires that: • Maintain a written list of presents • Made at the time of wedding or soon after the wedding • Brief description of each of the presents with approximate value • Name of the person giving the present should be mentioned • Relationship with the bride or groom • List to be signed by the bride and bridegroom • Such presents should be customary and its value should not be excessive with regard to the financial status of the person by whom such presents are given • There should be no demand or compulsion for such gifts/presents. If the above conditions are fulfilled then the penal provisions of the dowry act would not be attracted. • If any dowry has been received by any party the law provides that the dowry shall be for the benefit of the wife and be transferred to her or her heirs • Punishments for giving or taking dowry is : • If the dowry amount is more than Rs. 15,000, then amount of fine will be equal to the amount of dowry. • Though giving of dowry is also punishable but any statement made by the person aggrieved shall not subject such person to punishment. • Punishment for demanding dowry not that 6 months imprisionment and extendable upto 2 years and fine which may be upto Rs 10, 0000/- .