Dowry Death: Crime Against Humanity


“The dowry system is so deeply rooted in Indian culture, that sometimes one feels that there’s going to be no way out – at least not for another century.”

‘Bride-burning,’ a term which is very common now a days is used to describe the increasing number of young Indian housewives found murdered each year, has become commonplace in young marriages Hardly is there a day when one does not read of dowry deaths in the national daily newspapers. Brides bringing less than expected dowry are ill treated by their in-laws and other relatives. Many of them cannot bear it any more and commit suicide. Those who do not have enough courage to do so, are burnt alive by their husbands and the in-laws.
In spite of modernization and the increasing role of women in all walks of life, the practice of the dowry in India is becoming widespread, and the value of dowries is increasing. If a bride’s family fails to pay the amount of dowry demanded by the prospective groom’s family, the bride will be cruelly treated by the in-laws, and in many cases will be burnt to death.

What the dowry is?

Dowry (dahej) is one of the most ancient practices of India. Punishment Dowry system is as old as man is. The dowry system is a social evil. It is prevalent in all parts of India and almost in all the countries of the world. In India many of the traditional customs have been given up, but the custom of dowry has It is the cash, precious jewellery and other important thing given to the daughter in her marriage. This evil is found in almost every community . Now dowry is demanded by the groom’s parents and marriage takes place only if a certain amount of dowry is paid by the bride’s parents. Today dowry is given as compensation to the groom’s India is suffering from many social evils and superstitions. Dowry System is one of them.

Parents ask for the amount they have spent in educating and upbringing their son. It is also considered a status symbol, especially in the high class, and generally the items of dowry are flaunted and hyped by both parties. Many young women commit suicide because of this system. Their parents can not collect the required fund. To fulfill the demands of the girl’s in laws they borrow money or even sometimes they put their property on mortgage. It has become truly difficult to find the suitable match for the girl without giving the demanded dowry. Nowadays, marriage has become a kind of business and misuse of girls parents. The parents those boys are highly educated and getting handsome package demand enormous dowry for marriage of their son. The demand of dowry is according to the qualification of the boy. Even today when there are broad minded people still the system of dowry has not being abolished. Marriages are longer the combination of hearts; it is just the kind of business transaction. Even the rich parents of the boy do no feel shame in begging dowry. The system of dowry in India is a very serious matter and a black spot on the Indian society. Except India the dowry system is not found in any other country. From this it could be easily observed that the women are not treated equally and fairly as men. After marriage also they are treated badly and harassed by her in laws for dowry. And still there is no end of it.

Dowry system is against the law of equality between man and woman. Today dowry is considered as the crime, both giving and taking. Thousands of cases has being observed every year but only few of them put to court for not only continued, but flourished over the years. Even in the old age the dowry system was in vogue and dowry was used as means for striking a good match. In due course dowry became an integral part of the marriage institution and is generally accepted by the society as necessary evil.
custom of dowry has become widespread. Even before the marriage, the amount to be given as dowry is discussed and settled with the change of time. The contents of dowry have undergone a great change. The boy’s parents openly demand money and other items which include car, scooter, fridge, colourT.V. etc. The rate of dowry changes according to the qualification of the boy. There are “rates” fixed for I.A.S.,I.P.S., P.C.S., I.E.S. officers and qualified engineers and doctors. In fact, a regular marriage cannot be held and a marriage without dowry is almost unthinkable.

Why this social evil prevail in India?

There are several reasons for the prevalence of the dowry system, but the main one is that it is a necessary precondition for marriage. “No dowry, no marriage,” is a widespread fear.. The price tag for the groom is now bigger and bolder. Families arrange most marriages, and a man who does not marry for love learns he can marry for possessions. For this man, and his family, a woman becomes the ticket to shortcut riches through the system of dowry. There are a number of things people desire to have in their own houses but cannot afford; they use the opportunity of a son’s marriage to get them. The girl’s parents do not protest against thIs, as they regard it as a stepping-stone towards higher social status and better matches for the remaining children. Now the guy who is to be married is sold in the market. It seems that the people put their bets on the guys and who will bet more cam marry their daughter to him.

FACTS relating to dowry death

Official statistics show a steady rise in dowry crimes. More than 9, 5000 women are killed every year in India over dowry. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh still record the maximum number of dowry crimes, four women reportedly die every day because of dowry harassment and domestic violence. The cases of dowry torture are the highest accounting for 32.4% of crimes against women in the country.

The dangerous outcome of this tradition is sex-ratio. The girls are killed prior to birth and sex-ratio is decreased very much in India (941/1000 as per 2011 census). Despite protest by women’s organizations, serious activism, legal amendments, special police cells for women, media support and heightened awareness of dowry being a crime, the practice continues unabated on a massive scale. Despite every stigma, dowry continues to be the signature of marriage. Women need real social, political, financial and moral support in their fight against the system. They have to be empowered so that they can take their decisions about their own life by refusing the dowry system.

What the LAW says?

The laws relating to dowry system are as follows:

The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

Asking or giving of dowry can be punished by an imprisonment of up to six months, or a fine of up to Rs. 15000


This section, for offences related to Criminal Breach of Trust, is usually applied in investigation of Sridhan recovery from the husband and his family and punished with 3 yrs imprisonment and fine.

IPC section 304 B.

If anyone commits dowry death he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.


Under this section one  can punished upto three years.


For the purpose of this act, Domestic Violence includes the demand for dowry.

Is Law-making is enough for eradication of social evils??

This is a well known fact that law always fails in removing social evils as there are 3 important things 2.effective implementation of law and of people necessary for removing any evil. In Indian scenario law is there, but its implementation is not so effective, that’s why we can see that people misuses law by filing false dowry cases. Some of the preventive measures are: emphasis on education of girls.

Men should be brought up with moral and ethical values, since infancy Men should be trained up in honouring women.

Young people, both men and women, should refuse to get married if dowry is being given or taken. Particularly, the girls should stand up against this system with all their might because the dowry system is responsible for the degradation of women in India

To protest against the women themselves should raise their own status, so that the men run to them, begging the women to marry With modernization and the increasing role of women in a productive economy, creating other ways for wives to contribute to their families` economic well being, one would expect support for the dowry system to diminish.


Article by-

Anudita Chourasia,

Dr. Harisingh Gaur University, Sagar (M.P)

[Submitted as an entry for the Blog Post Writing Competition, 2011]