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Dowry deaths are deaths of women who are murdered or driven to suicide by continuous
harassment and torture by husbands and in-laws in an effort to extort an increased dowry.

Dowry deaths are found in India,[1] Pakistan,[2] Bangladesh,[3] and Iran.[4][5]India reports the
highest total number of dowry deaths with 8,391 such deaths reported in 2010, 1.4 deaths per
100,000 women. Adjusted for population, Pakistan, with 2,000 reported such deaths per year, has
the highest rate of dowry death at 2.45 per 100,000 women.

Dowry death is considered one of the many categories of violence against women,
alongside rape, bride burning, eve teasing, and acid throwing.


Most dowry deaths occur when the young woman, unable to bear the harassment and
torture, commits suicide. Most of these suicides are by hanging, poisoning or by fire. Sometimes
the woman is killed by setting herself on fire; this is known as "bride burning", and sometimes
disguised as suicide or accident. Death by burning of Indian women have been more frequently
attributed to dowry conflicts.[8] In dowry deaths, the grooms family is the perpetrator of murder
or suicide.[9]

India has by far the highest number of dowry related deaths in the world according to Indian
National Crime Record Bureau. In 2012, 18,233 dowry death cases were reported across
India.[1] This means a bride was burned every 90 minutes, or dowry issues cause 1.4 deaths per
year per 100,000 women in India.[10][11] Although India's dowry death rate per 100,000 is lower
than equivalent rate for Pakistan and Bangladesh, it is a significant social issue in India.

According to a 1996 report by Indian police, every year it receives over 2,500 reports of bride-
burning.[12] The Indian National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports that there were about
8331 dowry death cases registered in India in 2011.[1] Incidents of dowry deaths during the year
2008 (8172) have increased by 14.4 per cent over 1998 level (7146),[13]while India's population
grew at 17.6% over the 10-year period. The accuracy of these figures have received a great deal
of scrutiny from critics who believe dowry deaths are consistently under-reported[15]

Dowry deaths in India is not limited to any specific religion. The ratio of dowry deaths are about
the same as the ratio of population in India by religions.


The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, prohibits the request, payment or acceptance of a
dowry, "as consideration for the marriage", where "dowry" is defined as a gift demanded or
given as a precondition for a marriage. Gifts given without a precondition are not considered
dowry, and are legal. Asking or giving of dowry can be punished by an imprisonment of up to
six months, or a fine of up to 5,000 (US$77, 61 or A$100). It replaced several pieces of anti-
dowry legislation that had been enacted by various Indian states.[19] Murder and suicide under
compulsion are addressed by India's criminal penal code.

Indian women's rights activists campaigned for more than 40 years to contain dowry deaths, such
as the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 and the more stringent Section 498a of Indian Penal
Code (enacted in 1983). Under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act
2005 (PWDVA), a woman can put a stop to the dowry harassment by approaching a domestic
violence protection officer.

Although Indian laws against dowries have been in effect for decades, they have been largely
criticised as being ineffective.[20] The practice of dowry deaths and murders continues to take
place unchecked in many parts of India and this has further added to the concerns of


In Pakistan, the giving and expectation of a dowry (called Jahez) is part of the culture,
with over 95% of marriages in every region of Pakistan involving transfer of a dowry from the
bride's family to a groom's family.

Dowry deaths have been rising in Pakistan for decades. Dowry-related violence and deaths have
been widespread for many decades.[26][27][28] At over 2000 dowry-related deaths per year, and
annual rates exceeding 2.45 deaths per 100,000 women from dowry-related violence, Pakistan
has the highest reported number of dowry death rates per 100,000 women in the world.[29][30]

There is some controversy on the dowry death rates in Pakistan. Some publications suggest
Pakistan officials do not record dowry deaths, the death rates are culturally under-reported and
may be significantly higher. For example, Nasrullah reports total average annual stove burn rates
of 33 per 100,000 women in Pakistan, of which 49% were intentional, or an average annual rate
of about 16 per 100,000 women.[31][32][33]

Pakistan's Dowry and Marriage Gifts (Restriction) Bill, 2008, restricts dowry to PKR 30,000
(~US$300) while the total value of bridal gifts is limited to PKR 50,000.[34] The law made
demands for a dowry by the groom's family illegal, as well as public display of dowry before or
during the wedding. However, this and similar anti-dowry laws of 1967, 1976 and 1998, as well
as Family Court Act of 1964 have proven to be unenforceable. Activists such as SACHET,
Pakistan claim the police refuse to register and prosecute allegations of dowry-related domestic
violence and fatal injuries.[35]

Various military and democratically elected civil governments in Pakistan have tried to outlaw
traditional display of dowry and expensive parties (walima). One such attempt was the Act of
1997, Ordinance (XV) of 1998 and Ordinance (III) of 1999. These were challenged in the
Supreme Court of Pakistan. The petitioner cited a number of hadiths under religious Sharia laws
to demonstrate that Islam encouraged walima and related customary practices. The petitioner
claimed that the Pakistan government's effort to enact these laws are against the injunctions of
Islam. The Supreme Court ruled these laws and ordinances unconstitutional.[35]

In Bangladesh, dowry is called joutuk, and a significant cause of deaths as well. Between
0.6 and 2.8 brides per year per 100,000 women are reported to die because of dowry-related
violence in recent years.[36][37] The methods of death include suicides, fire and other forms of
domestic violence. In 2013, Bangladesh reported 4,470 women were victims of dowry-related
violence over a 10-month period, or dowry violence victimized about 7.2 brides per year per
100,000 women in Bangladesh.[3]

Dowry is an ancient custom of Persia, and locally called jahz (sometimes

spelled jahaz or jaheez, ).[38][39] Dowry-related violence and deaths in Iran are reported in
Iranian newspapers, some of which appear in English media.[40] Kiani et al., in a 2014 study,
report dowry deaths in Iran.[5]


Reports of incidents of dowry deaths have attracted public interest and sparked a global
activist movement seeking to end the practice. Of this activist community, the United
Nations (UN) has played a pivotal role in combating violence against women, including dowry

The United Nations has been an advocate for women's rights since its inception in 1945,
explicitly stating so in its Charters Preamble,[41] the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights[42] (adopted in 1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights[43] (adopted
in 1966), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[44] (also adopted in
1966) (these three documents are known collectively as the International Bill of Rights[45]) and
the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), though predominately focused on improving the
quality of education available to children globally, has also taken a proactive stance against
dowry death. On March 9 (International Women's Day), 2009, at a press conference in
Washington D.C., UNICEF's Executive Director, Ann M. Veneman, publicly condemned dowry
deaths and the legislative systems which allow the culprits to go unpunished.[47] In 2009,
UNICEF launched its first Strategic Priority Action Plan for Gender Equality, which was
followed by a second Action Plan in 2010. The aim of these plans has been to make gender
equality a higher priority within all international UNICEF programs and functions.[48]

Amnesty International, in an effort to educate the public, has cited dowry deaths as a
major contributor to global violence against women.[49] Also, in their annual human rights
evaluations, Amnesty International criticizes India for the occurrences of dowry deaths as well as
the impunity provided to its perpetrators.

Human Rights Watch has also criticized the Indian government for its inability to make any
progress towards eliminating dowry deaths and its lackluster performance for bringing its
perpetrators to justice in 2011.[51] In 2004, the Global Fund for Women launched its "Now or
Never" funding project. This campaign hopes to raise funds domestically and consequently
finance the efforts of feminist organizations across the globe - including Indian women's rights
activists. As of 2007 the Now or Never fund has raised and distributed about $7 million.[52]

A relatively smaller organization, V-Day, has dedicated itself to ending violence against women.
By arranging events such as plays, art shows, and workshops in communities and college
campuses across the United States, V-Day raises funds and educates the public on topics of
gender-based violence including dowry death.[53] Full-length plays on dowry deaths include 'The
Bride Who Would Not Burn.

Hidden deaths in Open

What the Women and Child Development Minister Ms. Maneka Gandhi, admitted on the
floor of the Lok Sabha was startling, between 2012 and 2014, around 25,000 women either
committed suicide or were killed due to dowry harassment[iii]; this vindicates the claim of
womens movement in India. Taunts, mental and physical abuse and ultimate death by murder or
forced-to-commit-suicide is an open fact of the Indian society. While dowry And domestic
violence are reprimanded by Law, its continuance raises many questions. The sheer numbers of
incidences, low conviction rates and voices against for change in law are disturbing and raise an
alarm for all of us. No one is unaffected by this.

The Indian Constitution grants equal rights to woman as a human being but has the
society stopped seeing her more as than a chattel? The Dowry Prohibition Act (DPA), came way
back in 1961as a result of the uproar of the womens movement around the bursting of stoves in
kitchens and the deaths of several newly-wed women. Ever since the ground situation and factual
numbers dont seem to have changed much. By mere extrapolating the figures placed on record
by the government if in 2016, 20 women are killed every day, 4,68,000 married women have
been killed in India due to tortures related to dowry. These are only the reported numbers, the
ones that came to notice. In reality the number of women killed due to this is much more.
Resultantly, we can say that over 5 lakh women have been killed for dowry in India.

What is it that has made dowry so popular? Dowry is one form of historical injustice done to
women in the name of degrading customary and religious practices. It runs across class, caste
and religion. It is almost like a contagious disease inflicted upon married women by the society.
What has made it spread so fast that all laws and intervention strategies have failed? It has
become a pattern to the crime that prosecutors have not noticed because they too internalise the
same faith. The higher socio-economic strata and the educated well informed class are equally
involved. What is so tempting about dowry that no one can gather the courage to say no to this
golden opportunity? And what makes the accused persons so blind in greed that they are willing
to subject a living person to violence, abuse and cruelty to the extent of murder just for benefits
in cash or kind? If it runs deep in the social system, what is required to uproot and expel it? Did
the efforts to empower women create any dents in the commodification of women or
categorising them as second class and next to chattels? The increasing numbers in deaths of
women seem to be directly proportionate to the increasing consumerism and the increase in
personal prosperity and economic showcase. Sadly these are the new symbols and indicators of
development in the society?

It is well known that the rate of conviction for dowry deaths has been very low across the
country. Even though the crime has spread pervasively, taking and giving dowry is still seen as a
social evil and it is not treated as an offence. So in most cases, the culprits are not booked in the
first place, and those that get booked; go scot free after long years of trial in various courts of

In Maharashtra, acquittal cases are as high as 80 percent. Given the complex circumstances
under which married women in India are murdered, the question that needs to be asked is what is
the role of law? Where is justice in all this? Are young girls being married only to be killed
brutally for illegal demands of unmet dowry? And does this mean that those married women who
have survived, have actually exchanged their hands with dowry and therefore stand guilty of
violating the law made to tackle it?

The Law

Before we seek the answers to the many intriguing questions, let us understand the law on
this subject. The DPA prohibits the request, payment or acceptance of a dowry, as consideration
for the marriage and dowry here is defined as a gift demanded or given as a pre-condition for a

Despite several amendments, this law has failed to instil any fear in abusers. Many of those who
have killed a young married woman, have gone ahead in life and married again to lead lives of
normalcy, uncaught and unpunished where is the deterrent?

Section 304B of the Indian penal code (IPC) deals with Dowry Deaths[iv], which is
cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and to be tried in Courts of Session and imposes a
punishment of not less than 7 years but which may extend to imprisonment for life. The death
has to be immediately preceded by cruelty and harassment due to dowry and has to be
in abnormal circumstances within seven years of the marriage. In such circumstances the
husband or the relative, as the case may be, will be deemed to have caused her death and will be
liable for punishment[v]. The deemed imposes a presumption of guilt both intent and action.
However the prosecution under section 304B of IPC cannot escape from the burden of proof that
the harassment to cruelty was related to the demand for dowry and such was caused soon before
her death. One of the main ingredients required to prove the fault of accused is to establish that
she was harassed soon before her death for dowry.[vi]. Is this the main factor for the increase
in crime and for rendering this law meaningless?

While Section 304B I.P.C. and section 113B of the Evidence Act lays the proximity text to
determine the period which can come within the term soon before and is left to be determined
by the courts, depending upon facts and circumstances of each case. But due to lack of training,
improper investigation and evidence, the courts have failed to live up to the expectations of
grieving families.

The 1986 Amendment and insertion of Section, 498Aof IPC to deal with cruelty in connection
with dowry with the living wife, has created a lot of noise yet it has been ineffective in providing
any relief to married women experiencing the threats of dowry. The false propaganda of misuse
of this law by men and husbands claiming that they have been booked wrongly under this law
and the involvement of the police facilitated by the corruption component, rendered this law so
debatable that the government has been forced to think of diluting the law to allow compromise
and settlement between the husband and wife at the onset of trial in dowry harassment cases.
Sadly the same mindset is reflected in the efforts of all courts too: to counsel and tell the wife to
compromise and survive in the marriage because after all it is a sacrosanct relationship. No
police of court till date has counselled the woman and told her to seek peaceful separation and
not to tolerate any form of violence. The approach has been more of social norms than of
implementing the law. A murder case and a dowry death case are seen as so different by the law
enforcement as if the former is a crime and the latter is only a family matter, even the Law
Commission and Justice Malimath Committee suggested making this law compoundable[vii].
But did this take into accountthe hard evidence of increasing murders of married women?
In 2005 a new civil law was enacted, that aimed to ensure that the woman was protected and safe
in her marriage. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) came into
force in 2006 and by 2016 it was being said that this law too has failed. This law was meant to
keep survivors of violence alive by protecting them from any kind of further violence from
intimate partners. It brought a woman out of the situation immediately so that she could live and
then decide on her later recourse. Interim and emergency orders have not been many. Thus we
see that DPA made in 1961, 498A inserted in 1986 and PWDVA made in 2005 have all been
made to fail miserably to keep newly married women live her rightful life of dignity and free of
violence and abuse. The patriarchs in power, instrumental in failing the laws are also the ones to
claim misuse of law by women and demand revoking of all such pro women legislations. The
need is to go beyond the brief and make a more holistic plan towards a socio-legal change
strategy for taking care of the situations.


A dowry (also known as trousseau or tocher) is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings
to her husband in marriage.

Dowry (Dahej/Hunda) as we all know is paid in cash or kind by the bride's family to the groom' s
family alongwith the giving away of the bride (Kanya-dana). The ritual of Kanya-dana is an
essential aspect in Hindu marital rites.

Kanya = daughter, dana = gift.

The word 'Hunda' appears to be derived from 'Handa' which means a pot. This could be due to
the now extinct practice of offerring dowry in a pot.


Originally, the purpose of a dowry was to help a husband to feed and protect his family.

Even in the oldest available records, such as the Code of Hammurabi, the dowry is described as
an already-existing custom.
Regulations surrounding the custom include: the wife being entitled to her dowry at her
husband's death as part of her dower, her dowry being inheritable only by her own children, not
by her husband's children by other women.

A woman not being entitled to a (subsequent) inheritance if her father had provided her dowry in

If a woman died without sons, her husband had to refund the dowry but could deduct the value of
the bride price; the dowry would normally have been the larger of the sums.


BRIDE - PRICE: Bride price, also known as bride wealth, is an amount of money or
property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage
of their daughter to the groom.

The bride price or ketubah may be seen as related to present-day customs of maintenance for the
wife in the event of the breakup of marriage, and family maintenance in the event of the husband
not providing adequately for the wife in his will. Another function performed by the ketubah
amount was to provide a disincentive for the husband to divorce his wife: he would need to have
a certain amount to be able to pay to the wife.


In parts of Africa, a traditional marriage ceremony depends on payment of a bride price to be

valid. The amount can vary from a token to a great sum.

Lobola is a similar tradition in southern Africa. The MIFUMI Project in Africa held a
referendum in Tororo, Uganda in 2001 on whether a bride price should be a non-refundable gift.
In 2004 it held an international conference on the bride price in Kampala, Uganda. It also issued
a preamble position in 2008.


Dowry is very popular in Asia. Its structure varies from place to place
In traditional Chinese culture, an auspicious date is selected to Ti Qin (literally meaning
"propose marriage"), The groom and a matchmaker will visit the bride's family bearing gifts like
wedding cakes, sweetmeats and jewelry, as well as the bride price.

In Thailand, bride price (locally known as sin sot and often erroneously referred to by the
English term "dowry") and is common in both Thai-Thai and Thai-foreign marriages.


Dowry which is practiced in India is the payment in cash or/and kind by the brides
family to the bridegroom s family along with the giving away of the bride (called Kanyadaan) in
Indian marriage.

Kanyadanam is an important part of Hindu marital rites. Kanya means daughter, and dana means
gift. Dowry first came from upper class families as the wedding gifts from the brides family to
her to help her family or to the husband for his needs.

Woman killed over dowry 'every hour' in India

A woman is killed every hour in India because her family failed to meet her husband and in-laws'
demands for higher dowry payments and lavish gifts.
By Dean Nelson in New Delhi
1:27PM BST 02 Sep 2013
Official figures from India's National Crime Records Bureau reveal that 8,233 young women,
many of them new brides, were killed in so-called 'dowry deaths' in 2012. The report comes
amid growing concern over the level of violence against women following the Delhi gang rape
case last December.
The number of deaths is marginally less than in 2011, but reflects a broader increase in gender
violence. While dowry deaths fell slightly from 8618 to 8233, the number of cases of cruelty
committed by husbands and their relatives increased significantly from 99,135 in 2011 to
106,527 last year. Many of the cruelty cases are believed to be dowry-related and many dowry
killings are preceded by cruelty by the husband and in-laws.
Although the payment of dowries for marriage is illegal in India, they remain widespread across
caste, class and educational divides. In recent years demands have become more insistent and
One of the dowry deaths last year was Pravartika Gupta, who was burned to death in her
bedroom as she slept with her one-year-old daughter. She had been threatened by her in-laws
because her family could not afford to speed up their schedule of payments. They had agreed to
pay 15,000 in cash and buy a Honda City car for their son-in-law's parents. The in-laws had
suddenly demanded that Pravartika's family also buy them an apartment.
According to the Bureau's latest figures, charges were brought in 94 per cent of the 8,233 dowry
death cases, but the conviction rate was just 32 per cent. In cruelty cases, the conviction rate is
only 15 per cent.


[304B. Dowry death

(1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than
under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before
her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her
husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called "dowry
death", and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.

Explanation- For the purpose of this sub-section, "dowry" shall have the same meaning. as in
section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961).

(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall
not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.]


Why do dowry deaths occur? This was the central point of concern of a sociological study by
Nalini Singh based on a survey of the marriages of 38 young women, aged 17-24 years, in each
of which the wife died an unnatural death, reportedly due to harassment over dowry. She
suggested that it is primarily the societal perception of woman being less productive than man
that define woman's place in society. This manifests in what she calls "Zero-political Status", and
denial of basic civil rights to them. She observes that dowry is a clear affirmation of the fact that
one's gender determines one's worth or significance. Since worth is distributed unequally
amongst the sexes at birth, worth-deficiency amongst females can be offset by material additives
that is dowry. The roots of this worth deficiency of women are so deep-rooted that even the
brides who earn more than their husbands are made to feel an obligation to supply dowry goods
and services along after their marriage just as are the women who earn nothing.

The dowry deaths, therefore, she observes, do not occur because there is a mismatch between
gifts demanded by in-laws and presents received, but because young married women customarily
have no political significance in their new families. The continuous demand for dowry is but one
of the ways in which the deficient political status is exploited. This deficiency is used to maltreat
her in countless other ways too. Therefore, she says, the term 'dowry-deaths' is a misnomer
because dowry related harassment occurs as part of a larger mandate to oppress a human with
zero-political status.

According to Nalini Singh, from the earliest days of a marriage the in-laws ruin the life of a bride
on the assumption that the young woman has surrendered her total being to them; she bends over
backwards to demonstrate that she has no political status, and slips in the bottom of the authority
structure; while her parents reassure her that self-effacement is virtuous in woman. If there is
much agreement on women's mute compliance with predetermined norms, then why are our
daughters dying in marriage? As revealed by Singh's survey, the truth is that young women do
not reconcile themselves to the complete absence of political significance in their affinal family.
Yet they simulate absolute obedience, because that is what their fraudulent upbringing
recommends. This obedience is taken for the real things by those in authority over them. In
pursuance of in-law's perception that the bride's parents owe them an unlimited amount of dowry
(or Compensation), they, the in-laws, establish a conduit for this flow through the bride. Stripped
of a political locus stand, she cannot oppose this demand on grounds of injustice and appears to
exercise either one or both of the two options-one, she succumbs, and procures the demanded
goods from her parents (after initially deflecting some of the hard edge of the demand by
tolerating physical brutality herself), and two, she does not comply, clothing her stand with the
unsurrendered fragment of her persona. It is noteworthy, she states, that many women finally
adopt the second alternative at great personal risk, and high emotional cost, and offer sustained
resistance to demands for dowry.

This resistance proves extremely provocative to authoritarian family members of the husband's
family, not so much because of the monetary deprivation, but because of its real potential for
destabilizing the power structure which sanctions exploitative behaviour within the family. The
young woman's subdued non-cooperation with the demand for extortion of dowry from her
parents might not be the solitary issue on which she resists blind authority, but there might be
some other issues, which expose her as opinionated, as for instance, the desire to work or study,
despite family opposition. All such actions are regarded as signals of disrespect and revolt. When
a young woman, who is a political amputee by tradition, resists prestigious traditions such as
dowry, she is a logical candidate for retaliation by the in-laws. Dowry death are a manifest
example of this retaliation by the flag-bearers of patriarchial authority. In some cases, the
retaliatory wrath of the in-laws expresses itself in murders of the young women by burning with
kerosene (most frequent in urban areas) or drowning (common in rural areas). Other methods
employed to murder include poisoning and physical battery.


The problem of Dowry has always been persistent in India and is also rising at a rapid rate and so
are the offences related to dowry demand. Dowry demands can go on for years together. The
birth of children and a number of customary and religious ceremonies often tend to become the
occasions for dowry demands. The inability of the brides family to comply with these demands
often leads to the daughter-in-law being treated as a pariah and subject to abuse. In the worst
cases, wives are simply killed to make way for a new financial transactionthat is, another
marriage. The Section 304-B, IPC has been inserted by the Dowry Prohibition Amendment Act,
1986 with a view of combating increased menace of dowry deaths. The Supreme Court in the
case of State of Himachal Pradesh v. Nikku Ram(1995)Cri LJ 4184 (SC). interestingly started
off the judgment with the words Dowry, dowry and dowry. The Supreme Court went on to
explain why it has mentioned the words dowry thrice. This is because demand for dowry is
made on three occasions:

(i) before marriage;

(ii) at the time of marriage; and

(iii) after the marriage.

The term dowry is defined in the Dowry Prohibition 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.

Greed being limitless, the demands become insatiable in many cases, followed by torture of the
girl leading to either suicide in some cases or murder in some. The Supreme Court has explained
in this case that though the definition of dowry is stated as property or valuable security given
or agreed to be given demands made after marriage could also be a part of the consideration
because an implied agreement has to be read to give property or valuable securities, even if
asked after the marriage as a part of consideration for the marriage when the Dowry Prohibition
Act 1961 was enacted, the legislature was well aware of the fact that demands for dowry are
made and indeed very often even after the marriage has been solemnized and this demand is
founded on the factum of marriage alone. Such demands, therefore, would also be in
consideration for marriage.



(1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than
under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before
her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her
husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called dowry
death, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.

To invoke Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code the following ingredients are essential:

1. The death of a woman should be caused by burns or bodily injury or otherwise than
under normal circumstances.

2. Such a death should have occurred within seven years of her marriage.

3. She must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative
of her husband.

4. Such cruelty or harassment should be for or in connection with the demand of dowry.

5. Such cruelty or harassment is shown to have been meted out to the woman soon before
her death.

One of the important ingredients to attract the provision of dowry death is that the death of the
bride must relate to the cruelty or harassment on account of demand for dowry. It is true that
Section 304-B does not define cruelty. However, under explanation of Section 113-B of the
Evidence Act, by which presumption of dowry can be drawn, it has been provided that cruelty
shall have the same meaning as in section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code. As per requirement of
clause (b) appended to section 498-A I.P.C. there should be a nexus between harassment and any
unlawful demand for dowry.

If these conditions are fulfilled then a presumption acts under the Indian Evidence Act and the
burden of proof shifts on the accused to prove that he is innocent. The section states:


When the question is whether a person has committed the dowry death of a women and it is
shown that soon before her death such woman had been subjected by such person to cruelty or
harassment for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry; the court shall presume that such
person had caused the dowry death.
In the case of State of Punjab v. Iqbal SinghAIR 1991 SC 1532. the Supreme Court clarified the
position as to why the necessity to introduce Section 113-B in the Indian Evidence Act was felt

The legislative intent is clear to curb the menace of dowry deaths, etc. with a firm hand. It must
be remembered that since crimes are generally committed in privacy of residential houses and in
secrecy, independent and direct evidence is not easy to get. That is why the legislature has by
introducing Section 113-B in the Evidence Act tried to strengthen the prosecution hands by
permitting a presumption to be raised if certain foundation facts are established and the
unfortunate event has taken place within seven years of marriage. This period of seven years is
considered to be the turbulent one after which the legislature assumes that the couple would have
settled down in life. When the question at issue is whether a person is guilty of dowry death of a
woman and the evidence discloses that immediately before her death she was subjected by such
person to cruelty and/or harassment for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry. Section
113-B, Evidence Act provides that the court shall presume that such person had caused the
dowry death.

A conjoint reading of Section 113-B of the Act and 304-B I.P.C. shows that there must be
material to show that soon before her death the victim was subjected to cruelty or harassment.
Prosecution has to rule out the possibility of a natural or accidental death so as to bring it within
the purview of the death occurring otherwise than in normal circumstances. Soon before is a
relative term and it would depend upon circumstances of each case and no straitjacket formula
can be laid down as to what would constitute a period soon before the occurrence. There must be
existence of a proximate and live link between the effect of cruelty based on dowry demand and
the concerned death.


1. Awareness : The first and foremost solution to the problem of dowry deaths is
awareness, taking into account the illiteracy rates in India most of the women who are
subject to the evil of dowry harassment are unaware of their legal rights. Thus the most
important task is to create awareness this can be achieved by setting up awareness
programmes and initiative in different sections of the society.
2. Education: This is another approach to increase awareness by educating people about
such issues and imbibing such social issues in to the curriculum of primary education.

3. Stringent Punishments and speedy trials: Imparting Stringent punishments to the

people convicted of such crimes can also help to create a deterrent effect. Also, speedy
trial system also works in favour of the victim and acts as a deterrent.

4. Enforcement Mechanisms to be strengthened: We see that in the Indian scenario

there are legislations like the Dowry Prohibition Act, the Indian Penal Code and also
legislations like The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act are in place but
still the problem of dowry demand continues, thus it is high time that the enforcement of
these legislations should be strengthened.


Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, defines dowry as any property or valuable
security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly

By one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or

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 dower.

In S. Gopal Reddy v. State of Andhra Pradesh the Supreme Court observed that:

The legislature has emphasized that any money, property or valuable security given, as a
consideration for marriage, before, at or after the marriage would be covered by the expression
dowry and this definition as contained in Section 2 has to be read wherever the expression
dowry occurs in the Act. Under Section 4 of the Act, mere demand of dowry is sufficient to
bring home the offence of an accused.


(1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than
under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before
her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her
husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called dowry
death, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.

(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall
not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.


Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty Whoever, being the
husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be
punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable
to fine.

Explanation For the purpose of this section, cruelty means Any willful
conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit
suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental
or physical) of the woman; or

Harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her
or any person related to her to meet any lawful demand for any property or
valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to
meet such demand.

Section 113-B of The Indian Evidence Act

When the question is whether a person has committed the dowry death of a woman and it is
shown that soon before her death such woman had been subjected by such person to cruelty or
harassment for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, the court shall presume that such
person had caused the dowry death.


(i) Boys parent demand money, gifts on the eve of the wedding.
(ii) Brides harassed so that they may bring more dowry from their parents.

(iii) Young girls commit suicide owing to it.

(iv) Young girls burnt by their in laws.

(v) Sometimes unmarried girls commit suicide when they see parents worried.


(i) Mobilize public opinion against it.

(ii) Youth should refuse to give or take dowry.

(iii) Girls should be professionally educated, so that they can stand on their own feet.


The system of giving dowry to girls in marriage is an ancient Indian custom. It is infact
that portion of the parents wealth which they wish to give to the daughter. This helps the girls in
question and the groom to start a home of their own. However, it is very sad that this custom has
been vitiated in our times, and the system has become a menace, a social evil in our society.

Wedding are no longer happy events, but keep the brides, parents on tenterhooks lest the
grooms family demand unreasonable gifts on the eve of the weeding. Infact, quite often, the
greedy groom or his parents do demand gift in cash or kind such as a motor car, video, etc. which
the girls parents may not be able to fulfill. Then they are caught between the devil and the deep
sea. Breaking off the wedding at the last minute brings infamy to the girl. Very often false,
malicious stories are spread about her so that re-engagement and marriage becomes difficult.
Often girls are driven to suicidal lengths because of the tension created by such a situation.

Another technique adopted by the boys family is not to make unreasonable demands before the
wedding, but harass the girl after the wedding to induce her to request her parents to give the
gifts they ask for. The girl is taunted at every step and her life is made a virtual hell until she can
fulfill the unreasonable demands of her husband and in laws.

Another ploy used by such uncouth people is to pack the bride off to her parents house and told
to come back only if she can induce her parents to give more dowry.

In such situation, the girl has no option but to accede to these demands and urge her parents to
fulfill them. Sometimes, when girl know that their parents cannot fulfill these demands, they are
driven to commit suicide. Even worse is the situation where the in-laws join hands to burn the
bride to death, so that the son can be remarried to someone who will get them more dowry. This
is the lowest level of greediness, degradation and inhumanity to which a human being can sink,
and it is indeed a very sad comment on the Indian Character, that there are innumerable
examples of this happening. Brides are shamelessly and fearlessly burnt to death to satisfy the
greed of such people.

This sorry state of affair should be amended as soon as possible, and the solutions are not very
easy. The law has come to our end, and giving and taking dowry is a criminal offence, and yet
people fearlessly continue giving and accepting dowry with impurity. Thus it is clear that the law
alone cannot solve the problem.


The important thing to be done here is to mobilize public opinion against it. Young men should
refuse to take dowry. They should realize that marriage is a union of two souls. Marriage gives
them their own family and incentive to fulfil their ambitions in their career. Therefore, they
should shun accepting dowry. Rather, they should have enough self-respect to refuse the money
or gifts which are offered by the brides parents to buy them. Similarly, girls too should refuse
to marry a young boy who is greedy enough to demand anything from her parents. Infact, the
slightest indication before marriage of the boys greediness should warn her, and instead of being
carried away by the sense of romance she should be worry of marrying such a boy.

Another important solution is for every girl to be professionally educated so that she has the
ability to earn before she is married. If she is working before marriage it would be even bother,
for being financially independent would make her self-confident. It would be easy for her to
refuse greedy young men. It would in other words, give her the supreme confidence to rend for
herself. It would hurting a working girl who can answer them back in their coin.

Finally, the real solution can only come if public opinion is strongly mobilized against the giving
and taking of dowry. Till each individual regards it as an evil it would be difficult to root it out.
Therefore, this should be done on a war footing and every government media should be used for
this purpose. Till the old and young men women and even children regard it as a social evil not
all the laws of the country can put an end to it.

Thus, only a consistent, persistent and co-operative effort by everybody to propagate the
message of the social evil of dowry can solve the problem.


Dowry system in prevalent in almost all section of Indian society. Dowry is what parents
give to their daughter at the time of marriage. It is a kind of help given to the newly married
couple from brides parents to establish a new home. This custom is very old. It was not bed in
the past because it was a voluntary after but these days it has become a necessary evil.

Dowry system has eaten into the bones of our society. The birth of a daughter is no occasion of
joy for the parents. A girl when become young is a burden on her parents. They have to face
great difficulties in finding out a suitable match for their daughter. It is a problem to get her
married in a rich and respectable family without a decent dowry. Daughter of poor parents
however beautiful and well education cannot be married to a richmens son. Many girls commit
suicide to save their parents from the evil of dowry.

This custom is the root cause of many other evils. Parents collect money by fair and foul means
to satisfy the greed of the bridegrooms. Our Government has decided to root out this evil from
Indian society. Laws are being made to put an end to this big evil. Youngmen are also coming
forward to raise their voice against this curse. People should take a pledge to fight this great evil
at all costs.
Dowry System Part -3

The Hindu Society is full of a number of evils practices and bad customs such as Dowry
has become a major social evil against women today it is difficult to say how and why this evil
custom started ? Perhaps it might have originated from the parents desire to give their daughter a
share of her parental property in the form of Dowry. Everyday we see how women have to suffer
for the sake of Dowry. Day in & day out we read the news of one or another young women being
burnt to death because she could not bring dowry with her. Torter of young brides because of
their failure to bring dowry is even more prevalent and they are forced to commit suicide. The
result is that the parents of a girl have to make themselves paupers in order to arrange her

A girl may be educated. She may be a doctor, a professor or even an I.A.S. Officer. Her parents
must give dowry. The parents have to arrange for dowries so that their daughters may get respect
from their in laws. These who cannot do this must suffer their daughter to remain unmarried. On
other hand, wealthy parents manage to buy suitable bridgegrooms for their daughter. All this
call for stringent steps to a enforce the ban of dowry. It is true that both the giving and receiving
of dowry are illegal but these law is honored more in preach man observance.

Really, a dowry system is an evil. It is spreading fast like Cancer. There are anti dowry laws. The
police have been instructed to take a serious view of Dowry-deaths. But it generally seen that
crimes done for the sake of dowries are not punished. These cases fail in the courts of law.


No doubt, women are at the helm of life and enjoy equal rights with men in every sphere of life
yet there is an under current of the feeling of aversion towards them. Inspite of the fact that they
enjoy the prestigious position in government offices, education institution, business
organizations, the armed forces etc. they are the victims of many evil practices of the society.
One of them is the dowry system which is of cancerous type. Although legislative measures have
been taken by the Central Government and the state Governments yet it persists in our society,
eating away the very tissues of social life like a canker.
When a female child is born in a Hindu family, particularly in Northern India, the faces of all the
members of the family fall. The very expression of joy disappears from their visage. It looks as if
they had come under the ellipse to sorrows and miseries. Even the mother who has given birth to
the child looks sullen and sometimes becomes the object of taunts and ironical remark of her in-

Do you know why it happens so ? It is because of the dowry system prevalent in our society. The
very moment a female child is born, the picture of dowry with the demand of a huge amount of
money in cash or kind comes before their eyes.

Now people have gone a step further to avoid this unhappy situation. They go to nursing homes
for pre-natal determination of the sex of the unborn child, resulting in undesirable practices.
Whether a women wills or net and she has to follow the dictates of her in-laws.

All these things are happening simply because of the dowry system which is a stigma on the fair
name of the Indian society and a curse for women. The parents of the girls have to provide a
substantial amount of money to the parents of marriage talks. If they do not accede to their
demands, the marriage talk receives a great setback. And if they agree under the force of
circumstances and fail to pay it, their daughter is taunted, humiliated and subjected to cruel
treatment. As a result, she begins to fee that her life is worthless, there is no meaning in living
alive and she feels obliged to commit suicide. On the contrary, if she is taunt-proof, she is burnt
alive by her in-laws.

This is the fate of our women in a country where luminous figures like Tagore, Gandhi, Swami
Dayanand Saraswati, Raja Ram Mohan Roy etc. were born and raised their voice against the
dowry system.

Despite the statutory measures of the government, it is continuing prominence in certain parts of
the country like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh etc. In such a case, there is no other alternative left
except to mobilize the public opinion against the system of selling boys. On a war scale, this
system is to be fought against by all political parties and the press. The dowry seekers are to be
black-listed and publicly boycotted. The youths of today have to take a pledge net to allow
themselves to be sold to the parents of the girl. They have to come forward and decide their own
fate instead of being a puppet in the hands of their parents. The black marketers are to be
eliminated because it is they could promote such a system by offering rich dowries in the
marriage of their daughters.


Dowry is an old social practice in India. Actually it has become an evil degrading the status and
respect of women in society. Dowry is given at the time of marriage of a daughter by the father.

The evil of dowry is a great insult to womanhood. It is a symbol of male superiority and
womans degradation. Due to this evil, the birth of a daughter is looked down upon with from
woman becomes a burden.

Dowry seekers demanding a heavy dowry, have made the life of the parents and girls really
hellish. Naked and shameful display of wealth encourages dowry. The dowry hunters are
responsible for the deaths and burning of many bridges.

Dowry has been made a legal offence punishable by law, according to the dowry prohibition Act.
The punishment can go up to six months imprisonment and a fine up to Rs. 5,000. However, the
evil of dowry lies in the greed and exploitation of women. We have to fight against it socially
and culturally.

Section 304b Indian penal code Dowry Death


304B. Dowry death.

(1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than
under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before
her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her
husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called "dowry
death", and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.

Explanation.-For the purposes of this sub-section, "dowry" shall have the same meaning as in
section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961).
(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall
not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.



Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code would be applicable if cruelty or harassment was
inflicted by the husband on any of his relative for, or in connection with demand for dowry,
immediately preceding the death by bodily injury or by burning (abnormal circumstances)
within seven years of the marriage. In such circumstances the husband or the relative, as the
case may be, will be deemed to have caused her death and will be liable to punishment


The prosecution under section 304B of Indian Penal Code cannot escape from the burden of
proof that the harassment to cruelty was related to the demand for dowry and such was caused
soon before her death.


The word dowry has to be understood as it is defined in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition
Act, 1961. Thus, there are three occasions related to dowry, i.e., before marriage, at the time of
marriage and at an unending period. The customary payment in connection with the birth of child
or other ceremonies, are not involved within ambit of dowry;

To attract the provisions of section 304B, one of the main ingredients of the offence which is
required to be established is that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty and
harassment in connection with the demand of dowry.


The expression soon before her death used in the substantive section 304B, I.P.C. and section
113B of the Evidence Act is present with the idea of proximity text. No definite period has been
indicated and the expression soon before her death is not defined. The determination of the
period which can come within the term soon before is left to be determined by the courts,
depending upon facts and circumstances of each case. Suffice, however, to indicate that the
expression soon before would normally imply that the interval should not be much between the
concerned cruelty or harassment and the death in question. There must be existence of a
proximate and live-link between the effect of cruelty based on dowry demand and the concerned
death. If alleged incident of cruelty is remote in time and has become stale enough not to disturb
mental equilibrium of the woman concerned, it would be of no consequence.

Presumption: Applicability

(i) The presumption shall be raised only on proof of the following essentials:

(1) The question before the court must be whether the accused has committed the dowry death of
a woman.

(2) The woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relatives.

(3) Such cruelty or harassment was for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry.
(4) Such cruelty or harassment was soon before her death.

(Kaliyaperumal v. State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 2003 SC 3828).

(ii) In dowry death cases and in most of such offences direct evidence is hardly available and
such cases are usually proved by circumstantial evidence. This section as well as section 113B of
the Evidence Act enact a rule of presumption, i.e., if death occurs within seven years of marriage
in suspicious circumstances. This may be caused by burns or any other bodily injury. Thus, it is
obligatory on the part of the prosecution to show that death occurred within seven years of
marriage. If the prosecution would fail to establish that death did not occur within seven years of
marriage, this section will not apply.
(Ratan Lal v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 1994 Cri LJ 1684).



It is also known as dowry killing or bride burning.

Dowry murder involves the application of general homicide provisions.

It is covered under Section 302 of IPC but special provision of Section 304-B and 498-A are also

In Indian Penal Code cruelty is in itself an offence covered under Section 498-A.

Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code deals with the offence of cruelty. It states as whoever,
being the husband or relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty, shall
be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be
liable to fine.

Case referred- Rishi Kumar v. State of Haryana


Section 306 of the Penal Code punishes abetment of suicide.

It states that if any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall
be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years
and shall also be liable to fine.

Case referred- State of Punjab v. Iqbal Singh


A presumption is a rule of law that attaches definite probative value to specific facts or directs
that a particular inference as to existence of one fact not actually known shall be drawn from a
fact which is known and proved.

It furnishes prima-facie evidence of the matter to which it relates and relieves the party of the
duty of presenting evidence until his opponent has introduced evidence to rebut the presumption.

It raises such a high degree of probability in its favor that it must prevail unless clearly met and

Since harassment, torture and violence on a married woman occur within the four walls of the
matrimonial home, the prosecution case generally depends on circumstantial evidence and since
it is difficult to establish the crime by circumstantial evidence, a rule of presumption has been
enacted in the Indian Evidence Act. Section 113-A of the Indian Evidence Act deals with
presumption as to abetment of suicide to a married women and Section 113-B relates to
presumption as to dowry death.



Case referred- Wazir Chand v. State of Haryana


Case referred- Shanti v. State of Haryana


Section 304-B was incorporated in the IPC by the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1986 with the view to
curb the increasing menace of evil practice of giving and taking of dowry by imposing deterrent
punishment. The section deals with Dowry Death.

Section 304-B has no retrospective effect. To attract the provisions of Section 304-B, one of the
main ingredient of the offence which is required to be established is that soon before her death
the deceased wife was subjected to cruelty and harassment in connection with the demand of


If the prosecution succeeds to establish that death was not accidental suicidal or on account of
serious ailment then the presumption that death occurred otherwise than in normal circumstances
will apply.
The expression, otherwise than under normal circumstances, would mean the death due to an
unusual cause and under the suspicious circumstances, if not caused by burns or bodily injury
which basically includes death by drowning, death by poisoning, death by strangulation, death by
starvation, death by hanging.

Case referred- Satraj v. State of Haryana


In the dowry death cases, direct evidence is hardly available and such cases are usually proved
by circumstantial evidences.

This section as well as Section 113-B of the Indian Evidence Act enacts a rule of presumption,
i.e. if death occurs within seven years of marriage in suspicious circumstances.

Case referred- Gulab Chand Mehta v. State of Bihar


The expression cruelty postulates such treatment as to cause reasonable apprehension in the
mind of the wife that her living with the husband will be harmful and injurious to her life.
Human reactions may be different and more sensitive persons may react more violently even to
minor incidents.

Cruelty has been defined in Section 498-A under which cruelty by itself amount to an offence
and is punishable under Section 304-B. The meaning of cruelty for the purpose of this section
has to be gathered from the language as found in Section 498-A and as per that section cruelty
means any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit
suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to her life etc or harassment to coerce her or any other
person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on
account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.

Case referred- Shanti v. State of Haryana


The expression soon after is very relevant where Section 113-B of the Evidence Act and
Section 304-B, IPC are pressed into service.

Soon before is a relative term and it would depend upon the circumstances of each case and no
strait jacket formula can be laid down as to what would constitute a period soon before the

However to indicate that the expression soon before would normally imply that the interval
should not be much between the concerned cruelty or harassment and the death in question.
There must be existence of a proximate and live link between the effect of cruelty based on
dowry demand and the concerned death.

Case referred- Rajinder Amar Singh v. State of Haryana


Section 304-B and 498-A needs to be made more deterrent in nature. Punishment granted for
committing dowry murders should be enhanced from seven years imprisonment or life
imprisonment to death sentence.

person who penetrates a crime without any human consideration must be given, the extreme
penalty of death sentence.

Provisions must be enacted whereby the member of the in-laws family of wife is restrained to
use them without her permission. Also proper enforcement of laws relating to dowry will make
people aware that the Government is serious in its legislation and they will automatically
cooperate in following the dictates of those laws. Women need to be assertive and develop a self-
identity so that they can lead a life of security and dignity. She should achieve economic
independence to fight dowry death.

that if the above mentioned suggestions are acted upon with spirit then we may be able to create
a perfect balance between male and female and the problem of dowry deaths and related offences
may be solved.


Women are more deadly than the male species. Women are submissive, vulnerable,
oppressed and often subject to be exploited be their male counterpart. Women are considered
equal to male in our constitution and we are headed to ensure women empowerment and
womens equal share in every sphere of life. But women are exploited and violated every day
from the pre birth gender selection abortion to separation of widow through sexual and gender
based exploitation in pre and post marriage period of life.

Violence against women are extreme violation of human right. But women are exploited every
second, even in the time I am writing this paper may somewhere in the world at least one woman
is violating. Dowry, domestic violence, rape, acid throwing, are most common form of women
violence in our country.
Dowry is the most extreme form of women violence among them in our society. Upper class,
middle class, and even in lower class are now faced this dowry problem. Its seemed that men
bring some burden throw marriage and dowry is a sort of remedy of that burden.

Women are tortured physically and mentally for dowry by their husband and members of her
husbands family. Women are considered as a money making machine to their husband.

According a research of Adhikar its found that 138 women in 2007 were brutally killed by the
members of their husbands family members. Male think dowry is their right and women have to
give it to be married but they dont think that once they will be father of a girl and they have to
pay same dowry to their son of law.
Dowry is a sort of payment often by the parents of bride to the husband or his family
members. Its a payment for the happiness of the brides after marriage life.
Dowry usually refers to the property that a woman receives from her parents and other kin as a
part of her settlement. Although dowry connotes the wealth in cash or kind given to the daughter
at the time of marriage, in recent times, its focus is on the gifts in kind and cash transferred to the
bridegroom and his kin not only at the time of marriage, but also perpetuated after the wedding
Dowry is said originated from the tradition practice of Hindu marriage system. In their religion
women do not get any property of their fathers family. So often father of bride would gave some
thing valuables with the bride to be use full after her marriage in her in laws family. It was not
any obligatory rule for brides parents. But gradually bride groom started to demand this gifts
from his in laws family to marry their daughter. And now its widely practiced by all the religion
in our country and practices as obligatory rules for womens family to marry their unmarried


Here I am headed to describe the present scenario of dowry related violence in our
society. Her I first will merely describe some cases which I have collected from daily papers and
later I will try to find out he causes behind the cases and its impact in our society.

Case: 1
Mahabuba is fighting with death as she did not pay the Dowry
Mahabuba khanom of district Bhola, is now fighting with death in the burn unit of
DMCH. Her guilt is she did not pay the promised dowry to her husband from her parents home
and at the same time she did not accept he extra marital relation of her husband and protested it.
For these two fault her husband set fire on her body in day light. This caused severe burn
in Mahabubas upper portion of body and her two hands, nose, neck.
Mahabub is the daughter of Aminul Islam of Vola upozila. She was married with Anower
Hossain son of Foyzulla Miya of the same area. Her in laws family was pushing her for dowry
from the end of her marriage. She was both physically and mentally tortured by her in laws
family members. She was bitten by stick and leg in a daily basis. They would put salt in her
body after she was bitten.
She told her helplessness when she was interviewed in the burn unit of DMCH. At the same time
she expect the right punishment of her husband. For this attempt of Mahabuba her in laws family
is threatening her and they said they will kill her four years old son.
Mahabuba told that she got good behavior for only a few month from her in laws family when
she marry without the consent of her parents. After that she was violated for dowry regularly.
She was not do any job in spite being educated. Only a few days ago she got a job in school after
a fighting with her husband. But as she became mother of her child so she accepted all the
brutality of her in laws family for the better of her and her child.
At last 23rd November when she was quarreling with her husband for dowry and his extramarital
relation, her husband suddenly beat him cruelly. At the next morning her husband again started
quarrel with her in front of Fahmid Enterprise which is actually a shop of petrol and mobile
phone, near the north bus stand, on her way to school. Mahabuba said this shop is too made by
her money.
In between of the quarrel, Mahabuba said, suddenly her husband said, wait, let me teach you
and then he take some patrol from the nearby can of patrol and pour in Mahabubas body and set
fire. The incident took place at 9 am. Then there was nobody in the shop. When she was caught
by fire she came out to the street and local people took and admit her in the local hospital. Late
she was transferred to DMCH.
She complained against her husband at last 27th November. According that complain her
husband now in the jail.
Mahabubas family informed us that, from her admission in the burn unit, two operation is done
to her and she needs two more operation in her chest and neck. These cost almost 90 thousand
taka and she needs more. But who and how will the money be paid is still unknown.

Case: 2
17 thousand taka of Dowry and Story of a Sadia
Dowry took another life of a housewife named Sadia. Her husband Roni pour kerosene on
her body on the last 24th December as she did not pay the 17 thousand taka of dowry. After 12
days of treatment in Rajshahi medical college hospital they transferred her to DCMH. But
Sadias family took her to their home instead of Dhaka due to lack of money. And the next day
Sadia died.
According to Charmohor thana and Sadias family, Sadia, (18) daughter of late Abdus sattar
of chatmohor Upozila of Pabna was married with Oahidul Haque Roni (24) son of Belal Hossain
of Kakmari of Aatghoriya Upozila. Roni was a garments worker in Dhaka. He was promised to
give 27 thousand taka as a dowry. But the brother of sadia who are daily labor could not afford
more than 10 thousand taka at time and sadia was cruelly bitten for rest of the money. Sadia once
came back to her brothers family as she failed to tolerate the brutality.
At the next day of last Eid of 22nd December, Roni came to his in laws home and demand the rest
of the money. When he was said the money is not possible to pay, then he started to beat his
wife. At last 24th December he pour Kerosene in Saidas body and set fire. Saida cried out and
her brothers came. In the mean time she was burned dangerously. And Roni fled. She was
admitted in Rajshahi Medical college Hospital. She was treated there for 12 days and when they
got no development then at 6th January the doctors wished to transfer her to Dhaka. But as her
poor brothers had not enough money so they took away their sister to home and at 7 th January
Sadia died.
The poor family failed to managed any source of money to treat her, corresponding family
members said, and no none from Sadias family came to help them. Sadias cousin, student of
master in Edward college said Most of the part of Sadias body was burned and as she had worn
worm cloth, so she got a quick fire. She needed a better treatment, but her poor family had no
way to bear the cost of the treatment
Habibur Rahman, elder brother of Sadia told, Our father died 20 years ago, we hardly kept our
nose above water. But we studied our sister till class 10. What Roni did for Dowry is not any
humanoid behavior. We expect his death sentence.
Sadias elder brother Habibur Rahman filed a case against Roni at next day of the incident. But
Roni is not found by police and they are searching Roni.
Case: 3

Teenaged housewife brutally chained up for payment of Dowry

Shilpi (18) years old teenage housewife is punished in feudal way as she did not withdraw the
case against dowry. She was been bitten in this way for almost 2 months by the members of her
in laws family. She is now mentally ill due to chronic physical and mental torture. Shilpi is the
daughter of farmer Abu of Baufal char diyara kochuya. She was married with Jahangir
Farayezi (25) son of Shamsul haque Farayezi of the same Iceland almost one and a half year ago.
Abu gave 20 thousand taka in cash and gold of 35 thousand taka price and other valuables cost
30 thousand taka for the happiness of her daughter.
But only after the one and half month of the marriage Jahangir demand another 50 thousand taka
from Shilpis parents. But as Abu failed to pay the dowry so Shilpi had been cruelly bitten.
Shilpi sued against her husband under the child abuse law in patuakhali. After that her husband
started brutal torture on shilpi. They put chili powder in her body sensitive parts of her body.
Sometimes she would kept chained on ground or cot without any blanket. She did not get regular
food and bath.
In the mean time Jahangir married for second time and at 22 May Jahangir I will not torture any
more one my wife gave this statement and get a relies from the child abuse law. But Jahangir
still continued torturing Shilpi to withdraw the case against Jahangir. And they again chained her
up for two days. The local journalists got news and inform the local police station. The inspector
rescued Shilpi but she is still did not get relies from mental illness.

Case: 4
Wife is killed by beaten for Dowry in Dhaka

Rehana Begam(22) is killed by cruelly beaten by her husband in Badda of Dhaka city. Husband
Roton Miya is missing after the incident. Jashimuddin brother of the killed woman informed us,
Rehana Begam was married with Roton Miya 5 years ago. After some months of marriage Roton
often would beat his wife for 1 lack taka dowry. For this demand they gave some money for
several times to Roton Miya. But the their sisters luck did not change and the brutality
It was 8am of Friday morning, Roton started his brutality in the ma-92 no holding of Merul
Badda. Roton left their sister senseless. Jashimuddin got the news at 11am and rushed to her
sisters house and found Rehana senseless there. He took her to DMCH and filed a case under
nari o shisu domon ayin. But at Saturday 11pm Rehana Begam took her last breath.

Case: 5
Wife is killed for Dowry in Shampur
Jannatul ferdous Jhinu (24) mysteriously died in Shampur of Dhaka city. Police took her body at
last Thursday from Rasulpur.
She is died for brutality of her husband Mirajul Islam, claimed her family. They claimed, Janntul
is killed for dowry. Her husband is missing after the incident. They had two
children Joy(7) and Raka(3). Jhinus cousin, A.K.M. Shohidul Islam said, Jhinu was married
with shaon at 2000. They gave 10 vori gold and 2 lack taka cash in the marriage. Recently
Jhinus husband put presser on her for bringing another 6 lack taka cash. But as Jhinus family
failed to pay the expected dowry, Jhinu was killed with active help of Shaons father, mother,
and siblings, claimed victims family members. After the incident a case is filled in the shampur


Above discussed Dowry related case studies reveal that dowry is not result of one factor
but several causes are related to it. Poverty, illiteracy, patriarchy, low economic condition of
women and social values or norms that objectified women are directly or indirectly underlined
behind dowry.
Poverty are considered as one of the main causes of dowry. Its found from above cases that most
of the incidents took places in middle and lower class who are mainly economically poor. They
often failed to pay expected dowry and it resulted violence.
Education make people aware about their rights and laws of the nation. But most of the illiterate
people are unaware about their rights and laws against dowry. So they think its natural to pay the
dowry to the bride groom. If they would know that its forbidden in our law that both giving and
taking dowry is restricted then they would stop paying dowry to the groom. But the remote
places such as islands of the country where the media does not work or the people are not well
educated there dowry settled permanently.
Patriarchal social system made a belief in our society that keeps women in subject to men. They
think women as worthless. They think as men take care of women after marriage so they have
right to take dowry.
Low economic condition of women is too important to continue dowry. As women are not
money earners in family and they have no income so men take this opportunity and demand
dowry. But if women would have any source of income, then men would respect them and would
not demand any dowry.



Bride tortured to death for dowry, School going kid succumbs to his injuries after beaten by
father, A seventy year old man killed over property dispute, Harassment of men in

All these and what not, turn to any newspaper at random and you would find the reports of such
kind of violence all over the country. These are all what we come to know through different
forms of media. There are more such cases which go unreported every day. In fact, include the
cases which we self-indulge in, or the ones which we witness in the neighbourhood but are
hesitant in taking even a single step to reduce their occurrences.

In our society, violence is bursting. It is present almost everywhere and nowhere is this eruption
more intense than right behind the doors of our homes. Behind closed doors of homes all across
our country, people are being tortured, beaten and killed. It is happening in rural areas, towns,
cities and in metropolitans as well. It is crossing all social classes, genders, racial lines and age
groups. It is becoming a legacy being passed on from one generation to another.

The term used to describe this exploding problem of violence within our homes is Domestic
Violence. This violence is towards someone who we are in a relationship with, be it a wife,
husband, son, daughter, mother, father, grandparent or any other family member. It can be a
males or a females atrocities towards another male or a female. Anyone can be a victim and a
victimizer. This violence has a tendency to explode in various forms such as physical, sexual or

Since times immemorial, domestic violence has been an intrinsic part of the society we are living
in. The contributing factors could be the desire to gain control over another family member, the
desire to exploit someone for personal benefits, the flare to be in a commanding position all the
time showcasing ones supremacy so on and so forth. On various occasions, psychological
problems and social influence also add to the vehemence. The present essay deals with the
various forms of domestic violence prevalent in India. Their causes of occurrence in households
have been analyzed categorically. The variation in the intensity of the forms with change in the
geographical location and culture has also been addressed. The aftereffects of different kinds of
domestic violence and the possible remedies have been highlighted. Finally, a conclusion has
been drawn after the complete analysis of the topic with the juxtaposition of facts and figures at



This form of domestic violence is most common of all. One of the reasons for it being so
prevalent is the orthodox and idiotic mindset of the society that women are physically and
emotionally weaker than the males. Though women today have proved themselves in almost
every field of life affirming that they are no less than men, the reports of violence against them
are much larger in number than against men. The possible reasons are many and are diversified
over the length and breadth of the country. According to United Nation Population Fund Report,
around two-third of married Indian women are victims of domestic violence and as many as 70
per cent of married women in India between the age of 15 and 49 are victims of beating, rape or
forced sex. In India, more than 55 percent of the women suffer from domestic violence,
especially in the states of Bihar, U.P., M.P. and other northern states.

The most common causes for women stalking and battering include dissatisfaction with the
dowry and exploiting women for more of it, arguing with the partner, refusing to have sex with
him, neglecting children, going out of home without telling the partner, not cooking properly or
on time, indulging in extra marital affairs, not looking after in-laws etc. In some cases infertility
in females also leads to their assault by the family members. The greed for dowry, desire for a
male child and alcoholism of the spouse are major factors of domestic violence against women in
rural areas. There have been gruesome reports of young bride being burnt alive or subjected to
continuous harassment for not bringing home the amount of demanded dowry. Women in India
also admit to hitting or beating because of their suspicion about the husbands sexual
involvement with other women. The Tandoor Murder Case of Naina Sahni in New Delhi in the
year 1995 is one such dreadful incident of a woman being killed and then burnt in a Tandoor by
his husband. This incidence was an outcome of suspicion of extra marital affairs of Naina Sahni
which led to marital discord and domestic violence against her.

In urban areas there are many more factors which lead to differences in the beginning and later
take the shape of domestic violence. These include more income of a working woman than her
partner, her absence in the house till late night, abusing and neglecting in-laws, being more
forward socially etc. Working women are quite often subjected to assaults and coercion sex by
employees of the organization. At times, it could be voluntary for a better pay and designation in
the office.

Violence against young widows has also been on a rise in India. Most often they are cursed for
their husbands death and are deprived of proper food and clothing. They are not allowed or
encouraged for remarriage in most of the homes, especially in rural areas. There have been cases
of molestation and rape attempts of women by other family members in nuclear families or
someone in the neighbourhood. At times, women are even sexually coerced by their partner
themselves against their will. They are brutally beaten and tortured for not conceiving a male
child. Incidents like, ripping off a womans womb for killing the female foetus when she
disagrees for abortion have also come to light especially in rural areas. Female foeticide and
female infanticide continue to be a rising concern.

Also as expressed by Rebecca J. Burns in the following lines, When I am asked why a woman
doesnt leave abuser I say: Women stay because the fear of leaving is greater than the fear of
staying. They will leave when the fear of staying is greater than the fear of leaving. A common
Indian house wife has a tendency to bear the harassment she is subjected to by her husband and
the family. One reason could be to prevent the children from undergoing the hardships if she
separates from the spouse. Also the traditional and orthodox mindset makes them bear the
sufferings without any protest.

Other forms of physical abuse against women include slapping, punching, grabbing, burdening
them with drudgery, public humiliation and the neglect of their health problems. Some of the
other forms of psychological torment against them could be curtailment of their rights to self-
expression and curbing the freedom to associate with the natal family and friends.


There is no question that domestic violence directed against women is a serious and bigger
problem, but domestic violence against men is also increasing gradually in India. The supremacy
of men in the society makes one believe that they are not vulnerable to domestic violence.
Battering of men by their spouse and family members has become a concerned issue and is
another form of domestic violence under purview of judiciary. In India, compared to violence
against women, violence against men is less frequent but it has already taken a deadly shape in
many of the western countries by now.

Males have reported incidences of assault against them like pushing, shoving, slapping,
grabbing, hitting which are intended to harm them and also take their lives on many occasions.
Recently, hundreds of husbands gathered in Chandigarh and Shimla to voice their opinion for
mens rights and protection against domestic violence subjected to them by their wives and other
family members. It reflects the need for a special law for curbing domestic violence against men
in present times.

If we contemplate over the reasons behind this form of domestic violence we would find some of
the possible causes such as not abiding by the instructions of the wives, inadequate earning of
men, infidelity towards wives, not helping the partner in household activities, not taking a proper
care of children, abusing the spouses family, infertility of men, spying the activities of partner,
doubting the partner all the time and not trusting her, revolt by the wife when asked to look after
in-laws etc. On many occasions, the spat between men and women becomes public thereby
influencing the society around especially in the villages. In urban areas such forms of violence
may go unreported because of greater privacy. Also the families find their reputation at stake in
urban areas.


Children and teenagers in our society are not spared from the evil of domestic violence. In fact,
this form of violence is second in terms of number of reported cases after the violence against
women. There is a lot of variation in the form of its occurrence in urban and rural areas and in
upper/middle class and lower class families in India. In urban regions, it is more private and
concealed within the four walls of homes. The possible reasons could be disobeying parental
advises and orders, poor performance in academics or not being at par with other children in
neighbourhood, debating with parents and other family members etc. In addition to this, factors
like not being socially intelligent or as active as the parents expect them to be, abusing the
parents or speaking ill about other family members, not returning home on time are some other

In rural areas the reasons could be harassment for child labour, physical abuse or harm for not
following family traditions, forcing them to stay at home and not allowing them to go to school
etc. Domestic violence against girls is in fact, more severe at homes. As the common mob
mentality of India prefers to have at least one male child after marriage, the girls in most of the
occasions are cursed and assaulted for having taken birth in the home. This kind abuse is
prevalent both in cities and villages but is more common in latter case. Then there are cases of
paedophilia causing sexual harassment of children in homes by family member themselves. In
fact, the number of rape cases of pre-matured girls has been rising since last few years. A survey
of teens and college students found that rape accounted for 67 percent of sexual assaults in girls.
Apart from sexual abuse and rape, pushing, slapping, punching, stalking and emotional abuse are
other forms of domestic violence against children.

Adding to the above mentioned causes, there are also instances of abuse against children who are
physically and/or mentally challenged. Instead of providing them proper health care and treating
them politely, these children are beaten and harassed for not cooperating and attending to what
family members ask them to do. They are even emotionally abused by cursing them having been
in such retarded or handicapped state. In fact in poor families, there have been reports of selling
body organs of the retarded children for getting money in return. It reflects the height of
cruelness and violence against innocent children.


This form of domestic violence refers to the violence which old people at home are subjected to
by their children and other family members. This category of domestic violence largely goes
under-reported in India. It is because of the dependency of olds on their children and having a
fear of not being looked after or even ousted if the violence is revealed in public. The main
causes of violence against aged people are children being hesitant in bearing the expenses of
the old parents, emotionally victimising the olds and beating them to death to get rid of them. On
various occasions, they are beaten for doing something against the desire of family members.
One of the very common reasons includes torture for property grabbing.

A perturbing trend is the vulnerability of ageing women to domestic violence in various forms.
Given existing structures of gender discrimination, old women are prone to a greater risk than
men of becoming victims of material exploitation, financial deprivation, property grabbing,
abandonment, verbal humiliation, emotional and psychological torment. When they fall seriously
ill, it is more likely that it is the elderly women in the family who will be denied proper health
care. There is also a widespread understanding that the neglect, deprivation and marginalisation
of older women are the normal consequences of ageing. In fact the plight of young widows in
homes as discussed above now becomes more serious as a result of the ageing of those women.
They are cut off from the society they are living in, ignored, abused, cursed, and considered as
bad omens. The atrocities of sons, daughter-in-laws, daughters and husbands could be another
cause of domestic violence specifically against older women. They are restrained from cooking,
housekeeping, or participating in activities outside the home.

While it is difficult to accurately measure the extent of the problem on a national scale, given the
fact that most families deny that such abuse but we do know that the number of old people in our
midst is growing. A current estimate puts the 60-plus population at around 90 million in India
and is projected to have a population of 142 million older people by 2020. Given this
demographic reality an important concern is the kind of action the country can take at the
individual and societal level to alleviate abuse and neglect of elderly class.

There are some more possible forms of domestic violence prevalent in India other than the ones
listed above. On a serious note, family wars or clan wars are deadly forms of domestic violence
across the country. The reason of such type of violence include dispute over property, physically
or emotionally abusing any member of other family or clan, any religious cause or conflict
arising during a religious ceremony, jealousy because of progress and financial status of other
family, inter-caste marriage etc. This form of violence is common in many states like Haryana,
Punjab, Andhra Pradesh etc.

One of the other forms of domestic violence is ill-treatment of servants and maids in households.
In many of the affluent homes, servants are deprived of their salary and basic necessities. They
are harassed and beaten and to work without even taking adequate rest. Similarly maids are
molested by males in the family. Atrocities against small children working as servants are
common and increasing.

To some extent media is also responsible for contributing to all the above forms of violence. The
exaggerated news coverage of reports of domestic violence, the daily soaps screening the torture
of a daughter-in-law at the hands of family members, the films portraying an element of violence
against people of all age groups etc. are some of the menaces which media is causing. It is
influencing the mindset of the viewers strongly. The problem arises when instead of taking a
lesson from those news clippings, films, and television shows, people start enacting the same in
their homes. Comparatively, the visual media is far more influencing than the print and
electronic media in these cases. Illiteracy and mob mentality of majority of Indians misguides
them In All These Cases.


There are varied consequences of domestic violence depending on the victim, the age group, the
intensity of the violence and frequency of the torment they are subjected to. Living under a
constant fear, threat and humiliation are some of the feelings developed in the minds of the
victims as a consequence of an atrocious violence. The consequences of the domestic violence in
detail can be broadly categorised under the Effect on the victim himself/herself and the family ,
Effect on the society and the Effect on nations growth and productivity. The Effect on the
victim has been further subcategorized for women, men, children and olds.


Consequences of Violence Against Women

Battered women have tendency to remain quiet, agonised and emotionally disturbed after the
occurrence of the torment. A psychological set back and trauma because of domestic violence
affects womens productivity in all forms of life. The suicide case of such victimised women is
also a deadly consequence and the number of such cases is increasing.

A working Indian woman may drop out from work place because of the ill-treatment at home or
office, she may lose her inefficiency in work. Her health may deteriorate if she is not well
physically and mentally. Some women leave their home immediately after first few atrocious
attacks and try to become self-dependent. Their survival becomes difficult and painful when they
have to work hard for earning two meals a day. Many such women come under rescue of women
welfare organizations like Women Welfare Association of India (WWAI), Affus Woman
Welfare Association (AWWA) and Womans Emancipation and Development Trust (WEDT).
Some of them who leave their homes are forcefully involved in women trafficking and
pornography. This results in acquiring a higher risk of becoming a drug addict and suffering
from HIV/AIDS. Some of course do it by their choice.

One of the severe effects of domestic violence against women is its effect on her children. It is
natures phenomenon that a child generally has a greater attachment towards the mother for she
is the one who gives birth. As long as the violence subjected to the mother is hidden from the
child, he/she may behave normally at home. The day when mothers grief and suffering is
revealed, a child may become upset about the happening deeply. Children may not even
comprehend the severity of the problem. They may turn silent, reserved and express solace to the
mother. When the violence against women is openly done in front of them since their childhood,
it may have a deeper and gruesome impact in their mindset. They get used to such happenings at
home, and have a tendency to reciprocate the same in their lives. Its common in especially in
rural homes in India which are victimised by the evil of domestic violence.
In cases of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), violence against women leads them to maintain a
distance from their partner. Their sexual life is affected adversely. Many of them file for divorce
and seek separation which again affects the life of children. Some continue to be exploited in
lack of proper awareness of human rights and laws of the constitution.


The consequences against violence against men in India, is largely emotional and psychological
in nature. The physical harassment resulting from domestic violence, also affects their lives and
productivity but it is still more inclined towards the emotional problems which men face in India.
It is largely because many such cases go unreported, as compared to cases of physical assault of
women. An emotionally harassed and depressed man may lose interest in the occupation he is
associated with. If he is the only bread-earning person in the family, the family may find it
difficult to survive. There has been a spate of farmers suicide in recent years in Karnataka.
Several farmers have committed suicide not only because of indebtedness but also because of
discord in family and depression resulting out of it. According to statistics of Save India Family
Foundation (an NGO), around 1.2 lac harassed husbands have committed suicide in the country
in the last four years.

Consequences of Violence Against Children/Teens The consequences in case of children are far
more drastic and its effect is long lived. Children are sensitive to issues related to violence of any
kind as they are not mature enough to comprehend them. In their growing years they try to
imitate things which they see happening around them. In the process of following their parents
advice or instructions they become firm in their opinion and approach towards life. Now if the
approach of parents itself is negative, children are bound to get influenced by it. They may adopt
the negative traits of the ill they see around them or develop a hostile approach in life because of
the ill-treatment they are subjected to. If a child is beaten badly for under performing in school,
he may do the same to his children, thinking it might be the only possible way of making a
person to work hard.

Whenever a child is dropped out of school because of poor financial condition or when he is
engaged in some form of child labour, there is a sudden leap which the child tries to take from
his childhood to the manhood. In this process he misses out the values and morals a person
should inculcate in him as a good human being. He fails to develop a vision to see things from an
unbiased point of view. All these factors make a child insensitive towards the society and the
societal needs. Every instance of child abuse causes a callous indifference to suffering.

However in the process of comprehending the wrong being done to them, many children are
traumatised and psychologically disturbed. They find it unsustainable and may lose out their
mental soundness. Children who are victimised by physical violence may become handicapped
as well. In some cases children prefer to run away from home and try to become self dependent.
Some commit suicide. Some indulge in malpractices because of improper education and bad
company they become a part of after leaving the home. Some even reciprocate the violence they
are subjected to by harming the family members.

Girls also develop a feeling of insecurity in their homes when they are sexually exploited. They
lose their self-confidence and desire for living. A girl child from violent home can withdraw
from society and become completely depressed. Children from violent homes become
disobedient and violent and start using aggression to solve their problems. Adolescents may
succumb to drugs and alcohol when treated harshly. Some helpless and abandoned children are
picked up gangs who sell their organs for making huge amount of money. In most of the cities,
the group of beggars at traffic lights or railway platforms are the abandoned children who are
physically deformed forcefully for begging. The children who escape being a part of this vicious
circle are looked after by children welfare organizations like, Indian Child Welfare Association
(ICWA), Child Relief and You (CRY) and ChildLine etc.


The elderly abuse is one of the most unfortunate happening for the elderly class in their lives.
They would rather like to be more at ease and calm in this phase of their life than being prone to
such kind of shameful treatment by the family or society. Ironically elderly class itself also
indulges in harming each other. Many of the elderly men continue to beat and harass their wives
throughout their lives.

Some of the olds are ousted from home by their children, some are beaten until death and some
are exploited socially. A sense of insecurity dodges them all the time. They are isolated and cut
off from society in some cases where son and daughter-in-law do not let them interact and move
around freely in the society. The old people are not looked after properly and their health
problems are neglected. Due to the abuse and mental trauma they suffer, some of them leave
home and stay in old age homes like HelpAge India, Senior Citizen Home Complex Welfare
Society (SCHCWS) and many others.


All the different forms of violence discussed in this essay adversely affect the society. Violence
against women may keep them locked in homes succumbing to the torture they face. If they
come out in open and reveal the wrong done to them for help and rescue, it influences the society
both positively and negatively. At one hand where it acts as an inspiration and ray of hope for
other suffering women, on the other hand it also spoils the atmosphere of the society. When
something of this kind happens in the society, few families may witness the evil of domestic
violence knocking their door steps. Some families try to imitate what others indulge in
irrespective of it being good or bad for the family.


As mentioned earlier, domestic violence affects the productivity level of the victim negatively.
Men and women lose interest in household activities. If they are employed they fail to work with
full capabilities in workplace. Children are found to concentrate less on studies. They drop out of
school and do not get the education which otherwise they might have got if they were not
tormented and thus the country loses a productive asset. Therefore, the nations productivity
altogether gets affected because of domestic violence in homes. When old people are tortured
and physically abused, they separate themselves from family members and their daily activities
are restricted to themselves. The guardianship they can provide out of their experience, the moral
values which they can instil in the grandchildren are all not done as they are unwanted in their
own homes. People need to spend their part of income for medication when they are met with
worse forms of domestic violence which again leads to loss in productive use of a familys
income. The cumulative effect of the domestic violence at all levels and across all regions is the
countrys hindered development and slow economic growth.

What exactly do we want?

A very important question in wake of domestic violence remedies is that what exactly we are
looking for in the process of minimising their occurrences. Is it so that we want to gather more
information about such cases for just expressing our concern over this issue with more accuracy,
having facts and figures at hand? Or instead of just raising our voices, we want to clean up the
mess with shear force and determination?

Fighting the Domestic Violence Evil

A recent study has concluded that violence against women is the fastest-growing crime in India.
According to a latest report prepared by Indias National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a
crime has been recorded against women in every three minutes in India. Every 60 minutes, two
women are raped in this country. Every six hours, a young married woman is found beaten to
death, burnt or driven to suicide.

The response to the phenomenon of domestic violence is a typical combination of effort between
law enforcement agencies, social service agencies, the courts and corrections/probation agencies.
The role of all these has progressed over last few decades, and brought their activities in public
view. Domestic violence is now being viewed as a public health problem of epidemic proportion
all over the world and many public, private and governmental agencies are seen making huge
efforts to control it in India. There are several organizations all over the world government
and non government actively working to fight the problems generated by domestic violence to
the human community.

Need for Stringent Laws

In 1983, domestic violence was recognised as a specific criminal offence by the introduction of
section 498-A into the Indian Penal Code. This section deals with cruelty by a husband or his
family towards a married woman. The main legislative measures at the national level for the
children who become a victim of child labor include The Child Labor Prohibition and Regulation
Act -1986 and The Factories Act -1948. The first act was categorical in prohibiting the
employment of children below fourteen years of age, and identified 57 processes and 13
occupations which were considered dangerous to the health and lives of children. The factories
act again prohibits the employment of children less than fourteen years of age.

The Government of India passed a Domestic Violence Bill, 2001, To protect the rights of
women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and to provide for
matters connected therewith or incidental thereto*

An act called Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 [ DVA, 2005 ] also has
been passed. This Act ensures the reporting of cases of domestic violence against women to a
Protection Officer who then prepares a Domestic Incident Report to the Magistrate and
forward copies thereof to the police officer in charge of the police station within the local limits
of jurisdiction**

Unfortunately, at present there is no single law in the Indian Constitution which can strictly deal

with all the different forms of Domestic Violence as discussed in this essay. There is an urgent
need for such a law in the country. In fact, there has also been misuse of section 498-A and
DVA, 2005 because of restricted definition of cruelty subjected to married women.

Role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

The role of non-governmental organizations in controlling the domestic violence and curbing its
worse consequences is crucial. Sakshi a violence intervention agency for women and children
in Delhi works on cases of sexual assault, sexual harassment, child sexual abuse and domestic
abuse and focuses on equality education for judges and implementation of the 1997 Supreme
Courts sexual harassment guidelines. Womens Rights Initiative another organization in the
same city runs a legal aid cell for cases of domestic abuse and works in collaboration with law
enforcers in the area of domestic violence.

Your browser may not support display of this image. In Mumbai, bodies like Majlis and
Swaadhar are doing meaningful works in this field. Sneha in Chennai and Vimochana in
Bangalore are working on many womens issues arising from domestic abuse. They are also
doing active work in issues related to labour. Services ranging from counselling, education and
outreach, giving provisions, and mobilizing them for gaining self-confidence are provided to
them. Anweshi is a womens counselling centre in Kozhikode providing meditation, resource
and counselling for battered women. All the above bodies have their own registered offices,
contact numbers and websites for those who want to seek help. There are at present only few
NGOs for welfare of men like Social Welfare Association for Men (SWAM) in Chennai. Few
more such organizations need to be opened for the help of abused men.

These NGOs continue to spread awareness amongst people regarding the legal rights they have
in hand for fighting against the atrocities they are subjected to. They are encouraging more and
more people to report any case of domestic violence so that proper action may be taken against
the culprits.


Police plays a major role in tackling the domestic violence cases. They need to be sensitized to
treat domestic violence cases as seriously as any other crime. Special training to handle domestic
violence cases should be imparted to police force. They should be provided with information
regarding support network of judiciary, government agencies/departments. Gender training
should be made mandatory in the trainings of the police officers. There should be a separate
wing of police dealing with womens issues, attached to all police stations and should be
excluded from any other duty.

Authorities should take steps to recognize Domestic Violence as a public health issue. A crisis
support cell needs to be established in all major Government and Private Hospitals with a trained
medical social worker for provide appropriate services. Training programmes must be organized
for health professionals in order to develop their skills to provide basic support for abused
people. Documentation on the prevalence and the health consequences of domestic violence
should be undertaken by the concerned government departments, health care institutions, NGOs
and counselling centres. A nodal agency should also be set up for the annual consolidation of the
documented work and publish the same for wider publicity among the masses for increasing
Conclusion Having looked at a sensitive topic of Domestic Violence in India, we can sense the
importance of discussion of such a topic. The varying causes which can spark the violence within
the four walls of homes need to be analysed carefully and a wise study of the factors causing the
violence may prevent a family to suffer from the menace of domestic violence. The domestic
violence may have a far wider and deeper impact in real life than what has been covered in this
essay. What is required is to see closely the association of the factors provoking a particular form
of domestic violence. If these factors can be controlled then more than one form of violence can
be prevented from harming an individual or our society and India would be a much better place
to live in.

Dowry does not only create women violence but also create other social tension and
problems. It creates economic hardship to a family and psychological stress in family life.
Another case study of Lakshipur district published in the Daily Prothom Alo 20th April 2008
said that, a poor farmar named Abdul kalam killed his two daughter Shurma (13) and Parveen
(6) as he failed to pay promised dowry to his son-in-law. When his 13 years old daughter was
bitten for dowry and as he had no other way to pay the dowry so he killed his daughters and
surrender to the nearby police station.
Not only this its often found women are killed for dowry. Not only they were killed but also they
were bitten brutally and sometimes they have to face acid violence or direct sexual violence.
In Gaibandha district another house wife Champa Begom (23) killed her two children and
committed suicide by drinking pesticide. Its found that she too was tortured for dowry.
In Kaliakoir thana of Gazipur District a daily labour Abdul Salam suicides when he heard the
news of his doughters divorce for dowry just after 25 days of marriage. When he got the news
of his daughters divorce then he enter in his home and drink pesticide.
Its found that, Dowry is a major reason for chronic poverty in a survey conducted in 1800
household jointly by Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute for 14
years till 2007 in rural Bangladesh. Peter Davis of the University of Bath in report said,
The losses caused by dowry are far more than the gains. It is major cause of the
impoverishment of poor families.
So dowry is one of the major violence in our daily life that causes several negative impacts. So
we need to stop it right now.


Dowry where is like a poisonous snake coiled in our daily life there some people still trying their
best to get rid of this problem and to increase the public consciousness.
Taking Dowry means Begging, Taking Dowry means losing personality
Above mentioned two are some of the wall sign of Jumman Khan Niyazi, a Rickshaw painter of
Voirob Town. He mainly a painter and having shop in his town. After the complication of his
work he write this type of public awareness raising comments behind Rickshaw, road side wall,
without any cost.

This Low earning young man is doing this for last 12 years. He personally heat dowry and tell
others not to take dowry.

Around the country many cultural functions are going on aided by both govt. and non-govt.
organizations against dowry and to raise public awareness.

In Gaphargong, such cultural function took place at last 18th April 2008 with the presence of
local politicians and administrative figures.

Another positive awareness is found in Lalmonirhat district. There people of North

Saptana Boycotted a Dowry greedy family form all forms of social factions and restricted their
communications with others in the village.

Gaps and loopholes in laws are a given fact of the Indian legislative system, resulting in
their poor implementation. For a woman fighting the legal battle for justice, the system remains
unbending due to the male dominant thought processes at all levels. Laws after laws made to
protect them from violence have failed. Yet the silver lining in the cloud remains. Nagaland and
Lakshadweep have shown some ray of hope where no dowry deaths were reported during the

What is different in these places? Is the law working or is the law enforcement better? What
needs to change? Law is only a tool and even as it is undisputed, the police needs to improve
their investigations and there is much to be done to remove the unconscious bias present in the
judiciary. Are there other ways that society needs to look to? Where is the system to ensure that
women who marry stay alive and are not killed to dowry violence? What will it take for the
young man ready to get married, to say he will not take dowry? Can movies like KI and
KA[viii]motivate and propagate the message of equality between husbands and wives? Can we
work together to close the gaps and even attempt to re-look at it to ensure that we keep the
survivors of domestic violence alive? Can we have simple solutions and each one play our
role? Can we still make it in time to catch the last bus on its way to equality and justice? Can we
try again and ensure that no more is a girl married and tied to chains and whipped by a belt just
so the familys living room is adorned by a new fridge[ix]?

1) Panda, P. and Agarwal, B. 2005. Marital Violence, Human Development and Womens
Property Status in India. World Development. 23(5): 823-850.

2) Panda, P. 2004. Domestic Violence Against Women in Kerala. Kerala Research Programme
on Local Level Development Centre for Development Studies. 6: 1-44.

3) Koenig, A. M., et al. 2006. Individual and Contextual Determinants of Domestic Violence in
North India. American Journal of Public Health. 96(1): 132-138.

4) Martin L. S. et al. 1999. Domestic Violence in Northern India. American Journal of

Epidemiology. 150(4): 417-426.

5) UNICEF. 2000. Domestic Violence Against Women And Girls. UNICEF Innocenti Digest. 6:

6) Centre for Womens Studies & Development the Research Institute. 2005. A Situational
Analysis of Domestic Violence Against Women In Kerala: 1-31.

7)Kishwar, M. 2005. Laws Against Domestic Violence. Retrieved from on 25/08/2009. 11:15:13 pm : 1 -

8) Joshi, M. M. 2001. The Protection From Domestic Violence Bill. Government Bill. Bill No.
133 of 2001

9) Domestic Violence Statistics. Retrieved from on 22/08/2009. 10:00 am.