Dowry laws and their abuse IPC section 498A and Indian Society.
Before I jump to the main subject I would like to mention a Sanskrit verse which best describes the position of women in Indian society, who cares what the paid media and anti-national NGOs talk about.
यत्र नारयस्तु पूज्यन्ते, रमन्ते तत्र देवता..
“yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra devta.”
Women Are Honored Where, Divinity Blossoms There.
You can find many such Sanskrit verses in Vedas; Bhagwad Gita(The song of god), Manu Smriti etc. The thing is that the status of women in Indian culture was always high, there are many examples in ancient history of India where you can find that women were always worshiped in India, whenever they were considered as a commodity the society had to face the serious outcomes, one such example is MAHABHARAT. So in short Indians are the only people who consider women as Shakti, Lakshmi, Durga, Saraswati, we worship them. In ancient India, women occupied a very important position, in fact a superior position to, men.
Louis Jaccoliot, the famous and the one of the most celebrated authors of France has written about the position of women in Indian society. Quote, India of the Vedas entertained a respect for women amounting to worship; a fact which we seem little to suspect in Europe when we accuse the extreme East of having denied the dignity of woman, and of having only made her an instrument of pleasure and of passive obedience.” He also said: “What! here is a civilization, which you cannot deny to be older than your own, which places the woman on a level with the man and gives her an equal place in the family and in society, Unquote.
Now coming to the main subject “Dowry”.
There is hardly anyone in the world who is not familiar with this word. Still I will briefly describe this word, The Dowry or dahej(दहेज) is an act of giving cash or other gifts by the Bride’s parents for securing her future. Read the bold letters twice.
This system of dowry is not new in Indian society, the dowry was practiced since the Vedic times.
It was always the display of love of the parents for their daughters. The dowry used to be a beautiful arrangement and system of equally dividing the property of the father among his children. We can classify the property in two types STATIC and DYNAMIC, the static property consists of non-movable assets like Land, house, fields, farms and other similar things while the dynamic property consists of cash money, ornaments etc.
So it’s a common sense if a girl is married there is only the dynamic part of the property which can be handed over to the girl, to satisfy this particular arrangement the idea of Dowry came into existence. I think up to now I have made the actual idea of dowry very clear.
The west tried innumerable times to paint India as a greedy, cruel and male dominated nation, with the help of media houses, and NGOs. They carried out propaganda, on the regular basis that Indian women are not safe at home, they are the victims of domestic violence, according to paid media houses in Delhi, a woman is burned to death almost every twelve hours, According to Government figures there were a total of 5,377 dowry deaths in 1993.
These so called responsible members of the society forget to mention that population of Delhi alone is quite bigger in numbers than many other developed nations. These people will not tell you the percentage of dowry deaths, let’s do the calculations, Delhi being the capital city of India, is second most populated city in the Nation, in 1993 population was around 10 millions. So the percentage was merely .053 in numbers, but let me remind you according to media houses India is the greediest nation where the brides are killed for dowry.
Was dowry only practiced in India or Asian countries??
The answer is no, in ancient times when the western countries traded with India they saw this arrangement in Indian societies, then without understanding the head or toe of the system they blindly copied it, also at some places the dowry system already existed, these were the countries where India ruled for a long time, Indian traditions were widely accepted in the world long before the modern societies came into existence, but as the time elapsed, the system was corrupted, the status of women was reduced next to animals in western societies, but in India the system was still free from all the evils, the reasons behind this were the deep cultural roots of the Indian families which treated women as goddesses.
Western countries carried out this system in the most ridiculous manner at some places, its better I don’t discuss about them.
Coming back to India, as I have already mentioned that Dowry existed in India long before the establishment of modern societies, we have to understand the concept of dowry in detail.
The dowry was considered as the property of the bride only the groom had no right over it. Groom and the other in-laws could never claim the property. This system was quite helpful for the girls, if the husband of that girl dies somehow or any other financial problem arises then this dowry wealth of the girl was quite helpful for her.
I want my readers to use their own brains, can anyone point out a single incident of dowry burning or any other such type of case…
The answer will be, no.
So we can say that women enjoyed the financial independence as they could manage their income from the valuable assets during the hard times.
Even during the initial days of the British rule, European writers Orme, the French Catholic missionary Jean-Antoine Dubois who came to India in 1792, Malcom etc have praised the status of Hindu women in India.
According to Malcolm, Hindu women have a say in the affairs of the state, have a distinct provision and estate of their own, enjoy as much as liberty they desire.
The question now arises that if the status of Indian women in their homes was so high, then when did these problems arise?
The move which affected the status of the women in the Indian society was the rule imposed by the British which prohibited the women from owning any property at all!
This law turned out as a havoc and it made the dowry system such an ugly practice.
In 49 separate volumes of customary law covering colonial Punjab, which today comprises Pakistan and Indian Punjab, Haryana, Jammu, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh, dowry has been described in the 1870s as a collection of voluntary gifts comprising clothes, jewelry, household goods and cash bestowed on the bride by family and friends at the time of the girl’s wedding. Nowhere was it described as the prerogative of the groom to make demands on the girl’s family. But the British at that time had not granted their own women property rights, so it was highly unlikely they would do so for Indian women.
As I stated above that all the wealth received in dowry belonged to bride, but after implementation of this law women had no property rights, that means all the dowry wealth was now transferred to the husband
And the moment, this system of husband owning the wealth of his wife was created, the traditional dowry system got converted into a menace creating an institution of greed that oppressed, victimized and suppressed women.
Now the husband and the in- laws started looking the bride as the source of income.
The social harmony of the marriage was destroyed. The British only knew one thing Divide & Rule and that’s what they did. Now the male child was additional source of income and the female child became a burden on the family. This led to the creation of the social problems like female foeticide and a distorted male-female ratio in the society, which further led to more crimes on women.
Dowry laws and their abuse IPC section 498 A.
The government has come up with some anti dowry! Laws, to ensure the equal status?!! Of women in Indian society.
IPC section 498A is one such anti dowry law. IPC section 498A states, “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-
(a) 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
(b) Harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any 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 meet such demand..[Wikipedia]
The above stated law has done nothing better for the Indian women. The law has failed drastically as it was a clear display of partiality and human rights violation. This law was misused innumerable times by the brides. Only 2% of the total cases filed under this section were true, rest were the fake cases which were mainly filed for emotional blackmailing.
Many families lost their self-respect in the society, some husbands were forced to commit suicides.
There is one important point to be noted that IPC section
498A is non bailable if any woman files complaint against her in-laws, the police will immediately arrest the accused family without any inquiry. There are countless cases where, the police has arrested elderly parents, unmarried sisters, pregnant sister-in-laws(are these not women? Women rights organization should answer this, oh! Sorry but they are funded from outside, they will surely obey their foreign masters, who always want to drive a wedge in the Indian homes.) And even 3 year old children (children rights organizations??? Kailash Satyarthi have you turned blind???) That too without any investigation. In these cases family of husband has to go through a lot of mental trauma and harassment due to the fake allegations and lame judicial system. Generally a case goes on for about 4 years or as long as 10 years, recently a family was proved innocent after struggling for more than eight years but was this enough for them?? Can the court ensure the same social status for the family which they enjoyed before??? Some accused parents, sisters and even husbands have committed suicide after time in jail.
The government has come up with many amendments in this law, but let me ask you a question if any woman comes to you crying with wounds on head will you not believe her, no matter whether she is lying or not? You will surely believe the girl (woman) as there is the kind of soft corner for women in Indian society, and western countries say we oppress them, it’s the white lie. The quality of status that women enjoy in India is not visible anywhere else in the world.
I will not say dowry killing is not practiced in our country, but it is surely not as high as the media shows, you will find that the crimes against women in India are lowest, the only condition is you have to use your brains.
So I was talking about fake dowry cases, the common reasons behind these fake cases are:
1) Mostly when the wives want to get rid of their in-laws, typically mother-in-laws, to enjoy the freedom they file fake cases.
2) If the girl was forced for the marriage by her family, the result can be a fake dowry case.
Rest of the other reasons are really controversial, its better I don’t write about them.
Possible solution for this situation.
Personally as per my views I think the only possible solution for this menace is that at the time of marriage where the families of both, the bride and the grooms spend huge amount of money, they can call a public prosecutor who can take care that all the dowry is legally transferred to the bride, and he should also take care that the groom doesn’t get anything under his belt from this dowry wealth.
If the government brings up this law into existence that the bride will become the sole owner of all the dowry wealth, and the groom shall not claim any ownership over it. I am sure that whatever the true incidents of dowry harassment come into light will then be under control.
Fake dowry case is a separate issue which can only be controlled by strict law, but if the above law is implemented the chances of dowry harassment will be negligible, and it will be easy to figure out whether the filed case holds any truth or not.