dowry system in india

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Dowry is derived from the ancient Hindu customs of ‘kanyadan’ and ‘stridhan’. In ‘kanyadan’, the father of the bride offers the father of the groom money or property, etc whereas for ‘stridhan’, the bride herself gets jewelry and clothes at the time of her marriage, usually from her relatives or friends. In Varadakshina’, the father of the bride presents the groom cash or kind. All of these could be done voluntarily and out of affection and love.

The Hindu marriage system is sacramental. According to this system, a marriage is forever and there is no scope for a separation. Among the various ceremonies previously practiced, the ceremony in front of a ‘godly’ fire (‘Yajna’ in Sanskrit) has taken over, the old-fashioned system of
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The cases of dowry torture are the highest accounting for 32.4% of crimes against women in the country.

The Dowry Prohibition Act, in force since 1st July 1961, was passed with the purpose of prohibiting the demanding, giving and taking of dowry.

In 1980, the Government setup a committee that recommended amendments in the Dowry Prohibition Act and also suggested expanding the definition of dowry and instituting family courts and National Commission for women. Many parliamentary debates led to some amendments in 1983,1984 and 1986.

To stop the offences of cruelty by husband or his relatives on the wife, Section 498-A was added in the Indian Penal Code and Section 198-A in the Criminal Procedure Code in the year 1983.

The Dowry Prohibition Act clearly stipulates that a person who gives or takes or helps in the giving or taking of dowry can be sentenced to jail for 5 years and fined Rs. 15,000/- or the amount of the value of dowry, whichever is more.

The Act also prohibits the giving and taking directly or indirectly any property or valuable security, any amount either in cash of kind, jewelry, articles, properties, etc. in respect of a marriage.

The control is provided by stating a limit and names of people gifting and their relationship to the married couple to be signed by both sides of parents.

In 1986, the Act was amended again, empowering State governments
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