Origin of Dowry System and Section 304-B of Indian Penal Code, 1860

Mr. Kaustav Choudhoury
Assistant Professor in Law, SLHSS Rashtriya Raksha University, Gujarat

Volume II – Issue III, 2020

Cultural practices such as dowry system have assigned a secondary status to women leading to future ills such as female feticide and infanticide. Separated and divorce women are stigmatized, which is the reason behind women continuing in abusive marriages either under family pressure or of their own accord. There are laws providing equality in all spheres for women whether education, employment, property rights etc. under Constitution of India. But the need was of a specific legislation regarding dowry death. Accordingly the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 was enacted. Despite having a law prohibiting the giving or taking of dowry in any form, the practice flourishes among all the sections of the society irrespective of their caste or class. The legislators tried to control the ill-treatment of women by their husband or in-laws by inserting section 498A in the IPC in the year 1983 but statistics revealed an alarming increase in the number of suspicious deaths of women in the matrimonial home, thereby promoting the lawmakers to insert two more provisions, Section 304B in the IPC and Section 113B in the Indian Evidence Act, in the year 1986. This was done to curb the rising incidence of Dowry Deaths by making special provisions for prosecuting those accused of killing women for dowry.

Keywords: dowry death, women, cultural practice, 304B IPC, 498A IPC, Dowry Prohibition Act, 113B Indian Evidence Act.


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