Laws on Domestic Violence and Dowry in India

Dowry is a social blight that has led to unimaginable tortures and crimes against women, as well as fouling the Indian marriage system. Dowry is a monetary or in-kind payment made to a bride’s in-laws at the time of her marriage.

Today, the government has enacted a slew of legislation (including the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961) and reforms aimed not only at abolishing the dowry system but also at improving the status of girls through a variety of initiatives.

The legislation, however, has failed to generate the expected outcomes in our culture due to the social character of the problem.

Appealing to people’s social and moral conscience, giving education and economic freedom for women, and effectively enforcing legislation against the dowry system can all assist to solve this problem.


The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 was enacted to prohibit the practice of dowry.

Penalty for dowry giving and receiving (Section 3) – According to section 3, anyone who gives or takes dowry after the Act’s inception, or aids or abets the giving or taking of dowry, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and a fine of not less than fifteen thousand rupees or the value of the dowry, whichever is greater.


Demanding dowry (section 4) – According to section 4, anybody who directly or indirectly asks dowry from the bride’s or bridegroom’s parents, relatives, or guardians shall be penalised by imprisonment for not less than six months and up to two years, as well as a fine of up to ten thousand rupees.

Dowry Death (section 304 B) of the Indian Penal Code of 1860 states: “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 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 relatives shall be deemed to have caused her death.

Presumption as to dowry death (Section 113 B) – When the question is whether a person has committed dowry death of a woman and it is shown that such woman had been subjected to cruelty or harassment by such person shortly before her death for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, the court shall presume that such person had caused the death.




Gender Discrimination: Due to the dowry system, women are frequently treated as liabilities and are generally subjected to subjection and second-class treatment in terms of education and other amenities.

Having an Impact on Women’s Careers: The wider backdrop for the practice of dowry is women’s underrepresentation in the workforce and, as a result, their lack of financial independence.

The poorer parts of society send their daughters out to work to help them save money for their dowry.

Regular middle and upper-class families send their daughters to school, but they don’t place a high value on job possibilities.

Many women are unmarried as a result of their circumstances: Despite being educated and professionally capable, an untold number of females in the nation stay unmarried because their parents are unable to meet the demand for pre-marriage dowry.


Objectification of Women: Today’s dowry is more like a financial investment by the bride’s family in order to get access to strong connections and money-making possibilities.

Women are reduced to commodities as a result of this.

Crime against Women: The dowry system has been linked to a variety of crimes against women, ranging from emotional abuse and harm to death.

Recognizing the Limits of Political Solutions to Social Problems: No legislation can be implemented without the people’s full cooperation.

Enacting a law, without a doubt, establishes a pattern of behaviour, stimulates social conscience, and aids social reformers in their efforts to repeal it.

However, a societal issue like dowry will not be eradicated unless the concept behind the legislation is carried much farther by the people.


Educating Girls: One of the most potent and important gifts that parents can provide to their daughters is education and freedom.

This will enable her to be financially stable and a productive part of the family, earning her respect and proper family position.

As a result, the finest dowry any parent can provide their daughter is a good education and encouragement to pursue a job of her choosing.


Dowry Acceptance Should Be Considered A Social Stigma: Dowry acceptance should be made a social stigma that affects all generations. It is necessary to raise public awareness about the negative impacts of the dowry system in order to achieve this. In this instance:

Through Lok Adalats, radio broadcasts, television, and newspapers, the Union and State governments must take effective efforts to increase ‘anti-dowry literacy’ among the public on a ‘continuous’ basis.

Youth is the sole hope for properly combating the dowry system’s threat. To enlarge their brains and broaden their vision, they must be offered moral value-based education.

Multi-Stakeholder Methodology: Dowry is not a one-off issue, thus society should make every effort to achieve gender equality. In this instance,


To address gender inequality, states should look at gender-disaggregated statistics across the life cycle — birth, early childhood, education, nutrition, livelihood, healthcare access, and so on.

Expanding childcare and providing safe public transportation, as well as reducing prejudice in employment and creating supportive job cultures, are all necessary.

Men and women should share household duties and obligations at home.


Dowry is not only illegal, but it is also immoral. As a result, society’s conscience must be completely aroused to the dowry system’s ills, such that the demand for dowry results in a “loss of face” in society for those who want it.




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