Dowry System in India

Definition of Dowry System

Dowry means any property or valuable security to give directly or indirectly:

  1. By one party to another party in marriage; or
  2. by the parents of any party in the marriage or by any other person, in any part of the marriage. During or before or at any time after the marriage in respect of the marriage. It does not include dowry or Mahr in the case of persons to whom the Islamic Law (Shariat) applies.

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History of Dowry System

In India, it dates back to the Middle Ages when a monetary gift was given to the bride and her family. This is to maintain their independence after marriage. During the colonial period, it was the only legal form of marriage, with the British making dowry mandatory.

In India Dowry is officially build to protect women and consider Streedhan. Which means a woman’s wealth in the form of money, gift, property given only to women by her parents during marriage. The abuse of this custom wasted. And took away the vital function of the dowry as a safety net for the woman. Also it was corrupt into a bridegroom’s number and consequently became the bride’s knot.

Dowry is consider crime in India

The dowry is consider to play a major role in witnessing violence against women in India. Dowry is a social evil that causes unimaginable abuse and crime in women. Many of their cases of dowry deaths have been known to us for decades. In all of these cases we hear how in-laws, husbands and family members abuse women. Which leads suicide or death of women. This makes dowry a crime.

Their one story of a woman from Kerala. Not only her story but also the thousands of Indian women who felt the same pain. A 24-year-old woman, who found dead at her husband’s house. It reveal that in her whatsapp messages she had drag by her hair and stamp on her face by her husband Kiran Kumar.

The women’s name was Vismaya Nair, a Ayurveda medical student who found hanging in the bathroom of her husband’s house. His father Thrivikraman Nair said the family had given Kumar 800 grams of gold and one hectare. In addition, to a car worth Rs 10 lakh as dowry. But he allegedly beat her up for more. He was the victim of a dowry death.

From his story we can conclude that bribery is not just making people backward or uneducated. But is being continue to all over the world. As a society, we need to adjust the existing marriage system. Both giving and taking dowry are a crime. As long as parents give dowry, people in the community to do the same. But if parents refuse to give and take it will only end the dowry system. Parents need to understand that they are not trading their children in marriage.

Dowry Prohibition Act

This is an Indian law pass on May 1, 1961. It is made to stop giving and taking dowry.

Under this act, dowry includes property, money or property given by any person in the marriage. By the parents of any party or by any person connect with the marriage.

Types of Dowry crimes


It is in the form of torture or harassment of women. Cruelty may be verbal or physical.

Domestic violence

It involves many forms of abusive or threatening behavior that include physical, emotional abuse.


Continued abuse of her husband and family members by mistreatment could lead to a woman committing suicide.

A case of suicide prevention is important because in many cases, the defendants tend to present a defense. That the victim commit suicide of their own free will, although this may not actually be true.

Death because of dowry

Most dowry deaths occur when a young woman, unable to tolerate abuse and, commits suicide by hanging herself or consuming poison. The death of a dowry includes the burning of brides. When brides are immerse in paraffin and burn by their husband or family. In some cases, due to their suicidal intent, the bride may end up setting herself on fire.

Many times a husband or a member of his family kills women and then calls that killing a suicide.

A dowry is consider a criminal offense under section IPC 304(B) added to the IPC. Making the death of a dowry a specific offense with a lesser penalty. A sentence of up to 7 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

It provide that if a woman’s death cause by a burn or physical injury or in a suspicious manner within seven years of her marriage. And there was evidence that prior to her death, she was brutally treated or harassment by her husband or his family in respect to dowry, then the husband or relative will be consider responsible for her death.


This dowry system is nothing new but it exist in our society for a long time. And now it is time to completely end this system. To reach the end we need to start from our home swearing that we will not take and not give dowry. We have many such laws on dowry but still the dowry system rules exist in our society. Which leads to crime and harassment of women in the community. This is dangerous in our society and in the name of dowry people are fulfilling their greed. And this greed had no limits and because of this a woman has to suffer and sometimes cause the loss of her life. Despite living in the 21st century we still cannot eradicate such a system that exists in our society.


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