Research on Gender Inequality: A Cause of Dowry Death In India

Dowry Death
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Research Question –
Does pseudo-modernization and lack of gender equality major cause of dowry death in India?

Dowry death can be defined as the death of a married women after her marriage who due to continuous harassment and torture by their husband or relatives (in-laws) is murdered or driven to sucide over a dispute about their dowry, making the women’s homes the most dangerous place for them to be. It basically is an asset which is provided by the father to the daughter which mostly became the cause of her unstable married life and growing pressure of unsatisfiable demand for dowry which destroys a womens life and leads to this heinous crime named Dowry Death.
Gender Inequality can always be noticed as a major drawback of Dowry Death’s in India, the cultural institution of dowry as practiced in India engenders violence towards women. This later takes the form of inter familial harasment on women for continuous demands of payments of goods and money and further makes the womens life misserable in her own house leading to Dowry Death. The Gender Inequality in our society could have been noticed from ages ago, It kept on rising with time leading to the
rising of such offences like Dowry Death in our country. Lack of gender neutrality in our society also currupted our core encouraging such offences. Dowry was earlier considered a social security to women during a post-marriage crisis such as alienation by a husband or another marital conflict. In simplified terms it was a gift for the woman from her parents for her security or her needs, which with time was turned in the favour of the other party.

Section 304(B) of the Indian Penal Code states that if a woman dies within seven years of marriage by any burns or bodily injury or it was revealed that before her marriage she was exposed to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any other relative of the husband in connection to demand dowry then the death of the woman will be considered as a dowry death. Punishment for dowry death is a minimum sentence of imprisonment for seven years or a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life.
Essential requirements of Dowry Death are – Death should be caused by burns or bodily injury or by any other circumstances, Death must occur within the seven years of marriage, It must be revealed that soon before her marriage she was exposed to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any other relative, The cruelty or harassment on her should be in connection with the demand for dowry . The Presence of the above 1
requirements is mandatory for such an offence to occur which could be legally chalanged by law. Some steps were taken to reduce the cases of dowry demand in our country like –

Section. 8B Dowry prohibition officers:

  1. The state government may appoint as many dowry prohibition officers as it thinks fit and specify the areas in respect of which they shall exercise their jurisdiction and powers under this Act.
  2. Every Dowry prohibition officer shall exercise and perform the following powers and functions, namely,-
    (a) to see that the provisions of this Act are complied with,
    (b) to prevent, as far as possible, the taking or abetting the taking of, of the demanding of dowry ;
  3. (c) to collect such evidence as may be necessary for the prosecution of persons committing offences under the Act ; and
  4. (d) to perform such additional functions as may be assigned to him by the state government, or as may be specified in the rules made under this Act.
  5. The state government may, by notification in the official gazette, confer such powers of a police officer as may be specified in the notification, the Dowry Prohibition Officer who shall exercise such powers subject to such limitations and conditions as may be specified by rules made under this Act.
  6. The state government may, for the purpose of advising and assisting the Dowry prohibition Officers in the efficient performance of their functions under this Act, appoint an advisory board consisting of not more than five social welfare workers from the area in respect of which such Dowry Prohibition Officer exercises jurisdiction under sub-section(1)


Article/MaterialAuthor’s idea behindObservation
Online MaterialRajeev Kumar, Gender
Inequality and Association
with a Dowry Gender
equality is an essential
goal of Sustainable
Development Goals.
Across the globe, many
countries are meeting the
goal of gender equality,
though girls’ enrollment in
schools and women’s
participation in politics arenoticeably observed which
are one of the markers of
gender equality. Dowry
custom is closely related to
gender inequality, and it is
synonymous of the gender
distribution of wealth and
correlated with gender
discrimination and gender
I agree with the opinion of
the writer Rajeev Kumar as
Gender inequality is the
major reason for the
increasing dowry demand
in our society as women
were always provided a
status lower to men in the
society. Which was a major
reason for their downfall
and leading to practices
such as the dowry systemand causing dowry death.
StatueFormation of policies and
reforms was mandatory by
the government to end this
heinous practice and to
improve the conditions of
NRCB convicted that 21
deaths are caused
everyday in india. The
NCRB statistics show that
91,202 dowry deaths were
reported in the country
from January 1, 2001 to
December 31 2012. Out of
that 84,013 were charged
and sent for trial and the
rest were either withdrawn
by the government during
the course of investigation
or not investigated.
ActDowry Prohibition Act,
Indian law, enacted on
May 1, 1961, was intended
to prevent the giving or
receiving of a dowry.
Under the Dowry
Prohibition Act, dowry
includes property, goods,
or money given by either
party to the marriage, by
the parents of either party,
or by anyone else in
connection with the
Introducing this act with
updated norms ensuring
the protection of women of
our country would be much
appreciated. Act should be
made descriptive enough
for the citizens to
understand the
consequence of such
heinous crime. Benefitting
of the act to women should
be the priority of the
Case Law“A PIL was filed against
members by female
members as they used to
taunt her for bringing
insufficient dowry with her”.
Punishing the members
should not burden the
women in any manner. It
should help them in
providing complete justice,
the existing norms are
silent to some extent and
the requirements for strict
norms are mosty observed
for prevention of Dowry
death in India.


It can indeed be clearly observed that pseudo-modernization has always played a major role in promoting Dowry deaths in our country india. As we can understand that change is the nature of our society, An important assumption in this model of change is that traditions are impediments to the development of a modern society and are things of the past . Since the origion of pseudo-modernisation could be observed from the beginning 2
of our society in the earlier times when dowry was taken as a compulsory practice while getting married. It almost could be observed in such times that the exchange of dowry was indeed considered as a basic requirement for a marriage to occur and with the time being passed it still is, and can be clearly seen practising not by direct means but indirect means. India is widely regarded as one of the most unsafe countries in the world due to the pseudo aspects of the society which lead to the downfall of women in
our society criticizing them in regard to such unlawful practices. The society claims itself being modernized with time but are they actually modernizing when it comes to promoting such unlawfull practices such as demanding dowry in India? the answer that clearly comes in our minds may be yes to some extent but clearly no if we look at a broader picture. In the name of tradition we are promoting dowry practice which is responsible for the lives of women being unsafe in their own homes after the marriage. From the ages, we have seen the demand for dowry but to stop dowry the demand for it should be understood properly by society so that it can prevent its practice . If we try to 3 compare the earlier times and the present modernized society we would be able to outline the pseudo-modernized changes between both the times, like in earlier times the
dowry practice was promoted as a traiditional practice and people openly demanded dowry according to their wish from the other party and the other party have to fulfil their demand in order for the marriage to occur as planned. If dowry is not provided or the party still even after receiving their desired dowry aren’t satisfied they used to harass the bride after marriage demanding more and more dowry. Dowry could be demanded
in the form of money, property,household goods etc. This continuous demand for dowry leading to excessive harassment to the bride by her husband or in-laws leads to dowry death in which either due to the woman being bodily harassed she dies or she commits sucide. It could be observed that the society claims that with society being modernized these practices such as dowry exchange or dowry deaths have been reduced, but is
this claim by the society genuine in India? This unlawful dowry demanding practice never was abolished completely from the society even after the society claimed to be modernised, instead it led a step towards pseudo-modernization promoting this practice in our society still. We could still observe this dowry system to practice just like earlier times but the only difference is that in pseudo-moderized society dowry is exchanged in terms of the gifts that the bride’s family gives to the groom’s family in terms of money, property, household good’s etc. If they are still not completely satisfied with the dowry received in terms of gifts or dowry promised they start harassing and body shaming the bride just like they used to in the earlier times leading to encouragement of dowry death. In 2016, reported dowry death cases in India amounted to more than 7.1 thousand. This
was a gradual decrease from the 2014, in which this number was approximately 8.5 thousand. The dowry system in India incorporates payments in the form of capital, durable goods, real estate among others, made to the bridegroom from the family of the bride as a condition for marriage.


Gender Equality is the major essential requirement for Sustaianble development to occur in the society but gender discrimination and gender disempowerment is the major cause promotion of this dowry system from ages in our country India. If we talk about the level of discrimination faced by women in the earlier times in our country, we could then understand the level of criticism women have been facing from ages due to gender
inequality. In the earlier era women were treated as goddesses and their was no form of discrimination existing in our society, but later with the passing of time restrictions were imposed on women and male members were considered as supreme by the society where as female members condition declined in the society. These practices lead to the formation of this social evil dowry in our country which later with time became a
necessary practice in our country india. Initially, dowry was a social tradition, but with time, it became a social evil, and a voluntary gift turned into a forceful demand. When the dowry demands were not met, consequently, the deaths of brides began to come in light (Sachdeva 1998) . Most of the deaths in the cases of Dowry used to occur 5 between the age of 15-34 years of age group, most of the deaths could be directly corelated to dowry demand. It was noticed that dowry problems were due to poor
prohibition of law or lower status of women in the society which leads to dowry death rising cases in our country. Lack of proper education to the people regarding the laws of dowry prohibition and the punishments if this heinous crime is practised in our coutry should be explained on a wide scale to all the deprived areas. In earlier times people encouraged gender stereotype society and gender discrimination was faced by the women from the birth, sons were given prime importance where as girls were even
poorly fed, girls were even deprived of education which also was a major reason for the downfall of female in the society in the earlier times in our country. Dowry was thought of as a price of marrying bride to the bridegroom, which later was demanded again or may be promissed by the bride’s family could lead to harassment of the bride and can cause dowry death. Female daughter’s being killed by their parents in the mother’s
womb was also seen to avoid giving dowry at the time of her marriage. There has been a persistent rise in the incidence of dowry marriages in India. The amount of dowry demanded has grown to a level that threatens destitution of daughter-only households and the constant harassment of brides .


Dowry can be deeply seen as a part of society as if it is attached to the rootes of the society and as a result treats women as a commodity because of the lack of gender equality in this pseudo-modernized country of ours. Laws and regulations made to prevent dowry and dowry death in our country India hugely remained ineffective on a large scale and instead these laws were misused and victimized husbands, and for wrongfull gains laws were introduced to reduce such unlawful practises and ecourage
equality and mutual peace between the citizens by awaring them about this offence it’s causes and it’s punishments. A more effective approach would be development of a gender-neutral body of property and inheritance law, until that occurs the question of whether dowry prohibition is actually in the interests of women is unsolved. The most 7 effective way would be instead of scandalising these dowry practices, laws should be impartial and strict towards such cases if the essential requirements as mentioned in
section 304(b) has been fulfilled thus the offence is dowry death. Mindset of this pseudo-modernized society needs to change for the betterment of the citizens of it’s country and for a better future. Thus the practice of dowry in our society should be strongly discouraged and equality should be provided to all the individuals whether man or woman equally thus reducing the dowry death cases in our country India.


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