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Roshni B.. (For justice and dignity)     30 January 2012

Womens' activists slam dowry recommendations

Prominent women's rights activists have slammed the Law Commission's recommendation to the Centre to tone down the tough provisions of the law dealing with dowry offences, saying the dilution would lead to an increase in domestic violence.

Activists also point out this dilution would encourage the prevalence of dowry system and lead to fewer cases being reported.

"We have opposed dilution of the law in Parliament and in the Standing Committee as well. If the recommnedations are approved, it will put pressure on women to come to a compromise outside the court and domestic violence is bound to increase," CPI-M leader Brinda Karat told PTI.

In a report submitted to Union Law minister Salman Khurshid, the Commission has recommended making dowry offences compoundable -- a move that will allow an accused to escape a jail term by paying a fine.

The recommendation comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court suggesting it may be time to re-examine the law in the context of its misuse by women to lodge exaggerated complaints just to settle scores with her husband and his family.

"I don't understand how a conclusion was arrived at that people misuse the law. It is, in fact, underused," Karat said.

Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary of All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), said studies by women's organisations have shown that the law is actually not implemented properly.

"Women are reluctant to file a complaint due to the long leal procedure involved and the stigma attached to it. If dowry offences are made compoundable, it will only encourage dowry harassment," she said. 

Mary John, Director of Centre for Women's Development Studies, said, "This is ridiculous. The only respite for women suffering from domestic violence was this law. We are totally against these recommnedations as many guilty will go unpunished and fewer cases being reported."

According to the Commission's report, submitted by its chairman Justice P V Reddy, the court would decide if the offence should be made compoundable or not.

This means that although the accused may be arrested in certain cases, they can plead before the court for compounding of the offence by agreeing to pay a fine.

At present, those found guilty under Section 498A of IPC, which deals with dowry offences, can be punished with a jail term of up to three years and also be asked to cough up a fine.

The Commission has also submitted that it was preparing another report on whether Section 498A should be made bailable and what steps should be taken to facilitate reconciliation.


 4 Replies

bhima balla (none)     25 February 2012

I am glad for the law commission taking a look at these draconian laws formed under feminist pressure.

But I would oppose compoundability of 498a as well. The reasons are different:

1) People accused of dowry as evil and compared it to market or business mentality. Then the question about 498a (false cases with compoundability) is the same. If dowry is bad and evil-so is the extortion and blakmail run in the name of harassment.

2) Law commission is looking at it from a societal perspective-they realise dowry to be wrong and harassing women is wrong for society-hence the stringent laws against it. However a new menace of misuse of the same stringent law is further dividing society. This cannot be good for the country.

3) It is not clear however how compoundability prevents women from filing (false) cases? It seems like a rhetoric and scare tactic.

4) 'Studies by women's organization revals it is not implemented properly'-We ll the women's organizations want the courts to step out of the way and convict all accused -may be evn without trial. They are seeking to put pressure on courts in this regard. That amounts to tyranny and the opposition to these laws will increase many fold.

5) Long cases and stigma-It hurts both parties especially husband and family because more than one person including old people (in laws) and young unmarried sisters are roped in. There seems no momentum, despite talk of it, to ensure cases are trialled expeditiously. The accused would want speedy trial as well.

6) Brinda karat's statement holds no water -only a rhetoric

7) It certainly helps to introduce, as stringent a punishment, for false filers.But alas the commission is not considering it. Restoring balance would make society safer! The false filers must be made to face both criminal and monetary consequences. Such actions can still bring true cases to fore yet prevent false cases.

8) There is a strong need to educate public about family values-in the context of 21st century. A harmonious family, with equal rights and responsibilty. Laws are to be used only in exceptional cases.

9) This is a passing trend and society will see the damages done by these haphazard laws.

10) Overtly bending to pressures of women /feminst organization is not good for the country.


"I don't understand how a conclusion was arrived at that people misuse the law. It is, in fact, underused," Karat said. "



Please check below Link Participated by MASI which itself meant for supporting Sisters & Mothers

and yes I believe they are women too. On the other Side..

These women Centric NGOs supporting their Cause don’t even Know, weather it is 498a or 398a ?


and yet they are saying about Fact??...

Obviosluly they all do "hawabazi" most of the time, while speaking to any news Channel..


and yes court should decide about compundable or non Compundable, Because only wives do Compunds the case (settlement), when they've been offered Chunk of Money..

So it is of no Use..

rajiv_lodha (zz)     26 February 2012

Ist of all it shud be made BAILABLE if they want to do something corrective in it

bhima balla (none)     26 February 2012

I doubt the wife/DIL welfare organizations would let that happen. Non bailable and noncompundable is OK. Somehow law  makers believe that making it compoundable facilitates reconcilliation. It cannot be, since trust is broken.

False cases must elicit very stringent and quick punishment both criminal and monetary. What  is needed is the strong deterrence against false cases.

IPC 498a:as per this section-cruelty must be of such nature that it should drive a woman to commit suicide or grave injury to life or limb.

The standard here is pretty high. If a woman is walking around, could she have been subjected to such torture as to elicit such an accusation? Prima facie such accusations don't meet such a high criteria. If laws are applied correctly, then the chances of conviction must be even lower!

It is incorrect that the law makers thinks these acts will facilitate reconciliation. They cannot sow neem and expect apples to grow! The consequences of such action will be felt 20 years from now:

1) Single mothers with child.

2) Child growing up without input of fathers.

3) Drug addiction and misbehaviour, amongst children.

4) Emotional disturbances among children.

The entire generation would have been degraded.

Not to mention such women are now getting older and face medical illness.

That would be a huge burden on the country. West has coping mechansim far in excess of India. They are adapted to that. In India, family was the backbone. Family should be supporting one another.That is the least expensive and safe way to raise families. But a government ,which under pressure of wife/DIL welfare organizations are drIwing all these laws which will tear the families apart. All this to massage the ego of wife/DIL? A woman, to massage her ego, is destroying herself and her family. The women's organization in the name of women empowerment will destroy the society and the country!

It must be remembered that women's right movement was helped by several men with good intentions.

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