Redefining Dowry Death

Another potshot taken by the National Commission of Women at the social fabric, after the horrendous proposition to include alimony for live – in partners and removal of the adultery clause as a ground to deny maintenance to wives. This time it is related to the issue of dowry deaths. Their suggestion is to include all unnatural causes of death of a married woman within any time frame of married life to be viewed and investigated as a dowry case.

This is a totally uncalled for proposition and a logical rationale fails to understand how a biased assumption can bring down a social evil. Unnatural death “is a category used by coroners and vital statistics specialists for classifying all human deaths not properly describable as death by natural causes. Hence it would include events such as accident, execution, misadventure (being attacked by insects, reptiles, fishes, lions, tigers, bears, stingrays, or other wild animals), adverse outcome of surgery, suicide, terrorism, war.”

Classifying all these deaths as dowry deaths within 7 years of marriage is in itself absurd. To top on it, now a totally mindless amendment to remove the 7 years ceiling is not becoming of National Commission of Women, a body claiming to be the champion of women’s causes. Such propositions only lead to unnecessary bloating of statistics related to crime against women and create aggravated panic in the society for women. No one will want to have a daughter fearing that she might be killed for dowry and this false fear is giving rise to female foeticide and infanticide in the society.

Moreover IPC already has sections to deal with murder, IPC 302, abetment of suicide, IPC 306. There is no need to provide a special section to married women when the same is not available to men. Every year 56, 000 married men are committing suicide, but those 56, 000 husband killers are roaming freely in the society. IPC 304B related to dowry deaths cannot be entrusted to be generating the correct and dependable statistics of the menace called dowry because the law itself is biased and based on assumption. It assumes all deaths of a married woman within 7 years of marriage as ‘Dowry Death’. Classifying all deaths as dowry deaths is nothing but an attempt by radical organizations like NCW to create fear in the society by blowing out of proportions the statistics related to crime against women as these outblown statistics fetch them money from national and international organizations.

It will be a grave injustice to the husband and his family to book them under dowry harassment charges and put them under legal prosecution when he has just lost his life partner to an accident. Most of the suicides by married women for various reasons are just linked to a single cause of dowry and a bloated picture is presented to the society by the money hungry radical organizations like NCW who fail to recognize the mothers and sisters of men as women.

Is the pain of a mother / sister less when her son / brother dies than when her daughter / sister dies? NCW needs to answer this question. Who is going to give justice to those 56, 000 aggrieved mothers / sisters who lost their son / brother to a torturous wife? Yet the wife is roaming freely in the society. Why no punishment to the wife when on the death of the wife (due to any reason) the husband and his whole family put behind bars on a mere assumption that the death is dowry related.

Why this injustice to men? Do they not have basic human rights? 82 % of taxes are paid by men and yet no their no welfare ministry for them. And to add to that, men are subjected to heavy misuse of stringent legal provisions targeted against them like IPC 304B which deprives them of basic right of being proclaimed innocent until proven guilty as prescribed by Amnesty International, the International Human Rights Organization. There have been instances of men and their relatives prosecuted under 304B (Dowry Death) and the girl has been found living with some other man. Who will account for the harassment that the innocent husband and his relatives went through because of a biased legal provision and a defunct legal system? And the girl is not even punished!!!

It’s high time that radical and gender obsessed women’s organizations stop spreading lies in the society in the name of crime against women and stop breaking families in the name of women empowerment. We, Save Indian Family Foundation, an organization dedicated to the cause of spreading family harmony and awareness about the misuse of dowry related and other marital laws severely condemn the recent amendments proposed by NCW and make the following recommendations to the government.

1) Section 304(B) should not be retained in the law; IPC Section 302 already covers murder and IPC Section 306 covers abetment of suicide, and therefore Section 304(B) is only a duplication of law, which is gender-biased.

2) All cases of murder, including murder for dowry should be dealt with under IPC Section 302.

3) All cases of abetment of suicide, including those allegedly done for dowry, should be dealt with under IPC Section 306.

4) If IPC Section 304(B) is not removed from Indian law, then it should be amended and made applicable to men and women equally. Specifically, the word “husband/wife” should be replaced by the word spouse.

5) Section 304(B) treats the accused as guilty until proven innocent, thus, violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which proclaims that “everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty”. The law needs to be amended so that no arrests of any of the accused (man, woman or child) are made without proper investigation and written approval of police officials of the rank of DCP or above.

6) Those who misuse the section for settling personal scores should be heavily penalized because false allegations and prosecution can cause irreparable damage to the accused parties even if they are later declared not guilty.

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