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Dowry System and Misuse of Section 498A


The dowry system in India refers to the durable goods, cash and real or moveable property that the bride’s family gives to the bridegroom, his parents, or his relatives as a condition of the marriage.

Dowry system is a stigma in Indian culture. One of the longest standing evils associated with marriage. It is still prevalent in the 21st century, this is one of the major causes of social atrocities against women. The dowry system is to put great financial burden on the bride’s family. In some cases, the dowry system leads to heinous crime like emotional, sexual, physical abuse and even death.

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Causes of dowry
Greed – Owing to expectations of material benefits from the bride’s family, dowry is demanded for, and at times, when the demands are note met, either the marriage is ended, or the bride is exploited.
Illiteracy- With a literacy rate of 74.04% in the country, it is quite valid to consider it the primary cause for different social evils. The society lacks knowledge and how to treat women as a human being. The huge problem is male dominant society and it has been taught to the men that they are stronger in any way than women.
Lack of willingness to follow the laws- The primary reason behind the failure is lack of mass participation. Society pay no heed to such laws. Even educated families like bureaucrats, celebrities and politicians, they also practice dowry which contradict the rule in the name of customs. 
Indian laws against dowry system
The payment of dowry has long been prohibited under the dowry prohibition act 1961 and subsequently by section 304B and 498A of the Indian penal code.
The dowry prohibition Act 1961 article 3- This Act extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.  This act prohibits the practice of giving or taking of dowry by either party to a marriage. This law also punishes demanding and advertising dowry.
The more serious crimes in relation to dowry such as dowry death and cruelty from dowry demands are punishable under the general law on crimes- the India penal code, 1860
Indian laws against dowries have been in effect, however, they have been largely criticized as being ineffective. The practice of dowry deaths and murders continues to take place unchecked in many parts of India.
Section 498- The Indian penal code required the bridegroom and his hammily to be automatically arrested if a wife complains of dowry harassment. The law was widely abused and in 2 2014, the supreme court ruled that arrests can only be made with a magistrate approval.
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
The protection of women from domestic violence Act, 2005, was passed to provide a civil law remedy for the protection of women from domestic violence in India. The domestic violence Act encompasses all forms of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and forms a subset of the anti-dowry to the extent it is one if the reasons for domestic violence. 
To curb the misuse of anti-dowry law supreme court orders the setting up of family-welfare committees in all district under the supervision of the National Legal Authority (NALSA).
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The supreme court modified its previous order that provided for setting up a committee to deal with complaints of dowry harassment. The court modified its judgement and took a note of the “misuse of section 498A and said that the accused can now seek anticipatory bail". 

The court also stated that though the section 498A was enacted to protect a married woman from cruelty, its misuse to harass the other side too is causing social unrest.
The court restored the powers of the police to act on complaints of dowry harassment under section 498A. Court said it appropriate to direct the investigating officer to be careful in dealing with companies of dowry harassment.
The offence is both non-cognisable and non- bailable, which implies that bail can only be granted after examining by the magistrate.
There are uncountable dowry cases in India and thousand are still pending in the courts. Women have been facing such cruelty since long. Women are considered as an object in India society especially in rural areas. Though girls are becoming educated and self-dependent in the modern India. But the older generation is still primitive in their minds. Indian government made several strict laws to curb such crime against women. However, the other face of the society where women intend to misuse the laws and play ugly. There are various cases where woman accused her husband and make fake case of dowry there are always two sides of coin. Indian government has addressed such problem and started strict investigation activity to find out the real causes of the cases. 
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