Socio-Legal Perspective of Dowry

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Mrs. Reshma, M.A., LLB, M.Phil (Research Scholar) Asst.Professor, Dept. of SOCIOLOGY, Government First Grade Collage, Tarikere, Chickmagalur District. Mob: no: 9448948451

* Introduction: -
Nature created woman different from men with a definite purpose. Balance is stillness and stagnation; imbalance is motion and progress. Nature designed life and action by means of the imbalance brought about in the traits of men and women. In the process, women find themselves at the receiving end. They ended up as the weaker half of society by their very nature and are naturally handicapped in a world of men, by men, for men.

The available literature on evolution of Indian culture and civilization reveals that although the ancient writers pretended to record their revered admiration for the womanhood yet in actual practice women have always been suppressed and exploited by the dominant male members of the society. Law of Manu insisted that woman must constantly worship her husband as God, though he may be a wicked person or a womanizer. According to him, an ideal woman is one who does not break the bonds of her matrimonial home. The salvation and happiness of a woman thus revolved round her virtue and chastity as a daughter, wife and a widow. In the male dominated society, woman has always been kept in subjugation by her husband because by nature, she is supposed to be weak and meek. In theory they are respectable but in practice they are the subjects of cruelty, ill-treatment, and all sorts of misbehavior of males. The vulnerability of the women as a class has nothing to do with her economic independence. The women have been a victim irrespective of her economic background. With all her rich cultural antiquity, diversity and heritage, India has also been a country that has suppressed her women. It is ironic to say the least, because Indians have always worshipped their country as a ‘Janani’ or ‘Mother’. On the one hand they worship this mother, and on the other they disregard their sisters, daughters, mothers, and wives. The social evil of dowry is deep rooted in our society. The offences of dowry, dowry-death, dowry-murders, dowry-suicides, demand of dowry etc. are the heinous crimes committed against the women. The researcher has selected the topic “SOCIO LEGAL PERSPECTIVE OF DOWRY-A STUDY” (With Special Reference to Shivamogga District) with the object of making an in depth study of the problem of dowry in general and an. empirical study of dowry related offences in particular. A modest attempt is made to analyze critically the new trends set by the judicial activism in liberating women from the onslaughts of men. * Dowry (Dahej/Hunda) as we all know is paid in cash or kind by the bride’s family to the groom’s family along with the giving away of the bride (Kanya-dana). The ritual of Kanya-dana is an essential aspect in Hindu marital rites. Kanya=daughter, Dana=gift. The word ‘Hunda’ appears to be direvied from ‘Handa’ which means a pot. This could be due to the now extinct practice of offering dowry in a pot.

* “Dowry “means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly- a) By one party to a marriage to the other b) By the parents of either party to a marriage or by other person, to either party to the marriage or any other person; At or before marriage as consideration for the marriage of the said parties, but does not include dower Maher in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Sheriath) applies. The specific objectives of the study are as follows:-

* To study and analyze how the concept of dowry changed with the passage of time. * To find out the causes for the acceptance of such a cruel practice by the society. * To sociologically analyze whether there is possibility of misuse of the provisions relating to dowry. * To study the socio-economic and educational profile of the respondents....
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