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Report No. 91

1.9. Suggestions for reform.-

Given all these circumstances of the usual "dowry death", it will be conceded that even where there is in a particular case, moral certainty that the death is the result of murder, the circumstances would be hostile to an early or easy discovery of the truth. Punitive measures-such that can be pursued within the ambit of the existing law-may be adequate in their formal content. But their successful enforcement is a matter of difficulty. That is the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 why there is need to supplement the punitive measures by appropriate preventive measures. This Report seeks to make a few modest suggestions as to what can be done in this regard. It is possible that the measures recommended here will be regarded as very mild by some persons, or as radical by others.

But it is hoped that the discussion will at least give a new stance to the thinking on the subject. Some effective preventive measures, whatever be their content and drift, are needed urgently. If this is not done soon, there is a grave risk that the problem of bride-burning will grow out of control and a stage will come when one of the two possibilities will become real. Either there will be no enthusiasm left for trying out concrete solutions, or there will come to be adopted solutions that might be worse than the problem. Hence the need for some concrete preventive steps to check "bride-burning" or "dowry deaths". Incidentally, neither of these two expressions is very happy; one of them is even inaccurate, because the female who is burnt is no longer a "bride". These two expressions will not satisfy a linguistic purist. However, we are not, at the moment, concerned with the purity of language, but with the purity of conduct.

Dowry Deaths and Law Reform - Amending the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Back

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