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Report No. 202

2.4. Present Scenario:

2.4.1 Now 21 years have been passed since the enactment of Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1986. The question before us is:

(1) whether the Government has succeeded in curbing the menace of 'dowry death'? if not, then

(2) Should death penalty be provided for the offence of dowry death?

2.4.2. The answer to the first question is in the negative. The sad affair of dowry deaths is still continuing. Large number of cases relating to dowry death is reported each year, which really is a matter of shame and cause for deep concern.

2.4.3. National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, GOI, East Block-7, R.K. Puram, New Delhi, published in report "Crime in India - 2005" (dated 31st July, 2006 - page 9). "Crime Clock of 2005" reported wherein one dowry death case is committed in every 77 minute in India. Further at page 242, table- 5 (A), shows "Crime Head-wise Incidents of Crime Against Women during 2001-2005 and percentage variation in 2005 over 2004"; Sl.No. 3 reads.

SI. No. Crime Head 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Percentage variation in 2005 over
3 Dowry Death (Sec.302/304B IPC) 6851 6822 6208 7026 6787 ... 3.

2.4.4. There are various implications of dowry in the society. Dowry has also a bearing for the female foeticide in our country. People do not want a baby girl considering the social situation that one-day they have to pay dowry. On the other hand, if there is birth of a baby boy, they will fetch some dowry. Unfortunately, in the Indian scenario, a girl is looked upon as a liability to her family. The need of the hour is to fight this menace of dowry in the best possible way.

But one thing goes without saying that merely by amending the Act and making it more stringent, it will not help unless the law enforcing agencies do their duty diligently and honestly. There is an argument within the law making agency that whether introduction of capital sentence for the offenders for causing dowry death would meet the ends of justice and would prove to be a deterrent. Before going further, it would be appropriate to mention that India is not only the land of Rama and Buddha, it is also the land of Balmiki and Angulimal, where dreaded criminals have reformed after relinquishing their dark past.

There is another adage that every saint has a past and every criminal has a future. It is stated herein that in most of the countries capital punishment has been abolished. India has adopted a very balanced approach in this regard. It has capital punishment in its statute book but uses it rarely. In India there is a subtle shift from the capital punishment to imprisonment for life and death sentence has been awarded only for the rarest of the rare cases. Thus, even if death penalty is provided, it cannot be awarded as a matter of routine. But the dictum of rarest of rare cases will still be applicable.

Proposal to amend Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code Back

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