Questions regarding the dowry harassment and dowry deaths have become so clichéd that we Indians raise our heads in protest only when a new case is reported or registered. Till then we choose to remain silent.

A recent study conducted by the National Crime Bureau of India in the year 2017 reported more than 6000 dowry death cases in a year. The dowry death cases in India rose from 19 cases per day in the year 2001 to 52 cases in the year 2019.

Accepting and giving dowry has been put under the criminal law since the year 1961, but it continues to be an important part of the Indian marriage and openly defies the law.

Here we should ideally blame both the sides-the groom’s as well as the bride’s. If the groom’s parents initiate a discussion on dowry, the bride’s parents have all the rights to put an end to it then and there instead of getting their daughters killed later.

The hardcore reality of the dowry system is not confined to the rural parts of India. Even the well-educated and affluent families residing in the metropolitan cities like Delhi and Bangalore are involved in this cruel act.

Much have been said and written about this frustrating reality, but are there a simple and a smart way to eliminate this problem from the roots? We need to find out more about that, in the meanwhile one can follow the steps given below to experience immediate relief from dowry related abuse and crimes:

Various legislations are formulated to provide protection to women who face domestic violence in their lives. Some of them are 498 A (Cruelty), 304-B (Dowry Death) of the Indian Penal Code, 113-B of Indian Evidence Act, Dowry Prohibition Act and Protection of Women against Domestic violence. But above all this, women should be well aware of the law, the legal rights and the procedures that should be followed in order to file a Dowry related complaints:

Step 1-AMBIT OF SECTION 498 A-CRUELTY

To fall under the AMBIT OF SECTION 498 A-CRUELTY, it is essential to show that the woman has entered into matrimony and she has faced cruelty and harassment by the acts committed by her husband or his family members.

Here the term ‘Cruelty’ refers to:

  • “any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or
  • harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.”

Step 2- Deciding on the Police station to lodge the complaint

Pick out the police station that is closer to the married couple’s residence or near the house where the wife stays with her father.

Step 3-Lodging a Complaint

One can make a verbal complaint which the police officials will record in writing, which should be signed by the wife. One can also give a written complaint to the police station. Few things to keep in mind while lodging a complaint to the police station is:

  • Do not give unclear statements while making the complaint
  • The information should be crystal clear, comprehensive and accurate. Also the facts of the incident should be recorded correctly without anything missing.

Step 4- FIR Procedures

Once the complaint is filed, the police have to do a thorough investigation after an FIR is registered in these cases. Please remember that no police station can refuse to take your complaint or give an excuse saying that this incident does not fall under their jurisdiction.

The FIR can be registered in Zero number and then can be moved to the respective Police Station. Please note that you do not have to make any kind of fee payments to file these complaints. Also the complainant can hold a free copy of the FIR after completing the formalities.

Step 5- Notice

Once the FIR is registered, the police will give a notice to the accused (Husband or Husband’s Relatives) to record their statement or to arrest them. But before that the case will be taken over by the welfare committee for further investigation and the action will be only taken against the husband after getting a valid proof and evidence on the case.

The committee will communicate with both the parties personally or via phone and they should submit the report within 1 month. The report prepared by the committee will be handed over to the authority that referred the complaint to them.

If by any chance the respective authority fails to register the complaint, then the victim (Wife) can file the complaint through Registered Post or can meet the next in command.

Step 6- Online Complaints

If the victim is unable to make a complaint by physically going to the police station, she can also file the complaint online. This goes to show that the modern technology is joining hands with the law to help tackle this disturbing menace of crimes against women.  The complaint registration procedures are made simpler and easier by the police departments of various states and also by various woman organizations, to an extent where one can place a complaint through e-mail, post or by posting on the websites of the concerned departments.

Step 7- National Commission of Women

The inflicted party can also take the help of the National Commission of women in the legal arena. The Complaints and Counselling Cell in the commission listens and processes all oral, written or suomotounder the Section 10 of the NCW Act (http://ncw.nic.in/frmABTMandate.aspx)

Once the complaint is filed with the National Commission of Women, following steps are taken to tackle the complaint and the issue:

  1. Proper monitoring of the Police investigation
  2. Counsel the families to resolve the disputes.
  3. The commission forms an Inquiry body to handle spot enquiries, to examine the witnesses, to collect proof and evidence and the final report is submitted with recommendations. Such in depth investigations provide immediate relief and justice to the victims of domestic abuse and violence. The National Commission of Women also tracks the report implementation.

Dowry deaths, Domestic violence and crimes related to marriage shows how vulnerable and backward our society is in terms of culture and traditions.  It is high time we put our foot down to stop these ever increasing crimes against women in our country.

Source – https://www.lawctopus.com/academike/how-to-report-dowry-related-violence/

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