While laws prohibiting dowry not only forbid receipt but also giving it,a city court,in a significant observation,held that the brides families are to be blamed for rendering the social welfare legislation largely ineffective.
It is unfortunate that the legislation (Dowry Prohibition Act) has been reduced to a mere paper tiger. What is more unfortunate is that the family of the woman (involved in the marriage) is responsible for the
non-accomplishment of this legislation, Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Kamini Lau noted.
To meet the objectives of the law,not only the grooms families but also the brides must be booked for giving dowry in the name of social obligation,the court said.
Dowry is a two-way traffic and unless there is a giver there can be no taker… In order to eliminate this evil both the giver and taker have been made liable under the Act. It is not possible to leave one and book the other, ASJ Lau said.
It is time this social welfare legislation is ruthlessly implemented and none is permitted to take the shield of social compulsion. This has become all the more necessary in order to check the misuse and abuse of special laws, she added.
The court also said expensive gifts given by relatives to a couple before and after marriage must be brought to the notice of the authorities for levying of taxes.
The court made the observations while dismissing the plea of a woman seeking to quash criminal proceedings initiated against her family for giving of dowry following a complaint by her husband who faced dowry harassment charges. The woman had challenged the order by a Metropolitan Magistrate in October last year,who had directed the registration of an FIR against her family members for giving dowry for her marriage in April 2008.