Dowry is a payment given as money, property, jewellery or other gifts from the bride’s family to the groom. Practices around dowry vary depending on the region, caste and class. Under Indian law, demanding, giving and receiving dowry has been illegal since 1961, punishable by a jail sentence of between six months and two years. Nevertheless, dowry is still a prevalent practice. It’s given in the form of presents, gifts, endowments, or as a feel-good gesture.
In some cases the husband’s demands for dowry take the form of emotional threats and even physical violence towards the wife. In some cases, women who are unable to meet demands for dowry from the husband or in-laws are murdered or driven to suicide because of extreme harassment and torture. These deaths are called dowry deaths. Women’s rights groups put the number of dowry deaths in India at 7,000 a year.
Harassment for dowry
If your husband or your in-laws harass you for dowry you can file a case against them at the nearest police station, because dowry is prohibited under Indian law and is a punishable offence. If you can’t go to the police yourself, you can also get in touch with any of these women’s rights NGOs:
Indian Women Welfare Foundation (IWWF) http://www.womenwelfare.org/submitcomplaint.html
Stand up against violence http://standupagainstviolence.org/contact-us.html
Shakti Shalini http://shaktishalini.wordpress.com/about-us/
You could also contact a lawyer if you have access to one.