Legislating on Transnational Dowry Abuse: A Ray of Hope from Australia
4 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2019
Date Written: March 2, 2019
As per the report titled Crimes in India 2016, published by the National Crime Record Bureau of India, death of 7621 women is registered as dowry death under Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code. This implies that more than 21 women die every day because they could not fulfill dowry demands made by their husbands or in-laws. Also, 1,10,378 cases have been registered under Section 498A for cruelty against married women by her husband and in-laws. The conviction rate is as low as 39.1 percent in cases of dowry deaths and 9.5 percent in cases of domestic violence. The Indian society seems to have become deaf to screams of women who are being burned alive or murdered because of dowry and the legal system seems to have become immune. The fierce resistance initiated by the women’s movement in India during the decades of 80s against the ‘stove deaths’ of newly married brides seems to have perished gradually, while currently, the narrative of abuse of dowry law dominates the judicial discourse. This has resulted in increase in the culture of violence against women with impunity that has also travelled across borders with people who are migrating to the developed world in order to fulfil their career or life aspirations. Amidst this disheartening situation, I found a ray of hope when I attended the `Second Dowry Summit in Sydney Australia last week jointly organized by the Australian Centre for Human Rights and Health and the University of New South Wales.
Keywords: Dowry Abuse, Transnational Marriage, NRI husband, Bill on NRI Marriages, Australia, Senate Reporr
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