Dowry Law





A young couple setting off

on the Indian dream,

a successful, prosperous life


[people cheering]


It's the wedding season

in India,

thousands of young people

are getting married.

This lavish marriage

in a five-star hotel

has cost thousands of pounds.

Weddings in today's India

are increasingly

about conspicuous consumption,

spend it, flaunt it.

Across town, a Muslim ceremony

with the dowry out on show.

Gifts and cash

from the bride's father.

Muslims never used to give


[man 1]

We have organized a motorbike,

it's a latest brand

of the LML Freedom that is.

We bought a cupboard

and a LG fridge,

plus you can say

21-inch a flat-front TV

with a Whirlpool

washing machine, suitcases,

bangles out here.

And the clothing

all the embroidered ones

for the boys as well girls

and for the relatives as well.

And a good bed over here

with the jewelleries,

and good gifts and everything,

whatever is possible.


The moment his daughter

was born,

the bride's father

started saving for this day.

No expense has been spared,

no detail overlooked.

The dowry will have

set his family back

a small fortune.

And for the groom's family,

it's bonanza time,

gifts all around.

The market's just driving dowry,


You know, it's like a new engine

to this whole thing of dowry.

And it's being driven

by the market,

it's being driven

by consumerism,

it's being driven by the feeling

that, "Okay, we want this

and this is an easy way

to get it."

[people chanting

in foreign language]


Dowry demands for money,

ultimatums and threats

can keep going

long after the wedding is over,

with constant pressure

on young brides

and their families.

[people chanting

in foreign language]


In Delhi, a special police unit

has been set up

to help young married women

who feel harassed.

[people muttering]

This is the way

women are treated?


It's busier than ever.

[speaking in foreign language]


Day after day,

brides come with their parents

complaining about demands,

about beatings

and mental torture.

In male-dominated

Indian society,

women here

seem to be fighting back.

Sir, go to hell!

Get out of here!

Behave yourself.


But they're up

against generations

of discrimination.


The dowry was outlawed

40 years ago,

but with the booming economy

it's now back with a vengeance.

Behind almost every case

are rows about dowry.

The officer in charge

is superintendent Vimla Mehra.

[speaking in Hindi]

One of the main problems is,

of course, dowry.

And I don't know why it happens,

because it seems that

more and more women come to us

that, "My husband is asking

for a scooter or a motor vehicle

or some jewellery or some money

so that he could start

his business."

Perhaps, it's one of

the easiest way to get money.

[speaking in Hindi]


A local journalist,

Smita Chaudhary,

has been watching dowry in India

surging back.

Another case has just come in.

This woman from Rajasthan

has brought her family

to the police station.

She claims one of her daughters

was killed

by her son-in-law's family.

Anju was burned to death

in the kitchen.

Her mother wants

the dowry back.


Three children?


Yes, she had three more sons

and the eldest of them

has gone mad

after that incident.


Her other daughter is married

into the same family

and the mother claims

she's now being harassed

for dowry as well.


She says I want justice

and I want all the money

which I've given for dowry.


How much money did she give?

[speaking in Hindi]


She gave Rs. 250,000 worth

of stuff to two sisters.


That's a huge sum

for this family, over 3,000.

It's dowry again, and again,

and again.

What I'm not sure about is why

she brought this case up now,

her daughter died two years ago.

Actually, she's--

Now she feels that

there's no hope for this girl,

because they're asking

for the dowry once again.

So there's no hope


to settle this child.

And she'd have to pay out

more money

if she has to send her back.

She's been asked for

yet more dowry

on top of what

she's already paid?


Because they're saying

that has been consumed

with the first daughter's


and so she should pay again.


The in-laws' family

have all turned up

and now the two husbands,

who are brothers,

decide to wade

into the argument.

[speaking in Hindi]


One says they were never

legally married,

because the girls

were too young.

[speaking in Hindi]


The row is all about money.

Everyone seems far more worried

about the cash

than the dead girl.

[speaking in Hindi]


In the middle of the arguing

and the abuse,

a police officer

is trying to work out

who is telling the truth.

[speaking in Hindi]


Everyone has

a different point of view

and anyone within shouting range

gets an earful.

[speaking in Hindi]

And they've also got

is one of the brothers

claiming to have had

no relationship whatsoever

with this woman.

Where the truth lies,

I don't know yet.

[arguing in Hindi]


They were married as children.

So the marriage is not valid...

And that's a--

that's a Rajasthani custom?




But that's not--

that's not valid legally.

So there's one guy who saying,

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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