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Updated: Sep 13, 2022



The research objective of this paper is to study Dowry murders are the deaths of married women, who are continuous harassment and torture perpetrated by their in-laws or by their husbands, leading to suicide, making the women's home the most dangerous place for them. Like Indian society, dowry killers are mainly found in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Iran. Dowry killing is considered one of several categories of violence against women, rape, burning of the bride, eve teasing, female genital mutilation, and acid throwing. This is a crime that is a stigma for every society, I have done my research on this subject, which is as follows.


Dowry deaths are deaths of married women who are murdered or driven to suicide by continuous harassment and torture by their husbands and in-laws over a dispute about their dowry, making women's homes the most dangerous place for them to be. Dowry deaths are found predominantly in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Iran. India reports the highest total number of dowry deaths with 8,391 such deaths reported in 2010, meaning there are 1.4 deaths per 100,000 women. Female dowry deaths account for 40 to 50 per cent of all female homicides recorded annually in India, representing a stable trend over the period 1999 to 2016.Adjusted for population, Pakistan, with 2,000 reported such deaths per year, has the highest rate of dowry death at 2.45 per 100,000 women .Dowry death is considered one of the many categories of violence against women, alongside rape, bride burning, eve teasing, female genital mutilation, and acid throwing.

Dowry system in India

Most dowry deaths occur when the young woman, unable to bear the harassment and torture, commits suicide. Most of these suicides are by hanging, poisoning or by fire. Sometimes the woman is killed by setting her on fire by her husband or in laws; this is known as "bride burning", and sometimes disguised as suicide or accident. Death by burning of Indian women have been more frequently attributed to dowry conflicts. In dowry deaths, the groom's family is the perpetrator of murder or suicide.

India has by far the highest number of dowry-related deaths in the world according to Indian National Crime Record Bureau. In 2012, 8,233 dowry death cases were reported across India. This means a bride was burned every 90 minutes, or dowry issues cause 1.4 deaths per year per 100,000 women in India.

According to a 1996 report by Indian police, every year it receives over 2,500 reports of bride-burning. The Indian National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports that there were 8,331 dowry death cases registered in India in 2011.Incidents of dowry deaths during the year 2008 Dowry deaths in India is not limited to any specific religion, but are much more common in Hindu and Sikh communities in Northern India, particularly around Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 INDIA

Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961The Dowry Prohibition Act, and 1961 consolidated the anti-dowry laws which had been passed on certain states. This legislation provides for a penalty in section 3 if any person gives, takes or abets giving or receiving of dowry. The punishment could be imprisonment for minimum 5 years and a fine more than ₹15,000 or the value of the dowry received, whichever is higher. Dowry in the Act is defined as any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given in connection with the marriage. The penalty for giving or taking dowry is not applicable in case of presents which are given at the time of marriage without any demand having been made. The Act provides the penalty for directly or indirectly demanding dowry and provides for a penalty involving a prison term of not less than 6 months and extendable up to two years along with a fine of ₹10,000.

Criminal statutes

Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act

The Indian criminal laws were comprehensively amended to include dowry as a punishable offence. Section 304B was added to the Indian Penal Code, 1860 ("IPC"), which made dowry death a specific offence punishable with a minimum sentence of imprisonment for 7 years and a maximum imprisonment for life. It provided that if the death of a woman is caused by burns or bodily injury or occurs in suspicious circumstances within 7 years of her marriage, and there's evidence to show that before her death, she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relative regarding the demand for dowry, then the husband or the relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.

Further, section 113B of the Evidence Act, 1872 ("Evidence Act"), creates an additional presumption of dowry death when it is shown that before her death, the woman had been subjected to cruelty on account of dowry demand. Section 304B IPC along with Section 113B of the Evidence Act has enabled the conviction of many who were not caught by the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. Section 113A of the Evidence Act provides a similar presumption of abetment of suicide (which is an offence under Section 306 IPC), in case of death of a married woman within a period of seven years of her marriage.

Additionally, the judiciary also includes a murder charge under Section 302 IPC as this allows courts to impose death penalty on perpetrators of the offence. Section 406 IPC, pertaining to offences for the criminal breach of trust, applies in cases of recovery of dowry as it is supposed to be for the benefit of the woman and her heirs.

Further, Section 498A IPC was specifically included in 1983 to protect women from cruelty and harassment. The constitutionality of Section 498A was challenged before the Supreme Court of India on grounds of abuse, on grounds that it gave arbitrary power to the police and the court. However, it was upheld in Sushil Kumar Sharma v. Union of India (2005).The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 provides that for the prosecution of offences under Section 498A IPC, the courts can take cognizance only when it receives a report of the facts from the police or upon a complaint being made by the victim or her family.

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 ("Domestic Violence Act") was passed in order to provide a civil law remedy for the protection of women from domestic violence in India. The Domestic Violence Act encompasses all forms of physical, verbal, emotional, economic and sexual abuse and forms a subset of the anti-dowry laws to the extent it is one of the reasons for domestic violence. Section 3 of the Domestic Violence Act specifically incorporates all forms of harassment, injury and harms inflicted to coerce a woman to meet an unlawful demand for dowry. Some of the common remedies under the Domestic Violence Act include:

·protection orders – prohibiting a person from committing domestic violence;

·residence orders – dispossessing such person from a shared household;

·custody orders – granting custody of a child; and

·Compensation orders – directing payment of compensation.

International conventions

India is a party to several international human rights instruments which provide theoretical remedies to the dowry problems. These international conventions include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ("UDHR"), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ("ICCPR"), the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights ("ICESCR"), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women ("CEDAW"), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child ("CRC"). CEDAW codifies the rights most relevant to the discussion of dowry-related violence: the rights of women. However, there are issues of non-intervention and cultural relativism which impede the use of international law to combat dowry deaths.


In Pakistan, the giving and expectation of a dowry (called Jahez) is part of the culture, with over 95% of marriages in every region of Pakistan involving transfer of a dowry from the bride's family to a groom's family.

Dowry deaths have been rising in Pakistan for decades. Dowry-related violence and deaths have been widespread since Pakistan became an independent nation. At over 2,000 dowry-related deaths per year, and annual rates exceeding 2.45 deaths per 100,000 women from dowry-related violence, Pakistan has the highest reported number of dowry death rates per 100,000 women in the world. Pakistan's Dowry and Marriage Gifts (Restriction) Bill, 2008,


In Bangladesh, dowry is called joutuk, and a significant cause of deaths as well. Between 0.6 and 2.8 brides per year per 100,000 women are reported to die because of dowry-related violence in recent years.


Dowry is an ancient custom of Persia, and locally called jahâz (sometimes spelled jahiziyeh). Dowry-related violence and deaths in Iran are reported in Iranian newspapers, some of which appear in English media.


This research paper summarizes all legal matters related to dowry harassment. This paper provides a simple summary of the current law by which new laws can be enacted to prevent dowry harassment in India, to understand the cases related to increasing dowry in the country and its uses to understand the basics of law making. Also. It is possible. So that dowry harassment can be stopped in India. To stop the dowry practice, the Government of India should also enact new laws so that dowry harassers can be punished severely.


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