Par panel recommends review of Dowry Act
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Last Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011, 00:15
New Delhi: A Parliamentary Committee has recommended the central government take immediate steps to make the Dowry Prohibition Act more stringent and ensure that it prescribes some mandatory obligations so that dowry is not asked for.

The Rajya Sabha Committee on Petitions, which had taken up a petition praying for urgent need to curb female foeticide, recommended that benefits of fee waiver may be extended to all girl children in schools under the CBSE and other Boards.

The Committee headed by Bhagat Singh Koshyari, held private schools may also give certain percentage of benefit of fee waiver to girl children in their schools in addition to concession given to students under the economically weaker sections (EWS) category.

It also held the benefit of special consideration in admission in Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas may be extended to second girl child as in the case of concession of fee extended to the second girl child in these schools.

The Committee also suggested that appropriate study material about twin social evils of dowry and female foeticide as well as value of girl child may be included in the school curriculum to change the mindset of future generations to overcome the evil of foeticide.

Expressing its unhappiness that the dowry law enacted in 1961 has been unable to check the evil in society, the Committee held the Act be made more stringent by formulating clauses in the form of declarations/disclosures on the parties to the marriage so that they remain conscious and duty-bound socially and legally of not having asked/given any dowry in marriage.

But shortly after a year of divorce, the woman lodged a complaint with Ludhiana police accusing her husband of indulging in domestic violence against her contending she had been living all along with her husband with the decree of divorce being a sham.

But as the police dithered on registering a criminal case on the legally tricky compliant, she lodged it in the magisterial court, which promptly issued summons to Grewal without waiting for the outcome of the woman's another plea to a separate civil court seeking annulment of the decree of divorce.

The husband first moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking annulment of the proceedings at the magisterial court.

As the high court dismissed his plea, he moved the apex court, which quashed the proceedings saying "permitting the magistrate to proceed further is not in consonance with the decree of divorce, which still subsists and thus the process amounts to abuse of the process of the court."

While raising the legal question as to "whether a decree of divorce by a competent civil court could be declared null and void in a collateral proceeding in a magisterial court," the bench also wondered if the woman, by admitting that she was a party to the fraud played upon the court to secure the "sham" divorce through mutual consent, had not rendered herself liable to prosecution.

The apex court, however, restrained itself from ordering prosecution of the woman, saying that "for quashing a complaint, the court has to take its contents on its face value and in case, the same discloses an offence, the court generally does not interfere with the same."


First Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 22:16

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