Dowry and its origination law family essay


List of Abbreviation

AIR…………………………………………………………………………………………… All India ReportCri LJ………………………………………………………………………………… Criminal Law JournalSC………………………………………………………………………………………………. Supreme CourtSec. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. SectionVol. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… VolumeEd. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… EditionSLP………………………………………………………………………………….. Special Leave PetitionDahej……………………………………………………………………………………………………… DowryKanya…………………………………………………………………………………………………. DaughterDana………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. GiftI. P. C. …………………………………………………………………………………….. Indian Penal CodeF. I. R. ……………………………………………………………………………. First Information ReportHC…………………………………………………………………………………………………… High Court

Index of Authorities

CasesHans Raj v. State of Punjab AIR 2000 SC 23248Inder Raj Malik and others v. Mrs. Sumita Malik 1986 CriLJ 1510, 1986 (2) Crimes 435, 1986 RLR 22012Inder Raj Malik v. Sunita Malik 1986 Cr LJ 15109Pawan Kumar v. State of Haryana, 1999, Cr LJ 2911State v. Laxman Kumar AIR 1986 SC 2508Wazir Chand v. State of Haryana AIR 1989 SC 378, 1989 CriLJ 809, 1989 (1) Crimes 173 SC13StatutesSection 2, The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, Bare Act, Universal Law Publishing Co. 7Section 304B, The Indian Penal Code 1860, Bare Act, Universal Law Publishing Co. 8Section 498A, The Indian Penal Code 1860, Bare Act, Universal Law Publishing Co. 9Other AuthoritiesDowry in India, Indian Child 2012, Report on The National Commission for Women17Jitendra Gautam, Anti Dowry Law- Use and Misuse, Manupatra Online Legal Research6K. D. Gaur, Section 304B, The Indian Penal Code, Universal Law Publishing Co., Ed. 4, 201111Nehal Ashraf, Dowry among Muslims in Bihar, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 32, No. 52, p. 3310-33116Nishant Kumar, Misuse of Anti-Dowry Laws to Blackmail Husband, Independent Media Center 2006. 16Prof. T. Bhattacharya , Section 304A, The Indian Penal Code, Central Law Agency, Vol. 2, Ed. 200910Prof. T. Bhattacharya , Section 304A, The Indian Penal Code, Central Law Agency, Vol. 2, Ed. 2009. 11Richa Mishra, Section 498 IPC, Whether Shield or Weapon, Legal Service India 200912Sidharth Roy, Dowry Death, Article Base 20086Statement of Object and Reasons; Gazette of India, 1959, Extra., Pt. II, Sec. 2, pp. 3 & 77The Times of India, May 20, 2000. 4Uma D, Easy Misuse of Section 498A, Meri News 200614

[A]. Introduction (Sameekshya)

Marriages are made in heaven indeed, but mother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, husband and relatives are being increasingly involved in the breaking of the wedlock for the lust of dowry. Dowry death, bride-burning are symptoms of peculiar social malady and are an unfortunate development of our social setup. This development is peculiarly Indian, ‘ Black Plague’ spawned by the dowry system. During the last few decades India has witnessed the black evils of the dowry system in a more acute form in almost all part of the country. It is almost a matter of day to day occurrence that not only married women are harassed, humiliated, beaten and forced to commit suicide; to leave husband etc. and thousands are even burnt to death because the parents are unable to meet the dowry demands of in-laws and their husbands[1]Reasons due to which these problems of dowry death are increasing rapidly:-(1) Retention of the caste system,(2) Undermining of the woman by the religious orthodox and social patriarch making herself and her family vulnerable to socio-economic pressure and extortion,(3) Ever-increasing greed of the bridegroom and his family,(4) An economically strangled hyper populated society non-supportive of unmarried women,(5) A morally deprived political system which is being run by the pro-status quo conservatives.

[B]. Position of a Women (Sameekshya)

The women of India are an epitome of oppression and exploitation in the name of religion practised by the conservative male chauvinists and social patriarchs: the rulers of the country. Equal rights for women is only electioneering demagogy. The traditionally ruling Congress party which produced a dictatorial regime of India’s only woman prime minister caused even more woes for the oppressed. There have been many acts which oppressed the women and their liberty and freedom and exposure to the world of these criminals and their heinous acts would perhaps draw attention of women warriors and their supporters from all over the globe. A global solidarity of progressive women would help their Indian counterpart challenge the social and political status quo and one of this is Dowry death which is the most brutal and dangerous form of violation against women.

[C]. Facts (Anugrah)

The problems of bride burning and other forms of dowry-related violence on women are mainly inflicted in Delhi, western and central Uttar Pradesh which includes cities of Kanpur, Lucknow and Agra witnessing the highest number of deaths, and places adjoining to Delhi region- Haryana, north-eastern Rajasthan, northern Madhya Pradesh, and southern Punjab, have registered these problems in large number. Furthermore, these problems are basically concentrated among the upper caste above-average Hindu communities and also in several other states of South India like Andhra Pradesh.

[D]. Dowry and its Origination (Anugrah)

During the ancient times dowry was considered as a custom in India. The custom however became a social evil with the passage of time. This social evil has taken lives of many innocent brides for its non fulfilment. Deaths of young brides through suicide or homicide following disputes over the dowry are increasingly a feature of Indian society.[2]Indian marriages bring out a unique culture within the country. Here, marriages are traditionally arranged by the parents of the person who is yet to get married. A female is initiated to marry her opposite through choice of her parents. After her marriage, the bride is believed to join the family of her husband and become a member of his family. Male as a bread winner has a dominating figure in the society, the female is presupposed to bring principal loyalty when she marries and joins family of her husband. In Muslims, dowry system was not known to the Muslims as it did not find any place in Islamic Shaniah or Sunnah and those who claimed to be the followers of prophet of Islam, were not supposed to claim dowry. The claim of dowry from the bride’s party was considered as a kind of exploitation, and Islam stands against all sorts of these exploitations. However, Islam has given women an edge over their husbands so far as it was felt obligatory on the part of the bridegroom to pay Meher and maintain the wife and her children in a decent way. But in a course of time, Muslims are vying with their Hindu counterpart sin demanding and offering dowry both in heavy cash and kind, as well as landed property, etc. The women of Islam think that they are not at par with the men, because they think that men are superior to them, and this concept is killing the traditions of Islam as well. This practice of harassment of the brides in the name of dowry is not specific to certain caste of Hindus but it has spread its arms to other castes also such as economic strata, and even to people from other religions who have no basis for the practice in their personal law in first place in which Muslims in Bihar come out with leading examples. Parents want their daughters to go to a wealthy family after marriage and for that they are ready to give anything in return. The concept of Prophet about the daughters has been changed drastically by the globalized world. With the increasing tension of the parents for their daughters, the amount of dowry is also increasing.[3]However, dowry or dahej in India makes a mark as to be the payment in cash or/and kind by the bride’s family to the bridegroom’s family along with the giving away of the bride, called Kanyadaan.  Kanyadanam is an important part of Hindu marital rites. Kanya means daughter, and Dana means gift.[4]It’s origination was from the upper caste families practice as a wedding gift to the bride from her family.  Then the dowry was later given to help with marriage expenses and became a form of insurance in the case that her in-laws mistreated her.  Although the dowry was legally prohibited in 1961, it continues to be highly institutionalized.  The groom often demands a dowry consisting of a large sum of money, farm animals, furniture, and electronics.

[E]. Dowry in Law as a Crime

Section 2 in The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 (Sameekshya)2. Definition of” dowry”. In this Act,” dowry” means any property or valuable security given or agreed to be given either directly or indirectly-by one party to a marriage to the other party to the marriage; or by the parents of either party to a marriage orby a other person, to either party to the marriage or to any other person; at or before or after the marriage us consideration for the marriage of the said parties, but does not include dower or mahr in the case of persons to whom the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) applies. Explanation I.- For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declare that any presents made at the time of a marriage to either party to the marriage in the form of cash, ornaments, clothes or other articles, shall not be deemed to be dowry within the meaning of this section, unless they are made as consideration for the marriage of the said parties. Explanation II:- The expression” valuable security” has the same meaning as in section 30 of the Indian Penal Code. (45 of 1860.)[5]The object of this Bill is to prohibit the evil practice of giving and taking of dowry. This question has been engaging the attention of the Government for quite some time, and one of the methods by which this problem, which is essentially a social one, was sought to be tackled was by conferment of improved property rights on women by Hindu Succession Act, 1956. It’s, however, felt that a law that makes the practice punishable and at the same time ensures that any dowry, if given does insure for the benefit of the wife will go a long way to educating public opinion and to the eradication of this evil.[6]

Section 304B in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Anugrah)

304B. 3[ Dowry death.–Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called” dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death. Explanation.- For the purposes of this sub- section,” dowry” shall have the same meaning as in section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961 ). Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.][7]Essential ingredients to attract dowry deaths are:-Death of woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury, or otherwise than under normal circumstances. Death should have occurred within seven years of her marriage. The woman must be subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband. Cruelty or harassment should be for or in connection with the demand for dowry. Cruelty or harassment should have been meted out to the women before her death.[8]In a well publicized case, State v. Laxman Kumar and Indian federation Of Women Lawyers v. Shakuntala[9], one by the Delhi administration and other by the Indian Federation of Women lawyers came up before the Supreme Court of India by SLP against the judgment of Delhi High Court acquitting the respondent of a charge of murder under Section 302 read with Section 34 of I. P. C. The three respondents, mother-in-law, husband and brother-in-law burnt the deceased in connection of attaining dowry. In her advance stage of pregnancy the deceased, Sudha was made to do kitchen work in winter nights to give hot milk to her brother-in-laws child. During this activity, kerosene was sprinkled over the deceased and was set on fire. The Trial Court being convinced of the charge of murder convicted all three accused under Section 302 read with Section 34 I. P. C. but Delhi High Court acquitted them for the same giving the reason that of an accident. Reversing this order of HC, SC held them under Section 304B I. P. C. with punishment of life imprisonment.

Section 498A in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Sameekshya)

498A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.– Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation.- For the purposes of this section,” cruelty” means-any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; orharassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.][10]The perusal of clause (a) would show that the prosecution has to establish firstly the wilful conduct of the offender, secondly that then nature of such conduct was likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether physical or mental). On proof of these facts to the satisfaction of the Court under the circumstances of a particular case the husband or the relatives of the husband shall be presumed to have treated the woman with cruelty. Clause (b) of the above mentioned explanation shows that the harassment with a view to coercing her or any person related to her meet any unlawful demand for property or valuable security or on account of the failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand would amount to cruelty for the purpose of Section 498A of the IPC. In the case of Inder Raj Malik v. Sunita Malik[11], the Delhi High Court held that a person can be convicted both under Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act and Section 498A of I. P. C. The accused here demanded the marriage ceremony to be held in Taj Hotel which was expensive for the parents of complainant. After the marriage there was continuously mal-treatment and beating especially done on festivals. She was on constant threat from her in-laws and was restrained from going to her parents home during her pregnancy. Accordingly the Court rightly held that such threats and harassment amounted to cruelty under Section 498A of I. P. C.

Section 304B and Section 498A, Statutory Provisions of Dowry Death(Sameekshya)

Section 304 B was introduced in the Indian Penal Code in order to restrain the practices dowry and punish its offenders. It was also a new offence which was created with effect from November 19, 1986, inserting these provisions in the Indian Penal Code providing with more stringent offence, than provided by Section 498A of the same Act, which deals with punishment for cruelty by husband and his relatives.[12]Section 304B states, for being a dowry- death the woman must be subjected to cruelty and cruelty is further defined in Section 498A of the same Act. Therefore in such cases of dowry- death, the accused can be charged under Section 304B read with Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. Here, sub- section which defines these offence further elucidates that, where death of a women is caused by either any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she is subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any dowry demand, such a death is ‘ dowry death’. This part of the Section was inserted by the Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1986 with a view to contest the increasing number of dowry deaths in India. Furthermore, this amendment has also made a mark in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 by introducing Section 113-B therein with respect to raising a presumption of dowry death.

Distinction between Dowry Death, Section 304 I. P. C. and Cruelty, Section 498A I. P. C. (Anugrah)

These Sections were added in the code in order to punish dowry related crimes. The provisions are not mutually exclusive. However, the scope of these two Sections are different. Under Section 304B, I. P. C. it is the dowry death that is punishable and such death should have occurred within a period of seven years of the marriage;, whereas under Section 498A, I. P. C. cruelty by husband or relative of husband is punishable and there is no period of limitation of seven years provided for prosecution in such cases. The husband or his relative would be liable for subjecting the women to cruelty any time after the marriage. Under Section 498A, I. P. C. cruelty as such is punishable; but cruelty or harassment of a married woman when it results in death of the women would attract Section 304B, I. P. C. Under Section 304B, I. P. C. punishment may extend up to imprisonment of life with a minimum of seven years of imprisonment; whereas under Section 498A, I. P. C. punishment may extend upto three years of imprisonment and a fine only. Cruelty is a common essential to both the offences and that has to be proved before a person is convicted. The explanation clause to Section 498A, I. P. C. gives the meaning of cruelty but there is no such explanation about the meaning of cruelty under Section 304B.[13]

Cruelty (Anugrah)

The expression ” cruelty” takes within its sweep both mental and physical agony and torture. The concept of ” cruelty” varies from place to place and individual and according to the social and economic status of the person involved. To decide the question of cruelty the relevant factors are the matrimonial relationship between the husband and wife, their cultural background and temperament, status in life, status of health, their interaction in their daily life, which dominate the aspect of cruelty.[14]In Pawan Kumar[15]it was proved that when a demand for scooter and fridge, made soon after the marriage by her husband and his relatives. The deceased’s failure to meet the demand leading to repeated taunts and maltreatment. Quarrel taking place between husband and deceased, regretting that it would be difficult to see her face in future, are clear proof of cruelty and maltreatment by husband and family members. The accused was accordingly held liable under Section 304B, I. P. C. Though the provision covers both physical as well as mental cruelty, therefore each and every harassment is not cruelty. The harassment has to be with the object to coerce the woman or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand. In order to come into the ambit of cruelty under clause (b) by husband, the harassment must be to extract money unlawfully from the woman by the man. Unless this is proved, no offence under Section 498 A can be alleged to have been committed.[16]

Kinds of cruelty

(a) Cruelty by vexatious litigation(b) Cruelty by deprivation and wasteful habits(c) Cruelty by persistent demand(d) Cruelty by extra-marital relations(e) Harassment for non-dowry demand(f) Cruelty by non-acceptance of baby girl(g) Cruelty by false attacks on chastity(h) Taking away childrenThe presumption of cruelty within the meaning of section 113-A, Evidence Act, 1872 also arose making the husband guilty of abetment of suicide within the meaning of section 306 where the husband had illicit relationship with another woman and used to beat his wife making it a persistent cruelty within the meaning of Explanation (a) of section 498-A.

[F]. Constitutional Validity of Section 498A (Sameekshya)

In the case of Inder Raj Malik and others v. Mrs. Sumita Malik[17], it was contended that-this section is ultra vires to Article 14 and Article 20 (2) of the Constitution.-there is a Dowry Prohibition Act which also deals with similar types of cases; Therefore, both statutes together create a situation commonly known as double jeopardy. However, Delhi High Court held that Section 498A of the IPC does not create situation for double jeopardy. Section 498-A is distinguishable from section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act as the latter was punishable for mere demand of such dowry and the existence of elements of cruelty is not necessary, whereas Section 498A deals with aggravated form of the offence. It punishes such demands of property or valuable security from the wife or her relatives as are coupled with cruelty to her. Hence, a person can be prosecuted in respect of both the offences punishable under section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act and of this Section of the IPC. This section gives discretion to the Courts in matters pertaining to just, fair and reasonableness interpretation of words. Therefore, this provision is not Ultra Vires and it does not confer arbitrary powers on the Courts.[18]In another leading case, Wazir Chand v. State of Haryana[19], involved a death by burning of a newly married woman, the circumstances did not establish either murder or an abetted suicide and thus the convicts escaped from the jaws of Section 300 and 306 of the IPC. However, they were caught in the web of the newly enacted Section in the same Act for prevention of harassment for dowry. Facts advocated that a demand from the husband’s side, a large number of articles were taken by father of the bride after her death from her matrimonial abode, showed that there was pressure being exerted on-in laws and continued to be exerted till death for more money and articles.

In legal terms, 498A as an offence, which are:-

Cognizable: Offences are divided into cognizable and non-cognizable. By law, the police are duty bound to register and investigate a cognizable offence. 498A is a cognizable offence. Non-Bailable: There are two kinds of offences, bailable and non-bailable. 498A is non bailable. This means that the magistrate has the power to refuse bail and remand a person to judicial or police custody. Non-Compoundable: A non-compoundable case, e. g. Rape, 498A etc, cannot be withdrawn by the petitioner. The exception is in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where 498A was made compoundable.

[G]. Other side of the Coin (Anugrah)

Though section 498A aims at protection and safety of woman from her husband’s and his relatives cruelty and harassment, this shield is used as a weapon by many females for their own purposes. Women are using this section against their husband and their relatives without any attempt or cruelty practiced. Indian law has always laid emphasis on protection of the innocent. It has always been emphasised that ten guilty person’s can be acquainted rather punishing a single innocent person. But this section is being misused and innocents are punished. In an article related to Section 498A, Easy Misuse- Uma D wrote; To become a victim under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, a person needs to be married to a woman of Indian origin. A man can be a possible victim under the said Section as a woman may use it as a tool and file cases against him for the following reasons.[20]A woman does not get along with her husband. A woman does not get along with her husband’s family. A woman marries a man with the sole intention of obtaining a divorce and extorting money. A woman, having been interested in someone, was forced to marry someone elseA man and woman turn out to be incompatible and the man wants to obtain a divorce. A woman gets married by concealing some facts about herself and her husband is resentful upon finding out the truth. A woman’s family is overbearing and it decides to run the married daughter’s life but her husband finds it inappropriate and resists. Abuse of section 498-A has always been a matter of discussion in Rajya Sabha. It was observed there that, Section 498-A has become an instrument of oppression in the hands of certain people who are seeking to get minor children; aged in-laws are being arrested on absolutely whimsical allegations. The issue is not only of compounding it, the question is how you ensure a just investigation of such complaints. Low police officers are investigating it in a manner that is ruining the sanctity of families; minor children and girls are hauled up. This is a scathing indictment of how this law which was intended to sub serve a noble purpose has in fact, been prostituted. It was also stated that, in many cases, there are complaints where the provisions of section 498A are misused or abused or excessively used. And for that, the investigating agency is the only agency which has remedy from this. From time to time, these instructions are issued even from the Government of India, and the State Governments are already cognisant of this fact. But, for the investigating officer, the problem arises when a case is registered and the persons have been mentioned in the FIR; it becomes difficult for him. Till such time, he really satisfies himself. During that period, some harassment is certainly made; it is expected from the investigating officers, it is expected from the police officers. They are sensitised on this matter by the State Government, and also by the Central Government, that they should see to it that they are not harassed.[21]In 2012, the 243rd Law Commission Report presided by Mr. Justice P. V. Reddy suggested the following for Sec 498A: It rejected the demands to repeal the anti dowry laws citing its misuse. It refused to recommend making it a bail able offence. It recommended making it partially stringent by allowing a woman to withdraw her complaint if a compromise with her husband and in laws are possible, but with a court’s permission. It asked for the amendment of criminal law to delay the arrest of accused by 30 days to allow reconciliation.

Anti-dowry Law (Sameekshya)

The issue of women’s rights and family law reform has been increasingly entangled within the polemics of politics and minority rights. It is true that the hardships and sufferings experienced by woman of all communities, minority as well as majority, cannot be overlooked with the help of persuasive or effective freedom of religion. The life of an average Hindu woman has always been difficult and pitiable due to existing social customs and the practices of time.” There are cases which have raised a debate on whether the stringent and well meaning provisions of the laws governing dowry and cruelty against women were actually being increasingly misused to settle scores. Husbands and their families are harassed by the stringent and outdated Dowry Act as majority of the cases these days are either exaggerated claims or are simply fabricated. This results in endless mental torture to the boy’s family who have no way out,” says Neena Tiwari, president of an NGO, Nari Jagriti Manch, which has started “crime against men” cell five months ago to provide counselling to the `suffering’ husbands. This abuse is towards the husband’s entire family. She furthermore says that the problem of abuse worsens because of the fact that the FIR is registered on the prima facie evidence wherein it becomes easy to rope in anyone whom the girls accuse. The accused find it difficult to prove their innocence. The quarrels begin from minor problems in the matrimonial relationship which are given shape of dowry and torture because of the strict repercussions in form of issuing of non-bailable warrant. It is seen that most cases of misuse of dowry laws are reported by urban families and wives who are well-educated, aggressive and keep threatening to go to the police and court for a false charge. Such wives are well capable to earn their living, but still they demand heavy maintenance amount from their husbands on separation. It is sometimes even more than what husband earns or wife can earn. Supreme Court has also declared this malpractice as ” Legal terrorism” only after knowing that such incidents are on a large scale. But National Commission for Women denies any knowledge of such cases of misuse of dowry laws. The issue is not of law misuse, but its greater propensity to misuse.[22]

[H]. Conclusion (Sameekshya)

The practice of dowry abuse is rising in India. Most severe in ” bride burning”, the burning of women whose dowries was not considered sufficient by their husband or in-laws. Most of these incidents are reported as accidental burns in the kitchen or are disguised as suicide.  It is evident that there exist deep rooted prejudices against women in India. Cultural practices such as the payment of dowry tend to subordinate women in Indian society. Though prohibited by law in 1961, the extraction of dowry from the bride’s family prior to marriage still occurs. When the dowry amount is not considered sufficient or is not forthcoming, the bride is often harassed, abused and made miserable. This abuse can escalate to the point where the husband or his family burn the bride, often by pouring kerosene on her and lighting it, usually killing her. The official records of these incidents are low because they are often reported as accidents or suicides by the family. In Delhi, a woman is burned to death almost every twelve hours. The number of dowry murders is increasing. In 1988, 2, 209 women were killed in dowry related incidents and in 1990, 4, 835 were killed. It is important to reiterate that these are official records, which are immensely under reported. The lack of official registration of this crime is apparent in Delhi, where ninety percent of cases of women burnt were recorded as accidents, five percent as suicide and only the remaining five percent were shown as murder. According to Government figures there were a total of 5, 377 dowry deaths in 1993, an increase of 12% from 1992. Despite the existence of rigorous laws to prevent dowry-deaths under a 1986 amendment to the Indian Penal Code, convictions are rare, and judges are usually men who are often uninterested and susceptible to bribery. Recent newspaper reports have focused on the alarming rate of deaths of married women in Hamirpur, Mandi and Bilaspur districts in the state of Himachal Pradesh.[23]

Purpose of Section 304B and 498A in the Indian Penal Code (Anugrah)

The purpose of these Section was for safeguarding the interest of woman against the interest of woman against the cruelty they face behind the four walls of their matrimonial home, the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was amended in 1983 and inserted Section 498A which deals with ‘ Matrimonial Cruelty’ to a woman. The section was enacted to combat the menace of dowry deaths. It was introduced in the code by the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1983 (Act 46 of 1983). By the same Act Section 113A has been added to the Indian Evidence Act to raise presumption regarding abetment of suicide by married woman. The main objective of section 498A of I. P. C is to protect a woman who is being harassed by her husband or relatives of husband.[24]In the same way, Section 304B was inserted in the Indian Penal Code after the passing of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1861 in order to strengthen the laws against dowry death in the country.