Team Blitz India
EVEN as the dowry menace continues to claim several lives in the state, the Kerala Government seems to be moving slowly on its promise to introduce stricter amendments to the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 to prevent such incidents.
Earlier, the state Government decided to amend the existing provisions of the Act following the death of Kollam native Vismaya V Nair by suicide on June 21, 2021, after being harassed by her husband and family over dowry. The Women’s Commission even handed over the proposals in this regard to the government.
The Government’s thought was to amend the existing act based on a Central rule that terms the demanding, providing, and accepting of dowry illegal. The aim was to prevent the recent practice of handing over huge exorbitant amount of money and gold as “gifts” instead of dowry as such. It decided to amend the Dowry Prohibition Act and the Marriage Registration Act as part of this.
While the Government has taken action to give shape to a draft amendment bill after conducting parleys with the Local Self Government Department and considering the opinion of the Director of the Women and Child Development Directorate, no concrete action has been taken after that.
Now, the suicide of a young doctor Dr A J Shahana over dowry demand from her fiancé triggered heated discussions over the progress of the authority’s promise to amend the act.
Shahana (26), a postgraduate student in the surgery department of the Government Medical College here, was found unconscious at her apartment and later declared brought dead at the hospital. Shahana allegedly took the extreme step as she was depressed due to a big dowry sought by her fiance Ruwais, her family alleged. Based on their statements, Ruwais, her friend who is also a postgraduate doctor in the College, was arrested under sections of abetment to suicide and dowry prohibition act.