Govt for stricter punishment to dowry takers
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In a move to put greater onus of culpability on dowry takers, the government is amending the law to enhance punishment for such people from five to seven years in jail while reducing the penalty on dowry givers as they are "often vulnerable".
According to the amendments mooted to the Dowry Prohibition Act, failure to maintain a list of gifts, including jewellery, exchanged during marriage will also now be punishable with a jail term from six months to one year. The list has to be signed by the two parties and handed over to the dowry prohibition officer.
A woman who files case under the Dowry Act, can also seek relief under the Domestic Violence Act and the case can be filed from not only where the crime was committed but also from elsewhere.
The punishment for dowry-takers is proposed to be from five to seven years in jail. At present the punishment is five years imprisonment with a fine of Rs 15,000.
At the same time, the jail term for those found guilty of giving dowry is proposed to be reduced to one year from five years. This is being done as "parents of women are often vulnerable", according to a note circulated by the Women and Child Development Ministry to women MPs.
With a woman being allowed to file case from her permanent or temporary residence, she will get the freedom to approach authorities from her parents' residence too.
The amendments also seek to include the victim's parents or relatives in the definition of 'aggrieved persons'.
The proposed amendment will provide that "if the failure to meet the demand (by the groom's side) for any valuable or property leads to harassment or injury (to the bride), it could be termed as demand made in connection with marriage", WCD minister Krishna Tirath said. According to the proposed amendments, seven years will be retained for determining primary order of succession but after seven years, husband too may not be denied inheritance in case he is not prima facie charged for the offence or booked for abatement.
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