Dissertation Abstracts

Socio Legal Perspective of Dowry: A Study (with Special Reference to Shivamogga District)

Author: Baig, Reshma , reshma.baig21@gmail.com
Department: Department of post graduate studies and researh in sociology
University: Kuvempu University, India
Supervisor: Professor A.Ramegowda
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Women , Marriage
Areas of Research: Women in Society


“ Man and woman are two halves of humanity, neither can reach its highest creative excellence without the co-operation of the other”:- Chief Justice A.S.Anand.

The dissertation is an in-depth empirical study of dowry-related offenses. It makes a critical analysis of judicial activism-a new development- in liberating women. The specific objective of this dissertation was to study the socio-educational profile of victims of dowry offenses and relate it to the socio-cultural practice of dowry. It also makes an analysis of the laws related to dowry and their effectiveness. The findings of the study show that section 498-A and section 304-B have provided teeth to the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, but Article 51-A of the constitution remains ineffective because the socio-cultural norms related to the practice of dowry have remained unchanged and therefore, the practice of giving and receiving dowry continues as such. In other words, otherwise law-abiding citizens are giving and receiving dowry. Adequate social awareness and education is necessary, along with legal punishment, to do away with this evil practice.
Nature created woman different from men with a definite purpose. Balance is stillness and stagnation; imbalance is motion and progress. Nature designed life and action by means of the imbalance brought about in the traits of men and women. In the process, women find themselves at the receiving end. They ended up as the weaker half of society by their very nature and are naturally handicapped in a world of men, by men, for men.
Social etiology of violence against women in India:- Religion, customs, age-old prejudices, etc. have put Indian women in a subservient and exploitable position in many domains of life. Low rates of participation in education, lack of economic independence, value biases operating against them, etc., have resulted in the women being dependent on men folk and other institutions of authority like the family, neighborhood and the society. They are usually ignorant of their rights and even if they are not, they do not have easy access to justice.
Recently, women's experiences are being raised and discussed in various fora. Of these, ‘violence against women’ is gaining more and more support and recognition, the world over. But despite the enactment of laws, formulation of reformative legal processes, provision of legal aid to the needy, extensive use of the provision of Public Interest Litigation, conduct of Family Courts, Women/Family counseling centers, etc., women in India has a long way to go in concretizing their Constitutional Goals into reality.
The problem has to be visualized in a wider context and cannot be viewed in isolation from the status of women in the society. Legislation alone cannot by itself solve deep-rooted social problems; one has to approach them in other ways too. Therefore, what is required is not only a strong legal support network but also opportunities for economic independence, essential education and awareness, alternative accommodation and a change in attitude and mindset of society, judiciary, legislature, executive, men and the most important, woman herself. Restructuring society in terms of power and role relationship while emphasizing the egalitarian values is the need of the day. During the national Struggle for Independence, Gandhi gave a call for emancipation of women. He wrote, “I am uncompromising in the matter of women’s rights. The difference in sex and physical form denotes no difference in status. Woman is the complement of man, and not inferior”. Thus, the first task in post-independent India was to provide a constitution promises to secure to all its citizens: “Justice - social, economic and political” .

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