Policy for Ending Dowry Deaths
As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total number of 8172, 8383 & 8391 cases were registered under ‘dowry death’ during 2008, 2009 & 2010 respectively, showing a marginal increase. The Minister of Women & Child Development Smt. Krishna Tirath revealed this in Rajya Sabha recently in written reply to a question.
The Minister further stated that Section 498A was incorporated in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 1983 to provide for adequate punishment for any cruelty inflicted on a married woman by the husband and relatives including for dowry. Subsequently a separate offence was created under Sec 304B IPC in 1986 to deal with dowry deaths.
As per Seventh Schedule, ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects under the Constitution. As such, the primary responsibility of prevention, detection, registration, investigation and prosecution of crimes, including crimes against women, lies with the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations. However, the Central Government has been advising the State Governments from time to time regarding the steps that need to be taken to afford a greater measure of protection to the women and, in particular, to prevent incidence of crimes against them. These advisories, inter-alia, emphasize gender sensitization of the police personnel, minimizing delays in investigations of crime against women and improving the quality of investigation and setting up ‘Crime against Women Cells’ in districts where these do not exist. States/ UT Administrations have also been advised that dowry related cases must be adjudicated expeditiously to avoid further harassment of the women and that a community monitoring system to check cases of violence, abuse and exploitation should be developed.
She further stated that the Ministry of Women & Child Development undertakes awareness programmes on issues related to dowry through electronic media, print media & outdoor publicity.