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Vijay Swaroop and Hussain Malvi, Hindustan Times
Indore, December 07, 2012
A probationary IAS officer might have been booked for allegedly demanding dowry, but more and more youngsters are getting averse to this social ill. And not just that, they want heavy punishments for the dowry-seekers. A survey carried out by Shaadi.com, a matrimonial portal, has revealed that 53% of Indians feel that those who demand dowry should be forced to pay twice the amount to the bride's family instead. Also, 56% of Indian men opine that those who demand dowry should be fired from their jobs while 44% of are of the view that dowry-seekers should be forced to pay five times their current income tax liability to the government.

IG, Indore Anuradha Shankar calls it a positive sign. "We all know that dowry is illegal and people take a big risk by practicing it. We have a very good law when it comes to curbing this menace from society and the groom's family can easily be taken to court if they commit this crime," she told HT.

The survey also reveals that 52% of Indian women believe that women often misuse anti-dowry laws. "Domestic violence is the biggest reason why women make the misuse of dowry law," said Savita Inamdar, former chairman of the Women's Right Commission. "Women often fall prey to domestic violence after marriage due to a number of reasons. Many a times the situation goes awry leaving them no option but to leave her in-laws and go back to parents' place," she said, adding: "The domestic violence law doesn't allow her to seek justice without presenting evidence -- which can be difficult in many cases. So many a times such women are advised by lawyers to take up the anti-dowry Act as a weapon to teach her oppressors a lesson."

Anjana Tiwari, assistant superintendent of police (traffic), feels that women put themselves in trouble by offering dowry to the groom's family before getting married. "There are strict laws in the Constitution by which people can seek justice if they are approached for dowry. But the sad part is that neither the affected persons make an effort to understand the law nor do they knock the doors of the court to take legal action," she said.

However, Shantla Jain, a city-based marketing executive feels that there are no parameters to find out that boy's family is the culprit. "It is not always that the boy's family demands dowry, but many a times the girl's family encourages this ill-practice," she said.

"The ground reality is different from what we hear," says Ramesh Saluja, a 31-year-old website designer. "Many a times, it can also be the girl who would threaten her in-laws with dowry laws. But the problem cannot be resolved without upgrading the law. The sad part is these cases take a lot of time to resolve, thereby affecting the life of people involved," he said.