Govt to give Dowry Act more teeth | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Govt to give Dowry Act more teeth

The government may soon make amendments to the Dowry Prohibition Act to make it more effective. The changes will allow women to register gifts worth Rs 5,000 and more, that they receive at their wedding, with the dowry prohibition officer.

delhi Updated: Jan 13, 2010 22:53 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The government may soon make amendments to the Dowry Prohibition Act to make it more effective. The changes will allow women to register gifts worth Rs 5,000 and more, that they receive at their wedding, with the dowry prohibition officer.

This is one of several amendments in the Act proposed this week by an inter-ministerial group. The changes are aimed at providing more protection under the law to women against dowry menace and get adequate compensation, if a marriage breaks down.

The Cabinet is likely to consider the proposal in February. “We expect to introduce the amendment bill in the budget session of Parliament,” a senior women and child development ministry official said.

The group — with representation from ministries such as, WCD, law and home affairs — has decided that the Act should be amended to ensure that all gifts including stridhan or mahar or later during ceremonies such as child birth can be registered with the dowry prohibition officer.

The law provides for appointment of a senior government official as prohibition officers in each district of the country to register complaints under the Act and investigate them. Even 15 years after notification of the law, several states have failed to appoint protection officers in each district.

“There were not many complaints under the law as it was considered weak to act against dowry seekers,” said Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath. “With these changes the law would become more effective and provide women a platform to fight against dowry seekers.”

Registration of the gifts, the ministry officials said, will help women get the dowry back. “In most cases, a dispute emerges over the amount of dowry given. With the provision of registration of the gifts, the women will have a legal right to seek compensation for all the gifts given,” a senior ministry official said.

To prevent false claims over gifts, the group has decided that the protection officers will authenticate the list before registering it.

The government has decided that protection officers can also function as protection officers under Domestic Violence Protection Act, to improve efficiency of women specific laws.