Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the state government to file an affidavit with details of the steps it has initiated to regulate matrimonial websites and marriage bureaus operational across the state that are purportedly violating provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
A division bench of the court also rapped the state over the delay in appointing dowry prohibition officers in consonance with the provisions of the above Act and also in compliance with previous orders of the Court.
The bench noted that in October last year, the state had sought three months to complete the procedure for such appointments. However, on Tuesday, it sought another six months for the same, claiming that “some approvals were still pending.”
At this, the bench observed that the state’s “procedures were surprisingly slow.”
“What is this excuse of pending approvals? You are the government. Whose approval are you still seeking to comply with the court’s orders? Do you feel that this is not a serious enough issue?” the bench said. “Your conduct will force us to summon the secretaries of all concerned departments,” it said.
The bench was hearing a public interest litigation that claimed that though the Dowry Prohibition Act was enacted in 1961, the state has done little to control the menace. The plea also urges the court to inquire into the “mushrooming of illegal business of marriage brokers and marriage service providers.”
The plea claims that advertisements on matrimonial sites often seek dowry directly or indirectly.
The government meanwhile, told the court that it had advertised for the post of a chief dowry prohibition officer and that it had also announced that secretaries of the State Women and Child Development department will function as taluka and district level dowry prohibition officers.