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Kerala Women's Commission to submit proposals to government to check dowry harassment and ostentatious weddings

Regulating ostentatious weddings and giving bride rights over gold and gifts she receives during wedding are some of the proposals on the anvil to check the menace, points out M. C. Josephine, chairperson of Kerala Women’s Commission

Giving women the rights over the gold and gifts she receives at the time of her wedding and regulating expensive weddings through law figure among the proposals to be submitted by the Kerala State Women’s Commission before the Kerala government to check dowry harassment and ostentatious weddings.

The move comes close on the heels of the public outrage over the death of 24-year-old woman, who was found hanging at her in-laws’ house in Kollam on Monday, in a suspected case of death related to dowry harassment. Her husband was arrested and slapped with charges under sections 498A (subjecting a woman to cruelty for dowry) and 304B (dowry death).

"Regulating ostentatious weddings and giving bride the rights over the gold and gifts she receives at the time of her wedding are some of the proposals on the anvil to check the menace of dowry harassment and lavish weddings in the State," pointed out M. C. Josephine, chairperson of the Kerala State Women’s Commission.

"The commission has consulted legal minds on the possible laws that could be initiated, and it will be presented before the government soon for follow-up action," she said.

Prohibited by law

The commission has found that the society continues to keep giving dowry in various other names even though it is prohibited by law and despite coming across several incidents of dowry-related deaths and harassment.

Ms. Josephine said that the commission has received several complaints alleging that the husband’s family was taking possession of the money and gold ornaments given to the bride by her parents.

"There should also be a law to regulate expensive weddings in the State. We have to keep a ceiling for the expenditure and the commission will recommend it based on the legal opinion," she said.

Kerala had recorded 66 dowry-related deaths between 2016 and 2020 under the category of ‘crime against women’ as per the data in the State Crime Records Bureau. About 15,140 cases were registered between 2016 and April this year under the category of ‘cruelty by husband/relatives’.

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