The Kerala High Court on Friday issued a notice to the state government on a writ petition seeking amendments and strict implementation of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. A bench headed by Chief Justice S Manikumar asked the government why the Act is not being implemented strictly in the state.
The court asked why there was no appointment made to the posts of Dowry Prohibition Officers, as per the Act, though dowry deaths are being reported frequently. The petition, filed by Indira Rajan, the CEO of the Vikram Sarabhai Science Foundation, sought a direction to all government servants to furnish a declaration that they have not taken any dowry.
"Dowry is a social stigma causing un-imaginable torture and crime towards women. This evil has taken the lives of numerous innocent women from all strata of society," the petition said. "The lackadaisical attitude of the government and its machineries is the root-cause for this," it said, adding that though the Parliament has enacted the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, it could not serve the intended purpose or eradicate dowry.
As per the petition, the country saw 8,391 dowry deaths in 2010, meaning there are 1.4 deaths per 1,00,000 women. Such deaths account for 40 to 50% of all homicides recorded annually in the country, it added.
The petition comes in light of the deaths of two young women from Kerala who died allegedly by abuse due to dowry harassment. Vismaya V Nair, a 22-year-old student, was found dead at her husband's family's home on June 21, days after she shared pictures of the brutal assault she faced at the hands of her husband due to dowry with her cousin. A day after Vismaya's death, 19-year-old Suchitra was found dead at her in-law's house. She too had allegedly faced harassment due to dowry.