Over 50 volunteers stormed the streets of Thane and Mumbai to raise awareness on Anti-Dowry Day, as they informed the people about the controversial section 498A of the Indian Penal Code and Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. With cases in India pending in large numbers, the men and women activists are demanding quick redressal of such cases. As per the National Crime Records Bureau of India, in 2014, 10,050 cases have been registered in India, under Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 from which 4,617 cases saw final trial from which 472 persons were convicted, while 4,145 cases were either discharged or faced acquittal. Also, 26,437 cases are pending trial in courts, as the conviction rate is 10.2 per cent, while pending case percentage is 83.1 per cent.
As per the NCRB statistics for the last couple of years, under section 498 (A) (cruelty by husband and his relatives), 1,22,877 cases were reported, out of which 46,853 cases completed trial and 6,425 persons were convicted. But 40,428 cases were acquitted and discharged. Also, 4,43,878 cases are pending trial in court making it to the conviction rate of meagre 13.7per cent and pending cases to 88.4 per cent. “We had our volunteers on the streets and they spoke to the commuters and explained to them about the crime against women, the statistics, gender neutral law and the pros and cons of the section 498A and the anti-dowry laws which violates men’s rights,” said Amit Deshpande, president, Vaastav foundation. “We believe that asking dowry is a crime and law should take strict action against the genuine offenders but there should be courts or steps which the government has to take inorder to either dispose or speed up the trials of such cases,” said Deshpande.
“We have stopped following the records completely, instead, we are more concerned about the awareness programmes, especially among youths and we offer pre-marital counselling. We are striving to bring change, as we see that cases of dowry, deaths and harassment is increasing in mega cities and we have to initiate to curb such incidents,” said Asha Kulkarni, general secretary of Anti-Dowry Movement.
“Several cases are pending in court or doesn’t get conviction due to lack of evidence and steps should be taken to curb incidents of dowry, death and harassment of husband and in-laws of women,” said Kulkarni.