The outlawed dowry system continues to survive and kill. The highest number of cases was registered in Uttar Pradesh at 2,274 with 2,302 victims; followed by Bihar, where the number of cases reported was 1,046, with 1,047 victims.
Dowry related matters accounted for the lives of 19 women every day in 2020, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data has revealed. A total of 6,966 cases of dowry deaths, with 7,045 victims, were reported last year, the crime bureau report said.
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The number of dowry deaths stood at 7,141 in 2019 and 7,167 in 2018.
Due to the ‘Principal Offence Rule’ used by NCRB to classify crimes, often victims include other individuals that were affected in other ways in a dowry death case; usually the family of the woman who dies. For such reasons, victims and deaths are represented in separate figures.
In all, as 10,366 cases were registered under The Dowry Prohibition Act in 2020 against 13,307 cases in 2019 and 12,826 cases in 2018. The crime rate per one lakh people in 2020 stood at 1.6.
The highest number of cases was registered in Uttar Pradesh at 2,274 with 2,302 victims. This was followed by Bihar, where the number of cases reported was 1,046, with 1,047 victims. A total of 608 cases were registered in Madhya Pradesh, followed by West Bengal (522), Rajasthan (479), Odisha (320), Jharkhand (275), and Haryana (251). In Delhi, 110 cases of dowry deaths were reported in 2020.
No such cases were reported in Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Ladakh and Lakshadweep.
Additionally, 1,11,549 cases were registered under cruelty by husband or his relatives against 1,24,934 cases in 2019 and 1,03,272 cases in 2018. West Bengal registered the highest number of such cases with 19,962, followed by Uttar Pradesh (14,454) and Rajasthan (13,765).
Noting that the publication follows the principal offence rule for classifying crimes in India, the bureau said the actual crime count could be under-reported. Among many offences registered under a single FIR case, the NCRB considers only the most heinous crime as a counting unit. As such, the Dowry Prohibition Act, when applied with dowry deaths under Section 304B of the IPC, is counted as dowry death only.
According to NCRB 2020 data, crime against women declined 8.3 percent in 2020 at 3,71,503 cases against 4,05,326 cases in 2019.
A majority of crime cases against women under IPC were registered under cruelty by husband or his relatives (30 percent).
Although the dowry system was made illegal in India in 1961, the custom still prevails in various parts of the country cutting across classes, financial, religious and educational barriers.
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