Twenty-one dowry deaths are reported across the country every day, but the conviction rate is only 34.7 per cent.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) states that in 2015, as many as 7,634 women died in the country due to dowry harassment. Either they were burnt alive or forced to commit suicide over dowry demand.
Data further reveals that after registration of dowry deaths, police have chargesheeted around 93.7 per cent of the accused, of which only 34.7 per cent have been convicted. The remaining cases are still pending in various courts.
According to Delhi Police, till March 15 this year, 31 women died due to dowry harassment.
In the last five years, as many as 715 cases of dowry deaths have been reported in the national Capital and the crime rate have been increasing with every passing year.
Moreover, in Delhi, around 3,877 cases of cruelty by in-laws and husbands have been registered in 2016. Till March 15 this year, as many as 506 such cases have been reported in the city. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, prohibits the request, payment or acceptance of a dowry 'as consideration for marriage', and dowry here is defined as a gift demanded or given as a precondition for marriage.
'EXISTING LAW HAS CERTAIN LOOPHOLES'
Experts say that the existing law has certain loopholes and needs to be made stricter. Despite amendments made to the Dowry Act in 1983, the desired results are yet desired to be achieved. Improper investigations at the initial stage of a case slow down the process of judicial proceedings, experts rue.
Items such as jewellery, clothes, cars and money are traditionally given by the bride's family to the groom and his parents under the outlawed custom to ensure that she is taken care of in her new home.
But often the groom's family demands more dowry after marriage, resulting in mental and physical harassment that can lead to suicide or murder of the bride. Dowry has not only turned out to be a bane for women, but even for their families, who often find it hard to arrange the money.