Anti-dowry fight: SC wants brides, grooms to declare wedding expenses
The SC has advised the Centre to make it mandatory for brides and grooms to furnish details of their wedding expenses to their marriage officer.
A part of the expenses could also be deposited in the wife's account for exigencies, it added.
This will help discourage demand for dowry and also check false dowry cases, it said.
Here's why SC wants wedding expenses declared
SC hearing alleged dowry case where man has denied charges
The SC was hearing a marital dispute case, where the woman has leveled dowry allegations against the man, who has denied them.
It noted that such cases were common, and wondered if a mechanism could be developed to minimize them.
"We may consider whether details of expenditure on marriage should be jointly furnished to the jurisdictional marriage officer to avoid future disputes about dowry," it noted.
Similar proposal had been made years ago
A similar proposal had been made by a government panel in 2012, which sought to enforce an income-linked cap on wedding expenses, including on gifts and food.
"If there's a cap, there will be a clear indication on what amounts to dowry," lawyer Abhishekh Nath had explained.
The panel had also suggested a relook at the Dowry Prohibition Act to define dowry and related terms better.
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21 women died everyday in dowry cases
In 2015, nearly one woman died every hour in India, 21 in a day, due to dowry related causes. Most of them were burnt alive or forced to commit suicide. In contrast, conviction rates remained alarmingly low at 34.7%.
Last year, a bill sought to limit wedding expenses
Last year, a bill in the Lok Sabha had also proposed limiting wedding expenses by capping the number of guests and dishes.
If someone spends more than Rs. 5L, they'd have to contribute 10% of the amount to weddings of poor girls who can't afford it, the bill proposed.
However, its intention was not related to dowry, but to check "show of wealth."