Amendments carried out in Dowry Prohibition Act
Next time when you hold a marriage ceremony, you could have a group of unsolicited guests – the Dowry Prohibition Officer (DPO) and cops.
The Orissa Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Rules, 2010 which was notified a couple of days and forwarded to implementing authorities on Monday, authorises DPOs to visit any marriages along with officer-in-charge of a police station to see that the provisions of the Act are not contravened.
“The DPO while making inquiries under the Act or when he attends any marriage, for the purpose of making inquiries, shall take the assistance of an officer of a police station or other officers to assist him in the performance of his functions and it shall be the duty of the officer of the police station to render the assistance required by DPO,” the new rules say.
The DPO is, however, cautioned that he would have to discharge his duties with due care and decorum to uphold privacy, dignity and harmony of family relationship. The officer would ascertain and confirm by suitable means in respect of as many number of marriages as are held within his jurisdiction as to whether the provision of the Act are being followed and are not.
The State government has amended the Orissa Dowry Prohibition Rules, 2000 and named it as Orissa Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Rules, 2010.
The designated officers would list all the presents submitted by the parties to any marriage and make entries relating thereto in a register to be maintained for the purpose. The amended rules say where any dowry is received by any person other than the woman and a complaint is received in respect of non-transfer of such dowry to the woman who is entitled to it in accordance with section 6 of the Act, the DPO would issue directions to the parties to transfer the same within stipulated time.
The rules say the State government would designate a senior officer of the concerned department as the Chief Dowry Prohibition Officer to administer and coordinate the work of DPOs and will be responsible for creating consciousness and awareness to prevent dowry system among the public.
Every government servant shall after his marriage furnish a declaration stating that he has not taken any dowry, the Head of the Department, it says. The declaration will be signed by his wife, father, mother, father-in-law and mother-in-law.
“This being a deep rooted social problem the effort by the State government alone cannot eradicate the dowry system either before or after the marriage but the present amendments are quite exhaustive providing more teeth to the Dowry Prohibition Officers making them more sensitive and responsive,” senior High Court lawyer Bibhu Prasad Tripathy reacting to the new amendment.
Mr. Tripathy said, “now the discreet and covert practice of dowry will not only be punitive but also preventive. It is high time the Central government must bring necessary amendments in the Act to raise the quantum of punishment.”