Alappuzha: The dowry death cases which were on the rise in the state in recent years have shown a declining trend after the much-publicised Thushara case at Karunagapally in Kollam district in March this year. Thushara was locked up in a room and forced to consume only soaked rice and sugar syrup for several days by her husband and mother-in-law over dowry issues. She died at a government hospital in Kollam and both the culprits were arrested.
Since then, only four dowry death cases were registered under section 304(B) of IPC in the state, as per the state Crime Records Bureau data. While 16 cases were reported last year, the figure was 12 in 2017 and 25 in 2016.
But the number of domestic violence cases has increased this year compared to last year. At least 2,190 cases were registered under section 498 A (cruelty by husband / relatives) till September this year compared to 2,048 last year.
During the last decade, 228 women fell victims to dowry cruelties within seven years of their marriage.
But the conviction rate in such cases is very low. The National Crime Records Bureau data says 87 per cent of dowry death cases and over 83 per cent of cases registered under Dowry Prohibition Act in the country are pending in courts.
M.S. Thara, member of Kerala Women's Commission, says that rather than bringing in more laws, individuals have to change to end such cruelties. Ostentatious marriages must be discouraged to avoid financial strain on the poor, she adds.
In June 2015, the commission had urged the then UDF government to enact a law to curb marriage expenses. But the proposal was ignored....