The rise of domestic violence due to dowry-related issues has been on the news in Kerala for quite some time. In light of this, the Kerala Government has made it mandatory for all male employees to submit a ‘No Dowry’ Affidavit within one month of marriage. The Department of Women and Child Development issued the order.
This affidavit declares that they have not taken dowry from their partner or their families. The employee, employee’s wife, father, and father-in-law have to sign the affidavit and submit it to the concerned department. The Department heads of the Kerala Government have to compile reports of the affidavit collected and submit them to the district dowry prohibition officer every six months. If authorities find out that the certificate is fake or illegal practices were followed to get signatures, strict legal action will be taken against them.
According to the circular distributed by the Department of Women and Child Development, “Giving or taking of dowry shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years and with fine which shall not be less than Rs 15,000 or amount of the value of such dowry, whichever is more. Similarly, demanding dowry shall also be punishable.”
Currently, the ‘No Dowry’ Affidavit is strictly compulsory for government employees. They plan to roll out the same in the private sector too. They are in talks with the Chief Minister of Kerala. We hope to expect further actions from the Government in the coming weeks.
The only flaw in this system is the exchange of ‘gifts’. Gifts, which is usually considered a part of the dowry, is not a major concern in the affidavit. The employees are to mention that they received gifts and not dowry. However, many a time, this is misused by employees to hide the fact that they accepted dowry.