In a move aimed at checking dowry-based violence, the Kerala government has issued a circular directing all-male government employees to furnish a declaration to their heads of departments within one month of their marriage that they have not taken any dowry.
The declaration has to be signed by the employee's wife, father and father-in-law. In the circular, the State Women and Child Development Director, who is also the Chief Dowry Prohibition Officer as per the Kerala Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Rules, 2021, has asked the heads of departments to obtain and maintain declarations from government employees that they have not asked for, taken, or exhorted the receipt of dowry, reported The News Minute.
Reports On Declarations To Be Furnished In Six Months
In turn, the heads of the department have to furnish a report on such declarations once in six months, before April 10 and October 10 every year, to the District Dowry Prohibition Officer (District Women and Child Development Officer) of the district concerned. The District Dowry Prohibition Officer has to mandatorily submit a report of departments that have not furnished the declarations before April 15 and October 15 every year.
"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 ₹ 15,000 or amount of the value of such dowry, whichever is more. Similarly, demanding dowry shall also be punishable," the circular reads. Additionally, the government has decided to observe November 26 as Dowry Prohibition Day.
Other Steps Taken To Check Dowry-Based Violence
The move comes in the backdrop of rising dowry deaths in the state. Last month, the state made headlines after three alleged dowry deaths were reported in a span of 24 hours. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan condemned these deaths. He announced that Kerala's school textbooks will be revised and audited to exclude words and phrases disparaging women. Additionally, he also launched a 24-hour helpline to report dowry harassment.