Mumbai Local

Bombay HC to State: How will you regulate matrimonial sites?

A bride wearing ornaments sits during a mass community marriage of sixty couples in Kolkata, India, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Mass marriages in India are organized by social organizations primarily to help the economically backward families who cannot afford the high ceremony costs as well as the customary dowry and expensive gifts which are still prevalent in many communities.(AP Photo/Bikas Das)   | Photo Credit: Bikas Das

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the State how it would regulate matrimonial websites which openly seek dowry. A Division Bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice PD Naik was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate Priscila Samuel.

The PIL claims that although the Dowry Prohibition Act came into effect in 1961, the State had done little to control the dowry menace, and urged the court to inquire into ‘mushrooming illegal business of marriage brokers and marriage service providers’.

The PIL also points out advertisements appearing on matrimonial sites seeking dowry. The petitioner therefore sought orders to the State authorities to regulate the functioning of matrimonial sites. The Bench remarked, “We don’t know how the State government can control them, but the State must control the matrimonial websites.”

Marriage bureaus

The court also took note of the regulation of marriage bureaus that have been left to municipal ward officers. But these officers are already overburdened, so are not in a position to discharge their duties under the Maharashtra Regulation of Marriage Bureaus and Registration of Marriages Act, 1998.

The court therefore asked the State government to take this aspect into consideration and inform the court in one month what it proposes to do in this regard.


On being informed about advertisements in newspapers seeking dowry, the court directed the State to bring to the notice of newspapers the relevant sections of the Dowry Prohibition Act, which prescribes minimum imprisonment of six months for printing, publishing or circulating any such advertisement, and then take steps to prosecute the violators.

The judges felt that if dowry prohibition officers are appointed at police stations and the district levels, people will be able to intimate them about the possible instances of demanding, giving or taking dowry. The matter is adjourned till April 28.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 3:18:37 PM |

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