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Women protest court verdict on dowry offences

A woman activist being arrested by the police during a demonstration by various organisations at the Delhi High Court against the judgment on the Dowry Bill, on Thursday.

A woman activist being arrested by the police during a demonstration by various organisations at the Delhi High Court against the judgment on the Dowry Bill, on Thursday.  

NEW DELHI MAY 22. About a hundred women, owing allegiance to various women groups, forced their way into the Delhi High Court premises this afternoon to protest against the court judgment that recommended dowry offences be made bailable and permissible for out of court settlement, if no grave physical injury was involved.

The women, who raised slogans against the judgment, said it damaged the interests of women. "Even now women are being killed and harassed for dowry and the judgment will further aggravate the problem," Ranjana Kumari, convener of the Joint Action Front for Women, told The Hindu.

The court had on Wednesday said that there was a growing tendency among women to rope in each and every relative, including minors and schoolgoing children, in such cases. The "misuse" of anti-dowry provisions was undermining the foundations of the institution of marriage, the judgment said, adding that it had proved to be detrimental to the health of society.

Police detained 13 women for violating prohibitory orders. Those detained alleged that the police roughed them up because they were taken unawares.

Expressing concern over the observations made by the Delhi High Court, the National Federation of Indian Women said it was unfortunate that a sweeping generalisation had been made about the misuse of these provisions.

The provisions were crucial for providing protection to women and had to be made more stringent.

"The observation of the court seems particularly inappropriate at a time when there is growing realisation that the existing anti-dowry laws have been ineffective in checking this evil," Seba Farooqui, general-secretary of the Federation, said while calling upon women organisations to firmly resist such attempts.

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