The move comes in light of several cases of dowry deaths of young married women in the state in the last month.

A poster held in a hand says Say no to dowry with dowry written in red letters
news Dowry harassment Sunday, July 25, 2021 - 10:24

All male employees in Kerala government service should now submit a declaration if and when they get married stating that they have not taken dowry from the bride’s family. The declaration should be given within a month of the marriage, signed duly by the employee’s wife, father and father-in-law.

A circular instructing that such a declaration be given was issued by the government’s Department of Woman and Child Development (WCD). The director of WCD, Anupama TV, is also the Chief Prohibition Officer of the state. In the circular, Anupama has directed heads of various government departments to collect the declarations saying the employees have not asked or taken or exhorted dowry.

The heads of department should in turn submit a report of the declarations twice a year – in April and in October – to concerned District Dowry Prohibition Officers. The district officers should give a report of those departments that defaulted in giving the declarations.

"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," the circular tells the employees.

The state government recently amended the Dowry Prohibition Rules – Kerala Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Rules 2021 – to have dowry prohibition officers appointed in districts as well as have the WCD director act as their chief. The move came in light of several cases of dowry deaths of young married women in the state. Three cases of women in their early deaths dying allegedly by suicide came out within a week in June.

Recently, TNM wrote about a 31-year-old woman who spoke to the media about the abuse she faced at the hands of her techie husband and his family in Thiruvananthapuram over dowry.

Read: Kerala techie accused of dowry harassment, starving and torturing his wife

The Kerala government has announced that it will observe November 26 as Dowry Prohibition Day, which is when students in schools and colleges will take an oath that they shall not give or take dowry.

Also read: Once confined to some communities, dowry is now all pervasive in Kerala

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