Indian women 'misusing' dowry law to harass husbands and in-laws
Though outlawed since 1961, practice of giving dowries continues
More than 8,000 women killed every year in India in dowry-related incidents (AFP Photo)
India's Supreme Court has said that women are increasingly misusing the tough anti-dowry law to harass their husbands and in-laws.
The judges said the law was enacted to help women, but it was being used as "a weapon by disgruntled wives".
The court has now ordered the police to follow a nine-point checklist before arresting anyone on a dowry complaint.
Correspondents say dowry offenses are a serious issue in India where more than 8,000 women are killed every year.
Paying and accepting dowry is a centuries-old South Asian tradition where the bride's parents gift cash, clothes and jewellery to the groom's family.
The practice has been illegal in India since 1961, but it continues to thrive and campaigners say it leaves women vulnerable to domestic violence and even death.
To prevent dowry deaths and harassment of brides in their matrimonial homes, India introduced a tough anti-dowry law - Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code - in 1983.
A complaint under the law allows for immediate arrest and jailing of the accused, often the husband and his family members, but campaigners say the provision is frequently misused with many women filing false cases.
Full Story: India court says women 'misusing' dowry law
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