Recently, an Additional Sessions Court at Jammu called on the State Government to establish marriage counselling centres in all districts of Jammu and Kashmir to provide marriage and relationship counselling to couples and their families in view of the rising crimes related to dowry demands.
While hearing an anticipatory bail petition moved by a woman accused of dowry harassment following the suicide of her daughter-in-law. Concerning the facts of the case, a 32 years old woman who had allegedly been tortured mentally and physically for dowry had suicide. And her husband, mother-in-law, brother-in-law were accused of dowry harassment. Thus, the court has proposed that,
“Dowry death crime is on rise and inspite of all efforts there is no decline in its rising graph. ………………………………………..I am now reiterating my concern for awakening the moral conscious of the society towards such horrible happenings in our families. Fact remains that unless society as a whole is not convictionally ready to abhor and oppose to it, laws are not going to succeed in curbing the menace.”
Further the Court has held that the counselling centres proposed should be entrusted with the responsibility of pre-marital and post-marital parleys between the families of the couple to ensure a harmonious and peaceful settlement of matrimonial misunderstandings.
Upon hearing, the Additional Sessions Court was rejected a plea on Friday; citing gravity of the offence and also on the ground that a prima facie case was made out. The judge added that he felt it necessary to convey this concern given that if misunderstandings between a woman and her in-laws are not settled and shaped properly, it may culminate in horrible criminal cases like the one at hand.
The court, in its order, also issued a message to society that by resorting to illegal dowry demands, the whole family gets adversely affected. The judge observed in its order;
“Through the medium of this order I convey my concern to the govt. to establish marriage counselling Centres in every District, where especially before the celebration of marriage, the couples along with their family members be called to have parleys with the experts of the field who can guide them how to behave to each other in the new relationship, based on social, moral, ethical and religious sanctions (sic),”
The court, therefore, rejected the anticipatory bail plea while also pointing out that anticipatory bail is only meant for cases where it appears that a bona fide person has been unnecessarily roped in on account of vengeance or similar reasons. It is not meant for those explicitly involved in serious offences like dowry deaths, the court added.