Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
Manan Kumar

Increasing number of dowry killings and the poor conviction rate of cases continue to shame India.

According to the latest statistics of union home ministry, 8083 dowry deaths took place in the country in 2013 with first three ignominious spots going to Uttar Pradesh (2335 deaths), Bihar (1182) and Madhya Pradesh (776) respectively.

But when it comes to conviction rate, it is the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal that fare poorly with abysmal rates of conviction. Even though the reported cases of dowry deaths are lesser in these states as compared to UP, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, their conviction rate ranges between 3.8% – 12.9%.

While Gujarat and Maharashtra accounted for only 29 and 320 dowry deaths in 2013 their conviction rate was only 3.8% and 8.1% respectively, the lowest in the ladder.

Maharashtra’s conviction rate was only 15.3% in 2011 and 16.9% in 2012.

Famous criminal lawyer KTS Tulsi says that cases of dowry killings need speedy trial, they are as worse as rape cases. Tulsi blames weak criminal justice system, lack of scientific apparatus and temperament and excessive burden of cases on courts for the poor conviction rate.

“Much evidence is lost because our police agencies do not have proper apparatus to collect forensic proofs right from the spot without wasting time which is precious to nail the culprits. There is also excessive dependence on the oral evidence by the police that often let the culprits go scot-free,” said Tulsi.

Tulsi suggests availability of mobile forensic vans that can go to the crime scene at once to collect blood and DNA samples and other forensic evidence.

“With the help of mobile forensic vans one can get the results in hours that usually takes several weeks and at time months,”Tulsi added.

Another lady criminal lawyer who is fighting a couple of dowry death cases in high court for several years now said, one key reason that allows the culprits to go scot-free is bad police that at times gets influenced by the boy’s side and does not investigate the case well. She also blamed slow and lengthy proceedings in court for the delay.

“There are examples where the culprit husband or mother in-law died before the judgment could be arrived at. There is need to have fast track courts for dowry deaths like in the case of rape trials. A time bound trial will help in nailing the culprits quick,” she said.

Maximum Dowry killings
Worst states (2011, 2012 and 2013)

All India – 24934

Uttar Pradesh – 6901

Bihar – 3870

Andhra Pradesh – 1595

Worst Conviction Rate (2011, 2012 and 2013)

Gujarat (3.8%)

Maharashtra (13.4%)

West Bengal (13.7%)

Andhra Pradesh (11.9%)

Odisha (11.8%)