19 Conn. J. Int'l L. 209 (2003-2004)
Rights under Fire: The Inadequacy of International Human Rights Instruments in Combating Dowry Murder in India

handle is hein.journals/conjil19 and id is 217 raw text is: RIGHTS UNDER FIRE:
Meghana Shah*
When Sunita Vir married in 1991, her father, Kalam Singh, spent over $5,000
on her dowry, which consisted of cash, steel trunks, cupboards, a sewing machine,
kitchen utensils, and most importantly, a black-and-white television set, a most
coveted possession among India's lower-middle class families.' Still, the elaborate
dowry was not enough for Sunita's new in-laws.' Less than two weeks after the
marriage, Sunita's husband and in-laws began demanding more dowry from
Sunita's family, specifically in the form of a new refrigerator. Sunita's parents
could not provide the additional goods, having already acquired a large amount of
debt to supply the original dowry With two other daughters to marry, they could
do no more. Sunita's in-laws began beating her for her failure to secure the
requested goods.' In 1993, less than two years after her marriage, Sunita's father-
in-law and brother-in-law held her down on a cot, while her husband doused her
with kerosene and set her alight.' Sunita died in the hospital, but not before making
a dying declaration accusing her in-laws of murder.' In Sunita's case, the Virs
were sentenced to life imprisonment.' This successful sentencing is a rarity in
India, where perpetrators of dowry violence frequently go unpunished.'
*   J.D. expected, University of Connecticut School of Law, 2004; B.A., McGill University,
2000. 1 am grateful for the guidance of Professor Laura Dickinson and the diligent efforts of the entire
Connecticut Journal of International Law staff that made this publication possible. I thank my parents
Dr. Dilip and Mrs. Bharti D. Shah, and my sister Shreya, for their unwavering support. I acknowledge
the valuable insights of Hiam Abbas and Mohini Datta-Ray. This note is dedicated fondly to Indian
women everywhere.
1.  Anita Pratap, Killed by Greed and Oppression, TIME MAGAZINE, Sept. II, 1995, Vol. 146,
No. II, available at http:/Iwww.time.com/time/internationall1995/95091 lwomen.in dia.html (last
visited Sept. 20, 2003).
2.  Id.
3.  Id.
4.  Id.
5.  Id.
6.  Id.
7.  Id.
8.  Manjaree Chowdhary, Miles to Go: An Assessment of the Enforcement Hurdles in the
Implementation of the Anti-Dowry Law in India, in SOUTH ASIANS AND THE DOWRY PROBLEM 151, 151
(Werner Menski ed., 1998); see also Debasree Banerjee, Dowry Verdict: Half-Step Forward, THE
HINDUSTAN TIMES, Aug. II, 1996, at 2.

What Is HeinOnline?

With comprehensive coverage of government documents and more than 2,400 journals from inception on hundreds of subjects such as political science, criminal justice, and human rights, HeinOnline is an affordable option for colleges and universities. Documents have the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?