22 Brook. J. Int'l L. 637 (1996-1997)
The Tragedy of Bride Burning in India: How Should the Law Address It

handle is hein.journals/bjil22 and id is 645 raw text is: NOTES
THE TRAGEDY OF BRIDE BURNING IN
INDIA: HOW SHOULD THE LAW ADDRESS
IT?
I. INTRODUCTION
Within a week of marriage, Savita Sharma's in-laws made
demands for a refrigerator, scooter, television set, and cash.'
Her mother-in-law verbally abused her, did not give her
enough food to eat or soap to bathe with, and locked up all her
clothes.2 Both her mother-in-law and her husband beat her.3
On one occasion, she overheard her mother-in-law tell a ten-
ant, I will burn her and then give money to the police to hush
up the case.4 Savita Sharma's emotional and physical suffer-
ing at the hands of her husband and in-laws is typical of what
many young married women experience in India if their hus-
band and in-laws are dissatisfied with the amount of dowry'
that the women bring to the marriage.
Frequently, the violence escalates and results in either the
young bride's murder or in her suicide.' Sudha Jai's case is
1. See Raka Sinha, Seven Dowry Victims Go to the Supreme Court, EVE'S
WEEKLY, Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 1983, at 16.
2. See id.
3. See id.
4. Id.
5. Dowry usually refers to gifts given during the marriage to the son-in-law
or his parents in cash or kind. See RANJANA KUMARI, BRIDES ARE NOT FOR BURN-
ING 1 (1989). However, from the point of view of women's status, dowry has to be
looked at as constituting: 1) gifts given to the bride but usually not considered her
exclusive property; often the content and value of these gifts are settled before the
marriage and announced openly or discreetly; 2) gifts given to the bridegroom
before and at marriage; 3) gifts presented to the bride's in-laws. See id. The set-
tlement often includes the enormous expenses incurred on travel and entertain-
ment of the bridegroom's party. The gift-giving often continues through the first
few years of marriage . . . . Id. (footnote omitted).
6. See S.C. Sahu, Marriage-Why Dowryless?-A Medicologist's Considerations,

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