40 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 291 (2006-2007)
Deterring Dowry Deaths in India: Applying Tort Law to Reverse the Economic Incentives That Fuel the Dowry Market

handle is hein.journals/sufflr40 and id is 307 raw text is: SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY
LAW REVIEW
Volume XL                                2007                                Number 2
Deterring Dowry Deaths in India: Applying Tort Law to Reverse
the Economic Incentives That Fuel the Dowry Market
Sunil Bhave1
I.   INTRODUCTION
Time did not stop on May 21, 2001, in Banglore, India. But for Rinki, a
2
newly-married nineteen-year-old housewife, this day was her last one alive.
Rinki had been married to a man named Anil for barely a month before she
turned up dead. Rinki was allegedly tortured and set on fire by Anil's family.3
The circumstances surrounding this heinous murder were a familiar scene in
rural India.
Soon after Rinki married Anil, Anil's father demanded that Rinki's family
buy him a motorcycle and a color television to replace the black and white
television set they provided as dowry.4 Rinki's family was unable to meet such
demands. Consequently, Anil's family allegedly subjected Rinki to severe
physical torture, and, on one Saturday morning in Banglore, Rinki was found
charred to death after having been doused with kerosene and set ablaze.5 It was
another incident of a dowry death.6
1. Elbow Law Clerk to the Honorable James J. Brady, District Judge of the Middle District of Louisiana.
J.D., St. Louis University, 2004. 1 am indebted to Professor Constance Wagner for her initial review of and
comments on this Article. Also, I owe my mentor, Professor David Sloss, much thanks for his guidance and
support. Elizabeth Kent, Matthew Tikonoff, and the entire Suffolk University Law Review staff deserve credit
for bringing this Article to print. Finally, the analysis in this Article should in no way be construed to reflect
the views of my boss, mentor, and friend, Judge James Brady, his staff, or the Middle District of Louisiana.
2. See Amanda Hitchcock, Rising Number of Dowry Deaths in India, WORLD SOCIALIST WEB SITE, July
4, 2001, http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/jul200l/ind-j04.shtml.
3. Id.
4. Id.
5. Id. The use of burning by kerosene in dowry deaths is very common in India. See Meghana Shah,
Note, Rights Under Fire: The Inadequacy of International Human Rights Instruments in Combating Dowry
Murder in India, 19 CONN. J. INT'L L. 209, 213 (2003); see also Celia W. Dugger, Kerosene, Weapon of Choice
forAttacks on Wives in India, N.Y. TIMES, Dec. 26, 2000, at Al.
6. See infra text accompanying note 73 (defining crime of dowry death). Judge Arijit Pasayat stated

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