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An estimated 3-minute read

Inception and Dowry Death

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Well, I saw Inception the other day. Brilliant movie. Awesome storyline and brilliant performances.

One strange thing that caught my attention in the movie was how Mal Cobb dies. She commits suicide but Mr. Cobb ( Dicaprio) is the one who gets into trouble. When I saw this, I was strangely reminded of our country’s dowry death laws. Strange, I know.

What is dowry death?

This Section of the Indian Penal Code was inserted by a 1986 amendment. The Dowry deaths law defines a 'dowry death' as the death of a woman caused by any burns or bodily injury or which does not occur under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage. For a woman's death to be a dowry death, it must also be shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry. If this is proved, the woman's husband or relative is required to be deemed to have caused her death. Whoever commits dowry death is required to be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.

Well, in a simple language, if the wife dies within 7 years of marriage and there is even a slight reason to believe that she was being harassed by her husband or his relatives, then they will be held responsible for her death.

It doesn’t matter if it was a suicide. The husband and his relatives will be guilty for harassing her and forcing her to take the drastic step. If the conditions under which she died are suspicious, then the husband and the relatives get screwed even more.  

Coming back to Inception.

Well, in the movie we saw that Mal goes to three physiatrists and gets herself declared sane before she jumps off a building as she thinks she is in a dream.  She also accuses her husband of being incapable of handling the children and gets it legally documented.

So, what if such a thing were to happen to a husband in India?

Wife is not sane but somehow gets herself declared as sane. She then commits suicide and then the husband is screwed for life.

There is nothing he can do about it. The worst part is that this is not just my theory. It has been happening for a long time now. Many husbands have fallen victims to this already.

False claims also cause a lot of problems. The court visits, the lawyer fees and the backlash from the society, all this is over and above losing a wife.

I am totally against gender biased laws. I mean, on one side you are advocating gender equality and on the other side you make such laws. Stupid.

I know that for every wrong case there are many women who have had justice due to these laws but that’s not the point. The Indian justice system is supposed to work on the principle of ‘It is better to let nine guilty men free than to convict one innocent man’.


I just wish they could change it and make it gender neutral. I am not being a chauvinist here. I am a fan of equality of the sexes. I think even the laws which are biased towards the males should be changed.

This is India. Things here take time to change.

On a lighter note: Let’s hope this law changes before I get married.


Related Read: Recommendation of Malimath Commission 


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