The Bombay High Court sought a “detailed reply” from Maharashtra government on a public interest litigation contending that marriage bureaus are not regulated properly and some of them openly facilitate dowry.
Advocate Priscilla Samuel in her PIL, which mainly deals with government’s alleged inaction to curb the menace of dowry besides other related issues, said some marriage bureaus provide information in the profiles of their clients as to how much dowry is expected.
One such bureau in fact acts as a negotiator in dowry matter, she alleged, quoting an email purportedly sent by the bureau.
Under Maharashtra Regulation of Marriage Bureaus and Registration of Marriages Act, 1998, every marriage bureau must be registered with the government, she said.
The information about prospective brides and grooms which such match-makers provide is not verified and many times women get cheated due to false information, she said, adding that marriage bureaus/websites must authenticate the profiles registered with them.
On some marriage websites, dowry is demanded openly, she alleged.
The petitioner also said that under Regulation of Marriage Bureaus Act as well as Dowry Prohibition Act, certain rules are to be framed but the state government has not complied with this provision.
Also, full-time Dowry Prohibition Officers have to be appointed under DP Act but many times police officers are designated as Dowry Prohibition Officers and they cannot devote enough time for this responsibility, she said.
These officers, under the Act, are supposed to create awareness about the dowry prohibition law.
Taking note of all these points, the division bench, headed by Justice V M Kanade, asked the government to file a detailed affidavit within two weeks.