Justice M. R. Anitha of the Kerala High Court heard the bail petition of Mr. Kiran Kumar, the husband of Vismaya. Kumar is the prime suspect for the death of his wife, wherein he is charged under Sections 498A (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 304B (Dowry Death) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 after Vismaya was found dead in the bathroom of Kumar on June 21, 2021. Prior to her death, Vismaya clicked and sent pictures of her bruises and wounds on her body along with voice notes to her relatives via Whatsapp, wherein she claimed that she allegedly was being harassed by her husband for dowry. She stated in the Whatsapp chats that Kumar and his family members were physically harassing her owing to their dissatisfaction over the gifts given to them by her family during the wedding of Kumar and Vismaya.
The investigation into her suicide revealed that it may be a potential case of homicide; subsequently, Kumar was denied bail by the Sasthamcotta Judicial First Class Magistrate, Kollam.
In response to the incident, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan called for reforms to remove the dowry system from the Indian society in pursuance of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1960. The government of Kerala decided to observe November 26 as Dowry Prohibition Day, wherein all educational institutions, including high schools, secondary and higher secondary schools, technical and non-technical colleges, were asked to take a pledge to neither ask nor receive dowry in a general assembly at the educational institution on Dowry Prohibition Day. The Chief Dowry Prohibition Officer, who is the Director of the State Women and Child Development in Kerala, issued a circular where all male employees in the government sector were mandated to furnish a declaration to their respective heads of department within one month of their marriage, wherein the declaration must be towards that the male employee did not accept/ exhort/ take any dowry in their marriage. The said declaration must be vehemently asked by the heads of the department, wherein the declaration must be self-attested by the wife, wife’s father, husband’s father.
The heads of departments of a specific government sector must furnish a detailed report of the said declarations twice a year (once in six months, before April 10 and October 10) to the District Dowry Prohibition Officer (DDPO) of the concerned district. For heads of departments that have not furnished the said report, the DDPO must furnish a report of defaulters before April 15 and October 15, once in six months.