Nepal: Proposed Legislation Would Prohibit Dowry-Related Violence
Thursday, August 21, 2014 10:20 PM

The National Women Commission (NWC) of Nepal has drafted new legislation to criminalize dowry-related violence against women. The giving or receiving of a dowry is already illegal in Nepal, but such marriage-related transfers of money or property from the bride to the groom still take place or are expected. This expectation of dowry leaves women and girls in Nepal vulnerable to violence or even death if their families fail to meet dowry demands.  

The new bill would punish physical or mental torture in the name of dowry with imprisonment of five to ten years and a fine.  Physical torture is defined as, “beating, detention, and any physical harm or activities for not bringing or giving dowry before or after marriage.” Metal torture is defined as any sort of “threat of physical torture, threatening activities, accusation, or any other activates that mentally hurts the victim.”  The dowry violence bill also stipulates that if a woman commits suicide due to physical or mental torture, the perpetrator may still be held accountable under the law.

Saraj Raj Thapa, an NWC legal advisor who helped draft the legislation, stated, “the new bill ensures that any kind of violence against women in the name of dowry is a crime and the perpetrators will be punished accordingly.” The bill has been sent to the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Affairs to be introduced in parliament.

Compiled from: Shrestha, Shreejana, NWC drafts bill to criminalize dowry-related violence, Nepal Republic Media Republica (August 10, 2014).