A Ph.D. student committed suicide because of dowry demands by her in-laws.

Manjula Devak, a Ph.D. student at the IIT – Delhi campus had everything going for her. A bright future awaited thanks to her brilliant intellect and past work experience in the US.

Manjula Devak. Final year Ph.D. Student

Unfortunately, that was not to be. Tired of being harassed by her In-Laws for Dowry, Manjula hung herself at her apartment in the IIT-Delhi campus.

A conversation Manjula had with her sister.

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Manjula’s father confirmed that it was because of the torture that she ended her life. Manjula and Ritesh Virha got married 4 years back i.e. in 2013.

They shifted from Bhopal to IIT Delhi, since she wanted to pursue her Ph.D. in water resources.

Before joining IIT, Manjula had worked in the US as well.

When Manjula committed suicide, Rajesh was in Indore. No one had seen her since Monday and on Tuesday evening, Manjula’s friends entered her home. After finding the room door locked from within, they informed the cops who broke it down. They rushed her to the hospital, but she was declared dead on arrival.

According to Manjula’s father, the in-laws were demanding a dowry of Rs 20 Lakhs, because her husband had quit his job and wanted money for a business venture.

This was not the first time Manjula had tried to take this extreme step, in 2015 Manjula had tried to end her life by slitting her wrists.

It makes me question the ‘modern fabric’ we like to think our society is made of, we are not even close to it. How can one live, knowing that they drove someone else to take such an extreme step I will never know.

It is extremely important that the topic of Dowry is broached again, very seriously. We can see it still very much exists across all strata of Indian Society and it has to be fought against and abolished.

Manjula Devak.

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Our prayers and thoughts go out to Manjula’s family, and I hope that whoever is proven responsible for this should be punished in the most extreme sense permitted within the scope of the law.

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Marriages are Made at the Registrar’s

Not to burst your pre-wedding bubble, but truer words were never spoken. As the wedding bells ring closer and closer, our to-be-wed belles and beaus get so busy with their vibrant religious and cultural jubilations that they often tend to brush off, or altogether avoid, the oh-so-boring legal formality that comes with it. Here’s why it shouldn’t be given the step treatment.

Marriage Registration

It’s important!

Just like temple, mosque and church ceremonies, the marriage certificate is a very important document that establishes the marital status of newlyweds. And as of 2006, it has been made clear by the Indian Supreme Court that you need to get one irrespective of your caste and religion (if you want to legally own His & Hers bath towels), so there’s no escaping it.

It’s a wedding cakewalk

The procedure to register is surprisingly simple, even for all the legal dummies out there. There are two ways to seal the deal in India, depending on your religion: the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act.

The Hindu Marriage Act

The Special Marriage Act

As the names suggests, both partners have to be Hindus in order to register under the Hindu Marriage Act. This Act, however, is a bit old school; it only allows you to register your marriage and not solemnize it.

It sets a minimum age limit of 21 years for the groom and 18 years for the bride (so much for the cocktail party… sigh).

Firstly, you need to apply to the sub-registrar under whose jurisdiction you tied the knot. You can also apply to the registrar of the place where either you or your spouse have stayed for at least six months before marriage. You will also have to submit the priest’s certificate who solemnized the marriage. And that’s it! Once you submit the required documents (that I will get to in a moment) and they’re verified, all you have to do is wait for your certificate to arrive.

This Act is more secular. It allows couples from any caste and creed to join in legal union; and, as an added bonus, it solemnizes the marriage along with registering it.

It sets a minimum age limit of 21 years for both partners.
You and your spouse have to give a 30-day notice to the sub-registrar in whose jurisdiction at least one of you is residing. If you are marrying under this Act, you won’t need to submit the priest’s certificate, and the registration will take place after the wedding. Mission accomplished!

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You’ve got to proof it

Now let’s get down to business.

The documents you require to get hitched are… *drum roll*:

  • An application form (with the necessary signatures of course)
  • Proof of birth
  • Proof of residence
  • An affidavit by both parties stating the place and date of marriage, date of birth, marital status at the time of marriage , and nationalities
  • Photograph proof (two passport-sized ones of the couple, and wedding pictures for good luck!)
  • Your wedding invitation card (is preferred)
  • A certificate from the priest who solemnized the marriage (mandatory only for the HMA)
  • A certificate of conversion (if either party has converted) from the priest who solemnized the marriage (again, for the HMA)

The documents needed may vary based on the situation, but once you have all the necessary documents in place, registering for a marriage certificate will be smoother than the Crème Brule served at your wedding reception.

Finally, make sure you have your three musketeers accompany you as witnesses to certify your marriage.

The perks of being married

While the procedure leading to it may be painstaking, a marriage certificate sure has its perks. It not only proves that you are, in fact, married (to shut those cynics up), but also makes it convenient for your better half to accompany you on international trips. That’s right. You can easily acquire a visa for your spouse if you wish for them to travel with you.

So go that extra mile, get registered, and band baaja baaraat!