Alleged dowry-deaths: A preliminary analysis of the autopsy evidence

Ritesh G. Menezes, Shankar M. Bakkannavar, G. Pradeep Kumar, S. Manjunath, Y. P. Raghavendra Babu, Vinod C. Nayak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Issues related to dowry have assumed epidemic proportions and the morbidity and mortality arising from dowry-related issues constitute a major public health problem throughout India. Deaths among married women reported as alleged dowry-deaths for medico-legal autopsy were analysed to observe the regional trend in terms of victim-profile and to identify the cause and manner of such deaths, in Manipal, South India. In the present retrospective study, 1727 medicolegal cases autopsied at the Department of Forensic Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 2005 were reviewed. A total of 17 deaths were identified as alleged dowry-deaths forming the cohort of the present study. Dowry-death peaked between the ages of 21 and 25 years (58.8%). 70.6% of the victims were Hindus, 17.6% were Muslims, and 11.8% were Christians. Over two-third of the victims (70.6%) had a rural background. Nearly 60% of the cases occurred between 6 AM and 10 PM. The survival period of the victims following the incident varied from less than 24 hours (5.9%) to more than 7 days (23.5%). The occupation of the victims revealed that 94.1% were house-wives, and one victim was a doctor (5.9%). Burns was the most frequent method of causing dowry-death (82.3%), followed by poisoning (11.8%), and hanging (5.9%). The manner of death was suicide in 70.6% and homicide in 29.4% of the cases. With a regional understanding of the victim-profile and the cause and manner of dowry-deaths, it may be possible to foresee, and hopefully prevent, future cases of dowry-deaths among the young, married women who form an integral section of our society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-64
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of South India Medicolegal Association
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-09-2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Alleged dowry-deaths: A preliminary analysis of the autopsy evidence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this