SC Notice To Centre On PIL Seeking Better Facilities For Domestic Violence Survivors

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Implementation of Domestic Violence Act: The Supreme Court of India has asked the Central Government to respond to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a non-government organisation (NGO) on enforcement of proper infrastructure including legal aid to the survivors of domestic violence as per the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The court has given the government a deadline of December 6 to respond.

Justices UU Lalit and S Ravinder Bhat have issued the notice to the Union of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and the Ministry of Women and Child Development on the NGO’s plea to provide better infrastructure for survivors in terms of shelter homes as well as providing legal aid to them.

“As of now, we will issue notice to respondents 1 to 3. We are not issuing notice to states else it will become a jamboree. We will then put the case in the basket of Central government for monitoring,” the court said.

The PIL was filed by We The Women of India, an NGO that was represented by advocate Shobha Gupta. The plea argued that despite the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 being in force for more than 15 years, domestic violence continues to be a common crime against women.

Citing the National Crime Bureau report of 2019, the plea read, “As per the National Crime Bureau report for the year 2019, out of 4.05 lakh reported cases categorised under ‘crimes against women’, over 30 percent were domestic violence cases.” The plea also referred to the National Family Health Survey and said that 86 percent of women survivors of domestic violence do not even seek help. Plus, during the lockdown due to COVID-19, the National Commission of  Women saw twice the increase in domestic violence cases.

In order to change that, the plea suggested that contact details of concerned protection officers or the service provider and shelter homes need to be made accessible and should provide timely assistance to the survivors.

Here the court involved the Broadcasting Ministry as the petition also suggested making this assistance and contacts available to the public through various modes of giving out information to create awareness.

“The legislature has even acknowledged the problem awareness among the masses and provided a provision in the Act for regular publicity of the provisions of the Act mandate under Section 11 (1),” the petition stated.

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