We have not yet reached a point where gender-neutral law for domestic violence is needed, Hon’ble Justice Hima Kohli of Delhi High Court clarified in a webinar on Thursday. The webinar titled ‘Domestic Violence During Lockdown: An Invisible Pandemic’ was conducted by The Association of ILI Alumni and the Indian Law Institute. The panel was moderated by Dr P Puneeth. Associate Professor at JNU Delhi, and included Hon’ble Justice Hima Kohli of Delhi High Court, and Rekha Sharma, the Chairperson of the National Commission of Women as speakers, Live Law reported.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in domestic violence cases not only in India but also worldwide. In India, NCW received around 1,665 cases of domestic violence from March 21st to June 7th, Rekha Sharma said during the Webinar. The maximum number of cases came from Uttar Pradesh, while Delhi stood at number two.

Justice Kohli said that the existing laws for women are adequate in providing protection to women. The root cause of the problem is the inability to implement these provisions properly.

Why There’s Still No Need For Gender-Neutral Laws?

While Justice Kohli addressed the issue of domestic violence and the difficulty that women face while reporting it, the last question asked to her was about misuse of the domestic violence laws. She clarified, “In our society, we haven’t reached the point where men have needed protection from women. If there comes a time that women have an upper hand, then we will come to amending the laws. I am not saying there is no misuse. But, this cannot be a ground to throw out the law. We can do as much as we can to nip the misuse at the bud. However, there is no denying that the power structure is in the favour of men”.

Also Read: India Domestic Violence Helpline Numbers During the Lockdown

Justice Kohli is the Executive Chairperson of the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA). Along with setting up help desks at public authorities, she said that DSLSA has further collaborated with Mother Dairy booths, pharmacists and chemists throughout the city of Delhi, so that booth managers can remain wary of the instances of domestic violence in their locality.

“In our society, we haven’t reached the point where men have needed protection from women. If there comes a time that women have an upper hand, then we will come to amending the laws.” – Justice Kohli

Domestic Violence Cases Come From All Stratas Of The Society

“When it comes to domestic violence, it is not just limited to those living on the fringe of society. It is prevalent across all strata. Money or the professional competence of a woman, surprisingly, does not factor in,” Justice Kohli said, highlighting the fact that women who are financially competent are even more reluctant to step out and complain due to the fact that such instances might hamper their social as well as professional life.

She further said that the existing laws for women such as Section 498 A of the IPC, or the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005, are adequate in providing protection to women. The root cause of the problem is the inability to implement these provisions properly.

NCW received around 1,665 cases of domestic violence from March 21st to June 7th. The maximum number of cases came from Uttar Pradesh, while Delhi stood at number two.

Picture Credit- Live Law

Also Read: It Took A Pandemic For Us Women To Be Safe From Street Harassment

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