PWDVA In the News

violence cases pending for over 3 yrs

Express , Nov 11, 2011

March 2008: A school teacher had filed a case against her husband accusing the latter of infidelity. It is awaiting cross examination of the husband.

* July 2009: A housewife had filed a case complaining physical and ouster from her house. The case is awaiting a decision on alimony to be paid by the respondent.

* November 2010: A housewife had complained of physical harassment by her husband. The notice is yet to be issued to the respondent.

The fate of several cases filed under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is similar. The Act mandates that these cases should be decided within 90 days of their filing.

In the first case, the complainant stated that the husband had married another woman and had been residing with his second wife for over six months without divorcing the complainant. While the complainant is currently residing in a shelter home with her two children aged below fifteen years, she is yet to receive maintenance.

Meanwhile, the second case has the complainant accusing her husband of causing mental and physical harassement to her. While it has been a year since the complaint was filed, the summons have not yet been issued to the respondent. The two have been living separately for the last eight months.

Further, in the third case, the complainant had grievance of being physically harassed by her husband and being thrown out of her own house (which is registered in the name of her parents). The case is awaiting a date for final arguments for the last six months and she continues living in a shelter home.

In the third case, the complainant’s lawyer last month had moved an application for transferring the case to the mediation centre.

However, the response of the court is still awaited.

“As the case is being delayed, we thought of requesting the court to refer the matter to the mediation centre so that the complainant could seek relief. We are waiting for the court’s order,” said Rajan Malhotra, the complainant’s lawyer.

Harassment by step-family is also domestic violence: Court

TNN | Nov 11, 2011

Broadening the scope of Domestic Violence Act, a trial court has said that a woman, who is facing harassment and ill-treatment from her stepmother and step-siblings, is entitled to seek protection under the Act.

Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat made the remark while upholding a trial court’s summons to the alleged victim’s stepbrother and stepsister, who along with their mother, have been accused of harassing her.

Dismissing the appeal by the brother-sister duo from Uttam Nagar against the magisterial court order, the sessions court said as per Domestic Violence Act, domestic relationship between two persons does not mean that they should be related only through . “The parties are in domestic relationship, if they are related to each other by consanguinity (blood relation), adoption, or are family members living together as a joint family. In the instant case, admittedly, the petitioners are the stepsister and stepbrother of the respondent (woman) and had been staying together before the death of their father in March 2010,” ASJ Bhat said.

The woman had approached the magisterial court seeking legal protection from harassment and maltreatment by her stepmother and five step-siblings. The magistrate, however, had summoned only two of her siblings to appear before it. “I do not find any infirmity or error in the order (of trial court). Revision petition is without any merit. Same is hereby dismissed,” the ASJ said.

The two step-siblings had challenged the trial court’s order saying there was no domestic relationship between them and the alleged victim, and the court should not have summoned them as she was not related to them through her husband.

The judge, however, turned down their plea saying the Supreme Court has already settled this controversy by holding that female relations of the husband or male partners are not excluded from the ambit of a complaint under the Act and the complaint against such female relations is maintainable.

“The only condition precedent is that the parties should have been in domestic relationship with each other at the time when the woman had suffered harassment and domestic violence from her family members,” the court said. The court noted that before the death of the woman’s father, they all were living together in a joint family, which was then headed by their father.

You can’t claim mom-in-law’s house

Nov 9, 2011,

DNA

Understanding the fact that often misuse the domestic violence Act to claim their right of residence at mother-in-law’s house, the Delhi high court on Tuesday directed a woman to vacate her mother-in-law house and stay at some other accommodation so that the latter’s health is not affected.

A division bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and SP Garg turned down the plea of Poonam (name changed) and directed her to vacate the house of her mother-in-law Sunita (name changed) keeping in mind the latter’s serious health problem.
“The constant strife with the newly married daughter-in-law in her house would certainly have an adverse effect on the mother-in-law,” the court ruled and directed Piyush (name changed), the husband, to cough out a monthly rent of Rs 30,000 to Poonam.

The court’s ruling came on a plea of Poonam who had sought right of residence at her mother-in-law’s place under the domestic violence Act.

Under the Act, a woman can claim right of residence or the rent amount from her husband.
Piyush and Poonam who were married in 2009 had a strained relationship from the beginning, which led the couple to shift to other house in the national capital on rent so that his mother’s health would not get deteriorated.

Piyush is currently pursuing his MBA from Hyderabad while Poonam is working with a MNC here.
Explaining the rights of a daughter-in-law, the court said, “The right of residence, which a wife undoubtedly has, does not mean the right to reside in a particular property. It may, of course, mean the right to reside in a commensurate property. But it can certainly not translate into a right to reside in a particular property.”

“It is only in that property in which the husband has a right, title or interest that the wife can claim residence and that too, if no commensurate alternative is provided by the husband,” the court added.

In the present case, the property belongs to Sunita, which she inherited from her father.
Senior advocate Geeta Luthra, who appeared for Piyush, told DNA, “This is the first of its kind ruling where the court declined to give any relief to the woman in domestic violence case as this is a fit case wherein the court considered the health aspect as the prime.”

The court also directed Piyush to pay a monthly maintenance of Rs 45,000 to Poonam.
Earlier also, the court has ruled that a woman can seek a share in her husband’s property but cannot claim a right to share the house of her in-laws.

Woman leaving hubby on her own not entitled to alimony: Court

PTI | Nov 02,2011

New Delhi, Nov 2 (PTI) A woman cannot claim maintenance from her husband if she leaves him out of her own “sweet will”, a Delhi court has held denying alimony to an estranged wife. The court said living separately from the husband was not sufficient for the wife to claim maintenance as she must prove that her husband had refused to maintain her despite having sufficient means to do so. “It is a settled position of law that one cannot take benefit of his own wrongs. Wife cannot walk out of the house at her sweet will and also claim maintenance from husband,” Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Rajeev Bansal said. The court gave its order on the plea for alimony by a woman of Malviya Nagar in south Delhi, challenging a magisterial court order, which had earlier denied her alimony. The sessions court too endorsed the magisterial court’s order saying she has failed to prove the circumstances in which she began living separately from her husband. “It is vital that the woman is painfully silent about the circumstances in which she left the company of her husband and started living separately from him. When the circumstances of living separately do not surface, adverse inference is to be drawn against the wife that she left the matrimonial home wilfully and with her own choice,” the judge said.

Man to share pension with estranged wife

TNN Oct 30, 2011

A retired central government employee will have to share his pension and other retirement benefits with his estranged wife and children.

Penalizing one Kishan for ignoring a court order to pay monthly maintenance, the high court said his wife had to take care of their kids, while he just had to maintain himself.

“Whatever amount the petitioner has received from the department as retirement benefits or as pension, the same shall be divided into three parts. The petitioner will keep one part and one part each shall be disbursed to his wife and daughter,” Justice Suresh Kait noted in a recent order while hearing Kishan’s petition. Kishan was working as an office assistant in a government department and moved HC against a trial court’s order for paying a monthly maintenance of Rs 10,000 to his wife from 2009. He challenged the court order to pay Rs1,200 a month to his daughter.

Cantt court orders Rs 65,000 monthly alimony to woman

Oct 19, 2011

Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Jai Kotnis of the Pune Cantonment Court granted Rs 65,000 monthly maintenance to a woman who had filed a case of domestic violence against her husband, in-laws and the mediator of their marriage.

Pallavi had married Rohit (both names changed) on May 11, 2005. “All the marriage expenses were incurred by Pallavi’s family and a huge amount was paid towards dowry. However, immediately after marriage, Rohit and his family began ill-treating her with constant requests of getting more money from her parents,” said Asim Sarode, who represented Pallavi in court.

During her pregnancy, Pallavi was in need of some good medical advice and treatment but Rohit and his parents shrugged off the responsibility because of which Pallavi’s parents had to look for good medical treatment. After giving birth to male child, Pallavi went to Jaipur to her maiden home.

“Rohit and his parents completely neglected me and the child for the next two-and-a-half months by not taking calls and cutting off communication with me,” stated Pallavi in her complaint.

Pallavi also mentioned that Rohit had reduced the monthly amount which he used to give Pallavi from Rs 80,000 to Rs 25,000, when his earning are more than Rs one crore per year. Considering Rohit’s earnings, Pallavi filed an application demanding Rs one lakh monthly maintenance from him.

The respondents (Rohit, his parents and the mediator) have denied these allegations saying that Pallavi is trying to extract money from them. They also stated in court that Pallavi had gone to Jaipur without Rohit’s consent. As far as reducing the monthly amount to Rs 25,000 is concerned, Rohit submitted that he had to pay installments of Rs 1.66 lakh per month for various loans.

After hearing both sides, the court observed that Rohit had not produced any document showing his current income. “On perusal of say of the respondent (Rohit) it is seen that he is paying monthly installments of Rs 1,66,559 for his personal loans. It can be thus certainly inferred that his income is not very less… I am not inclined to grant maintenance of Rs one lakh to the applicant (Pallavi)…At the same time, the fact that one child is dependent on Pallavi cannot be ruled out and she cannot be left at the mercy of her parents. Therefore, at this stage the maintenance of Rs 65,000 per month would be just and proper,” the court ordered. The amount is to be deposited in the court on the fifth of every month. The court also directed to provide rental accommodation to Pallavi up to Rs 15,000 per month.

“The court also directed Rohit, his parents and the mediator to not to cause any violence to Pallavi and ordered the senior inspector of concerned police station to give protection to the applicant as and when required as per the scope of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,” said Sarode.

You could be co-owner of husband’s property

TNN | Oct 18, 2011,

MUMBAI: The state government is considering introduction of a bill that grants equal rights to a married woman in property acquired and controlled by her husband.

The state commission for women has recommended the bill to lend financial independence and security to women. The state women and child development department has convened a meeting of NGOs and legal experts on October 25.

Varsha Gaikwad, minister, women and child development department, said the commission submitted a concept plan of the proposed legislation and a draft will be discussed at the meeting. Realizing that the legislation could have a far-reaching impact, Gaikwad said her department also had plans to seek the people’s suggestions and objections.

The commission has asked the government to enact a Married Persons’ Equality Bill that will grant legal property rights to women, regardless of religion, caste, class or community, in their natal and marital families. It proposed inclusion of the wife’s name as co-owner at the time of marriage registration.

It recommended that real and personal properties acquired and/or controlled by either spouse before or during marriage are to be regarded as property “jointly owned” by the couple. But it said the provision should not be applied to properties acquired through gifts, inheritances, trusts or settlements, received by either spouse from a third person, except when meant for the benefit of the couple and their family. Even business assets and properties acquired by either after separation must be excluded.

While husband and wife will be joint owners, the commission proposed that written consent from either spouse will be necessary in case of an agreement of sale or borrowing or entering into any obligation related to a property, which is a part of the joint estate. Either side could go to the civil court to obtain a restraining order against any such action in the event of a violation. In cases of repeated breach, the violating partner’s power to enter into agreements for a joint property could be suspended.

The commission has proposed that in case of or separation, the joint estate will be equally shared between husband and wife. “Often, after a marriage ends, the wife is left at the mercy of parents. With limited property rights even in her natal family, financial security is often compromised,” Gaikwad said.

With sections having reservations about certain provisions in the recommended bill, Gaikwad insisted that its contents will only be finalized only after public consultations.

We Two Are One

l All women, regardless of religion, caste, class or community, should have the right to property in their natal and marital families

l At the time of registration of marriage, a wife’s name should be added to documents of land or property ownership acquired by husband

l All properties acquired by either spouse (with exceptions) be regarded as jointly owned by the couple

l Consent of either side is necessary while selling or disposing of any such property

Not Part Of Joint Estate

l Properties acquired as gifts, inheritances, trusts or settlements received by either spouse from a third person, except in cases where these are meant for the benefit of the couple and their family

l An award or settlement of damages in court in favour of one spouse

l Money paid towards insurance policy

l Business assets

l Property acquired after separation

SC: Hindu woman has equal rights

Oct 14, 2011PTI

A Hindu woman or girl will have equal property rights along with other male relatives for any partition made in intestate succession after September 2005, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A bench of justices R.M. Lodha and Jagdish Singh Khehar in a judgement said that under the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, the daughters are entitled to equal inheritance rights along with other male siblings, which was not available to them prior to the amendment.

The apex court said the female inheritors would not only have the succession rights but also the same liabilities fastened on the property along with the male members.

“The new Section 6 provides for parity of rights in the coparcenary property among male and female members of a joint Hindu family on and from September 9, 2005. The legislature has now conferred substantive right in favour of the daughters,” the court said.

“According to the new Section 6, the daughter of a coparcener becomes a coparcener by birth in her own rights and liabilities in the same manner as the son. The declaration in Section 6 that the daughter of the coparcener shall have same rights and liabilities in the coparcenary property as she would have been a son is unambiguous and unequivocal,” Justice Lodha, writing the judgement, said.

The term coparcener refers to the equal inheritance right of a person in a property. The apex court passed the ruling while upholding the appeal filed by Ganduri Koteshwaramma, daughter of late Chakiri Venkata Swamy, challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s decision not to recognise equal property rights of women along with their male siblings.

According to the apex court, the right that accrued to a daughter in the property of a joint Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara Law, by virtue of the 2005 Amendment Act, is absolute, except under certain circumstances.

The exceptions are (i) where the disposition or alienation, including any partition has taken place before December 20, 2004; and (ii) where testamentary disposition of property has been made before December 20, 2004

HC relief for in-laws in domestic violence case

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Sep 21, 2011, 04.21AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has stayed notice issued under Domestic Violence (DV) Act, 2005, by JMFC court against a couple accused of alleged ill-treatment of their daughter-in-law. Justice Prasanna Varale also issued a notice to daughter-in-law Mamta Pandey and Maharashtra government directing them to file a reply by September 29. Rajendra Daga was counsel for the petitioners.

According to Daga, Mamta married Arun, son of Mahendra Pratap and Jayanti Pandey, both residents of Chhattisgarh, on June 27, 2007. Mamta alleged that between the period of engagement and marriage, her father had given Rs 7 lakh to her in-laws by way of demand draft as first instalment of dowry. During marriage, 25 tolas of gold were also given to Pandey family.

Arun was serving in Hyderabad where Mamta joined him after marriage. However, relations soon turned sour between married couple over alleged demand of dowry. Arun began ill-treating and harassing respondent’s wife. Arun allegedly even tried to strangulate Mamta.

Mamta’s torture continued till April 6, 2008, when Arun dropped her at her maternal home at Wadi in city apparently over her failure to bring more dowry. For about three years, she resided with her parents. On January 9 this year she filed criminal complaint against Arun and his parents under Section 498A of IPC. In the complaint she demanded a compensation of Rs 25 lakh for ill-treatment and harassment and return of gold given to Pandeys during the marriage. Additionally, she insisted on getting alimony of Rs 20,000 per month.

The JMFC court then issued notices to Arun and his parents that they challenged in the high court. Daga, pleading for Arun’s parents, contended that Mamta never resided with Mahendra Pratap and Jayanti Pandey and neither shared household. Therefore, there was no domestic relationship between Mamta and her in-laws as per Section 2f of Domestic Violence Act. He pointed out that they were related with Mamta just because of Arun. However, there were no specific allegations against them in the complaint.

Domestic violence cases drag on for years, say lawyers

Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN Sep 18, 2011, 02.19am IST

Tags:

¥V Kannadasan| Domestic Violence ACT

CHENNAI: Intended to secure speedy justice for victims, the Prevention of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 mandates that cases should be disposed of within six months. However, lawyers at the Madras high court say there are several instances when cases have dragged on for as long as two years, primarily due to a lack of efficient supervision at different stages.

V Kannadasan, former special public prosecutor for the human rights court, is still fighting one such case on behalf of his client whose husband, a software engineer earning close to Rs 70,000, left her without any means to look after herself and their three-year-old daughter.

“He filed his counter only this week though we lodged a complaint against him in 2009. Our petition has not even been taken for an enquiry. The intention of the legislation is to get speedy justice for women,” he said.

While magistrate courts have the jurisdiction to entertain petitions under the Act, civil courts – including family courts – can try the case only if there is a related suit pending before them, Kannadasan said. The social welfare department could create awareness among its officers and the high court could also consider sensitizing the subordinate judiciary to help reduce the delay, he said.

The Act aims at safeguarding women from physical , , verbal and emotional such as name-calling, specially with regard to not having a child or a male child, and economic , wherein a woman is deprived of economic or financial resources.

D Prasanna, president, Women Lawyers’ Association (WLA), said the delay arose primarily during the counselling carried out just after a complaint is submitted.

“Once a complaint is submitted to protection officers who sit at the district collectorate in Chennai, an intimation is sent to the opposite party, calling them for preliminary counselling. The delay occurs here because several people don’t respond and so, notices are sent repeatedly. Authorities should arrive at a system where after a specified number of such attempts, the case will be referred to the magistrate for hearing,” she said.

Pointing out that a legal aid clinic had been set up exclusively for cases under the Domestic Violence Act at the high court, the WLA president said it would help to have a protection officer present in the same building. “We have two rooms which are furnished and airconditioned but one of them is always closed. A protection officer can be easily accommodated here. Surrounded by judges and advocates, protection officers will be persuaded to move files faster compared to an atmosphere where they sit removed from the court. It will help make the process more efficient,” she said.

‘Laws against domestic violence not fully successful’

Friday, 16 September 2011 01:01

PNS | New Delhi

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Thursday said laws against domestic violence across the globe have not fully succeeded, with over 75 per cent women falling victim to physical or sexual violence.

Addressing a regional seminar of Asian Parliamentarians on prevention of violence against the fair sex, Kumar said, “Despite two-third of countries in the world enacting laws against domestic violence, about 76 per cent of women have been victims of either physical or sexual violence or both at least once in their lifetime.”

President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Theo-Ben Gurirab said, “The challenges that all Parliamentarians and Government face is that we have not done enough, despite the existence of well-documented international instruments, to end violence against women. We must adopt laws that specifically tackle violence against women and must have the courage to enforce them.”

Addressing another session on “Process and challenges in developing and achieving law reforms on all forms of violence against women,” chairman of the Standing Committee on Rural Development Sumitra Mahajan said it was now well established under international law that violence against women is a form of discrimination against women and a violation of human rights.

“It is, therefore, necessary that at the beginning of any legislative process, a clear legislative goal must be defined. The goal of legislation on violence against women should be to prevent all forms of violence against women, to ensure investigation, prosecution and punishment of perpetrators of violence, and to provide protection and support for complainants or survivors of violence,” she said.

Numbers narrate stories of violence against women

Hetal Vyas, TNN | Sep 15, 2011, 05.29AM IST

BANGALORE: Vijayalakshmi, wife of Kannada actor Darshan, has opened a Pandora’s box on safety of women within the four walls of their matrimonial house.

A study conducted by National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3 ) in 2005-06 across India, released in 2009 and accepted by the health and family welfare ministry , says: “30.4% of married women in India in the age group of 15-49 years have experienced physical, sexual or emotional domestic violence.”

The picture in Karnataka is better, with 18.2% of married women in this age group being subjected to physical violence, 3.2% to sexual assault and 6.9% to emotional domestic violence. But the Bihar story is horrifying where the percentage of physical violence is as high as 56%. Tamil Nadu is at a close second with 40.2%.

The number of cases registered under Protection of Women From Domestic Violence (DV) Act, 2005, has increased to 7,802 in 2009 from 5,643 in 2008. Andhra Pradesh registered 2,710 cases under the DV act, the highest in any state in 2009.

The NFHS-3 has further stated: “81% of married women between 15 and 49 years, who have experienced physical or sexual violence from husbands, have for the first time faced it within five years of marriage.”

“Being slapped is the most common form of physical violence that married women experience. Of 35% married women subjected to any form of physical violence, 97% were slapped and 1% of them experienced life- threatening violence in the form of being choked or burned or being threatened or attacked with a weapon,” the study said.

Union minister for women and child welfare Krishna Tirath recently proposed the idea of training first-class judicial and metropolitan magistrates on how to deal with cases filed under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

THE LAW BOOK SAYS…

The D V Act, 2005, came into force on October 26, 2006, all over India except in Jammu and Kashmir. The act is aimed at providing protection to the wife or female live-in partner from violence at the hands of the husband or male live-in partner or his relatives. The law extends protection to women who are sisters, including adopted sisters and mothers.

Domestic violence under the act includes actual abuse or threat of abuse, whether physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic. Harassment by way of unlawful dowry, demands from the women victim or her relatives also come under the definition of DV Act. Woman subjected to domestic violence can approach a protection officer appointed by the revenue department of the and lodge her complaint. She needn’t approach police to seek action.

IT’S RAMPANT

Elizabeth V S of the Centre for Women and Law at National Law School of India University said: “The fact is that domestic violence is widely prevalent in India. What happened in Vijayalakshmi’s case happens all over but does not come to light often. From bureaucrats to coolies, they all beat their wives.”

Violent crimes against women

In 2009, 8,839 cases

In 2008, 7,698

Crimes include gang rape, molestation, abduction and dowry deaths

(Source: State Records Bureau, Karnataka)

Courts can act even if a crime committed abroad

Sep 05, 2011 – S.S. NegiAsian Age Correspondent |  |

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Resolving a major legal problem of millions of Indians living abroad, the Supreme Court, in a significant judgment, has ruled that an Indian citizen can lodge a complaint with the police back home for an offence under the Indian Penal Code committed against him or her by a fellow citizen in a foreign country.
The judicial magistrate of the relevant jurisdiction has to take cognisance of all such cases registered by post from overseas with the police station of the jurisdiction in question, but a trial can proceed further only after sanction has been granted by the Union government.
Resolving a ticklish question of law whether the jurisdiction of Indian courts will extend to Indians living in different countries for an offence under the IPC committed there, a bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, Cyric Joseph and S.S. Nijjar ruled that an Indian citizen has the right to proceed against a fellow Indian in a court back home for an offence committed against him/her abroad. The court delivered this ruling, taking recourse to Section 4 of the IPC, in a dowry harassment case lodged by a woman from Andhra Pradesh against her husband from Botswana with the Sitharama police station in Andhra’s Prakasm district.

DV Act not just limited to harassed daughter-in-laws, says court

Abhinav Garg | Sep 3, 2011,TNN 03.18AM IST

NEW DELHI: The phenomenon of daughters-in-law harassing their mothers-in-law isn’t uncommon in Indian society, the Delhi high court has observed, saying the former is equally liable to be prosecuted under the Domestic Violence Act.

“A mother who is being maltreated and harassed by her son would be an ‘aggrieved person’. If the said harassment is caused through the female relative of the son, i.e. wife, she will fall within the ambit of the Act,” Justice Mukta Gupta said on Friday, adding that a mother-in-law can take recourse to the Act. HC rejected the claim of the petitioner that she can’t be booked under the DV Act by her mother-in-law.

Seeking quashing of the complaint lodged by her mother-in-law (who also invoked the DV Act against her son), the woman had argued that the DV Act was meant to extend protection against domestic violence to married women who faced ill-treatment or abuse at the hands of the husband or in-laws. She argued in this context the DV Act can’t be invoked against her as she is excluded from the same.

Justice Gupta, however, dismissed the claim for immunity. The court pointed out that the DV Act shows that “any woman who is in a domestic relationship – the said relationship being between two persons who lived at any point of time together in a shared household related by consanguinity, marriage or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or family members living as a joint family – and alleges she has been subjected to domestic violence is entitled to relief under the Act.”

The court elaborated on the DV Act to emphasize that even those women who are sisters, widows, mothers, single women or living with the abuser are entitled to legal protection under the Act and it can’t just be limited to providing relief to harassed daughters-in-law.

Coming to HC for relief, one Kamla (name changed) had challenged her summoning by a magistrate on the complaint of her mother-in-law. She informed HC that her mother-in-law had a property dispute with her husband since 2005 and was using the DV Act as a pressure tactic to force her husband to forego his share in the property.

Wife can seek maintenance on behalf of major child: Bombay HC

PTI | Sep 1, 2011, 05.26PM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has held that an estranged wife can seek maintenance from her husband for and on behalf of her major daughter or son so long as the child is dependent on her.

“A daughter may have attained majority but so long as she is unmarried and dependent on mother, she is entitled to maintenance from her father’s earnings,” ruled Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice R Y Ganoo.

The ruling was delivered on August 26 on an appeal filed by Vijaykumar Chawla, a businessman, against a family court order which ordered him to pay Rs 40,000 per month to his daughter, Shraddha, who was staying with her mother and undergoing a pilot’s training course.

Shraddha had obtained a loan for the course and was obliged to pay Rs 40,000 per month EMI towards the same. The court ordered the appellant to deduct Rs eight lakh already paid to his daughter for education expenses and pay the remaining amount of loan taken by her to pursue her career.

According to the provisions of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, a child can claim maintenance from his father or mother so long as he or she is minor. However, section 20(3) is an exception which obligates a person to maintain his or her daughter who is unmarried and unable to maintain herself out of her earnings or property, the bench ruled.

“In the present case, it is not in dispute that Shraddha is residing with her mother. She is unmarried. Her mother has no earnings or other property except the income by way of meager salary earned by her. She is thus not in a position to take the burden of education expenditure of her daughter which is quite substantial for undergoing the professional course,” the bench observed.

Living together not essential to file case under domestic violence act, says court

TNN Sep 1, 2011, 01.37am IST

NEW DELHI: Further empowering women to fight domestic violence, a trial court has held that a woman can claim her rights under the law for protection from domestic violence even while living separately from her husband and in-laws.

Additional Sessions Judge Anju Bajaj Chandna held that as long as the couple is married to each other, the wife cannot be denied protection and other rights under the Domestic Violence Act. “It is not essential that on the date of filing of the complaint, the parties should have been living together and it is sufficient that they have lived together as husband and wife in the past,” said the court, underlining the legal condition under the Act for filing the complaint.

“In the present case, the marriage between the parties is still subsisting,” said the court, setting aside an April 2011 order of a magisterial court, which had dismissed a complaint under the DV Act by an estranged wife against her husband on the grounds that she was no longer residing with him.

The court order came on an appeal filed by the woman against the magisterial court’s order. The woman got married in March 1993, but had been living separately from her husband since January 1996. She had first moved the court under Domestic Violence Act in March 2008, seeking monetary relief and compensation from her husband besides protection from domestic violence.

“It is the duty of the magistrate to see that in view of subsistence of status of husband and wife between the parties whether the relief sought by the petitioner can be granted within the provisions of the Act,” the court added. The court directed the magistrate to “reconsider the facts of the case and proceed in accordance with law”.Victim can’t file cases from different addresses’

Source – Hindustan Times

A Delhi court has said that a victim of domestic violence could not file random cases from different residential addresses. The court observed that the address of commission of an offence could not arbitrarily be altered as per the convenience of the complainant. “A temporary or short visit is not sufficient to confer jurisdiction on the court,” said additional sessions judge AK Chawla.

Laviral (name changed) got married to Sunita (name changed) and the couple started residing at Kirti Nagar in west Delhi. After few months of peaceful dwelling, the couple got separated.

Later, Sunita filed a series of domestic violence cases from different residential addresses like: Mansarovar Garden, Timarpur and also from Kirti Nagar.

Vijay Aggarwal counsel for Laviral filed a revision petition stating that the metropolitan magistrate of the area concerned did not verify the residential address on the petition filed by Sunita under various sections of Domestic Violence Act.

“She stated fictitious addresses and filed a slew of cases against her husband. The magistrate refused to seek documents of proof of the authenticity of her place of residence despite our opposition,” said Laviral’s counsel in court.

Rapping the metropolitan magistrate’s observations, the session’s judge said,” The subject does not disclose any reason for the decision and made known to this court, as to what weighed the mind of metropolitan magistrate in coming to conclusion that the documents (residential proof) sought were not at all relevant for deciding the controversy.”

Quashing the metropolitan magistrate’s order, the court said that the impugned order is certainly non-speaking and could not be sustained on the aspects of jurisdiction and the disposal of the complaint filed.

Women unsafe in own home

Source Express News Service

How safe are women in their homes in the state? According to police reports, nearly half of the women in the state suffer at the hands of their own relatives and family members.The number of cases relating to various atrocities against women — including molestation and domestic violence — has reached alarming proportions.

Out of 10,781 crimes reported against women in 2010, their husbands and relatives are culprits in as many as any 4,788 incidents! The situation was no different in the previous years.While 3,976 women complained of attack from their husbands and relatives in 2009, the number was even higher in 2008 with 4,135 cases. Crimes against women in 2009 and 2008 were respectively 9,354 and 9,706.Malappuram district tops in cruelty by husband/relatives.

According to the data compiled by the police department, 652 cases were registered here from January 1 to December 31. This year too the ratio of crimes against women is showing no signs of declining, according to the State Crime Records Bureau.Kollam district follows Malappuram in the number of atrocities against women by husbands/relatives. The least number of domestic violence cases was reported from Pathanamthitta and Wayanad districts.

In all, 10,781 cases of torture were reported from the state in 2010. Of this, 4,788 cases were registered purely on complaints against the cruelty of husbands and family members towards women.As many as 2,939 cases of molesting and 617 rape charges were registered within this period. Besides, 175 kidnapping cases, 539 eve-teasing incidents and 1,702 other offences were registered from across the state.

Keeping a mistress inflicts mental cruelty on wife: HC

Source Times of India

Keeping a mistress amounts to inflicting mental cruelty on the wife, the Bombay High Court has ruled. Sixteen years after a young Chandrakala, a resident of Nashik, committed suicide, Justice A R Joshi upheld the six month jail term awarded to her husband Ratan Jagzap on grounds of subjecting her to cruelty.

“In the opinion of this court, the trial court has rightly appreciated the evidence of prosecution witnesses inasmuch as the proof of the offence concerning mental cruelty due to illicit relations of (Ratan) with another woman,” said Justice Joshi.

Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code is more popularly known as the provision to book men accused of harassing their wives for dowry. The same law also has a provision that can be invoked against a man and his relatives for subjecting his wife to cruelty. The cruelty can be physical or mental and, if found guilty, a person can be punished with a maximum jail term of three years.

In November 1995, Chandrakala had committed suicide by consuming insecticide. Police investigations revealed that a few days earlier, she had made enquiries and found out that her husband had a mistress and was living with her.

Ratan had moved in with another woman, Ujwala, in Dhule. She was the wife of one Rajmal, who used the transport services run by Ratan. Ujwala and Ratan started meeting thanks to this link and an extra-marital affair ensued. Soon, Ratan and his son began living with Ujwala and her son.

Following Chandrakala’s death, police charged Ratan with subjecting his wife to cruelty and abetting her suicide. HC spares abetment to suicide charge

Mumbai: A trial court had held Ratan Jagzap guilty of cruelty to his wife after she committed suicide after finding out a few days before her death that her husband was living with another woman. But it acquitted him of the charge of driving Chandrakala to suicide. The trial court said Chandrakala may have become sentimental after knowing that her husband had kept a mistress and out of desperation she had taken the extreme step of committing suicide.

Ratan was on bail during the pendency of his appeal in the high court. When the matter came up for hearing recently, Ratan or his lawyers failed to appear before the judge. A warrant was issued and Ratan was taken into custody as the high court heard his appeal.

“Deceased Chandrakala tried to stop her husband from having illicit relations with Ujwala but in vain. This conduct of the accused is considered as mainly cruelty to his wife and for this reason punishment was awarded,” said Justice Joshi, while upholding the trial court’s verdict sentencing Ratan to six months in jail and asking him to pay a fine of Rs 500.

Since the state had not filed any appeal challenging Ratan’s acquittal on the charges of abetting his wife’s suicide, the HC said it was not considering that aspect.

77-year-old ‘cleans-up’ hubby’s home – Domestic Violence

Source Times of India

In connection with a complaint under domestic violence laws, the court ordered a protection officer to go and fetch clothes of a old woman from her husband’s house.

Instead, the officer and woman brought every thing from the house including jewellery, weighing machine, knives, framed photos of relatives, religious books and money.

As per case details, 77-year-old Jebunnisa Qureshi had in December last year booked her octogenarian husband, a retired railways employee Mohammed Israel, under the DV Act and accused him of driving her out of her house forcibly. The woman wanted her house back, but in the initial stage of proceeding, the magisterial court on April 28 ordered the protection officer to go to the house in Vatwa and recover her clothes and make a report of the property and valuables jointly held by the couple.

On May 5, the protection officer Bhumika Desai went to the house with Jebunnisa and her two daughters and citing court orders, she made the old man open two cupboards. Besides collecting clothes, the protection officer collected some 30 items that included jewellery, blankets, mattresses, copy of the Quran, weighing machine, marriage albums, all documents related to bank accounts and court cases.

Left with empty house, Israel approached the court through lawyer Shamshad Pathan and claimed that though the protection officer was asked just to prepare a report of jointly held property and collect Jebunnisa’s clothes, she overreached the court orders and forcibly gathered the belongings from the house and handed them over to his wife.

The metropolitan magistrate took up the issue on Friday and ordered the protection officer to return everything except clothes to the old man. The court noticed that though the officer was given specific directions, she bypassed the court order and seized valuables from Israel’s shelf and handed them over to the woman. The court also observed that the officer acted against the court directions to favour the woman.

Asking the protection officer to return all valuables to Israel, the court has ordered Desai to prepare a report in this regard and apprised the court whether the court order is implemented in proper manner.

Mangalore: Domestic Disputes – It’s over to ‘Family Court’ Now!

Over a thousand cases connected to matters familial are said to be pending in the district court.

About 400 cases regarding divorce, alimony and reinstatement of marriage and about 200 cases of domestic violence against women are among them. They are being heard in the senior civil and junior magistrate first class (JMFC) courts in the city.

The workload and the pressure on the courts, adjournment tactics by the defendants etc. have been delaying the cases, resulting in ‘justice delayed is justice denied’.

Now a solution is on the way to this problem. A family court is being set up in the city which is aimed at faster settlement of these disputes. The court, which is being inaugurated on Monday, May 23, will exclusively handle cases like separation, reinstatement of marital rights, domestic violence, maintenance of children, right of custody over children and the like.

The Hindu Marriage Act stipulates a time-frame of six months for settlement of marital disputes. That is an advantage held by the community.

A need for increased number of courts has been felt in the state. If this lacuna is not filled, the purpose would not be served, say sources in the legal fraternity.

Judicial officials for the new court have already been appointed. A support staff numbering 24 has also been provided. All related cases are being transferred to the new court.

Female kin of hubby can be booked for abuse at home- Rajasthan HC

Source Times of India

Jaipur: A division bench of the Rajasthan HC has ruled that if a woman relative of the husband/male counterpart is accused of causing torture or abuse, they can also be punished for the offence under Domestic Violence Act.

The HC was hearing a writ petition filed by one Kanees Fatima, who alleged that she has been booked for domestic violence against her relative Sagir Bano under the Act. The petitioner had said the objective of the Act was to book only male members causing violence at home and that no woman relative can be booked along with the accused male.

The division bench of Justices N K Jain and R S Rathore ruled that the correct legal position regarding the interpretation of the various provisions of the Domestic Violence Act was to bring to book all those who commit domestic violence against women and that nobody can be spared on the grounds of being a woman. The women relatives of the husband/male counterpart are equally liable for prosecution under the Act, the court ruled.

ICMR, BBMP to fight domestic violence together

Source Express News Service

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in association with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, on Tuesday formed an advisory board to carry forward the project of checking the evil of domestic violence. Dr N S Vishwanath, project director, said a workshop was held for a group of doctors from the BBMP health centres and a week ago similar training was provided for the BBMP link workers. The project is being funded by the ICMR. “Once the intervention module is prepared and chalked out, we will move forward with the project and do zone-wise research.To start with, we will take up East Bangalore, then south and west Bangalore,” he said. Domestic violence is a major nuisance among women in the urban slums. “According to a survey done in Bangalore Urban slums, in 60 per cent households, women were subjected to domestic violence,” he said. “As per the Domestic Violence Act 2005, victims of domestic violence can approach the police station and seek help from the officer concerned, but many of the women are not even aware that such laws exist. Many victims avoid going to police stations for fear of breaking societal norms,” he said. It is not just a crime. “We are also taking into consideration the issue as part of a public health problem,” said Dr Suneeta Krishnan, principal investigator for the project from St John’s Research Institute. Relating about their mode of work, she said: “The link workers from the health centres will first go to the field and identify the victims. Some women may be reluctant to discuss their issues initially. In such cases, the counsellors would visit the houses of such women and talk to their families and take them into confidence.” She said if the case was serious, they would refer it to larger centres dealing specifically with domestic violence legally. “We shall be establishing a network of referral centres for this purpose,” she said. Dr L T Gayathri Devi, chief health officer of BBMP, said they were working towards the preventive part and “it is very important to make general public aware of the domestic violence”. “We are seeking approval from the commissioner,” she said

Domestic violence: It isn’t easy for the kids

Source Express news service

Domestic violence not only affects adults, but also plays a tremendous role in the well-being and growth of children. Member of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Vasudeva Sharma said domestic violence cases were rampant in India.“In most cases, husbands beat their wives in front of their children. He might beat her for various reasons including alcohol consumption, to show authority over their wife, dowry harassment and many silly reasons,” he said. “It not just happens in poor families but also in the upper middle class houses.”

According to Sharma, domestic violence may lead children to leave their houses or cause depression that might affect their scores in school. “We have found many cases where the boy or girl attempted suicide,” he said.Sharma said there was no proper remedy for this. Due to nuclear families, child will not get to share his or her grievance with grandparents, aunt or uncle, he said.At city-based Bosco Helpline Booth at Majestic bus stand, they rescue runaway children and the number has only increased in the past many years. According to Ramaswamy, coordinator at Bosco, they found 1,625 children between June 2007 and May 2008, while it increased to 1,710 in 2008-09 and 2,096 in 2009-2010. This year so far, 2,155 children have been rescued. Ramaswamy said of these children, at least 35 per cent children are victims of domestic violence. Ramaswamy said parents of these children are often alcoholic. This leads to mental and physical abuse. “Such cases are more common in North Karnataka, especially Hubli, Dharwad, Gulbarga and Bellary,” he said.

Court takes up woman’s plea of domestic violence against sons

Source: Press Trust of India

A session’s court here has asked a subordinate court to examine afresh a plea by an elderly woman accusing her four sons of subjecting her to domestic violence.  Additional Sessions Judge Praveen Kumar directed a fresh examination of the woman’s plea after she challenged the magisterial court’s ruling of March 3 this year that her complaint against her sons and husband disclosed no offence of domestic violence against her.

The woman, a resident of Najafgarh in West Delhi, had approached the magisterial court alleging that her four sons along with their family members, residing elsewhere in the city, had come to her house in April 2010 on the pretext of spending summer vacation. But long after the vacation was over, they continued to stay on, said the woman in her appeal, adding when asked to vacate the house, her sons categorically told her that they had come to grab the property and would not vacate it.

She said they even beat her up and prevented her from meeting her husband. The woman went on to name her husband too as one of the perpetrators of domestic violence against her. Asking the magisterial court to examine her plea, the session’s court, however, asked it not to proceed against her husband as her complaint disclosed no commission of offense by him.

“In the circumstances, the order passed by the trial court is partly set aside. In my opinion, prima facie cases for issuing notices against woman’s sons are made out. However, no prima facie case for issuing notice against respondent husband is made out,” said the session’s court.

Eve’s daughter tortured
Source: Greater Kashmir.com

Smaller Default Larger Violence against women is always embedded in social context ridden with unequal power and privilege. Being at the lowest rung of the ladder, women suffer the most in all sorts of tragedies. Kashmiri women’s being no exception to it as evidence, of violence against her continues to come to light. Shahina Akhtar, 24, of Bandipora was burnt alive on Jan 8, 2009 allegedly by her in-laws as she could not fulfill the demand of dowry. Another woman from Soura in the district Srinagar committed suicide as she was the victim of verbal violence which is as searing as physical violence and lead her to death. These issues bind women all over the world— from north and south, of every nationality, race and creed. The difference is that while even smallest of crimes gets reported elsewhere, here it is usually swept under carpet. Perhaps, such stories have become so commonplace that they do not shock us anymore.

The gender based violence is a reality that has assumed significant proportions in Kashmir. According to the study based on the survey from around six districts of Kashmir including, Srinagar, Baramulla, Islamabad (Anantnag), Pulwama and Kupwara by a noted Sociologist of Kashmir Prof.B.A Dabla domestic violence is vogue in the Kashmiri society. Violence does not need to have blood and gore but can also be manifested through deprivation, neglect and discrimination. The growing number of dowry murders that are direct out of increasing consumerism and devaluation of Women. Furthermore, there is every possibility of honour crime being rampant in Kashmir; however, there is a cloak of secrecy and unwillingness to accept that such violations could exist in our society.
Nevertheless, it won’t be long before it percolates just like dowry and ostentatious marriage. The curbs on Woman’s right to choose who to have a relationship with or marry often manifest in myriad ways. Brothers often thrash their sisters who assert the right to take their own decisions. Couples are hounded so ferociously that they decided to end their lives. The list is endless. Women’s voices on one of the most critical decisions of their lives are likely to remain muffled and unheard. More seriously, Kashmir is getting ruined by the caste system borrowed from Brahmins. A person from “lower caste” family is almost untouchable for the “high caste family”.

The practice of “forced marriage” still prevalent has reverberations of a medieval mindset. It is seen as a “punishment” to a boy or girl daring to marry outside his/ her ethnic background. This is inextricably linked to suicide and ‘honour violence’ inflicted on Women as a rule. Around 67% of educated Women surveyed admitted that the violence against the Women is vogue in Kashmiri society.  In addition to other undesirable practices like verbal and mental abuse perpetrated against Women, 37% of   cases pertain to physical assaults which are one of the dehumanized and brutal practices of violence against women.

Equally disturbing is the finding that woman in an abusive relationship remains silent about their suffering out of fear for family dishonour.Women here prefer to talk to their friend or relative instead of filing complaint against the perpetrators. However, it has been found that in extreme cases Women files for the divorce.

The sexual violence women encounter is not just only out in public space but within the ostensibly “safe” environment of their homes. Prof. Dabla in his “Domestic violence” points out a heart rending finding. He says, the practices related to molestation of women especially in domestic framework, were unheard in the Kashmir valley till the recent past. According to study 33% of Women interviewed reported the incidence of molestation both within and outside the domestic framework .Moreso, 25% of   Women surveyed avoided registering their responses to this question.
Shockingly, in one such case, according to findings, victim revealed that she was sexually abused by her first cousin. In another case, grandfather of the victim was involved in this bestial act. Such cases are hardly reported to police. The infamous, gruesome murder and rape of 10- year-old Sabrina from Radio colony Ikhrajpora area of Srinagar and the 14-year old girl Tabinda from Handwara in 2007 are only cases that invited huge public attention.  Given the data of cases being filed by the Women from all backgrounds, there is little chance that we can ignore the reality of violence against Women that cuts across class barriers. Domestic violence, experts say, stems from cultural bias against women who challenge the male dominancy. “Men have always been taught that they are superior sex. It is the conditioning that makes them believe that they have to control Women, if they chose to take their own decisions, “comments Shezada Nabi, Psychologist.
While this finding is not new, the fact remains that women in Kashmir are not well versant with their legal rights. Regardless of a woman’s position in society, her education, her economic status, when it comes to the violence she experiences within the four walls of her home, she is reduced to a victim  – not very different from uneducated woman. The research of Dabla shows that 31.84% of married educated Women faced physical violence at the hands of their husbands and the brothers.  Of the research done, 40% of victims preferred silence while the majority 60% opened up.

With the passage of the Domestic Violence Act, for the first time in the history of legal ramifications directly linked to women, the state has recognized that violence is not only physical and/or sexual. Equally, violence can be psychological, verbal, and economic and act as warning signs of future physical violence. The Domestic Violence Act, 2005, has laid down stringent rules to prosecute men who harass, beat or insult women at home. Ironically Women in this countryside are not aware of their legal rights. But even those who know the law find that even most horrifying cases take a strange twist by the time they come up for trial. On this note Advocate Shafat says, “It is very rare for women to approach the legal system for redress as they are unaware of legal intricacies. Those brave women, who do take the perilous path of lodging First information Report (FIR), are haunted by the fear of public shame, family dishonor,”

The new law empowers the victim to approach the local magistrate directly with an appeal for protection. The magistrate may then appoint a trained protection officer to help investigate the complaint. If the complaint is found to be genuine, the magistrate will issue a ‘protection order’ to the offender and he will have to abide by this order.However, the experts say, the Domestic Act has not taken in to consideration the fact that Women can also be perpetrators of violence against women. Disappointingly no Women can file a complaint against other Women under this act. Further, there is no direction in terms of custody of Children or right to the marital home.
There is no denying that offences under the new Act are unbailable, yet there are yawing gaps between the promise in print and the situation on ground. The source of frustration for women is inordinate delays that almost amount to the denial of justice.“Since large number of cases get stuck at the level of appeals in high court to be settled, access to justice will remain elusive. Woman already under the burden of mental anguish and despair cannot be expected to take this extreme step which would definitely leave her economically more weakened, “maintains Advocate Shafat. Why is it that so many women are at the receiving end of violence? Why do we end up looking for reasons to blame victim, instead of looking for lapses on the part of society and state. Proponents believe that domestic violence against women in Kashmir is not considered a serious crime by legal system and our society refuses to see the true cost of this brutal denial of basic rights.
(The author is Lecturer, Department of Journalism, IUST (Islamic University of Science and Technology)

Court directs judge to pay maintenance to wife

Apr 02,2011

Source: Press Trust of India

A court in Korba has directed a judge to pay maintenance of Rs 6,000 per month to his wife. The court was hearing a petition filed by the wife of Justice K P Singh Bhadoria, and fixed the amount under the Domestic Violence Act 2005, sources said. Bhadoria had earlier accused his wife Mannu of a murderous attempt on him following which she was jailed, they said. After she was released on bail, Mannu moved the court alleging domestic violence by her husband following which First Class Judge Saroj Nand Das passed an interim order granting the surviving maintenance.

Violence against women on the rise

March 31, 2011

Source: Telegraph India

A young housewife, Sunibala Devi, 32, was shot on the right foot by some militants who had come to look for her husband, A. Brojen Singh, in Imphal West on January 17 this year.A three-year-old girl was raped and murdered by a labourer of the Border Roads Task Force in Churachandpur district on January 22.Heikrujam Memcha, 27, was raped twice by a neighbour, Khomdram Pakke Singh, 53, in Imphal East in the same month.

These are just three of the 44 reported cases of rape and violence committed against girls and women in Manipur since January this year, says a report compiled by an Imphal-based NGO, Women Action for Development. The report was released during a one-day workshop organised by the NGO and held at the conference hall of the Centre for Social Development here today.

Representatives of about 30 NGOs from six districts of Manipur converged at the workshop to discuss the rising cases of crime against women in the state, share their experiences while working on the cases and devise strategies and responses to such violence.

“These 44 cases, collected from newspaper reports, are only the tip of the iceberg. Many more victims of domestic violence or otherwise are suffering silently,” M. Sobita Devi, the chief functionary of NGO, said, opening the deliberation.These 44 cases include four rape cases, two murder cases and one case each of molestation, attempted rape and abduction. During these three months, cases of 13 young housewives having gone missing and several cases of suicide because of domestic violence were also reported in newspapers, Sobita Devi said.

The participants shared the experiences and hurdles they came across while working on the cases, including interference by locals in the NGOs’ efforts to take the cases before the government authority. They also highlighted cases where the victims, threatened by perpetrators of the crimes, refused to speak up. The NGOs blamed law- enforcing agencies for lack of response or insensitivity to the cases. “There were cases where rapists settled with the families of the victims by giving the family cash or kind while the law- enforcing agencies remained mute spectators. Police should be more responsive,” L. Pishak, the secretary of Bishnupur’s New Life Foundation, said.

The NGOs plan to prepare a set of recommendations on how the law-enforcing agencies should react to such cases. Senior police officials admitted that the department was unable to conduct proper investigations into such cases as all the available manpower was engaged in day- to-day maintaining of law and order. “But we are trying our best to improve the scenario,” a senior police officer said.

Act to rescue of abused women Increased

Mar 30, 2011

Source: Times News Network

EndaHial, a 60-year-old man from Rayagada, has been running from pillar to post for the last three years to get justice for his ailing daughter, Brundabati. The girls’s husband and in-laws deserted her after she had a paralytic stroke during childbirth in 2007. Brundabati filed a case against her husband under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (PWDV) Act last year after he remarried and refused to take her back. Hial recently attended a state-level counsellingprogramme on the domestic violence act organised in the city, where he was assured legal support by the state legal aid cell. Brundabati’s case is one of the hundreds of domestic violence cases being formally reported to various protection officers across the state. Official sources said between May 2007 and September 2009 a total of 862 domestic incident reports (DIR) were registered in the state under the PWDV Act. Since then and December 2010, the state had registered over 700 cases under the act.

Over 70 victims of domestic violence from various places in the state participated in the counsellingprogramme organized here recently. Members of the State Commission for Women, advocates and civil society members provided counselling and legal help to the victims during the event. Some cases were solved through counselling. “If both the parties are willing to sit for a counselling session, we mediate and settle the case there itself. However, on other occasions, we have to take legal action and initiate criminal proceedings. In some cases, we also provide protection to the victim from the local police station,” said CharulataPradhan, a protection officer of Rayagada district. 

More than one-third of the married women in Orissa have experienced spousal violence that was either physical or sexual in nature, according to the National Family Health Survey-3. The survey again mentioned that only about one in every five women who have ever experienced violence sought help to end it or lodged a complaint with the authorities. If the number of cases has increased, it is clearly because more women are coming out in the open. “Domestic violence as an offence always existed in society. Women were simply not reporting it to the authorities. Now, due to more awareness about the act due to advertising, they are approaching us for help, so we can take their cases to the court. Many voluntary anganwadi workers have also been engaged in creating awareness about the act, which is meant to protect the interest of women,” said a protection officer. “All districts in the state are facing problems due to the dual responsibility of the protection officers and lack of infrastructure like separate room to handle cases, vehicles for mobility etc. Other problems they face are lack of adequate budget; lack of clarity of instruction to expend money, serve notice to the victim, issue summons and provide legal aid; inadequate funds to conduct awareness programmes; no trained personnel to handle cases; and no support staff to serve notices,” said Pramila Swain, convener of National Alliance of Women Organisations (NAWO).

No place to hide for battered women

Mar 29, 2011

Source: Times New Network

Victims of domestic violence, rape and children who need special care do not have a safe place to stay in the district as the only Reception Centre for Women (RCW) of the government closed two years ago. Surprisingly, the office of the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) for Mangalore Rural is now functioning in the same spacious building of the RCW situated in about 1.25 acres of land at Pilikula in Vamanjoor near here. Officials of the Women and Child Welfare Department (WCWD) say the centre closed due to lack of inmates. Social activists and experts have urge that the centre be reopened as there are no other government-run institutions to take care of distressed women and children in the district. Deputy director of WCWD A Shakuntala told TOI that the RCW closed down in 2009 as the number of inmates were below six. The then deputy commissioner M MaheshwarRao visited the centre and it was later closed down in June 2009 based on the government order dated October 1, 2008, she said.

However, Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairperson advocate AshaNayak said that making RCW functional is essential as there is no place to admit women and children, who need special care, in the district. We have already brought the issue to the notice of district minister J Krishna Palemar, deputy speaker N YogishBhat, deputy commissioner SubodhYadav and other officials. However, it is a long term process now since the closure order has already been published in the Gazette, she added. Social activist RennyD’Souza claims that the admissions to the centre fell because of ill-treatment and mismanagement by the staff. Inmates at the centre were treated as criminals and following this, women were not willing to stay there. Moreover, the authorities at the RCW were refusing to admit those women, who required extra care. As a result, the government was forced to close it, he said. The superintendent, warden, cook, three guards and a peon, who were on duty at the centre, were transferred to other places after it was closed. Currently, the WCWD and the police send women in distress to Santhvana, an NGO-run home for women in the City.

WIFE CAN STOP ERRANT HUSBAND FROM ENTERING HOME

Source: Times of India

A wife can restrain a husband, who creates nuisance, from entering their home, irrespective of who owns the house, the Bombay high court ruled on Wednesday. The court said that every woman has right to live peacefully in her matrimonial home. “The right to reside contains within itself the right to reside peaceably and to the exclusion of the violator (husband),” observed Justice Roshan Dalvi while upholding a family court ruling restraining a Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri, resident from entering his own flat.

Acting on a plea filed by his wife, the Bandra family court had earlier this year issued an interim direction to the man to move out of the family home in Beverly Hills building, and had also restrained him from creating nuisance by attempting to enter the flat.

The interim arrangement had been made to protect the woman and her children from the violent behaviour of the husband, an alcoholic, who would lose his temper and become aggressive under the influence of alcohol.

The Andheri resident had approached the high court challenging the eviction order. His counsel Uday Warunjikar primarily contended that the wife and her mother-in-law jointly owned the flat, and as the husband had ownership right over the flat, the court could not have ordered his eviction.

Justice Dalvi, however, dismissed the contention, observing that the Domestic Violence (DV) Act puts the woman’s personal rights over proprietary interest.
Shia board censures domestic violence
March 14, 2011

Souce: India today

Among the many ills plaguing our society, domestic violence would definitely rank high in the list. Irrespective of caste, creed or religion, women at home tend to be at the receiving end in a society where male chauvinism still holds fort. In an effort to tackle this problem the All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB), in a historic meeting, decided to ostracise those who beat or desert their wives.

The board has also decided to launch a toll-free helpline soon to help victims of domestic violence. “We are also going to constitute a committee of ulemas and lawyers to provide all kinds of legal and social support to those women who are victims of domestic violence and gender bias,” AISPLB president Maulana Mirza Mohammad Athar said on Sunday following a meeting of the board.

“The board resolved in its meeting that there would be zero tolerance against wife beaters. We are in the process of preparing a new nikahnama under which there will be inherent provisions to curb the menace. Our ulemas were forced to do this because we had been receiving hundreds of such complaints everyday and in majority of the cases the culprit were men,” Athar said.

The AISPLB, which was founded in 1972, also expressed its displeasure against polygamy. “The Shia body has reached the conclusion that dowry is the reason behind increasing instances of polygamy. We are also committed to prevent dowry system in the community.

The general practice is that on the day of the marriage, both families decide on the amount of mehar (nuptial gift) which is given by the groom’s family to the bride.

But now the board has decided that the mehar would be in the form of cash and must be decided well in advance before the wedding.

The bride’s family would be free to spend this amount to meet the expenses of the marriage ceremony,” Yasub Abbas, spokesperson of the board, said.

Abbas claimed there are over 200 million Shias in the world out of which 114 million Shias who live in India, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran look to the AISPLB for guidance.

“There are 16 million in India who meticulously follow the instructions issued by Shia cleric who are senior members of the panel. We hope that our resolution will be a milestone in the history of the community,” Abbas said.

He said the board has also urged the Centre to provide shelter to Shias who are not comfortable in Pakistan.

“We have been receiving complaints of ill treatment with the Shias from India who had migrated to Pakistan. We want the government to help them out,” he added.

The AISPLB has also demanded that political parties include reservation for Muslims in their election manifesto.

RELIEF FOR BATTERED WOMEN

The All India Shia Personal Law Board has decided to ostracise those who beat or desert their wives.

A toll- free helpline will be launched by the board to help victims of domestic violence.

The board will prepare a new nikahnama under which there will be inherent provisions to curb domestic violence.

The board also condemned polygamy and said dowry is the prime reason behind the practice.

The board also ruled that mehar (nuptial gift) would now be given in the form of cash and must be decided well in advance before the wedding.
Committee for Domestic Violence Act

March 9th, 2011

Source: Deccan chronicle

March 8: The commissioner of police, Mr Amit Garg, has said a special committee would be formed in the city with intellectuals, representatives of the NGOs and other important citizens of the society for strict implementation of the Domestic Violence Act (D.V. Act).

He was the chief guest at the International Women’s Day celebrations organised by Vasavya Mahila Mandali near the Benz Circle on Tuesday. Mr Garg said the police department would extend full co-operation to victims of domestic violence. Respecting women is nothing but giving respect to the society, the commissioner of police felt.

He appealed to the women to fearlessly lodge a complaint in the police station and the department would render assistance. He said accurate information furnished by the complainant would be useful to the police and added that women play vital role in family and society as wife, sister, mother and employee.

The state women’s commission secretary, Ms Sarala Rajyalakshmi, said though five years passed since the implementation of Domestic Violence Act it has not been implemented properly. She said attacks on women continue unabated in both rural and urban areas. She stressed the need for rendering legal assistance to women suffering from violence.

The Vasavya Mahila Mandali president, Ms Chennupati Vidya, said all people shall feel both men and women are equal. The metropolitan magistrate, Ms K. Padmini, felt that counselling to be strengthened to strengthen the family system in the society.

The Krishna district women development and child welfare project director, Ms Suhasini Devi said the department is extending all help to the women who suffer from different problems and violence. The Vasavya Mahila Mandali secretary, Ms Rashmi and Dr Samaram were among those present

Boy uses Domestic Violence Act to secure educational expenses from father

Mar 8, 2011

Source- Times of India

PUNE: An 11-year-old boy has successfully sued his father for educational and general day-to-day expenses till the time he turns 18, by using the Protection of  Women Against Domestic Violence Act of 2005.

Ruling in his favour recently, judicial magistrate first class Umeshchandra More ordered the father, a software professional, to pay both educational and day-today expenses of his son till he completes 18 years. He will have to pay a lumpsum amount of Rs 12,000 every year which needs to be deposited in a bank account in the boy’s name by July 5 to take care of general expenses. With regard to the educational expenses, including school fees, text-books, school bus and uniform, the father has promised to pay the money directly to the school. For the year 2010-11, these expenses added upto Rs 23,800.

Apart from this, the father has agreed to pay tuition fees for his son when he reaches stds X and XII respectively as these are crucial academic years of school life.

Speaking to TOI, advocate Asim Sarode who had petitioned the court on the boy’s behalf said: “The Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act of 2005, contrary to popular perception, is not restricted to women alone but also to minors who suffer any sort of harassment/denial of rights within the institution of the family. Thus, the act is gender neutral in nature. Cases filed under this Act are usually filed by women, but to my knowledge, this is the first time a male has moved court against his father.”

Elaborating further, he said, “The boy’s petition says that the relations between his parents had soured around 2002, and that they had obtained a divorce through mutual consent from the family court of Pune in 2005. Both parents have since remarried, but the boy continues to stay with his mother. It was decided, in the course of the divorce proceedings, that the father would pay a monthly maintenance of Rs 500 towards the boy’s expenses.

However, a dispute broke out again between the parents over meeting the monthly expenses, including education. The father was irregular even in paying the regular maintenance. Hence, we were forced to move court.”

The boy filed the case before a magistrate’s court through his mother on February 4, 2010. While the judgment came out on Dec 18, 2010, Sarode could only obtain a copy of the order last week.

Citing section 2 (B) of the Act, Sarode pointed out that it applied to any child whether biological, adopted or foster. “It further goes on to define a child as a person who is less than 18 years of age. The usage of the term person denotes that the term child is used in a gender neutral way. Since the petitioner child has been in a domestic relationship with the respondent (ie his father) he can seek maintenance under the Act.”

The boy had asked the court to grant him monetary relief under section 20 (2) of the Act, as well as compensation under section 22 for mental torture and emotional distress. Initially the father denied negligence on his part and vehemently fought the case, but eventually agreed to provide the necessary economic support to his son.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT HIGHLIGHTS

• The act, for the first time, presents a holistic definition of domestic violence against the woman. This applies to both matrimonial and non-matrimonial relationships, such as the fatherdaughter equation, father-son equation (if the son is less than 18 years old) and live-in relationships

• The act is civil in nature. Unlike section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), it does not put the police in charge, or result in immediate arrest of the family members. Instead of being registered as the accused, they are called the respondents who can appear before court without being subject to arrest

• Unlike Section 498-A of the Prohibition of Dowry Act 1961 and Section 125 of the IPC, it does away with long-winded procedures to provide immediate relief to victims of violence

Domestic violence cases on rise: Government

New Delhi, Mar 3 (PTI)

Source  Press Trust of India

In a disturbing trend, the cases of domestic violence against women have been rising in the country over the past few years.

The total number of cases reported during 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, were 1,868, 4,908, 4,688 and 5,329 respectively, according to statistics given by the National Crime Records Bureau.
The cases of rape also saw an increase from 20,737 in 2007 to 21,396 in 2009, while those of molestation recorded a slight dip from 38,734 in 2007 to 38,711 in 2009.
This was stated by Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.
The National Family Health Survey data show that in the age group of 15-49, 35.4 per cent of all women and 40 per cent of ever married women experience physical or sexual violence while 6.7 per cent experience both physical and sexual forms of domestic violence, Tirath said citing the NCRB data.
The data, however, shows that there has been no perceptible in the cases registered under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 2005.
As per the figures, a total of 5,623, 5,555 and 5,650 cases under the Dowry prohibition Act and 8,093, 8,172 and 8,383 cases of dowry deaths were reported in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Cops need defined role in DV Act

TNN, Feb 20, 2011,

Source Times of India

BANGALORE: More specific and enabling provisions in the laws governing domestic violence can help police play a better role in its effective implementation.

Speaking at a programme organized by Bangalore Urban District Legal Services Committee and Mahila Dakshata Samiti on `Review of effective implementation of Domestic Violence Act 2005′, police joint commissioner Alok Kumar said: “Now there is confusion as to when the police should intervene. Though the Act came into existence five years ago, there is still confusion on the role to be played by police. It is bifurcated between complaints under 498 A and the DV Act. Under the Act, the role of police is not specified. As a result, they are not able to do anything. Police can assist in implementation in a better way if they are given a clear-cut role.”

Ramesh Halabhavi, deputy director, women and child development department said that with the increase in the number of cases under the DV Act, the government has created 47 new protection officers’ posts to deal with the situation.

“In addition, we are also notifying NGOs that have all the infrastructure as service providers to act as protection officers,” he said.

Saranya Hegde of the Mahila Dakshita Samiti said that implementation of the Domestic Violence Act was not taking place in an effective manner because often, the judgements were not respected.

She sought for separate courts for trying cases under the DV Act on the lines of family courts or bifurcating these cases and hearing them in the afternoon.

‘Allocate more funds to implement Domestic Violence Act’

Sat, Feb 12, 2011

Source IANS

New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) A delegation of activists and academicians Saturday met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to discuss and submit recommendations for the union budget 2011-12, including provisions of a flexible pool of funds for better implementation of the Domestic Violence Act by the states.

A statement by the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA), under whose aegis the group went to meet the minister, said that gender budgeting was one aspect they discussed with him.

‘A key point discussed was the pressing need to make the objectives, operational guidelines, financial norms and unit costs of existing schemes in various ministries and departments more gender responsive,’ the statement said.

‘Also the union government could provide a flexible pool of funds to the states for implementing the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,’ it added.

Among its other recommendations was higher fund allocation for education and health.

‘The long overdue promise of raising the government spending on education to six percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is yet to be fulfilled. Also its commitment in 2004 of raising the budgetary allocation to health to two-three percent of the GDP is not yet fulfilled,’ the statement said.

The group also said that to ensure that food security becomes an entitlement to all, the Food Security Act must be enacted and with that regard, food subsidy in the union budget should be increased.

Also that norms of the Public Distribution System (PDS) should focus on individuals as the unit for distribution of food grains rather than family.

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