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May 31, 2010

“Family Harmony Society®” submits Comments/Suggestions on DV Act to “Committee on Subordinate Legislation”

Filed under: Press_release — Fighting Legal Terror @ 12:35 pm

PRESS RELEASE

Subject: “Committee on Subordinate Legislation” has invited Comments/Suggestions on “Protection of women from domestic violence rules, 2006 (Bill No.: G.S.R. 644(E))” from individuals/organizations/institutions/experts on the working and efficacy of the said Rules. “Family Harmony Society” has submitted its written Comments/Suggestions on the above mentioned subject to the committee. We have also asked for oral pleadings in front of the committee members headed by senior MP Smt Najma Heptullah.

About FHS: “Family Harmony Society” [www.family-harmony.org] is a Non Governmental Organization [NGO] promoting the cause of “family harmony” and “gender equality”. It is registered under “The Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960” and is based in Bangalore. “Family Harmony Society”, a men’s rights organization, creating awareness about the “Legal Terrorism” spread by misuse of marital laws like Section 498(A), Domestic Violence Act, etc.

Main highlights of our Comments/Suggestions submitted to the committee: In order to alleviate the sufferings of the victims of the misuse of the PWDVA, we have submitted following list of proposals and suggestions for the kind consideration of the said committee.

 

  1. 1.       Remove the word, “Women” from the name:

“The Protection of women from domestic violence Act” and the Protection of women from domestic violence rules, were framed and legislated based on a myth and assumption that only women under go domestic violence. The parliament has not considered the fact MEN are equally vulnerable to domestic violence in the hands of a female or another male. Numerous incidents of domestic violence on males covered by press & media, clearly showing the evidence of violence on males, have been ignored by the parliament. We strongly request to make the said Act and the Rules “gender-neutral” by providing protection to MEN as well.

  1. 2.      Provide protection to children/Senior citizens:

Anybody can be a victim of Domestic violence, including children, infants, teenagers and senior citizens. They can become victim in the hands of their own blood relatives including the mothers of the children and the sons & daughters-in-law of the aged parents. Senior citizens are mostly abused by the daughters-in-law more so by the misuse of these women-biased laws. Therefore, we sincerely request to increase the scope of the said Act and the Rules beyond “young married women” to a cover a much larger section of victims irrespective of their age & gender.

  1. 3.      Include punishment clause in case of misuse:

The Protection of women from domestic violence Act is one of the most misused laws in our country apart from IPC 498[A]. This law is being misused by many of the young, educated & intelligent women with corrupt intentions to satisfy their greed, grudge & fantasies. The misuse of the Protection of women from domestic violence Act is so rampant that many of the parliamentarians, courts, Chief justices of various High courts have expressed their concerns over the misuse of this Act. There is an urgent need to introduce a punishment clause in the Protection of women from domestic violence Rules.

  1. 4.      Remove live-in relationships out of the context of the Rules:

Live-in relationships are like organized prostitution. If we don’t discourage live-in relationships then we will end up promoting polygamy which is not permitted as per law. There are no rules defined under Live-in relationships. This is nothing but a different concept of prostitution and nothing but polygamy. The committee needs to look into this issue and ensure that the Protection of women from domestic violence rules does not cover live-in relationships.

  1. 5.      Automatic Divorce decree should be passed on moving an application by the respondent husband:

On mere application of common sense one can conclude that a woman who is claiming domestic violence by her husband cannot be presumed to live with him any longer. More so when she is claiming for the reliefs of Protection, Residence, Maintenance orders as per the existing Protection of women from domestic violence rules. When a woman comes forward, complains and claims for these reliefs, then that itself shows that the marriage between husband and wife has broken down and the relationship between them is not cordial and that is why she has come forward to complain. In such a situation it is impossible to think that they can live together again. In such a case while providing reliefs to the woman, the husband should be granted automatic divorce decree order if he moves an application for the same at appropriate court.

  1. 6.      Remove protection officer:

The Protection officer’s role is to only record the Domestic Incident report without any verification or collection of proof. Often this is done after filing the application to the Magistrate and only for the sake of process, nothing more than that. The officer will not have any role in investigating the alleged domestic violence, it is only limited to writing down the false statements and filling the report as per the wishes of the wife’s advocate. It is mostly noted that the job of the PO is just to tick mark most of the rows in the DIR on the insistence of the wife. The role of a Protection officer is absolutely unnecessary and should be removed.

  1. 7.       Remove sole testimony:

Because of the rampant misuse of the Protection of women from domestic violence Act the sole testimony of the woman cannot be taken as a sole witness or as occurrence of violence. Even the Honorable Supreme Court of India in 14Feburary2010 observed that “in rape cases the testimony of the victim cannot be considered to be the gospel truth, though in normal circumstances her statement has to be relied upon.” The trial under this Act should be made in compliance to Indian Evidence Act rather than in compliance to Criminal Procedure Code.

  1. 8.      Interim Orders:

We object to the delay on the main case proceedings due to the delay on passing of orders on the interim applications. Normally it is seen that there is a delay in passing of interim orders and on this ground the considerable delay on the main case. Even though the “Rules” stipulates that preferably the case should be heard and decided within 60 days but this provision is hardly followed by any court. The magistrates shall ensure that interim orders are passed at the earliest and at the discretion of the officers and shall ensure the trial is not withheld over an indefinite period due to non-execution of interim orders.

  1. 9.      Perjury:

We object that due to various loopholes in the “Act & the Rules” the spouse are trading wild and false allegations at each other. As there is no provision of punishment in the “Act & the Rules” hence there is no fear in the mind of the litigants and they are indulging in leveling baseless and wild allegations against each other. This is deplorable and results in considerable delay of the proceedings. The magistrates shall order perjury and contempt proceedings in respect of exaggerated or false allegation in respect of domestic violence, cruelty when such allegations are proved to be false.  And spouses making false allegations are to be punished. 

  1. 10.   Enforce strict adherence to section 6 – Application to magistrate:

If a defined rule is not followed then that leaves a chance for misuse. This rule has defined a very neat application form to be addressed to the Magistrate. As per this rule the complainant woman is supposed to fill-in the details of the breakup of the monetary reliefs that she is claiming <<Please refer page.67 in the rules PDF file under the heading – “Monetary reliefs under section 20”>>. But the complainant women do not follow this rule. This leads to claiming of exorbitant amounts of maintenance to the tune of lakhs of rupees. Claiming exorbitant amounts of maintenance is nothing but misusing the provision which is meant to protect women. It is impossible to believe that with the current economic conditions prevailing in our country that a woman would need lakhs of rupees of money for basic necessities like food, cloth, and medicines. We have seen cases where the maintenance amounts have been claimed in the range of 25,000/-, 50,000/- to 200,000/- per month. Maintenance includes only the basic necessities i.e., food, cloth, medicines & shelter. In any city in our country these basic necessities will not cost thousands & lakhs of rupees per month. The magistrates are supposed to pass orders ONLY for these basic necessities and other house hold expenses which should never run into thousands of rupees as claimed in some cases. The Act itself mandates that the maintenance amounts should be fair, just & reasonable. But this is hardly followed. We therefore pray for strict adherence to this rule, else the application should be rejected if there is not breakup given for the monetary relief claimed.

  1. 11.    Enforce camera recording of the counseling under section 14 – Counselors:

We strongly deplore to the use of the said “Act” being used as a blackmail tool. The said “Act” must be used for the needy women rather being misused by greedy women. In traditional cases of misuse, women will insist on registering the case & punishing the accused/respondent during counseling/mediation. But later they deny that they did not insist on registering the case or that they registered in a fit of rage. In order to stop this particular misuse of this Act as a black mailing tool, we propose to do camera recording of the counseling/mediation done by the counselors if the accused/respondents wishes so.

  1. 12.   Enforce mandatory accommodation in shelter homes under section 16 – Shelter Homes:

Shelter homes must be provided for the affected victims. When a woman undergoes domestic violence it may not be possible for her to continue to live with the accused/respondent. So, in order to protect these women, the women should be mandatorily accommodated in Govt. sponsored Shelter Homes. The cost for the accommodation may be put on the accused/respondents. The cost will be for her maintenance as per the prevailing rates as declared by the Government.

For more information please contact:

P Suresh, President, 9880141531                                              M Mahesh, General Secretary, 9845448472

Family Harmony Society                                                                                                Family Harmony Society

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