Misuse of women laws

Facts:

  • The government recently told the Rajya Sabha that provisions of the Domestic Violence and Anti-Dowry Acts are being misused
  • Only 13 persons were convicted out of the 639 charge sheeted in 2014 under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.
What are these laws about?
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 was enacted to protect women from domestic violence.
  • It is a civil law meant primarily for protection orders and not meant to penalize criminally.
  • The Act provides for the first time in Indian law a definition of “domestic violence”, with this definition being broad and including not only physical violence, but also other forms of violence such as emotional/verbal, sexual, and economic abuse.
  • The act does not extend to Jammu and Kashmir, which has its own laws, and which enacted in 2010 the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2010.
What can be done?
Legal experts say that there have to be checks and balances. Eradicating these acts is not the solution as there are still several genuine cases and such women need protection. There ought to be a better mechanism to deal with such cases. Instead of immediately arresting people upon a complaint, the police should first probe before taking action.