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HC issues notice to govt on PIL lamenting ‘ineffective implementation’ of Domestic Violence Act 2005

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Srinagar: J&K High Court Thursday issued notice in a petition in public interest lamenting lack of shelter homes for the victims of domestic violence.

The petition filed by Mehram Womens Cell Kashmir alleged ineffective implementation of ‘The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005’ (DV Act) in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The petitioner organization wanted the High Court to issue directions to government to notify the shelter homes in accordance with DV Act and appoint Protection Officer as envisaged under law.

Hearing the PIL, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sindhu Sharma issued notice to the respondents and posted the matter for May 13 this year.

The establishment of shelter homes, as mandated by the DV Act plays a prominent role in the efficacious implementation of the social welfare legislation, said the petition.

It also said “the law was drafted and passed with the object of effectively protecting the rights of the women guaranteed under the constitution, who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”.

However, it has been more than a decade since the Act came into force in the Jammu and Kashmir and yet the government fails to execute and implement the Act properly, said the petitioner organization.

It informed the court “there are no shelter homes available for the victims of the domestic violence in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.”

It held that the union territory administration “has failed not only to discharge the statutory obligations, but has also equally failed in fulfilling and showing the requisite commitment to the constitutional and international duties/obligations with respect to the establishment of shelter homes.”

The organization claimed that the gender discriminatory customs, practices and rituals against women in Kashmir continue to institutionalize second-class status for women and girls.

It also claimed that with regard to elections, education, marital rights, employment rights, parental rights, and inheritance and property rights, the women and girls continue to be discriminated.

These forms of discrimination against the Kashmiri women are incompatible with their empowerment, it added.

Despite the DV Act, women in Kashmir are still suffering and bear the trauma caused by their in-laws because of the failure on part of the government to create shelter homes, alleged the petitioner.

The petition has been filed with a prayer for putting in place adequate infrastructure across the Valley for creating shelter homes for the victims of domestic violence, the petitioner said.

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