NEW DELHI: Two years after the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act was introduced, Delhi has earned the dubious distinction of having the
maximum number of cases registered. About 3,534 cases have been registered under the Act in Delhi, closely followed by Kerala and Maharashtra.
A disappointing factor is that only 13 states have so far allocated adequate budget for the implementation of the legislation.
These assessments are part of `Staying Alive’, a monitoring and evaluation report on the Act by the Lawyers Collective and supported by UNIFEM South Asia office.
Delhi recorded 3,534 cases between October 2006 to August 2008, while Kerala had 3,287 cases and Maharashtra 2,751. In Andhra Pradesh, 1,625 cases were recorded between July 2007 and October 2008.
While there is an increasing awareness of the legislation, there are several obstacles in its implementation. Inadequate budgetary allocation is a challenge with only 13 states including Assam, Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, having allocated specific budgets for the implementation of the law. Of these, Andhra Pradesh has allocated the highest amount of Rs 100 million, Indira Jaisingh, Lawyers Collective director, said.
Girija Vyas of the National Commission of Women (NCW) said that delay in the judicial process also acted as a dampener to the spirit of the law. “Ideally, justice should be delivered to the victim within three months but in many places, including the role model state Andhra Pradesh, cases drag on for more than six months,” Vyas said.
Twenty-two judgments under the domestic violence Act have been delivered by High Courts in different states, indicating that there is a greater degree of familiarity of the law amongst women and judges now, the report said.
Highlighting some of the challenges in the smooth implementation of the law, Jaisingh said that while protection officers, who are the link between the woman and the court, have been appointed at the district level in most of the states, only 10 states have appointed them at the sub-district level — a necessary step required to ensure that maximum women can take help of the law.