Activists demand review of Domestic Violence Act

New Delhi, : Demanding amendments to undo the “discriminatory” provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, a group of activists held a demonstration in the capital today and said the law was unleashing “legal terrorism” on elders and women.

Assembled under the banner of Gender Human Rights Society (GHRS), Mothers and Sisters Organisation (MASI), Save Family Foundation (SFF)and other NGOs, who observed second anniversary of enactment of DVA as ‘Black Day’, protesters also submitted a memorandum to the government seeking a review of the law. “The provision that has been the most misused is Section 19 of the Act that allows a woman, who claims to be victim of domestic violence, to evict her husband’s house of his family members,” said Sandeep Bhartia, President of GHRS.

“It has led to several cases when senior citizens have been thrown out of their homes which they built out of their life’s savings, with nowhere to go,” he added.Besides, the issues of unlimited compensation, provision of appointing only women activists as service providers or protection officers and that of multiple maintenance cases were also highlighted as being loaded against the husband and his family.

The clauses, along with the fact that the law treats an accused “guilty until proven innocent” have unleashed “legal terrorism” against the accused elders and women.

“The law is heavily loaded in favour of the wife and leads to victimisation of women from the husband’s family, who are often put behind bars for indefinite periods,” said Preeti Chauhan of NGO the All India Forgotten Women.”Equal protection should be provided to men and women against physical,emotional and economic abuse,” she added.

The law has also come in for criticism from the Supreme Court, which said in a judgement that some of its provisions were “clumsily drafted,” said Bhartia.

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