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New Delhi: Swarooplata today is a broken woman. Accused of domestic violence by her daughter-in-law, the elderly woman has nowhere to call home. Her son Gaurav too is in deep trouble. Charged with violence by his wife, he is bankrupt after paying compensation running into lakhs of rupees to his spouse. “I don’t know where my son is today. My daughter-in-law filed a case against me and my son under the Domestic Violence Act and I had to leave the house. Today I don’t have a roof over my head,” Swarooplata cried.
Shobhit Kapoor (33) was a senior manager with an IT firm before being booked under the Domestic Violence Act by his wife. His life now revolves around numerous court hearings. He has not only lost his job, he is also denied access to his two-and-half-year-old son who suffers from a kidney ailment. Though he pays maintenance to his wife for his son, he claims the child is not getting the medical treatment he requires.
Swarooplata and Shobhit were among a group of people who demonstrated at Jantar Mantar on Sunday, demanding an amendment to remove “discriminatory” provisions in the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act. The protesters claimed the present law had many loopholes and unleashed “legal terrorism” on those on the receiving end.
Assembled under the banner of Gender Human Rights Society (GHRS), Mothers and Sisters Organisation (MASI), Save Family Foundation (SFF)and other NGOs, the second anniversary of the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act was described as a BLACKDAY by the protesters, who submitted a memorandum to the government, seeking a review of the law.
Said Swarup Sarkar, coordinator, Save Family Foundation: The DV Act should be replaced by a more gender-neutral legislation and equal protection should be provided to men and women against physical, emotional, verbal and economic abuse.