Indian women's rights group dismiss new domestic abuse law
INDIA: A leading Indian women's rights group said a new law against
domestic abuse, though powerful on paper, will fall prey to lax
The Domestic Violence Act 2005, which aims to protect women against
physical, mental and verbal abuse by husbands and live-in partners, came
into effect on Thursday.
Violators face up to a year in prison and a fine of 20,000 rupees
(435 dollars), the Ministry of Women and Child Development said.Rights
activists however said the legislation was a "half-hearted" attempt by
the government to tackle the problem.
"The government has made a mockery of the whole legislation. Women
will line up to file complaints with no mechanism in place.
There will be a huge backlog," said Donna Fernandes, who founded
Vimochana, a women's rights group 27 years ago.
The government has said it would appoint special "protection
officers" to attend to complaints, but did not spell out how many
officers will be recruited.
Social legislation is often poorly implemented in India - a country
of 1.1 billion people - where court cases can drag for decades because
of lack of resources.
Lawyers, who have been fighting to get the legislation through, said
it would at least set a standard on fighting domestic abuse.
New Delhi, Friday, AFP