Friday, November 26, 2010

Press release of WCD on Protection of Women from Domestic Violence misuse

Press release of WCD on Protection of Women from Domestic Violence misuse

Friday, November 26, 201016:30 IST

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) is implemented by the States/Union Territories. The State Governments are required to appoint Protection Officers, register Service Providers and notify shelter homes and medical facilities for implementation of the Act. The Implementation of the Act was reviewed in the meeting of the State Ministers and Secretaries in charge of Women & Child Development, on 16-17 June, 2010, and particularly with regard to the appointment of Protection Officers and registration of Service Providers.

The PWDVA is a Civil law meant to protect and provide support to victims of domestic violence. Under the Act, the aggrieved woman can seek various reliefs such as protection order, residence order, custody order, compensation order, monetary reliefs, shelter and medical facilities. The aggrieved woman can also file a complaint under Section 498A of IPC, where ever relevant. A few complaints/representations alleging misuse of the Act together with alleged misuse of 498A of IPC have been received. These complaints are primarily against alleged misuse of Section 498A IPC rather than any specific provision of the PWDVA.

Under the PWDVA, various reliefs are provided to the aggrieved women on the orders passed by the Magistrate after following due procedure. The Act also has a provision for appeal against the orders of the Magistrate. While adequate safeguards under existing laws such as Section 211 of IPC and Section 250 of CR.PC are available to deal with misuse, if any, of legal provisions, the Government in the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an advisory on 20.10.2009 to all State Governments and Union Territory Administrations to comply with the procedure as directed by the Courts and follow the advisories issued by the Government of India from time to time, to put to rest the allegation of misuse of Section 498A of IPC.

This information was given by Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister of State for Women and Child Development in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.


Honesty can’t be faked

Honesty can’t be faked

November 29, 2010   3:18:27 AM

Joginder Singh

The Government has grievously erred in the appointment of PJ Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner. It must make amends without delay

The Supreme Court of India, while hearing two separate though connected cases of public interest litigation, has raised a pertinent question by asking as to how the newly-appointed Central Vigilance Commissioner could fulfill his responsibilities since he is still an accused in a criminal case relating to irregularities in the import of palm oil. The Supreme Court has pointed out that the Central Vigilance Commissioner is supposed to order investigations into complaints of corruption received by the Commission he heads, the appellate anti-corruption body which supervises the functioning of the Central Bureau of Investigation. The accused in such complaints could well say: “You cannot deal with these as you are an accused in a criminal case yourself.”

According to the two PILs, the Union Government had ignored the Supreme Court’s guidelines for the appointment of the CVC. Under these guidelines, a three-member committee is supposed to select the CVC from a panel of civil servants with impeccable integrity and outstanding career records. The Supreme Court wanted to know whether this criterion had been followed. It also asked the Government whether the charge sheet against Mr PJ Thomas had been consistently ignored over the last 10 years during which time he was promoted several times — from being Food Secretary in Kerala he became Telecom Secretary and Secretary in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs before being appointed CVC. The Supreme Court said, “We are not against the person but we are on his office... We want to know if he, being an accused, is able to function at this sensitive post.” The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau of Kerala had filed the charge sheet in the palm oil import scam as per Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act after securing proper sanction.

The Attorney-General later commented that if the criterion of ‘impeccable integrity’ were to be strictly applied then even the appointments of several judges and others holding constitutional office would be “subject to scrutiny and challenged”. The Attorney-General, perhaps, may not be aware that for every worthwhile appointment, including that of the judges, a vigilance clearance is required. The appointment of Chief Vigilance Officers of Government departments and public sector undertakings is cleared by the CVC after obtaining necessary reports from the CBI and other agencies. In fact, the Chief Justice of India rammed home the point by saying that under service rules, someone with a charge sheet pending against him would not even be considered for a promotion.

There is more than what meets the eye in all high profile appointments by the Government irrespective of the party in power. Rulers who abide by ethics do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly; those who are unscrupulous constantly seek a way around laws. The top bureaucrats — the Cabinet Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Principal Secretary — are all from Kerala. A phone call or an e-mail from any of them would have fetched them the latest information about the status of the case against Mr Thomas. The officer cannot be faulted for the munificence of the Government, but his colleagues who suppressed facts must share the blame. Fellow bureaucrats have got him a post-retirement job, that too with the status of a Supreme Court judge, that will keep him in comfort at taxpayers’ expense for another five years.

Indeed, the Union and the State Governments run an employment exchange for retired officers who have not only toed the line laid down by their political bosses but also, when asked to bend, have chosen to crawl. There are more than 400 committees and commissions which are practically reserved for retired officers. This is strange as most of the working officers in senior positions do not have even half-an-hour of work. Sometime back I ran into a Secretary to the Government and asked him was work. He said since he did not toe the line of his Minister the post of OSD was created for him. He defined OSD not as Officer on Special Duty but Officer in Search of Duty.

The only condition of post-retirement employment is that the bureaucrat should not only be flexible but also pliable. It is said in jest that civil servants lose a vertebra of their backbone for every one or two years of their service. By the time they retire, barring honourable exceptions, most of them become spineless wonders. They do so in the interest of their survival and occupying good posts till they kick the bucket. Nobody doubts the integrity of the Prime Minister, but he seems to have an incredible amount of faith in a corrupt bureaucracy which does not place all the facts before him. Why should the Government try to justify the unjustifiable? It has blundered in the appointment of the CVC.

Good governance requires hard work and the courage to take decisions. You do not need Solomon’s wisdom to realize that our actions produce reactions. When the Government has fixed the retirement age for bureaucrats at 60, why should some be favoured with extensions in service for five years by being appointed to various commissions or constitutional posts? The Government swears by the rule of law and fairplay but more often than not it treats some as more equal than others.

Thanks to the Supreme Court, the law of the land still remains alive and is periodically upheld as above all, no matter how powerful the individuals or institutions concerned may be. The Government must realize that there is no room for legal hair splitting on the pertinent questions raised by the Supreme Court in the case pertaining to the appointment of the CVC in violation of all norms and guidelines. There really should be no need to remind the Prime Minister, whose integrity is unimpeachable and who has a high sense of probity that governance is largely about being honest and speaking the truth, no matter how bitter it may be. Given the fact that the Prime Minister is widely seen as an honest individual, he should take the initiative in rectifying the blunder made by his Government in the appointment of Mr Thomas as the CVC. He is clearly not the right choice for the job; he should be removed and due diligence must be applied in finding an officer to replace him. There is no shortage of those who fit the bill and have an unblemished record. What Carlyle said for individuals is equally applicable to the Government: Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world.

Man fighting for harassed husbands fined 1L by Gujarat HC

Man fighting for harassed husbands fined 1L by Gujarat HC

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat HC on Thursday slapped a penalty of Rs 1 lakh on Dashrath Devda, president of Akhil Bharatiya Patni Atyachar Virodhi Sangh for protesting against alleged misuse of domestic violence laws. A division bench fined him for filing frivolous PIL and for wasting court's time.

Devda had approached the HC by way of filing a PIL demanding judicial interference in the alleged misuse of protection laws for women. He was demanding a protection in legislation for men, who are according to him henpecked by their wives.

Devda has been claiming that women have abused the laws, which are in favour of them, but certain protection for men is also required against the misuse of the legislation. He filed this PIL, which came up for hearing before a division bench. When Devda began arguments as party-in-person, the court asked him to withdraw his PIL because his demand was to amend the legislation. Refusing to pay any attention to what the court was hinting at, Devda continued to argue how women in this country are worshipped, and no law is required for their protection. However, the chief justice repeatedly asked him to withdraw the PIL.

Ultimately, the court imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Devda and asked him to pay the money to the Self Employed Women's Association — an NGO working for women empowerment. The court has directed Devda to pay the amount of penalty within two months.

Devda and members of his association often stage demonstrations and take out rallies in the city in protest against the domestic violence laws. They also help men in court proceedings, who face charges of domestic violence from their spouses. In this PIL also, Devda tried to assert their views that different pieces of legislation favouring women are misused, and ultimate sufferers are the family members. The association has been protesting against anti-dowry law of Section 498A of IPC, alimony related provisions in Section 125 of CrPC and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.

Re-look at the dealings of Domestic Violence Act and Section 498a of the IPC-women's movement should focus more on protecting families than fighting against men

Re-look at the dealings of Domestic Violence Act and Section 498a of the IPC-women's movement should focus more on protecting families than fighting against men 
MYSORE: The Ashodaya Samithi, an organization helping sex workers and University of Mysore highlighted various forms of violence, harassment and exploitation faced by women in society, on Thursday. The event was held to observe international day for elimination of violence against women. It emphasized on the fact that decline in human values has led to various problems faced by women in society.

Southern police range departmental enquiry cell DySP Dharanidevi Malagatti said where there are no human values there will be more exploitation and harassment. Violence against women is always a violation of human rights and is still prevalent in society.

Demanding salary from women, restricting women's freedom, forcing women to go for work, etc., all amounts to crime under Domestic Violation Act. The fairer sex is still tolerating various kinds of harassment in their places of work and at home, said Dharanidevi and sought an end to violence against women.

Sociology department chairman Gururaj B felt the need to accelerate efforts to educate people, particularly those from the lower and middle classes, as they are usually the silent victims of harassment and exploitation.

Expressing concern over the misuse of laws, the chairman claimed that 75% of cases filed against men for harassment is false. Quoting a report of mid-1990s, he stated that over 1.25 lakh women had committed suicide over harassment in India, whereas the number of men who ended lives over similar charges had crossed 1.5 lakh. "We need to take a re-look at the dealings of Domestic Violence Act and Section 498a of the IPC. Also the women's movement should focus more on protecting families than fighting against men," he stated.

 Decline in values has led to violence against women - The Times of India