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YoYo Honey Singh’s wife Shalini files domestic violence case in Delhi HC – Domestic Violence Laws

YoYo Honey Singh’s wife Shalini files domestic violence case in Delhi HC – Domestic Violence Laws

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  • GS 2 || Governance & Social Justice || Vulnerable Sections || Women

Why in news?

  • A Delhi court on Tuesday issued a notice to Bollywood actor and singer YoYo Honey Singh on a plea filed by his wife seeking protection against alleged atrocities committed by him and his family on her.
  • ShaliniTalwar has alleged that she was subjected to numerous incidents of physical, verbal, and mental abuse by him and sought Rs 20 crore compensation under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.

What is domestic violence?

  • Domestic violence is violence committed by someone in the victim’s domestic circle. This includes partners and ex-partners, immediate family members, other relatives, and family friends.
  • The United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.
  • According to the World Health Organisationone in every three women across the globe experience physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by any perpetrators in their lifetime.

Findings by the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16)

  • 30% of women in India in the age group of 15-49 have experienced physical violence since the age of 15
  • About 31 percent of married women have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence by their spouses.
  • 6 percent of women in the age group 15-49 years have experienced sexual violence at least once in their lifetime

Supreme Court- Domestic violence is gender-neutral

  • The Supreme Court in its landmark judgment has widened the scope of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 by making it gender-neutral.
  • The SC ordered the deletion of the words “adult male” before the word ‘person’ in Section 2(q) of the Act making it gender-neutral. The remaining part of the legislation would remain operative and was kept untouched.
  • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 protects women from physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and economic abuse at home.

Causes of Domestic Violence

  • Patriarchy: Some people with very traditional beliefs may think they have the right to control their partner, and that women aren’t equal to men.
    • According to NFHS data, 42% of the surveyed men think there is at least one valid reason for wife-beating.
  • Socio-Cultural: Dowry-related deaths and honour killings are also examples of domestic violence.
  • Individual Factor: Some abusers may feel the need to control their partner due to low self-esteem, extreme jealousy, difficulties regulating anger and other strong emotions, or when they believe they are inferior to the other partner in terms of education and socioeconomic background.
  • Gender inequality:The research carried out in different parts of the world indicates that any social structure which treats women as fundamentally of less value than men is conducive to violence against women.
    • India ranks 112th rank in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2019-2020 indicating a wide gender gap. As men consider themselves superior, resorting to violence boosts and nurtures their egoistic superiority complex.
  • Lack of awareness: Women’s low self-image and inferior status are perpetuated by a lack of awareness of their rights and a general social belief in women’s subordination. Women are taught that marriage is the ultimate goal they should strive for. All of this conditioning gradually becomes an Indian woman’s nature.
  • Poverty, alcoholism, unemployment, and other factors all contribute to violent behavior. Because of the stresses caused by financial hardship and relationship crises, these factors put women at a higher risk of violence.

Challenges – Women continue to be vulnerable to these crimes

  • Non-Retaliation
    • As per the UN Women, globally in 2019-20, 243 million women and girls (aged 15-49) across the world have been subjected to sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner.
    • Less than 40% of women who experience violence seeking the help of any sort of reporting the crime.
  • Less than 10% of those women seeking help go to the police.
  • Women were also vulnerable to domestic violence due to societal attitudes, stigma, and conditioning, which are the main reasons for the under-reporting of cases.
  • This set of circumstances ensured that the majority of women preferred to suffer in silence, not by choice, but by necessity.
  • Ignorance of the existing statutes.
    • Just making the laws will not work, needs to be checked for its proper implementation.
    • Unnao case proves that making laws is not sufficient, its proper implementation is necessary
  • Gender Equality is being undermined: The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-5, which aims to “eradicate all forms of discrimination and violence against women in the public and private spheres, and to undertake reforms to give them the same rights to economic resources and access to the property by 2030,” is being severely jeopardized.
  • Less Sensitive Police Personnel: The police are the first to come into contact with the victim or accused.
  • Pending Cases: Cases involving crimes against women have the longest backlog, accounting for nearly 89.6 percent of all cases. The rate of conviction is also very low.

Impact of lockdown on violence against women

  • Since the outbreak of COVID-19, all forms of violence against women and girls have increased, particularly domestic violence.
  • This is the Shadow Pandemic, which is spreading amid the COVID-19 crisis, and it requires a global collaborative effort to stop it.
  • Resources and efforts in some countries have been diverted from the response to violence against women to immediate COVID-19 relief.
  • There is still work to be done to prioritize addressing violence against women in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

Laws and Measures to curb domestic violence in India

  • Legislations
    • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
      • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to protect women from domestic violence. It was brought into force by the Indian government and Ministry of Women and Child Development on 26 October 2006.
    • Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
      • An Act to prohibit indecent representation of women through advertisements or in publications, writings, paintings, figures, or in any other manner and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
    • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
      • It is a legislative act in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work.
    • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
      • The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 is an act to provide for the prohibition of solemnization of child marriages and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Child means a person, if male, has not completed twenty-one years of age and if female, has not completed eighteen years of age.
      • National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO)-The National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO) will help law enforcement agencies investigate and track sexual offenders across the country.
  • Women Safety Division-MHA has established a Women Safety Division to coordinate various initiatives for women’s safety.
    • MHA has issued advisories to all State Governments/UTs, advising them to ensure a thorough investigation, prompt medical examination of rape victims, and increased gender sensitivity in the police.
  • ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’are State subjects under the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. State Governments are thus responsible for the safety and security of the citizens including women and girls.
  • Nirbhaya Fund for Women’s Safety and Security Projects
    • One-Stop Center Program to provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence in both private and public settings under one roof.
    • the ‘Universalization of Women Helpline Scheme’ and
    • the ‘Mahila Police Volunteers Scheme’
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 was passed to provide effective legal deterrence against sexual offenses.
  • Furthermore, the ‘Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018′ was enacted, making the punishment for offenses such as rape more severe by including the death penalty for rape of a girl under the age of 12 years.
    • The Act also requires that investigations and trials be completed within two months of each other.

Way forward

  • Making NGO’s ore robust- Increase funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that respond to domestic violence and provide survivors with services such as shelter, counseling, and legal aid, and promote those that remain open.
  • Improvement in reproductive health-During the crisis, ensure that women have timely access to necessary and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, such as maternal health services, safe abortion, and so on.
  • Disseminate Information: Many women are unable to flee domestic violence because they are unaware of available legal services and organizations that work in this field. As a result, disseminating information about the various services available is critical.
    • In Spain, women are being given codewords such as “Mask-19” in pharmacy stores, which can act as an alarm-response mediator.
  • Raise Public Awareness: It is critical to raise public awareness about domestic violence as a human rights violation. It is necessary to develop and implement educational strategies aimed at changing the attitudes, beliefs, and biases of law enforcement, the judiciary, and citizens.
    • The state must work to raise public awareness of laws such as the POCSO Act and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, among others. The state should also make the consequences of breaking these laws clear to the public.
  • Counseling –Healthy relationship skills should be promoted, as should social-emotional learning programs for youth and healthy relationship programmes for couples.
  • Economic empowerment- The rise in violence against women must be addressed urgently through measures embedded in economic support and stimulus packages that address the gravity and scale of the problem while also reflecting the needs of women who face multiple forms of discrimination.
    • The French government will pay for up to 20,000 hotel nights for survivors and finance pop-up counseling centres at grocery stores for easy access to abuse survivors.
  • Strengthening data collection and investing in high-quality surveys on violence against women, as well as improving measurement of the various types of violence experienced by women, including the most marginalized.

Conclusion

  • Article 21 of our constitution ensures the right to live with dignity for women. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 has not helped much in preventing domestic violence. A comprehensive effort is required and the societal and government level.

Mains model Question

  • Discuss the various causes of India’s high rate of domestic violence. Suggest some preventative measures

References