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Declare Oct 26 as a day to protest domestic violence, say NGOs

With the Domestic Violence Act nearing completion of a decade on October 26 next year, several NGOs today demanded the government to declare the day as a National Day to protest against the social evil.

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 was enacted by the Parliament to protect women from domestic violence on October 26, 2005 and was brought into force by the Indian government from 26 October, 2006.

“When we have a Girl Child day and Women’s day, we should also have a specific day to sensitise people about domestic violence Act and its laws,” said Sunila Singh of Action India (AI), a voluntary organisation.

Criticising the government and judiciary for its “failure” to properly implement the law, the NGOs pointed out loopholes in the Act and claimed that the Centre had failed to appoint appropriate number of protection officers.

“There are only 17 Protection Officers for 23 family courts in Delhi, that means one protection officer is handling around 2,000 cases of domestic violence. So, this is impractical to even think that they would handle all the cases efficiently,” said Leena Prasad of AI.

Highlighting the fact that the security of these protection workers was also at stake, Leena said, “There are some reported cases where these Protection Officers were beaten up in remote areas. Government should provide security to them as well.”

“And also there are only two states which have appointed full-time Protection officers, otherwise in other states there are Protection Officers hired on contract basis. Even some states have hired Revenue officers as Protection Officers which completely ridicules the law,” she claimed.

The organisations demanded a single-window system for the clearance of domestic violence cases pending in courts and sought a periodic monitoring of the data collected on such cases.

“There is no central body to monitor cases of domestic violence. We demand the government to constitute a body for it. The delay in getting justice is the main reason why women do not prefer to report such cases,” said Monika Saroha, Judicial Officer, Delhi Legal Service Authority, Patiala House Court.

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