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SC seeks number of cases initiated under Domestic Violence Act-2005

A bench of Justices U U Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and P S Narasimha said that in order to elicit details on this behalf, NALSA may send an appropriate questionnaire to the State Legal Services Authorities and obtain requisite information.

The top court has posted the matter for hearing on July 20.

The Supreme Court has directed the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to apprise it about the number of cases initiated till date under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

A bench of Justices U U Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and P S Narasimha said that in order to elicit details on this behalf, NALSA may send an appropriate questionnaire to the State Legal Services Authorities and obtain requisite information.

“In order to enable this Court to have complete information, we call upon NALSA to state about the number of cases under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005; (initiated till date and pending) and in how many cases the services of Protection Officer/Service Provider or shelter homes were required to be extended,” the bench said.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that ‘Project Shakti’ contemplated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development as well as other projects under the auspices of the Ministry of Law and Justice are at the stage of formalisation. Bhati said ‘Mission Shakti’ has already received Cabinet approval.

The top court has posted the matter for hearing on July 20. The apex court was hearing a plea seeking adequate infrastructure across the country for providing effective legal aid to women abused in matrimonial homes and creating shelter homes for them.

The apex court had in February asked the Centre to file an affidavit giving details such as the nature of central programmes/plans outlining assistance to support the efforts under the law by various states, including the extent of funding, conditions of governing financial support and the control mechanisms in place.

In its February 25 order, the apex court had said the Centre should file an affidavit giving details or particulars, including the collection of state-wise relevant data of litigation under the Act concerning the complaints made, number of courts, and the relative number of protection officers.

It had also asked the Centre to give details about the desirable cadre structure and career progression for the protection officers.

The top court is seized of a plea filed by an organisation, “We The Women of India”, seeking adequate infrastructure under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act across the country for providing effective legal aid to women abused in matrimonial homes and creating shelter homes for them post lodging of complaints against husbands and in-laws.

The plea had said domestic violence continues to be the most common crime against women in India despite the law coming into force more than 15 years ago.

“As per the National Crime Records Bureau report for the year 2019, out of 4.05 lakh reported cases categorised under ‘crimes against women, over 30 per cent were domestic violence cases,” the plea has said.

Referring to findings of the National Family Health Survey, it has said about 86 per cent of the women victims of domestic violence never seek help

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