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Madras HC To Hear Plea For Formulation Of An "Emergency Response System" To Assist Victims Of Domestic Violence [Read Order]

Akshita Saxena
30 April 2020 6:27 AM GMT
Madras HC To Hear Plea For Formulation Of An Emergency Response System To Assist Victims Of Domestic Violence [Read Order]
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The Madras High Court has fixed the petition seeking proper implementation of the Domestic Violence Act for consideration on May 20.

A bench of Justice M. Sathyanarayanan and Justice M. Nirmal Kumar was hearing an application filed by Advocate Sudha Ramalingam, seeking formulation of an "Emergency Response System" to aid and assist victims of domestic violence.

She suggested that the said Response System should be established to ensure that:

  • Functional mobile and landline numbers of Protection Officers of all the Districts are made public and readily available and disseminated through electronic, print and visual media;
  • Protection Officers in every District are given access to vehicles to rescue victims of domestic violence on an urgent basis;
  • A list of service providers with their contact numbers and addresses is notified and the same is disseminated through electronic, print and visual media;
  • A list of shelter homes along with contact numbers and address for every District that can accommodate victims of domestic violence is notified and the same is disseminated through electronic, print and visual media;
  • Health service providers document instances of physical abuse and give proper treatment to victims of domestic violence on a priority basis;
  • The local police provides all necessary cooperation and support for rescue and movement of victims of domestic violence and social workers who are assisting them.

The application was moved in a PIL filed by the Petitioner in the year 2018, seeking a direction to the State Government to take necessary measures for implementation of Section 12(5) of the Domestic Violence Act.

Section 12(5) mandates that the Magistrate concerned shall endeavour to dispose of every application made to it reporting an incidence of domestic violence within a period of sixty days from the date of its first hearing.

Consequently, the Petitioner had prayed that the Government be directed to frame a "Court Practice Manual" for Judicial Officers and legal practitioners in a time bound manner to implement the DV Act in its letter and spirit.

On Friday, the court took on record an action taken report dated January 23, 2020, filed by the Respondent authorities delineating the steps taken by them to address the problem of domestic violence.

After hearing all the parties via video conferencing, the bench posted the matter for hearing on May 20.

Lately, there has been a sharp spike in the reported cases of domestic violence, amid the Lockdown. As per the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, the same is a result of the victims being trapped at homes with their abusers.

As per the State Government of Karnataka, 477 distress calls were received on the helpline numbers for domestic violence cases, during the lockdown period. Requisite measures are being taken to address the same.

In Delhi, the High Court has asked the concerned authorities to consider whether temporary Protection Officers can be appointed, till regular appointments are made, to address the gravity of the situation during the lockdown period.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court also issued detailed guidelines earlier this month, to assist the victims of domestic violence.

Case Details:

Case Title: Sudha Ramalingam v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.

Case No.: WMP No. 8887/2020 in WP.No.30750/2018

Quorum: Justice M. Sathyanarayanan and Justice M. Nirmal Kumar

Appearance: Advocate Poongkhulali (for Petitioner); AAG SR Rajagopal and Governmet Pleader V Jayaprakash Narayan

Click Here To Download Order

Read Order

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