Delhi High Court has directed the Central Government, Delhi Government, National Commission for Women, Delhi Commission for Women, and other concerned authorities to convene a meeting at the highest level to look into the issue of protection of women from domestic violence during the lockdown period.
The Division Bench of Justice J R Midha and Justice Jyoti Singh has also directed the said authorities to deliberate on what additional measures can be undertaken in order to curb the instances of domestic violence as well as towards protection of the victims.
The present order has come in a plea seeking enforcement of the provisions of Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005, in order to ensure that women who are victims of domestic violence are getting adequate assistance and are not further victimised due to the lockdown.
Appearing for the Central Government, ASG Maninder Acharya informed the court that the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, has issued an Office Order dated 25.03.2020 taking cognizance of the spike in domestic violence cases on account of lockdown and has noticed in the Order that a quick response mechanism is required due to special circumstances that are prevailing.
She further submitted that the Ministry has issued certain directions to the concerned District Collectors/District Magistrates to make suitable duty roster for the concerned officers so that they are able to provide essential services to the affected victims of domestic violence.
These District Collectors/District Magistrates, she submitted, have also been directed to undertake appropriate measures to provide transport as well as protective gears and other logistic support to the helpline personnel, enabling them to render help and take requisite measures in case calls are received from the victims.
On the other hand, counsels for the Petitioner argued that certain more effective measures need to be put in place, as it is a matter of record and statistics that the cases of domestic violence are on a rise, on account of the women being confined to their homes.
In light of these submissions, the court has directed all the authorities to convene a meeting at the highest level to discuss the concerns raised by the Petitioner and take a decision within 3 days. This decision, and fresh steps taken to protect women from domestic abuse, shall be implemented immediately thereafter.
The court will next take up the matter on April 24.
The Petitioner in this case is represented by Nr Arjun Sayal and Ms Mithu Jain
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