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BANGALORE:It is tough to be a woman, and more so if you are married and facing domestic violence. Women in the State, including Bangalore, are facing increasing problems from their families and society.
The figures of domestic violence in Karnataka put out by the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) says 2009 was the worst over a five-year period, where husbands or/and their relatives were the perpetrators of violence against women.
In 2009, there were 8,839 cases of violence against women, as against 7,698 in 2008 and incidents of violent crimes such as gang rape, molestation, abduction and dowry deaths increased. The SCRB figures show that 486 women were allegedly raped and 2,186 molested.
Shockingly, 3,185 cases of domestic violence have been committed by a husband or his relatives. Even kidnapping and abduction of women has increased — from 253 cases in 2004 to 445 in 2009.
More than 200 cases of dowry harassment are being recorded every year and none of the laws seem to have any deterrent effect in either curbing crimes against women or combating them in courts of law.
Are the current laws ineffective in dealing with cases against women? No, says senior advocate and women activists Pramila Nesargi. She says the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (Domestic Violence Act) has adequate provisions to ensure that a woman gets her due. She says though the law came into force on October 26, 2006, it is increasingly being used to ensure that women get maintenance, custody of a child, shelter in husband's house and even stopping a husband from selling property.
Advocate-General Ashok Harnahalli says in a majority of divorce and separation cases, civil remedies could not give any or adequate monthly maintenance to the woman. He says Section 21 of the Domestic Violence Act overrides all other laws and enables the court to even grant temporary custody of the child to the mother. Similarly, Section 20 overrides all other existing laws and it can be made use of to ensure monthly maintenance to a wife.
Section 18 of the Act can be invoked to ensure that husband and in-laws are restrained from repeating any act of domestic violence.
Section 17 permits a woman to not only reside in the same house as her estranged husband but also provide her a part of that house for her personal use.
The Domestic Violence Act is one of the few Acts which provides an opportunity for a husband or man to improve his conduct in accordance with the norms outlined in the Act. If the orders are violated, his acts will be considered criminal.
(To be concluded)
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