The government told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that “some times” provisions of the Domestic Violence and Anti-Dowry Acts were misused and several NGOs had also given reports supporting it.
Answering a question on cases of domestic violence in the country, MoS (Home) Kiren Rijiju said that only 13 persons were convicted out of the 639 charge sheeted in 2014 under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.
Women not amused After the reply of the Minister in question hour, Samajwadi Party member Javed Ali Khan raised the issue of misuse of the Act, a contention which was resented by women members vehemently but was supported by Vijay Goel (BJP).
Mr. Khan said that many fake cases were registered and there was misuse of the DV Act. “Misuse does happen. I agree with what brother [SP member] has said,” Mr. Goel said. While admitting that this does happen, Mr. Rijiju said the government’s focus was women safety and any dilution to it could not be allowed.
‘Sensitive issue’ “This is a very sensitive issue. Our focus is women security. This is also true that some times a few provisions of any law can be misused. One cannot deny this. Many NGOs have also given reports of gross misuse of certain laws like the Anti Dowry Act.”
However, Mr. Rijiju’s remark that the data pertains to “civil” nature of crimes under the Act evoked strong reaction from Deputy Leader of the Congress in the House Anand Sharma, who said violence was not civil but criminal.
As Congress members, particularly the women members, took strong objection to the reply, Mr. Rjiju first tried to convince them about the reply and then told them “you give notice for further discussion.”
This apparently infuriated some members, including Kumari Selja of the Congress, who said the use of such language by a Minister was “highly objectionable” and was improper.
‘Objectionable language’ When Chairman Hamid Ansari tried to pacify them by noting that the reply states that data collection of crimes under the Act only started in 2014, Ms. Selja said “My point is not that. My point is the Minister has used objectionable language when we rose [to speak]” Mr. Sharma also registered his objection.
Mr. Ansari, however, tried to soothe the frayed tempers assuring them that he would examine whether something objectionable has been said and would take corrective steps.
Mr. Rijiju told the House that the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) started collecting data on the Act only since 2014.
According to the reply, 426 cases were registered under the Act in 2014, of which charge sheet was filed in 312 cases. Conviction happened in just nine cases. Trial was completed in 19.1 per cent cases. Of the 693 persons arrested in these cases, 639 were charge-sheeted. Only 13 were convicted.
Members wanted to know why the conviction rate in these cases was so low to which the Minister said that in many cases, the husband and wife reach a compromise at a later stage and that the offences under the Act were of “civil” nature.