Spell out assistance available for domestic violence victims during lockdown, says HC

They cannot easily approach authorities due to lockdown restrictions, it says

April 21, 2020 10:53 pm | Updated 10:53 pm IST - Bengaluru

BANGALORE, 11/12/2007: A view of Karnataka High Court in Bangalore.
Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy 11-12-2007

BANGALORE, 11/12/2007: A view of Karnataka High Court in Bangalore. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy 11-12-2007

Taking note of reports on domestic violences during lockdown, the High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday directed the State government to spell out the assistance available to the victims, including women and children, as they cannot easily approach the authorities due to lockdown restrictions.

A special Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice B.V. Nagarathna issued the directions during video conference hearing of PIL petitions on various social issues that have cropped up due to lockdown. The Bench asked the government whether any helpline was made available to the victims to lodge complaints on domestic violence, while noticing that everyone will not be having facility of email to send complaints to the authorities. The government has also been directed to provide details on action taken on the complaints of domestic violence received after imposition of lockdown.

The Bench pointed out that family courts are accessible to the public as facility of e-filling of complaints/petitions as per the law has been provided during this period.

Volunteers to the rescue

Meanwhile, counsel appearing for the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority pointed out that para-legal volunteers can come to the rescue of victims of domestic violence once the victims approach the authorities concerned through a helpline.

On the other hand, counsel for People’s Union for Civil Liberties pointed out the need for mental healthcare for migrants and others as lockdown had its impact on mental health on many due to loss of livelihood, etc. The counsel also pointed out that National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences has come out with certain programmes to address mental health issues during COVID-19 lockdown.

Following this, the Bench asked the government to respond to the need of providing mental healthcare to the needy during lockdown.

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