CHENNAI: The Madras high court has said women, who are victims of domestic violence, must be paid decent monetary assistance for food, shelter, health and education at every stage of proceedings under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
The 120-page verdict is sure to light up lives of thousands of women fighting domestic violence cases against their spouses, as it provides for maintenance and compensation for almost every conceivable aspect of a married woman’s life, ranging from food and shelter to health and loss of income.
Whatever verdict is supposed to lights up the lives of citizens, the judiciary will make sure to adjourn and give tareekh-pe-tareekh so that the light never reaches the darkened corners. Why, a case in point is recent observation by Chennai HC about functioning of family courts. Who are we kidding, people?
“If an application prima facie discloses that the husband is committing, or has committed act of domestic violence or that there is likelihood that he may commit, the magistrate may grant an ex parte order on the basis of an affidavit by the woman.”
If prima facie domestic violence means just the allegations of domestic violence made by a woman, then surely there is rampant domestic violence being unleashed upon DV petitioners in this country by cruel men. Allegations and add a few tears maybe if the allegations don’t seem enough. I am a bit perplexed how a magistrate will do a “minority report” and find the “prima facie likelihood that he may commit” domestic violence!
I don’t know how the judgment filled 120 pages, when as per the news report it is basically regurgitation of portions of PWDVA and some sermons.
The real danger however may lie in this para of judgment because if it means a hint/nudge/pressure on magistrate to start awarding lumpsum compensation at time of interim award, then it could set up a very dangerous precedent.
Perhaps aware of the practice among magistrates to address a woman’s concerns in the final order, Justice Manikumar said: “If contention of the man that lumpsum payment can be awarded only at the time of final disposal of the main application…is accepted, then the woman who is in dire necessity to meet medical expenses for herself or her child/children or educational expenses for children would be put to irreparable hardship.”
Now above para says about dire necessity to meet medical expenses which most of time doesn’t exist because there is no medical certificate or physical injuries at all. But by referring to children and their expenses, this could be a nudge to start paying lumpsum to women with children fully knowing most of the amount is not going to be used for child’s needs. That would be more like the US system of child support payments.