Focus: GS-II Social Justice
Why in news?
The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has decided to open online legal assistance services by a panel of women lawyers in each district to come to the aid of victims of domestic violence and child abuse.
Cases of domestic violence and child abuse saw a major spike during the lockdown triggered by coronavirus outbreak.
What has been done so far?
- Nalsa has collaborated with state and district legal services authorities to establish ‘one stop centres’ (OSCs).
- Persistent efforts have been taken to provide legal assistance, through teleservices of female panel lawyers in every district.
- SC Judge observed that the lockdown has itself created psychological issues and violence within the family.
- Women have been burdened with more work; children are unable to go to schools. Adding to that, working at home has also had its impact on family life.
- Massive reverse migration will invariably lead to increase in poverty, inequity and discrimination.
Domestic Violence Act 2005
- The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to protect women from domestic violence.
- It was brought into force by the Indian government from 26 October 2006.
- The Act provides for the first time in Indian law a definition of “domestic violence”, with this definition being broad and including not only physical violence, but also other forms of violence such as emotional/verbal, sexual, and economic abuse.
- It is a civil law meant primarily for protection orders and not for meant to be enforced criminally.
How is Domestic Violence defined?
- Domestic violence is defined by Section 3 of the Act as:
- Any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence in case it:
- harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well-being, whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse and economic abuse; or
- harasses, harms, injures or endangers the aggrieved person to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property or valuable security; or
- has the effect of threatening the aggrieved person or any person related to her by any conduct mentioned in clause (a) or clause (b); or otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person.”
- The Act goes on, through the section Explanation 1, to define “physical abuse”, “sexual abuse”, “verbal and emotional abuse” and “economic abuse”.
National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)
- National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, to provide free legal services to weaker sections of society.
- Hence, NALSA is a Statutory Body.
- The aim is to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reasons of economic or other disabilities.
- As per the Legal Service Authorities Act, the Chief Justice of India shall be the Patron-in-Chief of NALSA.
Functions of NALSA
- Organise Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
- Identify specific categories of the marginalised and excluded groups and formulates various schemes for the implementation of preventive and strategic legal service programmes.
- Provide free legal aid in civil and criminal matters for the poor and marginalised people who cannot afford the services of a lawyer in any court or tribunal.
-Source: Times of India