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Why in news?

To counter the increasing cases of domestic violence during the current COVID-19 lockdown, the Pune Zilla Parishad has borrowed a leaf from the virus prevention handbook.

Abusive husbands and wife-beaters across Pune district now face institutional quarantine if there is a complaint of domestic violence.

Surge in cases

  • Globally, there has been a sharp surge in domestic violence cases during the pandemic.
  • The definition of a particular case is as given by the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (Nirbhaya Act).
  • There was a prohibition on selling liquor during the lockdown, there was a strong possibility of alcoholics getting restive and turning violent as a result of denial – said the Zilla Parishad Chief Executive Officers.
  • long with the COVID-19 pandemic outside, there is a ‘shadow pandemic’ raging inside homes. The lockdown means that a woman cannot step out of the house to escape her abusive spouse.
  • So, by this order, the tormentors would be transferred to an institutional quarantine facility, which could mean a town hall or a village lodge or any other facility.

What was done in the Pune Zilla to handle it?

A vigilance committee, consisting of women from three agencies — the Women and Child Department, anganwadi workers from self-help groups (SHGs) and panchayat samitis — will visit houses in each ward of a gram panchayat. These women would conduct an anti-domestic violence campaign on the lines of the UN’s ‘Ring the bell campaign’,

Zilla Parishad

  • The Zila Panchayat or District Council or Zila Parishad or District Panchayat, is the third tier of the Panchayati Raj system. Zila Parishad is an elected body.
  • Block Pramukh of Block Panchayat are also represented in Zila Parishad. The members of the State Legislature and the members of the Parliament of India are members of the Zila Parishad.
  • Zila parishad are Panchayats at Apex or District Level in Panchayat Raj Institutions.
  • Members of the Zila Parishad are elected from the district on the basis of adult franchise for a term of five years.

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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”.

Criminal Law Amendment Act (Nirbhaya Act) 2013

  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (Nirbhaya Act) is an Indian legislation passed by the Lok Sabha on 19 March 2013, and by the Rajya Sabha on 21 March 2013, which provides for amendment of Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on laws related to sexual offences.
  • The Bill received Presidential assent on 2 April 2013 and came into force from 3 April 2013.
  • It was originally an Ordinance promulgated by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, on 3 April 2013, in light of the protests in the 2012 Delhi gang rape case.
February 2024