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‘Make Domestic Violence Act gender neutral’


New Delhi : About 100 people staged a protest against the Domestic Violence Act in the capital Sunday saying it was “full of loopholes” and needed to be made “gender neutral”.

Activists of Save the Family Foundation, who organised the protest, said that service providers must ensure that the law is made more gender neutral to avoid its misuse.

Niladri Shekhar Das, secretary of the NGO, said: “The Domestic Violence Act is full of loopholes, because of which it is being increasingly misused by a lot of women. Efforts must be made that the law is just and gender neutral so that no one can take advantage of it”.

“The Act assumes that women are always the victims. Hence they are not required to provide any proof for their claims. The sole testimony of the so-called aggrieved person is enough for the court to conclude that an offence has been committed. This is a baseless assumption that helps people misuse the law,” Das told IANS.

Submitting a memorandum to President Pratibha Patil on ammending the law, the NGO further said that an decision on the custody of the child should be made by a court based on fair hearing of both parents.

“Unless there is compelling evidence to believe that either one or both parents are harmful to the child’s physical and emotional health and well-being, joint custody should be granted to the mother and the father. Also, if it’s realised that a person has filed a false case under the Domestic Violence Act, they should be punished in order to discourage others from following suit,” Das added.