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Victims to get protection officers within two months

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City lawyer filed PIL regarding Domestic Violence Act after Mirror report. The HC has disposed of the case

 

By Chaitraly Deshmukh
Posted On Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 11:12:34 PM
Mirror report on June 8, 2009
Mirror report on June 8, 2009
Complete outsourcing of tasks of protection officers may go against the interest of women. Providing security to women is core function of the state and it may not have effective control. Care should be taken to ensure that officers are sensible, sensitive and firm enough to do justice to their duty.” — Rajendra Anbhule, lawyer
Complete outsourcing of tasks of protection officers may go against the interest of women. Providing security to women is core function of the state and it may not have effective control. Care should be taken to ensure that officers are sensible, sensitive and firm enough to do justice to their duty.”

— Rajendra Anbhule, lawyer

A report published in the Pune Mirror on June 8, 2009 which said the State government had committed to the Bombay High Court that it would appoint full time protection officers to implement the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 within two months, prompted city lawyer Rajendra Anbhule to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the regard.

On June 26, the High Court had ordered the State government to form a high-level committee to handle this issue. On Thursday, July 15, 2010, the State government filed its compliance report before the High Court bench of Chief Justice Mohit S Shah and justice S C Dharmadhikari saying that the cabinet has taken a decision to form the committee in its meeting on May 26.

The State Government also submitted a copy of a Government Resolution dated June 8, 2010 pertaining to the formation of the high power committee headed by the secretary of the Women and Child Welfare department.

Other committee members include the commissioner, deputy secretary, deputy commiserate of Woman and Child Welfare department and representatives of the Law and Judiciary department, Home department, State Woman Commission, State Headquarters, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Karve Institute of Social Science and Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work.

The State government sought three months time to appoint full time protection officers to implement the Act. It informed the court that advertisements for recruitment of protection officers have been released but examinations and interviews of candidates are yet to be conducted.

However, the High Court instructed the State Government to complete the task in two months and disposed of the petition.

Anbhule says, “I have been struggling for this cause for the last 11 months and the court has upheld my demand. However, complete outsourcing of the tasks of protection officers may prove against the interest of women.

Providing security to women is the core function of only the state and it may not have effective control on the protection officers if their tasks are outsourced.

While appointing protection officers, care should be taken to ensure that they are sensible, sensitive and firm enough to do justice to their duty.”

Appointment of  full time protection officers is crucial for the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act because of the nature of the powers vested in them and their duties.

As per the law, the protection officer should preferably be a woman with a post graduate degree in social work.

Protection officer’s role
A protection officer (PO) works under the supervision of the court. The responsibilities of the PO are

Facilitating an aggrieved woman’s access to the court and assisting the court in discharging its functions

Service providers engaged in providing services, to women are to be registered under the Act 12. By registering under this law, they attain the status of public officers

The State is to notify medical facilities and shelter homes which cannot refuse services to aggrieved women

Police are bound to provide information on this law to women approaching them with complaints of domestic violence. This is in addition to their duties to register complaints under criminal law

The court may also order the police to assist POs in discharging their functions. POs are responsible for facilitating an aggrieved woman’s access to legal aid services

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