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Supreme Court intrigued by the lack of ‘protection officers’ for domestic violence cases

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation

 

Source: TH

 

Context: The SC has sought more information about Mission Shakti because it is concerned about a persistent lack of protection officers to handle domestic violence cases.

 

Background:

  • Appointment of protection officers (ideally women) is mandated under Section 8 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
  • These officers have a pivotal role:
    • Help victims file complaints,
    • Give Information to the police,
    • Provide immediate protection and support,
    • Inform victims about their legal rights and
    • Support them through the court proceedings.
  • With 4.4 lakh cases pending in 801 districts, a protection officer in each of these districts would be saddled with over 500 cases.
  • Even though Mission Shakti provided for the “one-stop centers” in most of these districts to receive victims, it is unclear how many of them employ protection officers.
  • The government has also been asked about whether Mission Shakti will serve as an umbrella scheme for implementing the Domestic Violence Act.

 

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005:

  • The law, which is overseen by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), provides a definition of “domestic violence” for the first time.
  • Domestic violence includes not only physical violence, but also emotional, verbal, sexual and psychological abuse.
  • It is a civil law meant primarily for protection orders, rather than criminal enforcement.

 

Mission Shakti:

  • It is an integrated-umbrella scheme of MWCD aimed at strengthening interventions for women safety, security and empowerment during the 15th Finance Commission period 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • It has two sub-schemes –

  • Under Samarthya, a new component of Gap Funding for Economic Empowerment has also been added.

 

Insta Links:

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

 

Mains Links:

“Though women in post-Independent India have excelled in various fields, the social attitude towards women and the feminist movement has been patriarchal.” Apart from women education and women empowerment schemes, what interventions can help change this milieu? (UPSC 2021)