India’s highest court to review implementation of 2005 domestic violence law

The Supreme Court of India will today hold a hearing on the implementation of the country’s 2005 domestic violence law.

AP

Photo: AP

The Supreme Court of India will today hold a hearing on the implementation of the country’s 2005 domestic violence law.

The non-profit women’s advocacy group We the Women of India filed a petition with India’s highest court to review state efforts to implement the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005. The petition alleges that several states have failed to implement the law’s provisions—which mandate procedures for filing domestic violence complaints and protecting victims.

Domestic violence is a pervasive problem in India. According to the WHO, among member-states in south and east Asia, India has the third highest estimated prevalence of lifetime intimate partner violence among married and partnered women aged 15-49 years.

Although state governments are likely to argue that implementation efforts are on-going, expect the Supreme Court to condemn them as untimely and ineffective. The extent to which the Court is able to expedite implementation will depend upon the breath and specificity of its order. A general order to move things along is unlikely to be effective without the requisite political will, but an order calling on states to address more specific requirements of the law—like establishing shelter homes—might carry more weight.

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