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'No immediate revision of domestic violence law'

Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury is open to amendments but not at the moment.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2006 19:14 IST

Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury has said that the broad parameters of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act will help in giving a new direction to a certain behaviour pattern that is accepted in the society. She also dismissed the idea that there might be large-scale misuse of the Act, saying that the percentage is likely to be miniscule.

"When we bring out an act we help to set a direction for a certain societally accepted behaviour. Those are the broader parameters. Because of a minute percentage of people who misappropriate an act are you saying I should not bring an act? I should be in denial that women are not domestically harassed, that they are not killed, removed from their homes, denied access to their children, to their own earnings and that they have no recourse to law," the Minister told in an interview to a private news channel programme.

"Women live in dangerously self-embracing situations. Even if you see it as a ferocity in the Act or (claim) the ambit is too wide please understand that women are burnt to death, beaten to insensitivity," she said when questioned about the fact that the Act might be too harsh.

Chowdhury also defended the right of residence for divorced wives in their former husband's house as they might have been coerced into leaving and may not have the money to fight in a court.

Chowdhury, defending clause 17 of the Act that gives divorced wives and also former girlfriends the right of residence, said that she does not accept that every divorce has been examined on the merits of the case.

The clause is correct because, "if they have had no money to go and appeal in the courts and they are denied their rights and if the husband suddenly declares he's bankrupt and won't give them alimony," Chowdhury said.

Chowdhury was questioned about the concept of verbal abuse, which, according to the Act, includes insults and ridicule. "What you deem as silly is really not something I've created today. Under the IPC speaking in a vein that is denigrating to the status of women, which removes her from her dignity, is very much an act (offence) under the IPC," she said.

Chowdhury said that while there's always need for corrections and amendments in any law as a society develops, there was no such requirement as of now.

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