DRIVEN BY despair and humiliation at home, the women come to the State Women’s Commission office. But do they get justice?
The answer could well be a no, if one took into account what victims had to say about the commission and its apathetic members.
One of such hapless women is Revati (name changed), a victim of domestic violence. She kept on waiting outside the office for several hours. She was called at 11 am, but there was no one to attend to her till 2 pm, even though she came all the way from Malihabad.
The member supposed to look into her case was absent.
Like Revati, many women have to return empty handed, as the commission fails to provide them with succour. Most of the time, members arrive late, or are absent.
Revati says, “If my case is not attended heard today, I will have to come back tomorrow. Many a time, we find that the member concerned is not available.
Despite our requests, the officials do not give us information about when the members will be back.”
The experience of Rashmi, whose case has been pending with the commission since 2004, is similar. She says, “Most of the time, the members concerned are not here and we have to return home.”
The tale of Geeta Tripathi is no different.
A mother of two daughters, she says, “I have been pursuing my case for almost a year and half. At home, I have been left to the mercy of god and at the SWC office to none. My husband has left me and married another woman. I am now staying with my brother. Every time that I come here, the commission issues summons to my husband. But he, it seems, cares two hoots for those summons.
The situation is all the more difficult for the victims of domestic violence, who are still staying with their in-laws and husband.
Laxmi says, “Being tortured by my husband and in-laws, I lodged a complaint with the SWC. The lodging of complaint has earned more torture for me from my in-laws because of the delay on the part of the commission.“
Commission chairperson Ranjana Bajpai says, “Since all the seven panel members are honorary, we can’t force them to come to office. However, the victims never suffer because of their absence. We have two employees who look into the cases if the members are not available.” However, a member says, “Of the seven members, only one or two attend office regularly. We must have strict rules for all.”