The state government has admitted it has failed to comprehensively implement the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, (DV Act), 2005.
This admission came in its reply to a public interest litigation filed by a Pune-based advocate Rajendra Anbhule, who claimed the state has not effectively implemented the Act, which is meant to protect women and children from domestic violence.
A protection officer is a government officer who gives women legal assistance under the Domestic Violence Act. If a case is directly filed before a judge, a protection officer has to investigate the complaint and submit a report to the judge, based on which the order will be passed.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice J.N. Patel and Justice B.R. Gavai directed the chief secretary to file an action-taken report by February 24.
Shahadeo Ware, deputy secretary, Women and Child Development department, filed an affidavit saying the Act has not been implemented in its entirety. The affidavit refutes the claim that the protection officers are not qualified.
The state has appointed some officers as temporary protection officers, who are qualified protection officers working as District Women and Child Development officers in all districts. The affidavit says they have been given proper training.
Justifying the appointment of temporary protection officers, the affidavit says the Act was to be implemented with immediate effect, which is why 3,774 officers working in different departments were given additional charge as protection officers.
The affidavit says due to their additional workload, the officers are over-burdened. “The government is in the process of appointing independent protection officers for effective implementation of the Act,” says the affidavit said.