Only one incident of domestic violence has been reported in the state after an Act to protect women from such crimes came into effect in 2006,according to figures provided by the state CID (Crime).
However,the number rises considerably in records provided by the Ahmedabad Metropolitan Court this week in response to an RTI query by city-based lawyer Meena Jagtap. The reply says that 1,200 cases of domestic violence were reported to the court between 2006 and 2010. The court has,so far,given judgment in 200 cases.
Jagtap said that when such cases first come to the police stations,they are not taken up for detailed investigations. As a norm,when police receive complaints of domestic violence,they have to forward it to the respective Protection Officer. Since this does not happen,women are not preferring to file complaints in court, she said.
Instead of reporting cases under the Domestic Violence Act,the complaints are registered as dowry,girl child,alcoholism of husband,and harassment cases under Section 498 (A) of the Indian Penal Code. Many women police officials do not have enough knowledge about the Act and the situation is worse in rural areas. Also,since these cases take a long time in courts,the police avoid civil suits and dispose them of as criminal matters, she added.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Sudha Pandey,formerly handling women police stations,said that domestic violence complaints should be referred to the protection officers. But since these cases also have harassment aspect,they are often booked by the police as harassment cases,she said.