April 26, 2020 10:20:03 pm
With reports of rise in domestic violence cases ever since the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed in India, the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) has said victims can reach out to them on a tollfree helpline, and also through WhatsApp or SMS.
The DSLSA revealed the information before the Delhi High Court recently, adding that once a missed call or a message is received, the victim is contacted with competent legal aid and advice.
The DSLAS’s submissions were made during hearing of a petition by an NGO — All India Council of Human Rights Liberties and Social Justice – that sought an intervention by the High Court for effective measures to help victims of domestic violence.
Kanwal Jeet Arora, Member Secretary, DSLSA, further told a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar that they have given “wide publicity to the helpline number through Radio jingles and newspaper advertisements and are taking the help of chemist shops, mother dairy booths and Anganwadi workers for distribution of pamphlets to create awareness to curb domestic violence incidents against women.”
While the DSLSA’s helpline is 1516, victims can also contact it with a WhatsApp message or SMS on 9667992802.
Additional Standing Counsel Sanjoy Ghose and advocate Urvi Mohan, appearing for the Delhi government, submitted that various measures have been taken by them, including a helpline number 181 [24 hrs running] for women in distress being run and managed by Delhi Commission for Women. Three government-run women institutions have been set up and recognition given to 14 NGO-run women shelter homes, they said.
Maninder Acharya, Additional Solicitor General, appearing for the Union of India, submitted that the “National Commission for Women has introduced a complaints portal… for registering complaints of women facing domestic violence and also launched a special WhatsApp number 7217735372 for the same.”
Taking note of which, the bench said, “It ought to be kept in mind by the concerned respondent authority that a person who is responding on the helpline must be trained about possible remedies of the common difficulties of the complainants and such a mechanism must be brought into force by which prompt action can be taken forthwith.”
“We expect from the respondents that the provisions contained in the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, shall be effectively implemented by the respondents. All the helplines and WhatsApp numbers… shall be kept functional properly and they shall respond to whatever calls or messages they are receiving…..” the bench said.
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