The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 aims to provide women with quick decisions on protection, residence, maintenance and child custody. This is an account of how the best intentions of the law are thwarted in the process of implementation.
With the enactment of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (PWDVA) it was imagined that justice for women would be quick and relief-oriented. However, five and more years after the law’s passage, many of these notions are being reconsidered. A number of innovative solutions introduced in the law, such as having the jurisdictional magistrate’s court as the forum for domestic violence complaints, specific provisions for ex-parte and interim orders, special provisions for breach of interim orders, and others, have not worked out very well in practice.
What has been the experience of women using the PWDVA in the last few years? Did they get the relief they needed quickly. Were the courts accessible? Was the enforcement of interim and final orders easy? As a lawyer who has taken up several cases under the PWDVA, I shall try and answer some of these questions based on my experiences in Karnataka.
Effective implementation of the PWDVA can take place only if the judiciary understands the core objective of the law, which is to provide immediate relief to women in emergency situations where they face domestic violence.
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