Caught in the ‘act’ in the Game of acts!– The dark side of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA)

One fine winter evening of 2003, as I was talking to a friend’s father at his residence, which also happened to be the office of his law firm, a woman walked in but she could barely walk. She was beaten up badly by her husband in full public view, and a local lawyer who came to her rescue was beaten up too. The cops had reportedly failed to act. And hence, she arrived at my friend’s father’s residence, as he happened to be a human rights activist, apart from being a successful lawyer. The cops were summoned; her complaint was recorded and due legal course was initiated to get her justice. I wondered then, in 2003, if the country needed laws to protect women against domestic violence. I was 17 years old then. Little did I know that I would end up becoming a human rights activist myself and that the law I thought was needed to protect women against domestic violence, would actually turn out to be a curse for ‘man’kind.

Now, in 2017, being a human rights activist myself, I receive at least one complaint/call a day pertaining to alleged misuse of the PWDVA (Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act). No wonder, that Madras High Court went on record to highlight the vulnerability of the act in 2015 while dismissing a writ petition, as Justice S. Vaidyanathan said: “The notable flaw in this law is that it lends itself to such easy misuse that women will find it hard to resist the temptation to teach a lesson to their male relatives and will file frivolous and false cases.”


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