GUWAHATI, Aug 18 - Worried about the safety of women facing violence in their matrimonial homes, women�s organisations of Assam have approached the State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) to accelerate the process of forming a �family welfare committee� as directed by the apex court in its recent ruling to prevent the misuse of Section 498A of the IPC.
North East Network; Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS); Mumbai�s Special Cell for Women; Sishu Sarothi, Assam; All India Progressive Women�s Association; Sakhi � One Stop Centre � Kamrup Metro; Legal Cell for Human Rights; Asom Mahila Sangha, Assam; All India Democratic Women�s Association, Assam and Human Rights Law Network (HRNL) have expressed concern that in the absence of the committee, it will be difficult to address the incidents of violence against women in their matrimonial homes, especially after the SC ruling that has diluted the provision of direct arrest in such cases.
The women�s bodies will also meet the State Women Commission on August 21 to express their concern over the issue.
Section 498A of the IPC provides security to women facing violence in their matrimonial home, but the SC ruling of July 27, 2017 stated that every complaint under Section 498A received by the police or the magistrate will be referred to, and looked into by the family welfare committee, instead of the accused being arrested directly. The committee may hold interactions with the parties personally or by means of telephone or any other mode of communication including electronic communication.
�We strongly urge you to form the committee at the earliest possible so that cases of violence reported by women do not remain unattended and violence does not spiral, leading to death, disability and other such fatal consequences for the aggrieved women,� said the women�s bodies.
Further asking the SLSA to ensure that the three-member committee is comprised of experienced people, the organisations recommended that the members must have the experience of working in the field of violence against women for minimum three years and that they should be well versed with legal remedies for women affected by violence.
The organisations further recommended that members belonging to women�s rights bodies active on gender-based violence against women and citizens and retired persons who have experience of working effectively and sensitively on women�s issues from the gender perspective should find a place in the committee.