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Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act 2005

It would be an exaggeration to say that the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 has "failed most spectacularly." There have been many shortcomings, but there have been positive developments as well.

According to Flavia Agnes and Audrey D’Mello (“Protection of Women from Domestic Violence,” EPW, 31 October 2015), the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA) has “failed most spectacularly.” The reasons assigned for the failure of the PWDVA include the use of counselling by state functionaries and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), budgetary constraints, delays in passing orders, and lack of clear directions to stakeholders about their roles and responsibilities for effective implementation.

The number of dowry deaths reported in the country for 2014 as per the statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is 8,455. This is an increase of 4.6% from 2013, when 8,083 cases were reported. The PWDVA was envisaged as a law that would provide an unambiguous recognition of a woman’s right to live free from violence. It was designed to provide immediate relief to survivors/victims of domestic violence and ensure quick access to justice. Yet, the increase in the number of dowry deaths does indicate minimal to little success in preventing domestic violence against women.

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