Bombay High Court: ‘Hurting’ woman can have adverse effect on entire family

Mumbai: At the time when the entire nation is disturbed with the rise in crimes against women, the Bombay High Court has referred to several religious scripts as well the philosophy of the founders of India, who have fought for women emancipation. The HC, while referring to some of them, observed that no family is complete without woman and any mental or physical disturbance to her would have a harmful effect on her family.

The observations were made by the full-bench of the Bombay HC at Nagpur, while dealing with a reference pertaining to the provisions of the Domestic Violence (DV) Act. “No family with children as it’s members attains its completeness without a woman. If there is any disturbance, mental or physical for a woman member of the family, it would have it’s deleterious effect on the health of the family as a whole. A disturbed and distressed family would not be able to give its contribution to the society to grow, develop and flourish in the world community,” said the full bench of headed by Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari.

The bench also comprising of Justice Sunil Shukre and Justice Swapna Joshi was seized with a reference to decide if the nature of the provisions of the DV Act is civil or criminal. During the course of discussions, the judges have extensively referred to the provisions of the DV Act, which provide a series of reliefs for women, who are victims of domestic violence. The judge also referred to the religious scripts of Hindus, Christianity, Islam and at a point also mentions the thinking of Manusmriti.

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The judgement authored by Justice Shukre reads, “If we go through texts of different religions, we would find that at different points of time, in the history of human civilizations, there are instances when women are respected, revered and sometimes even put on a high pedestal. The Hindu texts present diverse views on the subject, though, they generally acknowledge the feminine energy as the essence of the Universe (Devi Sukta – Rigveda), the one who creates all matter and consciousness, the external and infinite, the metaphysical and physical reality (Brahman), and the soul (Atman) of everything.”

“Coming to modern times, we have an array of luminaries who fought and worked for emancipation of women in India. Suffice it to say, from Mahatma Phule through Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Pandit Jawaharlal Neharu to Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, all have seen that no human society can ever make progress unless it’s women are treated with dignity and honour that they deserve,” the judgement reads further.

The full bench noted that the Parliament perceived the domestic violence as a human rights issue and a serious dampener for the growth and prosperity of the society. “An examination of the DV Act would show that the Act not only deals with various acts and omissions which would constitute domestic violence by laying down its elaborate definition but also provides for different reliefs that can be obtained by an affected woman. It provides for a mechanism for redressal of the grievances of the aggrieved person arising from her being a victim of domestic violence. These provisions are unique and appear to be an admixture of best of both the worlds, civil and criminal,” the judges held in their judgement.


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