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April 20, 2019

SHC tells govt to implement domestic violence law in letter and spirit


April 20, 2019

 Expressing concern over an increase in the number of domestic violence cases against women, the Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the provincial government to implement the Domestic Violence (prevention and protection) Act 2013 in its real sense without loss of any further time.

The observation came as the court decided the appeal of a convict, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial court for murdering his wife over a domestic issue. A division bench, headed by Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar, observed that it has been noticed in some cases that parents despite complaints of torture and maltreatment by the spouse or in-laws force their daughters to live with the same persons.

The court observed that such daughters undeniably are victims of domestic violence and they are entitled to help and support because no just law on earth allows the continuity of a forced tie. It said typical cultural thoughts compel the parents to send their daughters back to such a hell-like environment.

The bench referred to human rights organisations’ reports, which stated that 20 to 30 per cent of women in the country had suffered some form of abuse, 5,000 women were killed per year due to domestic violence and thousands of others became injured or disabled.

It observed that the relevant government ministries became silent spectators and no one was ready to provide protection to the women in real sense. It said the Sindh Domestic Violence Act was passed with the aim to help out svictims, but despite the lapse of a considerable period of time, the government had failed to enforce it in letter and spirit.

The court remarked that if timely action was taken, the possibility of women being killed or serious harm coming to them could well be avoided. According to the bench, figures speak volumes and show that the government has failed to give any support to efforts to enact the law, which is one of the reasons why typical cultural thoughts are continuing and parents feeling helpless prefer to commit their daughters to hell instead of availing proper legal help, which otherwise is available to them.

The court dismissed the appeal of convict Asad Khan and maintained his punishment awarded to him by the trial court. According to the prosecution, the appellant had killed his wife over a domestic issue on March 5, 2010, in the Quaidabad area. The trial court had however acquitted the convict’s mother, sister and brother-in-law of the murder charges in September 2012.

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