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HC relief to victims of domestic violence

In a big relief to those seeking remedy under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act, the Madras High Court, in an interim order, has directed the jurisdictional Judicial Magistrate not to insist on the report of the protection officer for passing appropriate orders.

HC relief to victims of domestic violence
Madras High Court


The direction was based on a plea moved by Advocate Sudha Ramalingam to issue direction to all the Judicial Magistrates across the State to take on file and number all the applications filed under Section 12 of the DV Act expeditiously without routinely forwarding the same to the protection officers.

The plea had also sought for a direction to the Chief Secretary and the Social Welfare Department to take necessary measures to implement the mandate under Section 12 of the DV Act and consequently frame a court practice manual for judicial officers and legal practitioners in a time-bound manner to implement the DV Act in its letter and spirit.

Advocate B Poongkhulali, appearing for the petitioner, had submitted that despite the order of this court on July 11, 2018, the Judicial Magistrates, while entertaining applications under the Act, insist on the production of the report of the protection officer, which is not at all mandatory.

She further pointed out that the applications are not numbered on time and are repeatedly adjourned by the Judicial Magistrate concerned under the caption “Check and Call” and await the report of the protection officer resulting in domestic violence victims being subjected to grave hardship and mental agony owing to the delay caused by this.

Based on this, a division bench comprising Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice R Hemalatha granted the interim direction on citing a single judge’s order which held “The word ‘shall’ in Section 12 of the DV Act has to be construed as not mandatory but directory and that a Domestic Incident Report (DIR) is not required for the Magistrate for passing exparte and interim relief under Section 23 of DV Act.”

Following this, the bench said, “In the light of the said authoritative pronouncement, insistence by the jurisdictional Judicial Magistrates for production of the report of the Protection Officer, in the considered opinion of this court is not at all necessary and mandated also.”

Also, the bench, on directing the Registrar General to issue a circular to the presiding officers on the procedures to be followed while entertaining application under Section 12 of DV Act, said “It is also brought to the knowledge of this court that under the guise of ‘Check and Calling’, the complaints are not being taken cognisance of.”

“Therefore, every endeavour shall be made by the Judicial Magistrate to entertain and number the application as expeditiously as possible without any loss of time,” the bench added.

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