COVID-19 lockdown: HC takes suo moto cognizance of domestic violence, negative impact on women

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday ordered that all the courts in the Union Territories of J-K and Ladakh shall treat cases of domestic abuse as urgent and proceed with the matters in accordance with the circulars issued regarding the procedure to be followed to ensure social distancing.

Taking suo moto notice of negative impact of lockdown imposed due to COVID-19 on women and girls, a coram consisting of Chief Justice, Justice Geeta Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal today heard the case from their respective residences through video conferencing.

The Court also highlighted the point that globally it has been observed that the adverse social and economic consequences of the pandemic for women and girls are devastating.

The High Court issued notices to the Secretary, Department of Social Welfare, Governments of Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and Member Secretary, JKSLSA to submit a report with regard to the steps taken regarding domestic or any other kind of violence being faced by women on account of the implementation of the COVID-19 lockdown. The Court directed concerned officials to examine several remedial measures taken by various countries in this regard and a view be taken with regard to the requirements and steps to be taken to mitigate the sufferings of the victims of domestic violence in the twin Union Territories.

The Court directed that a report of the measures in place, steps underway and those contemplated be placed before it before the next date.

Furthermore, Secretararies, Jammu and Kashmir Legal Services Authority, have been directed to call for list of all cases involving cases of domestic violence which are pending as complaints with the police stations in the Union Territories or in the courts and ascertain the safety and well-being of the complainants. The Secretaries of the Jammu and Kashmir Legal Services Authorities may seek the assistance of police and para legal volunteers in this regard, the court observed –(KNO)

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