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National Consultation on the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

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NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK

The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) organised a two day National Consultation on the implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act , 2005 (PWDVA) and the Dowry Prohibition Act , 1961 (DPA) at Vigyan Bhawan on the 11th and 12th January 2011. The meeting was chaired by Additional Secretary, MWCD and was attended by the Secretaries/ representatives of the State Departments of Women and Child Development/Social Welfare, Home and Law, representatives of the State Legal Services Authority, Police, Protection Officers and Service Providers. Ms Indira Jaising , Additional Solicitor General of India and Director, Lawyers Collective also addressed the participants on the issues and challenges relating to the implementation of the PWDVA on the first day.

The State Governments made brief presentations on the steps taken by them to put in place structures for enforcement of both the legislations. In this context information on the status of appointment of protection officers, service providers, notification of medical facilities and shelter homes and budget allocated under the PWDVA, 2005, was shared. Details relating to the appointment of Dowry Prohibition Officers (DPO) and constitution of Advisory Boards under the DPA, 1961 were also discussed. Presentations were made on the role of health professionals in addressing domestic violence and on various other issues relating to the PWDVA, 2005 and the DPA, 1961.

The focus of the discussion was on challenges faced in implementation of these Acts and the best practices adopted in the States, which could be replicated by other States. The key issues discussed in respect of the PWDVA, 2005 included appointment of independent protection officers, service of notice within and across the States, enforcement of Orders , time taken in the judicial process and coordination amongst various agencies. In respect of the DPA, 1961, the key issues discussed included appointment and role of DPOs, constitution and effectiveness of Advisory Boards, reasons for limited recourse to the DPA, 1961 and whether there was a need to strengthen the law.

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