Protection of women bill takes effect in Punjab

Published: Mon 29 Feb 2016, 9:24 PM

Last updated: Mon 29 Feb 2016, 11:26 PM

Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015 has be-come a law in Punjab after Governor Malik Rafiq Rajwana signed it on Monday.
The bill declares physical violence, abusive language, stalking, cyber crimes, etc., against women a crime in the province.Religious lobbies have strongly opposed the legislation terming it against the spirit of Islam.
The bill - passed by the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday - features redress for female victims of violence, criminalises all forms of violence against women and provides them with special centres which remove the bureaucratic hurdles that complicate a woman's access to justice.
As per the bill, violence has been redefined to mean any offence committed against the human body of the aggrieved person, including abetment of an offence, domestic violence, sexual violence, psychological and emotional abuse, economic abuse, and stalking and cyber crime.A toll-free universal access number (UAN) will be launched to receive complaints while district protection committees will be established to investigate complaints filed by women.
Centres will also be set up for reconciliation and resolution of disputes.Protection officers will be liable to inform the defendant whenever a complaint is received. Offering resistance to protection officers will be punishable by up to six months imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs500,000.
Once a complaint is received, it will be updated into a data-base which will soon be set up.Filing a false complaint or levelling false accusations can be punishable by up to three months in jail and/or a fine of Rs50,000 to Rs100,000. The law will not allow aggrieved women to be forced out of her house. The defendant can be made to leave the house for two days, according to the law.
Darul Amans and protection centres will be set up according to the passed law. Shelter homes will be built for the protection of aggrieved women, which will provide boarding and lodging facilities to the victim and children, if any.

By Afzal Khan

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