Today, as the world is grappling with the severe impact of Corona Virus, the increase in domestic violence cases has once again highlighted the question of women's health (more specifically women's dignity). After the day on which India's Honorable Prime Minister declared the Lockdown in the country on 24 March 2020, the entire country has shown unity in doing the same thing. As with some of the ill-minded people, we are distracted from the aim of getting rid of the COVID-19 case absolutely, similarly due to some sick-minded selfish males, the country's women lose hope of surviving in this lockdown in their own home.
While the country is at home on leave from their jobs, it is the women who are under the double strain of managing the home as well as the helpless patriarchal actions of the males within families. Like Physicians, police officers and other Corona warriors, women are also one of Corona's warriors fighting to preserve peace and harmony in both the family and community. We say India has come far from the ancient times and now women are equal to women, they are given equal opportunities as men are. But data, my friends, shows a different picture of the story. The National Commission for Women (NCW), which reports domestic violence cases across the country, nearly reported more than 587 cases between 23 March and 16 April, 2020
Union and Separation
Marriage is the institution where, for the purpose of making a home and raising a family, a man and a woman are joined in a special social and legal relationship, while divorce is the legal separation of man and wife. Divorce splits a family from their children, destroys feelings and much more. Separation, though, is no longer a solution. Also, the judiciary is already being burdened with the growing number of pending cases and it seems to be somehow difficult for the judicial body to cope with these problems, particularly in the situation of Lockdown.
Thus, pursuing an Alternative approach to settling these conflicts is the need for the hour. Domestic Violence cases fall within the scope of Matrimonial Disputes and in such cases the highly recommended alternative approach is MEDIATION falling within the scope of ADR i.e., alternative dispute resolution.
Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) addresses domestic abuse. Domestic Violence is a non-compoundable offence according to section 320 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). In 2013, the Supreme Court sanctioned all criminal courts for adopting Mediation with regard to specific cases under section 498-A of the IPC
In the case of Zulekha Begum vs Abdul Raheem, the Madras High Court said- Under the Quran the marriage status should be maintained as far as possible and conciliation should take place before divorce and thus the Quran discourages divorce and allows only a conference after pre-divorce. In B.S. case Justice Markanday Katju Murthy Krishna & Anr. B.S. V. Nagaraj & Co. That said: in our view, lawyers should encourage their clients to pursue mediation to resolve conflicts , especially where family and business relationships are involved. The lawyers will follow Mahatma Gandhi 's advice in this matter and seek Arbitration / Mediation.
The fact that Domestic Violence cases have risen in the last couple of days can not be denied, but this too will pass, and just because of time constraints, I believe it is not at all appropriate to separate a whole family from their feelings. So Its highly recommended that as we're trying to break the Corona Virus chain, it's also mandatory to break the chain of rising domestic violence cases. Thus, let this Alternative ADR approach be adopted and the initiative of Mediate and not separate.