All courts in J&K, Ladakh directed to treat cases of domestic abuse as urgent

JAMMU: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court directed all courts in the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on Saturday to treat the cases of domestic abuse as urgent and proceed with those in accordance with the circulars issued regarding the procedure to be followed to ensure social distancing.

Taking suo motu (on its own) notice of the negative impact of the ongoing lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls, a bench of Chief Justice Geeta Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal heard the matter from their respective residences through video-conferencing.

The court 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.

It issued notices to the social welfare department secretary, the governments of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, and the member-secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir State Legal Services Authority (JKSLSA), asking them to submit a report with regard to the steps taken against domestic or any other kind of violence on women on account of the lockdown.

The court directed the officials concerned to examine several remedial measures taken by various countries in this regard and take steps to mitigate the sufferings of the victims of domestic violence in the two Union territories.

It directed that a report on the measures in place, steps underway and those being contemplated be placed before it ahead of the next date of hearing.

The JKSLSA secretary was directed to call for a list of all cases of domestic violence pending as complaints at the police stations of the Union territories or in the courts and ascertain the safety and well-being of the complainants.

The JKSLSA secretary may seek the assistance of police and para-legal volunteers in this regard, the court said.

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PTI