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Deliberating the gender neutrality of violence
In the view of recent judgment ruling by Supreme Court on the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (PWDVA) in Harsora v. Harsora case, the words adult male stand deleted in Section 2(q) of the Act. The PWDVA is a gender-specific law to protect women against domestic violence by men. The court has ruled that “it is clear that such violence is gender neutral. It is also clear that physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse and economic abuse can all be by women against other women. Even sexual abuse may, in a given fact circumstance, be by one woman on another. Section 3, therefore… seeks to outlaw domestic violence of any kind against a woman, and is gender neutral.” But this is wrong. The majority of domestic violence faced by women is perpetrated by men. While the thrust of the court s judgment is based on equality, there is a need to deliberate on the issue of formal and substantive equality applied in this case. There is a chance that through this judgment and subsequent amendments in the Act, the PWDVA can be used against women and minors while the real perpetrators of domestic violence can go scot-free. This will have serious repercussions on the women in India.

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