Centre’s relief to divorced women

NEW DELHI: The Centre has proposed district-level committees to streamline issues related to maintenance awarded to women in order to resolve procedural difficulties in accessing money awarded to them by courts in cases of divorce or domestic violence.

The central ministries of women and child development, home affairs and law & justice are involved in heavy deliberations on how to effectively deal with complaints from a “large number” of women facing hurdles in receiving their maintenance despite the courts ruling in their favour.

Meetings have been held recently by the women and child development ministry with officials of the ministries of home affairs and law & justice, besides representatives from the Delhi-based National Law University and civil society groups working with women affected with domestic violence.

The proposed committee may be headed by a district judge with superintendent of police and representatives from civil society groups as its members. The proposal, if implemented, will bring huge relief to women, particularly from the lower income groups who continue to face hurdles in receiving maintenance awarded to them from courts and are unable to pursue legal battle for financial reasons.

This is also a step forward in strengthening the rights of women after the recent Supreme Court judgement annulling the practice of instant triple talaq. After the SC verdict, the government had clarified that henceforth any case of instant talaq reported by a victim will be treated as domestic violence. Maneka Gandhi, the minister for women and child development, has written a letter to law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recently informing him that her ministry has been receiving complaints relating to maintenance and thus the setting up of the committee may be expedited as discussed at the inter-ministerial and stakeholders meetings.

“The objective is to monitor the timely disbursal of the maintenance awarded by the court. The committee will also supervise the speedy execution of warrants in case one is being issued by the court towards the grant of maintenance,” Gandhi said. A source said the law ministry is also contemplating writing to the Chief Justice of India to request him to issue an advisory to all the chief justices of the high courts to ensure that subordinate courts further simplify procedures and “ensure timely execution of proceedings with regard to the grant of maintenance to women”.

Times of India Sep 9, 2017.