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Cops told to unite couple

Calcutta, July 5: The Alipore court today delivered the state’s first ruling in a case filed under the domestic violence act, directing police to restore peace between the couple without harassing the husband.

Aparna Bharati, a resident of Suren Banerjee Road in Behala, had accused husband Asit, a former army officer, of sexually abusing her.

“The purpose of the act is to maintain peace in a disturbed family and the law-enforcing agencies are required to do so without taking penal action against the accused or other members of the family,” said a legal expert.

Advocate Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee said that under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, the accused must be arrested once a police complaint has been lodged. But this “results in a strained relationship, limiting the scope for reconciliation. The domestic violence act differs as it helps bring the family together”.

Today’s order, which comes a year after the domestic violence act was passed, was delivered by the tenth judge of the Alipore court. He told Asit to mend his ways.

National Law Network had filed the petition on behalf of Aparna. She had lodged a complaint with the National Commission for Women, saying her husband had been torturing her for the last 18 years and repeatedly forcing her into acts that “outraged her modesty”.

“My client was not willing to take penal action against her husband and refused to lodge a complaint against him under Section 498 A of the IPC. She was interested in restoring peace at home,” said Aparna’s lawyer and CPM MLA, Bharati Mutsuddi.

In her complaint, Aparna said she had started having problems with her husband after the birth of her second child. “My elder son studies in Class X and the younger one is in Class IV. Now that the boys have grown up, I feel extremely embarrassed when my husband wants to be intimate all the time.”

Asit’s lawyer Gobinda Mondol argued that his client was Aparna’s legal guardian and had the right to haul her up if she “misbehaved”.

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