The Punjab Assembly on Wednesday passed the long-awaited Protection of Women against violence Bill 2015 which contains remedies for victims of violence, criminalizes all forms of violence against women and also provides them with special centers which remove the usual red tape hurdles that complicate a woman’s quest for justice.
‘Violence’ itself has been redefined to mean any offence committed against the human body of the aggrieved person including abetment of an offence, domestic violence, sexual violence, psychological and emotional abuse, economic abuse, stalking and cyber crime.
A toll-free universal access number (UAN) will be started to receive complaints while district protection committee will be established to investigate complaints filed by women.
Centres will also be set up for reconciliation and resolution of disputes.
Protection Officers will be liable to inform the defendant whenever a complaint is received. Offering resistance to Protection Officers will be punishable by up to six months imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 500,000.
Once a complaint is received its will be updated into a database which will soon be set up.
Filing a false complaint or leveling false accusations can be punishable by up to three months in jail and or a fine of between Rs 50,000 to Rs 100,000.
The law will not allow an aggrieved woman to be forced out of her house. The defendant can be made to leave the house for two days, according to the law.
Darul Aman and protections centres will be setup according to the passed law.
Shelter homes will be built for the protection of aggrieved women, which will provide boarding and lodging facilities to the victim and children (if any).
The defendant will be liable to bear all the expenses of the complainant women in case the court orders for it.
If the defendant refuses to pay cash then the court can order for the payment to be deducted from their salary if applicable.
Defendants can be cuffed with GPS tracking bracelets if ordered by the court. Those attempting to remove or tamper with the tracking bracelets will be jailed for up to one year and fined between Rs 50,000 to Rs 200,000.
Defendants will not be allowed to apply for an arms license or procure weapons whereas weapons already registered in their name will have to be submitted in court.