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National Assembly adopts women’s protection bill

05 August, 2009

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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Tuesday adopted the private member’s bill on the prevention of domestic violence that aims at making provisions for preventing domestic violence against women and children.

The bill, Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2009, was piloted by PPP MNA Yasmeen Rehman and approved by the Standing Committee on Women Development. The House also adopted some amendments moved by SA Iqbal Qadri in the bill. It was second piece of legislation that was adopted by the National Assembly on its second day of monsoon session as earlier on Monday it had adopted the Rules of Acceding States (Abolition of Privy Purses and Privileges)(Amendment) Act, 2008.

It is worth mentioning that since the start of second parliamentary year of the present National Assembly, it was the third piece of legislation after Finance Bill 2009. Two of the three bills belonged to the government while the third passed on Tuesday was a private membersí bill.

Speaking on Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2009, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan said the PPP government is committed to ensuring protection of women and all the vulnerable segments of society and the prime minister himself has spoken in favour of the bill during the last session of the House.

He said the government is working for emancipation and empowerment of women and will take all possible steps to protect them from all kinds of violence to ensure their participation in national development and progress.

Under the bill, protection committees, comprising police officers, have been suggested at the Tehsil level to assist the aggrieved person or relocate the woman or child or other vulnerable person, if necessary, for protection.

The bill says the court, at any stage of hearing, may direct the accused to pay the monetary relief to meet the expenses incurred and losses suffered by the aggrieved person, including loss of earning, medical expenses and maintenance of aggrieved person and her children.

According to the bill, domestic violence is an offence and if a person repeats this act of domestic violence, he may face one-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 200,000. As per the legislation, the protection committees would not only create awareness among females for their rights but it would also provide legal protection, medical aid and shifting of the aggrieved person to a safer location.

The bill stated that the federal government shall ensure that the National Commission on the status of women shall review from time-to-time the existing provisions of the law on domestic violence and suggest amendments therein. According to the law, if a woman registers a fake case against a person or is proved wrong by the court, the woman would have to face six months imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000.

End.

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