Human Rights Minister introduces Domestic Violence Bill in National Assembly

The bill for Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2020 has been introduced in the National Assembly by Ministry of Human Rights on 8th of July 2020, with the aim to 'establish an effective system of protection, relief and rehabilitation of women, children, elders and any vulnerable persons against domestic violence'.

The bill, which also extends to Islamabad Capital Territory, defines domestic violence as 'all acts of physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and economic abuse committed by a respondent against women, children, vulnerable persons, or any other person with whom the respondent is or has been in a domestic relationship that causes fear, physical or psychological harm to the aggrieved person.'

It includes, but is not limited to, acts such as repeated exhibition of possessiveness or jealousy which lead to invasion of privacy, liberty, integrity and security, threats of divorce or second marriage on baseless accusations or infertility, willful or negligent abandonment, stalking, harassment, or compelling the wife to cohabit with anybody other than the husband. Most fundamentally, it also criminalizes the act of humiliation and false allegation on the character of the female or any member of the shared households, , as well as intentional deprivation of economic or financial resources or hindrance to access of such resources which the aggrieved person is entitled to under law.

Introducing the bill, Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said that the act of domestic violence [if the offence committed does not fall under the Pakistan Penal Code] shall be punishable with imprisonment of maximum three years and minimum six months, depending on the gravity of the crime committed. According to the bill, if an offence falling under the PPC is committed in a domestic relationship, the crime shall be punishable as under the PPC.

A fine ranging from Rs20,000 to Rs100,000 would also be imposed on the perpetrator of domestic violence, that would be paid as compensation to the aggrieved person. In case of default in payment of fine, the perpetrator may be awarded three months imprisonment. The Bill also envisages the creation of a Protection Committee to assist the aggrieved person and process his/her application in court.

Round of consultations were held with Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Minister for Science and Technology, Barrister Mirza Shahzad Akbar, State Minister for Interior/Special Assistant to PM (SAPM) and Faroogh Naseem, Minister for Law and Justice to finalize the Bill.


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