Current Affairs – October 2016

SC widens ambit of Domestic Violence Act, 2005

The Supreme Court in its landmark judgement has widened the scope of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 by making it gender-neutral.

The SC ordered deletion of the words “adult male” before the word ‘person’ in Section 2(q) of the Act making it gender-neutral. The remaining part of the legislation would remain operative and was kept untouched.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 protects women from physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse at home.

Key Facts

  • The SC order paves way for prosecution of women and even non-adults for subjecting a woman relative to violence and harassment.
  • It strikes down two words from Section 2(q) of Act which deals with respondents who can be sued and prosecuted under it for harassing a married woman in her matrimonial home.
  • It also allows a woman to seek legal action against her daughter-in-law and even her minor grandchildren for domestic violence.

Why SC ordered to delete words?

According to SC, microscopic difference between male and female, adult and non-adult is neither real nor substantial. It also does not have any rational relation to the object of the legislation. The words “adult male” also violated right to equality under Constitution. It is contrary to object of affording protection to women who have suffered from domestic violence of any kind.


The landmark verdict of Supreme Court came on an appeal against the Bombay High Court judgement, which had resorted to the literal construction of the term ‘adult male’. Based on literal construction of these words, Bombay High Court had discharged four persons, including a woman, two girls and a minor boy of a family from a domestic violence case on the ground that they were not “adult male” and hence cannot be prosecuted under the Act.


Janani Suraksha Yojana pays dividends: Study

As per the new study Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) has played important role in reducing ‘socioeconomic disparities’ existing in maternal care.

The study was conducted by researchers from Delhi based National Council of Applied Economic Research.

This is for first time study has shown JSY has reduced socioeconomic inequalities in maternal care compared to earlier studies which showed impact of JSY in reducing maternal mortality.

Key Findings

  • JSY has led to reduction of prevalent differences in access to maternal care between individual people of higher or lower socioeconomic status.
  • It has led to enhancement in utilisation of health services among all groups especially among the poorer and underserved sections in the rural areas.
  • Utilisation of all three maternal healthcare services was remarkably higher among illiterate or less educated and poor women.
  • Usage of all three maternal healthcare services by the Dalit, Adivasis, OBC and Muslim women increased between the surveys.
  • However, inequalities still exist in access to maternal care but JSY has narrowed gap in access to healthcare between the marginalised group of women and financially better-off.
  • Women in their early 20s more likely avail maternal health care services as compared to their older women.
  • The incidence of women availing maternal healthcare decreases with the increase in the number of children.



In India, high incidence of maternal mortality continues to plague. As per the latest report on maternal health, India accounted for 15% the total maternal deaths in the world in 2015 second only to Nigeria with 45,000 women dying during pregnancy or childbirth.

About Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY)

  • The JSY was launched as part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2005 to improve maternal and neonatal health by promotion of institutional deliveries (childbirth in hospitals). It is a 100% centrally sponsored scheme (CSS). It integrates cash assistance with delivery and post-delivery care.
  • Under it, ASHA (Accredited social health activist) is considered as a link between Government and poor pregnant women for encourage institutional deliveries among poor women.
Image Source: The Hindu