NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has agreed to hear a plea seeking immediate implementation of measures for safeguarding the victims of domestic violence and child abuse amidst the coronavirus lockdown in the country.
The petition moved by an NGO -- All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice (AICHLS) -- highlighted the increase in domestic violence incidents since the lockdown last month, now extended till May 3, and sought the court's urgent intervention in the interest of women and children.
Advocates Mithu Jain, Arjun Syal and Vidisha Kumar, representing the NGO, said the matter was mentioned before the high court on Wednesday and they were informed that the plea for urgent hearing has been allowed.
The petition, which is likely to come up for hearing on Friday, has sought certain immediate and effective measures to be adopted to help victims of domestic violence and child abuse during the lockdown.
It said incidents of domestic violence and child abuse have gripped not only India but countries such as Australia, the UK and USA and the reports suggest that there is a horrific surge in such cases since the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown.
The plea claimed that the helpline numbers across the country received about 92,000 calls based on domestic abuse and violence in the first 11 days of the lockdown alone and sought that nodal officers be appointed to attend to such distress calls.
` It further prayed for giving wide publicity to the helpline and WhatsApp numbers as well as the contact details of the concerned NGOs and government representatives who would be able to assist the victims immediately and round the clock.
The NGO sought intervention of the court saying in view of this peculiar situation, access to other ordinary channels such as courts, police, protection officers, friends and relatives is remote.
The lockdown also is a breeding ground for child abuse as well since they are deprived of the networks that help them cope up with, like their friends, teachers, coaches, relatives who usually provide an escape from their abusive environment, it said.
The plea has arrayed Centre, Delhi government and national Commission for Women as parties.