Source: The Telegraph
NEW DELHI, INDIA, February 25, 2001: Male pressure groups, unhappy with the "expansive" definition of domestic violence including a clause on mental torture in the proposed bill, the Indian government is planning to bring about, are lobbying against it. But women's and lawyers' organizations have dug in their heels and are seeking to put an end to both physical and mental aggression against women. It is believed that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, too, initially found the definition a bit far-reaching, but the National Commission for Women and the Lawyers' Collective, are insisting on expanding the scope of the Domestic Violence Bill. "The main question is what affects the mental peace of women?" asked Sonjoy Ghosh of the Lawyers' Collective. Men, uneasy with the "liberal" definition of violence are raising questions about the wisdom of reining in their "freedom of expression." The draft bill drawn up by the Lawyers' Collective states: "Verbal and mental abuse includes insults, ridicule, humiliation, name-calling, especially with regard to women who do not have a child or particularly a male child." "The Domestic Violence Bill will be a civil and not a criminal law and the difference will be significant," added Ghosh. The new bill will order physical protection of the woman, give her the right of residence and ensure financial compensation.