New Delhi: Only 13 persons were convicted out of the 639 charge sheeted in 2014 under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
However, Rijiju's remark that the data pertains to 'civil' nature of crimes under the Act evoked strong reaction from Deputy Leader of Congress in the House Anand Sharma, who said violence is not civil but criminal.
As Congress members, particularly the women members took strong objection to the reply, Rjiju first tried to convince them about the reply and then told them "you give notice for further discussion". This apparently infuriated some members including Kumari Selja of Congress, who said the use of such language by a minister is 'highly objectionable' and was 'improper'.
When Chairman Hamid Ansari tried to pacify them by noting that the reply states that data collection of crimes under the Act only started in 2014, Selja said, "My point is not that. My point is the minister has used objectionable language when we rose (to speak)". Sharma also registered his objection.
Ansari, however, tried to soothe the frayed tempers assuring them that he will examine whether something objectionable has been said and will take corrective steps. Replying to a question on how many people were convicted for domestic violence after the 2005 Act came into force, Rijiju said that as per inputs provided by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), during 2014, a total of 13 persons have been convicted under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. He informed the House that the NCRB started collecting data on the Act only since 2014.
According to the reply, a total of 426 cases under the Act were registered in 2014 of which charge sheet was filed in 312 cases. Conviction happened in just nine (9) cases. Trial completed in 19.1 percent cases. Out of 693 persons arrested in these cases, 639 were charge sheeted. Only 13 were, however, convicted.
Members wanted to know why the conviction rate in these cases was so low to which the minister said that in many cases, the husband and wife compromise at a later stage and that the offences under the Act are of "civil" nature.
"The statistics (of conviction) will be much higher in criminal cases. There are also instances of compounding in cases of domestic fights in civil matters," he said.