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India domestic violence law takes effect

[JURIST] A new domestic violence law took effect in India [JURIST news archive] Friday, with some women's rights advocates welcoming it and others warning that the landmark legislation would not be adequately enforced. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 [text, PDF] prohibits marital rape and allows women to obtain protection and maintenance orders against husbands and partners who are emotionally, physically or economically abusive. According to the Ministry of Women and Child Development [official website], men who violate the act may be imprisoned for up to a year and fined up to 20,000 rupees (about US $440).

India's National Commission for Women and the All Indian Democratic Women's Association [advocacy websites] praised the law [Hindu report] and urged the government to implement it fully. Women's rights group Vimochana nonetheless expressed concern that officials aren't prepared to handle the cases that will result. Vimochana's founder criticized government plans to hire protection officers in the coming months as lacking, predicting a "huge backlog" of complaints. AFP has more. London's Independent has additional coverage. The Times of India has local coverage.

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