Women live-in partners covered by domestic violence act: Minister

December 15th, 2008 - 4:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) Women live-in partners are protected under the domestic violence act and there is no move to enact a law governing such relationships, parliament was informed Monday.“It is not that prevalent,” said Law Minister H.R. Bharadwaj, referring to live-in relationships, during question hour in the Rajya Sabha, adding: “If it is acceptable by society, then the government can make laws. Laws are made keeping in view societal trends.

“It is hypothetical to ask a question whether we are contemplating a law (to govern live-in relationships),” the minister added.

Replying to a supplementary, Bharadwaj pointed that the rights of women in live-in relationships were protected by the domestic violence act that parliament had passed about a year ago.

“I am one of the crusaders for the liberty of women. I want to enforce the law vigorously. In a live-in relationship, a lady is covered under the domestic violence act and this is adequate,” the minister maintained.

The main question asked was whether some states had passed laws governing live-in relationships and whether the central government would reject these as the concept went against Indian customs and traditions.

This evoked diametrically opposite responses from two women members.

“This is a matter of an adult consensual relationship. Why is this question being asked? Why was it allowed to be asked,” an indignant Brinda Karat (Communist Party of India-Marxist) wondered.

But Prabha Thakur of the Congress maintained: “Live-in relationships go against Indian traditions. Less than one percent of the people are in such relationships. If a law is enacted, it will only be misused.”

In response, Bharadwaj said: “Laws are made on the demands of society. As and when society is prepared (to accept live-in relationships), the (domestic violence) law can be expanded or we can make another one,”

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