SMSes and emails can be used as evidence: Judge
Posted by 498A_Crusader on March 15, 2008
Pune, December 31 Can a child’s testimony be used to verify his father’s hostility towards his mother? How can you prove if a wife’s death was accidental, a suicide or a consequence of marital harassment? What rights does a wife driven out of her husband’s house have, when their divorce is pending in court? These were some of the questions that were answered by the Pune Family Court judge Vinay Borikar as a part of a three-day workshop on the importance of the Indian Evidence Act in women related cases, held on Tadiwala on Sunday.“In the past couple of years, the number of divorce cases has gone up which is accompanied by the urgency to resolve marital disputes as well as deliver justice, if a women is being unfairly treated by her husband,” said Borikar who elaborated the amendments in the Evidence Act that may be used by a victim of violence to her benefit. “Often when women are driven to suicide by the harassment that they face or are killed by husband or in-laws, the victim’s parents and relatives are often unable to procure the evidence to implicate the offenders. However, recent amendments to the Evidence Act has permitted that electronic media can be used as evidence and the result has been that SMSes or e-mails have been submitted to the court, as evidence of harassment,” said Borikar.
“If a married woman commits suicide, which is suspected to have occurred due to harassment from her marital home and if she has confided to her parents about the harassment being meted out to her before her death, the testimony of her parents can be used to prove the case of abetment to suicide,” said Borikar.
According to the Act’s “presumption as to abetment to suicide” section also states that if a women dies ‘accidentally’ or commits suicide within seven years of marriage, and its proved that she was subjected to harassment, then its assumed that the husband and the in-laws must have incited her to take her life, until proven otherwise, he added.
Borikar related his experience in resolving a case of domestic violence when in an effective judgment, given last month, he had ordered a man who had driven out his wife and their two children, to house them in a separate accommodation. The man had refrained from going on higher appeal and had complied with the order.
“With a drastic increase in the crimes against married women, despite specific women-related laws like the Protection of Women against the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, several cases suffer because the victims’ families are unable to furnish the appropriate proof. Hence, we realised that it was essential that women’s organisations, who are the first agency that the bereaved women approach, need to be educated about what kind of relevant evidence will ensure that the women get relief,” said advocate Asuntha Pardhe of the Chetana Mahila Vikas Kendra, that organised the workshop, which was attended by representatives from several organisations in the State.
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