Awareness needed for Delhi’s women: Dikshit

Delhi’s women need to be made aware about their rights and the importance of their empowerment, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said here Saturday.

“We need to make women aware about their powers, only then will they feel empowered. Awareness is more important than legal empowerment,” Dikshit said as she flagged off the ‘bell bajao’ campaign against domestic violence.

The campaign, by global human rights organisation Breakthrough, will reach people through video vans that will aim at engaging and educating communities to spread awareness about the protection of women through the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005.

“The motto should be to reach out to maximum number of women. Aware and sensitive neighbourhood are the keys to curb the menace of domestic violence,” Dikshit said.

The campaign, which has already reached over 140 million people across different parts of the country, has reported a 15 percent increase in the reporting of complaints against domestic violence.

“Women are forced to stay mum. That’s what we are raising the campaign for. We want women to come out of the four walls and speak up on the issue,” Delhi Women and Child Development Minister Kiran Walia told.

Members of Breakthrough emphasised on the need to sensitise men and women equally. The 15-day campaign will culminate with the International Women’s Day celebrations.

“It is a call to change cultural norms and bring domestic violence to a halt. To set the perfect example, young girls from a theatre group in Lucknow will be a part of this campaign,” said Mallika Dutt, president of Breakthrough

Spread awareness on schemes for needy women, court tells Delhi

Taking note of a destitute woman’s death after she gave birth to a baby on a pavement here in July, the Delhi High Court Wednesday suggested to the Delhi government to spread awareness about welfare schemes meant for needy women.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan asked the government to explore the possibility of having a separate shelter home for destitute pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The government was also asked to see if any helpline telephone number could be started for such special homes. ‘In the aforesaid shelter homes, it has also to be seen that proper medical facilities are available,’ suggested the bench.

The court said despite various government welfare schemes, people have not benefited from these.

‘For such schemes, the government must disseminate information about the shelter homes or other schemes through radio and television in Hindi,’ said the court.

‘The government should also look whether mobile medical units can be used to help the destitute. It should make an endeavour to involve NGOs,’ the bench said.

Meanwhile, the government informed the court that the baby girl rescued from a pavement in Connaught Place in July was in good health and the process of her adoption had been initiated.

The bench asked the government to submit their report within four weeks. The next date of hearing is Dec 15.

The court had earlier asked the government to allow Ritu Arthur Frederick, a garment shop owner who rescued the baby girl, to meet her for three days in a week at her foster home in Gole Market.

Need to spread awareness on lok adalats: Chief Justice Misra

Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Dipak Misra Monday said it is the responsibility of the media to create awareness among the general public about lok adalats which help settle cases amicably.

He said lok adalats were meant for the public who need help, settlement and want their cases to be solved without any controversy and media should take up the responsibility to create awareness about them.

The next mega lok adalat is to be held Oct 24.

‘Lok adalat is a pathway for social engineering which has to be activated by helping those who are in a problem. We are committed to provide them relief and media should come forward in informing them about its benefits,’ said the chief justice.

He said that every case has a human face. ‘Some may feel it’s a small case but the person who has to appear in the court knows how big the case is for him. It is in this context that mega lok adalats are held to solve the matter amicably.’

‘We have to understand the problem that people are facing due to the pending cases. It is our duty to help them but it won’t be complete if the people for whom we are conducting lok adalats don’t appear before us,’ he added.

Speaking to reporters, he said that he has been holding meetings with senior officials of insurance companies, banks and financial institutions who have agreed to co-operate in solving disputes which have been pending for long.

‘We have received co-operation from all the bars and lawyers. We have asked them to see that if a lawyer from one of the parties doesn’t appear before us, he must be informed so that the matter is solved without losing anytime,’ said the chief justice.

Justice A.K. Sikri also said that dissemination of information is very crucial in making lok adalats a success.

‘We have requested officials and counsels to inform the parties before the listing of a case so that they come well prepared and the matter can be solved amicably. But people should also know about their case and about the lok adalats through media,’ he said.

‘We have spent lot of time working visiting district courts and studying cases and we felt that in most of the cases there should be pre-hearing where there is a possibility that the matter can reach a peaceful settlement,’ said Justice Vikramjit Sen.

He said that there is a common notion in accident cases that people won’t get their dues but its wrong.

‘We have managed to convince the insurance companies to come to a realistic amount so that people get the right compensation. But for this the public has to attend the pre-hearings to get a positive result out of their cases,’ he said.