The Bombay High Court on Friday rapped the Maharashtra government for failing to implement orders passed by the court since 2010 regarding appointment of protection officers for each taluka as provided under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (DV Act).
A division bench of Justices SJ Vazifdar and BP Colabawala has now given the high power committee of the government's Women and Child Welfare department a week's time to clear the proposal and forward it to the finance department.
The finance department shall then process and clear the proposal within a week thereafter, the court ordered.
"This is the last time we are requesting the government to implement orders passed by this court since 2010. The next time we will get serious. By now, the whole process should have been completed. This is not correct. The next time we will take some unpleasant steps against the secretaries of the concerned departments," warned justice Vazifdar.
As per the proposal, 2,164 protection officers would be appointed across talukas in the state.
Under the DV Act, a protection officer shall conduct inquiry into allegations of domestic violence and arrange for meetings if needed between the disputing parties. A protection officer also forwards legal assistance to women as required under the DV Act.
The HC observed: "By end of next week we want the committee to clear the proposal and send it to the finance department. It appears that the finance department had taken certain objections earlier. We direct the finance department to process the proposal and consider it to the extent it deems fit."
The HC was hearing a public interest litigation by an activist Rajendra Anbhule seeking implementation of a July 2010 order of the High Court directing the government to appoint protection officers for each taluka as provided under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.
According to the petition, till date no appointment has been made.
The court will hear the petition on March 7 for compliance.