Laws enacted to check domestic violence in Nepal

The parliament in Nepal has enacted laws making domestic violence and violence at health institutions and health professionals punishable.

The Domestic Violence and Punishment Act 2065 passed on Sunday defines physical, mental, sexual, financial as well as behavioral violence as domestic violence.

The Act has a provision of slapping up to four months of imprisonment and Rs 6,000 fine on perpetrators of domestic violence, and half the punishment to accomplices. In case of physical or psychological injuries to the victim, the perpetrator will have to bear all treatment costs.

The law says victim will have to file complaint at a police office, local body or Women’s Commission within 90 days of facing an act of domestic violence. Hearings on such cases will be held in closed sessions.

A person once found guilty of perpetrating domestic violence will face double penalties for each new act of domestic violence, the Act says.

The government will establish service centers for victims to ensure security, treatment and rehabilitation. Such centers will provide victims with legal aid and psychological counseling, among other services.

Meanwhile, the Act to protect health institutions and professional says anyone attacking a health institution or professional can be jailed for three months to five years, apart from having to bear compensation for all damages.

President of Nepal Medical Association Kedar Narsigh K.C. welcomes the law but doubted its enforcement if lawlessness continues in the country.

“During my two years’ tenure alone, there have been 40 cases of violence against health institutions and professionals. Not a single person was prosecuted,” he said.

In recent years, the country has seen an alarming trend of relatives of patients, who die in the course of treatment, attacking health institutions and professionals accusing them of carelessness in treatment and demanding compensation.


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