Women Protection Act challenged in Federal Shariat Court



The Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act (PPWVA) 2016  has been challenged in the Federal Shariat Court (FSC).

A Supreme Court lawyer and professor of Islamic law Mohammad Aslam Khaki challenged different provisions of the law and asked the Court to consider declaring the law — especially Section 7(d, e) of the act, which deals with attaching GPS ankle or wrist trackers on men in order to monitor their movement — against the spirit of Islam, the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

Khaki regretted in his petition, punctuated with verses of the Holy Quran, that the section was against Islamic provisions since it was unilateral and gender-biased.

“The section is based on the NGOs’ slogan that the man is always guilty,” the petition claimed, adding that the law did not contain any mechanism for filing a complaint against a woman for causing mental and psychological trauma to her husband.

The petition purported that a number of cases had been observed where women would abuse their husbands and get into conflict with his family, leading to heated debate between spouses that can sometimes result in violence by the husband.

This section, the petition contended, was against the dignity of man and hence against Islam and the constitution. The petition quoted the following verse from the Holy Quran: “We bestowed dignity on the children of Adam and provided them with rides on the land and in the sea and provided them with a variety of good things and made them much superior to many of those whom we have created.”

To resolve any dispute, the petition suggests, the approach should be counselling and guidance for the wife as well as the husband, rather than punishing the man and not the woman.

In case of a conflict between spouses, the petition argued, arbitration procedures had also been provided in the Holy Quran, which should be applied and strengthened instead of making the conflict a legal matter.

Section 7(e) of the act, which asks for expelling the accused husband from the house, is also damaging for the family, particularly when there are children involved, or there is a joint family, the petition maintained.

It would be more appropriate, in case of a conflict, that the wife should be promptly paid a handsome amount as maintenance, including the rent and be given option to live with her parents or siblings, as provided under different laws.

The petition argued that the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act was passed without proper debate and research and needed revisiting, especially since a number of scholars had criticised certain clauses of the act as being against Islam.

To curb violence against women, it would be more effective if the defendant was also inflicted the same violence as per the Islamic principle of Qisas, the petition suggested.


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