Domestic Violence – A bride’s Nightmare!

A few points you should know about Domestic Violence Act, 2005

Thomson Reuters Foundation  did a survey in which India was being ranked first in the category of most dangerous countries for women in the world!

India is known for its variety of religions, cultures and customs. Even having lots of differences yet every part of this country is connected to each other with their deep value, believes and many things. Like in India the wedding is considered as the most important event in every girl’s life. From their childhood, they have been told that one day they will have to leave their home and go live with another family, where she will start her own family. And this particular dream surely does not include Horror, abuses or death!

A 2014 study in The Lancet reported, that the entire reported sexual abuse rate in India was the lowest  of the large population of India, means that violence affects 27.5 million women over their lifetimes! Though in another report it was stated that there are large number of cases of domestic violence in India which does not get reported. Thus the violence history got reduced.

According to UNICEF global report card on adolescents 2012 it was observed in a survey that 57% of male and 53% of female in India think that it is justified for a husband to hit or abuse his wife.

Now the question arises why this kind of violence happens.If we observe the pattern of domestic violence we can categorize it in some forms-

●       Physical abuse,

●       Emotional abuse,

●       Sexual abuse,  and

●       Dowry demand related abuse.

If we go deep down to every pattern of domestic violence , our social structure being patriarchal will be found as the main source, which also leads to other dark issues like gender inequality, lack of women’s role in reproductive decisions, etc.

Though the cases of domestic violence in India is covered and dealt under The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, it was observed that many women across the country were not able to connect with right authority or report abuse that she was suffering. Even many women are unaware of the legal protection that our law is offering in this situation and was being told to tolerate it and not to speak against it. This thinking of making it a tradition instead of speaking and protesting was past to women by generations to generations.

Laws Came in force Regarding Domestic Violence :

 The most recent legislation is the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) 2005. In this Act, it was held that no Dowry could be taken or given in a marriage. Both giving and receiving of dowry would be considered as a criminal offence. Domestic violence definition includes a broad spectrum of abuse sign and threatening behavior which includes physical, emotional, economic and sexual violence as well as intimidation, isolation and coercion.

 In an effort to bolster the 1961 law, Section 498A and Section 304B were introduced into the Indian Penal Code in 1983 and 1986 respectively. Where section 498A deals offence like committing cruelty or harassment to a woman by her husband and in-laws, and Section 304B deals with Dowry death which is a major observed outcome of domestic violence.

Legal points you need to know relating Domestic violence Act:

●       Firstly, it is important to know who can take the reliefs under this Act. This Act gives permission to take relief to any woman who is or has been in a domestic relationship where she has been victim of domestic violence by the accused.

●    She can file complaint against her husband, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother, father and also according to latest supreme court judgments she can file complaint against her Live-in partner(AjayKumar v. Lata alias Sharuti dated on April 8, 2019). Though Supreme Court also observed that not all live-in-relationships will   amount   to   a relationship in the nature of marriage to get the benefit of Domestic Violence Act. To get such benefit the conditions mentioned above shall be fulfilled and this has to be proved by evidence.

●       The Civil Law needed a remedy to address this kind of offence and for protection of women who are being tortured due to domestic violence. To prevent the phenomenon of domestic violence the law was introduced with the PWDVA which came into force in 2005.

●       Also this Act protects the violation of the rights guaranteed under Article 14Article 15 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

●       The PWDVA also includes protection orders, residence orders, monetary relief, custody orders, Legal aid and compensation orders. These falls under the rights of the victim this must be informed to them by the authorities.

●       A victim seeking protection from domestic violence can go to a protection officer, a service provider. She also can approach the police or even a Magistrate directly.

●       Custody orders—The Magistrate has the power, at any stage of hearing of the application for protection order or for any other relief under this Act grant temporary custody of child  to the victim, or any person who is making an application on her behalf. if necessary, the magistrate can also fix the arrangements for visit of child by the respondent. Though if he feels that the meeting can cause harm to the child , he can also refuse such requests.

●       Compensation orders— The Magistrate may on an application being made by the victim, pass an order directing the respondent to pay compensation and damages for the injuries, including mental torture and emotional distress, caused by the acts of domestic violence committed by that respondent.

Other side View:

●       In some cases it was also found that women have been misusing these rights to fulfill their own agenda. There has been plenty numbers of false complaints in this act.

●     In the case of Ashish Dixit vs. State of UP & Anr , the Supreme Court has held that a wife cannot implicate one and all in a Domestic violence case. In this case, the wife apart from arraying the husband and in-laws in the complaint had also included parties to the case, whose names she did not even know

●       Men’s Organizations and Save Indian Family Foundation also opposed to the law as they argued it could be misusing or blackmailing.

Reliefs & Punishment related to this offence:

●   The monetary relief granted under this section shall be adequate, fair and reasonable and consistent with the standard of living needed by the victim. The magistrate can pass order to accused person to pay compensation and damages for the injuries, including mental torture and emotional distress, caused by the acts of domestic violence committed by that respondent.

●       Also acc. to Section 406 of IPC , Whoever commits criminal breach of trust shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

●       A breach of protection order, or of an interim protection order, by the respondent shall be an offence under this Act and shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees, or with both.

●   Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty—Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.

Lastly, We can conclude by observing and analyzing today’s world situation it is absolutely certain that The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act is a must have for women’s safety and security. Like every good initiative it also has some bad effects. But those can be kept in control with proper law and investigation. Some misuses can never be the excuse to hold back this law to take place in a world where millions of women are suffering every day. Law and order are meant to be a Must Have Weapon for victims and this should carry on. Only then we can picture an image of world one day excluding these horrifying crimes.

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