Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was drafted for the protection of women against acts of violence in India. Domestic Violence means causing hurt, injury or danger to life, limb, health, safety or well-being, whether mental or physical.
Who can file a complaint under the Domestic Violence Act?
According to Section 2(a) of the Act: “aggrieved person” means any woman who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the respondent and who alleges to have been subjected to any act of domestic violence by the respondent.
It means that any aggrieved person who is facing domestic violence or any person who has witnessed such an act can file the complaint under this act. Such complaints can be filed in the Magistrate’s court with assistance from a police officer, protection officer, or service provider as stated in this act.
Even, those women who are related to the abuser can also get legal protection.
Against whom can a complaint be filed?
According to Section 2(q) of the act: “respondent” means any adult male person who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and against whom the aggrieved person has sought any relief under this Act: Provided that an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship like marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner.
A complaint can be filed against the abuser and its relatives.
Types of abuses stated under this act
- “Physical abuse” includes hurt of any kind. Assault, criminal intimidation and criminal force.es of abuses under this act.
- “Sexual abuse” such as the conduct of a sexual nature such as forced sexual intercourse, forcing the aggrieved person to watch pornography or other obscene material. Forcibly using a woman to entertain others, any other act of sexual nature, abusing, humiliating, degrading or otherwise violative of one’s dignity.
- “Verbal and emotional abuse” such as Accusation/aspersion on character or conduct. An insult for not bringing dowry, Insult for not having a male child. etc. Forcing to not attend school, college or any other educational institution preventing one from taking up a job repeated threats to cause pain to any person in whom the woman is interested. Preventing from marrying a person of your choice.
- “Economic abuse” such as not providing money for maintaining woman or her children Not providing food, clothes, medicine. etc, Forcing woman out of the house. Preventing from accessing or using any part of the house, preventing or obstructing one from carrying on employment Non-payment of rent in case of a rented accommodation, selling or pawing stridhan or any other valuables without informing and without consent. Forcibly taking away salary, income or wages etc. Non-payment of other bills such as electricity, etc.
Procedure of complaint
According to section 13 of the act, after the complaint is filed the court takes up hearing of the complaint within three days. The magistrate will issue a notice of the date of hearing to be served on the Respondent within a maximum period of 2 days or such further reasonable time allowed.
All complaints should be heard within 60 days as stated in Act. Domestic violence act is n addition to existing laws and the aggrieved person has the right to file a complaint simultaneously under Section 498A of the IPC.
Punishment under the Domestic Violence Act
It is a civil law and proceedings are conducted according to the Criminal Procedure Code. The breach of a protection order or interim protection or protection by the respondent is a cognizable and non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment of one or two years with fine.
Jurisdiction of Court for matters under this act
According to Section 27 of the act, jurisdiction lies within the local limits of:
- he person aggrieved permanently or temporarily resides or carries on business or is employed; or
- the respondent resides or carries on business or is employed; or
- the cause of action has arisen, shall be the competent court to grant a protection order and other orders under this Act and to try offences under this Act.
According to section 29 of the act, an appeal can lie within thirty days from the date on which the order made by the Magistrate is served on the aggrieved person or the respondent.
Domestic Violence Act’s greatest benefit is that it comprises all the possible abuse either of physical, mental or economical. It is quicker as it is victim driven unlike Section 498 A of IPC which is state-driven and comes with a lot of procedural delays.