Updated: Feb 7
Domestic violence is not only a physical violence but it is any behavior the purpose of which is to gain power and control over a spouse, partner, girlfriend or intimate family member. Domestic violence is currently defined in India by the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005, contains five chapters and thirty seven sections.
Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 came into force from 26 October 2006. The term ‘domestic violence’ has been used in widest sense which covers all forms of physical , sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse that can harm, cause injury to, endanger the health safety, life , limb or well-being either mental or physical of the aggrieved person.
Section 2(a) of the Domestic Violence Act defines “aggrieved person” as 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. And respondent includes any adult male who has been or is in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved woman, and against whom the woman has sought a relief or any male or female relative of the husband or male partner of a married woman or a woman in a relationship in the nature of marriage.
Forms of Domestic Violence
A. Physical violence
Physical injury is the most visible form of domestic violence. The scope of physical domestic/intimate partner violence includes slapping, pushing, kicking, biting, hitting, throwing objects, strangling, beating, threatening with any form of weapon, or using a weapon.
B. Emotional abuse
Emotional abuse has been gaining more and more recognition in recent years as an incredibly common form of domestic violence within the private home throughout developing nations such as India. Emotional/psychological abuse can include harassment; threats; verbal abuse such as name-calling, degradation and blaming; stalking; and isolation.
C. Sexual assault
Domestic sexual assault is a form of domestic violence involving sexual/reproductive coercion and marital rape.
D. Honor killing
An honor killing is the practice wherein an individual is killed by one or more family member(s), because he or she is believed to have brought shame on the family. The shame may range from refusing to enter an arranged marriage, having sex outside marriage, being in a relationship that is disapproved by the family, starting a divorce proceeding, or engaging in homosexual relations.
E. Dowry-related abuse and deaths
Some newly married brides suffer domestic violence in the form of harassment, physical abuse or death when she is thought to have not brought enough dowry with marriage. Some cases end up in suicides by hanging, self-poisoning or by fire. In dowry deaths, the groom’s family is the perpetrator of murder or suicide.
Responsibility Of The Court
In the case of Krishna Bhatacharjee vs. Sarathi Choudhury - 2016 (2) SCC 705, the Apex Court while deciding complaints under the act stated that:
· It is the duty of the Court to scrutinize the facts from all angles whether a plea advanced by the respondent to nullify the grievance of the aggrieved person is really legally sound and correct.
· The principle “justice to the cause is equivalent to the salt of ocean” should be kept in mind. The Court of Law is bound to uphold the truth which sparkles when justice is done.
· Before throwing a petition at the threshold, it is obligatory to see that the person aggrieved under such a legislation is not faced with a situation of non-adjudication, for the 2005 Act as we have stated is a beneficial as well as assertively affirmative enactment for the realization of the constitutional rights of women and to ensure that they do not become victims of any kind of domestic violence.
Some Important Features Of The Protection Of Women From Domestic Violence Act,2005
Under Section 14 of the Act, Counselling, as directed by the magistrate, should be provided to both the parties involved, or whichever party requires it, as ordered.
Under Section 9, Protection Officers is to be appointed by the government in every district, who preferably should be women, and should be qualified.
Monetary relief, under Section 20 , is given to the victim to compensate for loss, including loss of earnings, medical expenses, any expenses incurred due to loss of property by destruction, damage or removal, and maintenance of the victim and her children.
Under Section 19 of the act, magistrate may choose to restrict the respondent from the place of residence of both the parties if they feel that it is for the safety of the victim. Additionally, the respondent cannot evict the victim from the place of residence.
Custody of children should be granted to the victim as required, with visiting rights to the respondent if necessary.