Since time immemorial, the patriarchal structure has been profoundly ingrained in Indian society. It is possible that this system lay the groundwork for women’s maltreatment. Domestic abuse affects women of all socioeconomic backgrounds, regardless of age, religion, caste, or status. It is a violent crime that not only impacts a person and her children, but also has societal ramifications. Although the exact cause of the crime is unknown, certain causes for the violence may be traced back to gender stereotypes and the allocation of power.
Over time, the meaning of violence has grown to include not just physical kinds of violence, but also emotional, mental, financial, and other types of cruelty.Thus, domestic violence includes acts that harm or endanger the victim’s health, safety, life, limb, or wellbeing (mental or physical), as well as causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and economic abuse, committed by anyone who is or was in a domestic relationship with the victim.
Prior to the enactment of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (“DV Act”), the victim could approach the court under Section 498-A of the Penal Code, 1860, which provides for ‘husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty,’ with only a specific set of offences dealing with cruelty to married women being the only recourse.
WHO IS AN AGGRIEVED PERSON?
According to the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act of 2005, a “aggrieved person” is any woman who is or has been in a domestic relationship with the respondent and claims to have been victim to any act of domestic violence by the respondent. The word respondent refers to any adult male individual who is or has been in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and has sought remedies under the Act.
WHAT IS SECTION 20 OF DOMESTIC VIOLENT ACT?
Under Section 20 of DV Act, an order for monetary relief can be passed by the court in case a woman has incurred expenditure as a result of violence. This may include expenses incurred by a woman on obtaining medical treatment, any loss of earnings, damage to property, etc. The aggrieved person can also claim for maintenance from her male partner.
The Magistrate may direct the respondent to pay monetary relief to meet the expenses incurred and losses suffered by the aggrieved person and any child of the aggrieved person as a result of the domestic violence and such relief may include, but is not limited to,—
(a) the loss of earnings;
(b) the medical expenses;
(c) the loss caused due to the destruction, damage or removal of any property from the control of the aggrieved person; and
(d) the maintenance for the aggrieved person as well as her children, if any, including an order under or in addition to an order of maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or any other law for the time being in force.
It has also been provided in the section that the monetary relief provided should be adequate, fair and reasonable and consistent with the standard of living to which the aggrieved person is accustomed. In case there is a failure in part of the respondent to make payment in terms of the monetary order, the Magistrate may direct the employer or a debtor of the respondent, to directly pay to the aggrieved person or to deposit with the court a portion of the wages or salaries or debt due to or accrued to the credit of the respondent, which amount may be adjusted towards the monetary relief payable by the respondent.
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