If a woman is being ejected from her shared home with her harasser or does not feel comfortable staying there, she can seek legal aid from the Court with the help of a lawyer or a Protection Officer. Even though she doesn’t have a formal title or a claim to the house, the Domestic Violence Act’s residence order will enable her stay in her shared dwelling and force her harasser to cease threatening her. Section 19 of the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 states the provisions a victim can receive regarding her living situation. The provisions are as follows:-
Section 19 – Residence Orders
(1) If the Magistrate is satisfied that domestic violence has occurred while dealing with an application under subsection (1) of section 12, the Magistrate may issue a residence order—
- prohibiting the respondent from dispossessing or otherwise disturbing the aggrieved person’s ownership of the shared home, regardless of whether the respondent has a legal or equitable stake in it;
- ordering the responder to leave the joint residence;
- prohibiting the respondent or any of his relatives from visiting any part of the aggrieved person’s shared residence;
- prohibiting the respondent from alienating, disposing of, or encumbering the shared household;
- prohibiting the respondent from relinquishing his rights in the shared household without the Magistrate’s permission; or
- ordering the respondent to provide the aggrieved person with the same level of alternate accommodation as she had in the shared home, or to pay rent for the same, if the circumstances warrant it: Provided, however, that no order under subsection (b) will be made against a woman.
(2) The Magistrate may impose any further requirements or issue any other order that he considers reasonable in order to safeguard or provide for the safety of the aggrieved person or any of his or her children.
(3) The Magistrate may order the respondent to sign a bond, with or without sureties, to prevent domestic violence from occurring.
(4) An order made under subsection (3) is treated as an order made under Chapter VIII of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and is dealt with as such.
(5) When issuing an order under subsection (1), (2), or (3), the Court may additionally make an order instructing the officer-in-charge of the nearest police station to provide protection to the aggrieved person or to assist her or the person filing the application on her behalf in carrying out the order.
(6) The Magistrate may impose on the respondent duties pertaining to the discharge of rent and other payments when imposing an order under subsection (1), taking into account the parties’ financial circumstances and resources.
(7) The Magistrate has the authority to order the officer-in-charge of the police station in whose jurisdiction the Magistrate has been contacted to assist in the enforcement of the protection order.
The Court may assist the aggrieved woman in obtaining alternative housing under this Act.
The Court may also order the harasser to do one of two things:
- Allow you to live in a piece of the home with all of the essential conveniences for a pleasant and dignified stay, but do not enter your portion of the house.
- If necessary, pay for or purchase a new home for you, as well as give financial respite by paying rent.
The Court may order the harasser not to sell, lease, or mortgage the residence in order to preserve your money and property. By alienating or disposing of the joint household, for example, you might renounce rights in the shared home. The Court may also order the harasser to comply with any additional requirements necessary to safeguard the aggrieved woman and their children.
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