Domestic Incident Report under Domestic Violence Act

Introduction

As per section 2(e) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, domestic incident report means, a report made in the prescribed form on receipt of a complaint of domestic violence from an aggrieved person by the protection officer. Domestic violence refers to violence, abuse ad intimidation between people who are currently or have previously been in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence against women is not uncommon in Indian society. Countless women face it in their lives, and most of them are used to it, so they don’t even report it. However, it is undeniable that many continue to be victims of domestic violence. It is clearly an important issue that needs to be addressed and women need to be aware of their rights and know how to protect them.

Who is covered under the act?

This law applies to all women who live in the same household as their mother, sister, wife, widow, or partner. Relationships can take the form of marriage or adoption. In addition, relationship with families living in ordinary families are recorded. However, a female relative of husband or male partner cannot file a complaint against his wife or female partner; for e.g. the mother-in-law cannot make her claim against her daughter-in-law but she can file an application against her daughter-in-law for abetting her son to commit violence against her.

To whom can information be given or complaint be made?

In filing Domestic Incident Report (DIR), Protection Officer plays an important role. Protection Officer is the key authority appointed under the DV act to implement the act. Protection Officer will provide safety to woman, facilitate her access to support services such as shelter homes and medical facilities.

Steps to be taken on information or complaint of Domestic Violence

If you or someone on your behalf verbally notifies the Protection Officer about the act of domestic violence, the Protection Officer must submit it in writing. Then, you or the person who communicates the data to protection officer must sign this information designated as a complaint.

If you are a victim and the protection officer received a complaint of domestic violence, it is the duty of protection officer to notify you that you have the right to apply for relief. This tax exemption may take the form of any of the following orders:

  • Protection order.
  • Order the relief of funds.
  • Custody order;
  • Residence permit;
  • Compensation order;
  • More than any of the above arrangements. When incident of domestic violence takes place even in a presence of protection officer, it is his duty to apprise the aggrieved person of the above rights.

Remember that the above obligation to notify the injured of the above rights is not only of the protection officer, but also the police or service provider or judge who has been received complained of domestic violence. The aggrieved person must also be informed of the availability of the service provider, protection officer; and free legal services. The injured shall also be informed of the right to file a cruel complaint under Section 498A of the Indian Criminal Code.

What other steps taken by the Protection Officer or Service Provider?

  • When the aggrieved person informs the protection officer about domestic violence, the duty of protection officer is to get medically examined the aggrieved person if she has sustained bodily injuries. So, whenever you are beaten or cause other physical harm, you can ask protection officer to give you a medical examination or seek medical care or assistance.
  • As an injured person, you can also ask your service provider for medical facilities and medical assistance. The medical report must be submitted by protection officer to the concerned magistrate and to the concerned police station.
  • The protection officer is obliged to prepare a report on the domestic case and submit it to the concerned magistrate. This copy must also be sent to your service provider.
  • The protection officer must apply for the issuance of a protection order. In this regard, the application must be submitted to the magistrate in the prescribed format and method. Such applications shall only be made by the protection officer if requested by the injured person. He also needs to make free legal assistance and services available to the aggrieved person. 
  • Protection officer shall forward a copy of the complaint and report to the police officer responsible for the police station affected by the incident of domestic violence. He must also notify the service provider of the domestic violence incident.
  • It is the responsibility of the protection officer and service provider to provide safe accommodation if requested by the aggrieved person. Therefore, if you need safe accommodation as an injured person, you can contact your protection officer and service provider as needed. A copy of the report made by the protection officer or service provider regarding the containment of the injured in the shelter must be sent to the magistrate and the police station. The service provider only needs to submit such a report to the police, not to the magistrate.

Reliefs available under the Domestic Violence Act

The remedies available under the DV act as provided from Section 18 to 23 for aggrieved person are as follows:

  • Protection Orders (Section 18)

The Magistrate after giving the aggrieved person and the Defendant an opportunity of being heard and if satisfied that domestic violence has taken place may pass a protection order and prohibit the respondent form

a) A protection order prohibiting that can be issued for domestic violence;

(b) Aiding in the commission of acts of domestic violence.

(c) Enter the victim’s workplace, or if the victim is a child, the victim’s school or other location that the victim frequently visits.

 (d) Attempts to communicate with the injured in any form including face-to-face, verbal or written, or electronic or telephone communication.

 (e) Disposal of assets, operation of a safe deposit box or bank account jointly used by the aggrieved person and the defendant, or individually used, held or enjoyed by the defendant. This includes Stridhan or other co-owned assets. The parties are held or separated from them as parties without the permission of the magistrate.

 (f) Use of force against family members, other relatives, or anyone providing assistance for domestic violence to aggrieved person.

 (g) Perform any other act specified in the protection order.

Residence Order (Section 19)

Magistrate can issue a residence order:

a) Prevent the defendant from confiscating or interfering with the aggrieved person property from the general household, regardless of whether the defendant has legal or equity interests in the general household.

(b) Instruct respondents to leave ordinary households.

(c) Prevent the defendant or her relatives from entering any part of the general household in which the aggrieved person reside.

(d) Prevent defendants from alienating, disposing of, or interfering with ordinary households.

(e) Prevent defendants from waiving their rights at home without the permission of the magistrate.

(f) Instruct the victims to provide equivalent alternative housing that can be used by ordinary households or to pay rent depending on the situation.

The booking clause in this section states that no order under clause (b) may be given to a person who is a woman.

Monetary Relief (Section 20)

While disposing of an application under sub-section (1) of section 12, 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 (2 of 1974) or any other law for the time being in force.

Custody order (Section 21)

The magistrate may give the victim temporary custody of the child to the victim or another person applying on her behalf. This is to prevent women from leaving their children and is an abusive situation in itself. Article 21 also states that at any stage of the hearing of a protection order or other remedy application under this Act, the magistrate may temporarily give one or more children to the injured or the person making the application. It states that it can be custody. Or, if applicable on her behalf, indicate the arrangements made by the respondent to visit this child or multiple children. However, the magistrate may refuse a visit to a child if the defendant determines that the visit to the child may be harmful.

 Compensation Order (Section 22)

At the request of the aggrieved person, the magistrate may order the Defendant to pay compensation and damages for the injury, including mental torture and distress caused by the domestic violence committed by the Defendant.

Magistrate`s power to grant interim and ex-parte orders (Section 23)

Section 23 gives power to the Magistrate to pass such interim order as he deems just and proper and also if the Magistrate is satisfied that an application prima facie discloses that the respondent is committing, or has committed an act of domestic violence or that there is a likelihood that the respondent may commit an act of domestic violence, he may grant an ex parte order on the basis of the affidavit in such form, as may be prescribed, of the aggrieved person under Section 18, Section 19, Section 20, Section 21 or, as the case may be, Section 22 against the respondent.

Conclusion

The concept of DIR works on ‘how to’ which has been lost in wordily interpretation of the courts. DIR is detailed analytical proforma, which embrace the details of each incident of domestic violence are to be entered with date, time and place of violence and person who caused domestic violence. It is important for magistrate to call upon DIR due to detailed report it helps in evaluating the verity of case and according justice to right person.

By taking idea of DIR further and by widening its concept the court can use DIR in right direction for protecting the individual interest of parties so that none can feel injustice.

References

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