The Protection Of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005 defines an “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. The term 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 relief under the Act. A central theme of the worldwide women’s movement is violence against women both within and outside of their families. This is directly related to their unequal position in a patriarchal society that transcends class and community. The primary types of violence targeted are the rape and murder of young brides for dowry. It is recognized that there are other, more brutal manifestations of domestic violence rapidly, including wife beating, brutality, torture, and humiliation. This awareness has prompted women’s groups to demand that domestic violence also be considered a crime.
Acts as Harassment
- Physical Harassment: Any conduct that causes bodily pain, abrasion, bleeding, danger to life or parts of the body constitutes all forms of physical harassment.
- Sexual Harassment: Humiliation, sexual abuse, and hurtful intercourse with the victim also constitute harassment.
- Verbal Harassment: Infringing upon a woman’s dignity, stinging her, using abusive language, swearing is actually harassment of a woman.
- Emotional Harassment: Humiliation in front of someone you don’t like and emotional assault.
- Economic Harassment: Failing to provide all economic resources or financial support to your partner, it is his/her right. By law, staying away from luxuries he enjoys is a kind of economic harassment.
Legal assistance to an aggrieved person
If a person has been harassed or has reason to believe that the action taken against them is domestic violence, a person may call: Security Officer of the relevant area and make a complaint orally or in writing copy or with staff on duty. The Protection Officer is an official appointed by the state government in each county. Whenever possible, a woman should be a security guard. A service provider is someone who is interested in the protection of women by an NGO. A complaint can be filed under Section 498A of the PENAL CODE of India if the abuse is a dowry. Protection officers should go for proper medical check-ups or the aggrieved person if it is physical harassment. The medical report along with the report of domestic violence needs to be submitted to the concerned Magistrate and police station of that area and also a copy of the report to the service provider. A protection order needs to be issued by the officer by permission of the magistrate only on the desire of the aggrieved person. And proper free legal aid and services should be given. Shelter homes are also provided by the officers to the aggrieved person.
Duty of Magistrate
- According to The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 the magistrate needs to give Notice of first hearing as soon as receipt of an application by protection officer and date should not go beyond 3 days of receipt of application.
- The notice of hearing is forwarded to the Protection officer and service provider to inform it to the Respondents (opposite party) of the case and it should also not go beyond 2 days to notice served.
- The Magistrate is to endeavour disposal of such an application within 60 days from the date of its first hearing.
- The Magistrate can also conduct the hearing in-camera seeing the circumstances of the case or on request of the Aggrieved person.
Relief to the Aggrieved Person
- Compensation or Damage for Injury: The law says that you can claim in the form of compensation or damages for injuries caused by the defendant’s domestic violence. (Section 12 (2))
- Right to reside in shared household: Every woman in a family relationship has the right to reside in a common home, whether or not she has any right, title, or beneficial interest in it. (Section 17)
- Order of defence: where the judge is convinced of that, from the evidence presented to him and after giving each party the opportunity to be heard that domestic violence has occurred or is likely possibility, he can provide an orderly defence in favour of the injured person. (Section 18)
- Order of residence: The wife has the right to reside in the joint household. She cannot be expelled from it by her husband or one of her relatives. (Section 19)
- Monetary relief: The judge may order the defendant to pay monetary compensation to cover the costs and losses incurred by the injured person and any children of the injured person as a result of domestic violence. (Section 20)
- Custody Order: This law gives custody of any child or child to the injured person or the person making a claim on their behalf. (Section 21)
The main challenging factor to the laws relating to domestic violence is that in the recent year it has witnessed ample cases that women are taking undue advantage of the provisions created for their benefit to prosecute their husband in-laws in false case. The Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is not exhaustive, it has loopholes. Only women are protected, what about men? A man can also be subjected to domestic violence. Old and infirm father- in -law can also be a victim of domestic violence in hands of his daughter- in- law. One can be certain that there is something sinister about a law when it intimidates and instils fear in innocent people when a person who had not committed any crime begins to fear punishment under the provisions of a law it will certainly create panic amidst men.
- Existing legislation is not sufficient to address domestic violence. The law should protect men and women equally so that women cannot misuse the law.
- Governments and NGOs need to create widespread awareness of domestic violence laws so that rural people are aware of this law and women of all walks of life accept the remedies provided by the law.
- The legal or adjudication process should be easy for victims and the authorities should provide them with appropriate protections. Justice must be brought within the mentioned time period (60 days).
- Most of the Protection Officers are the men, but the victims are women. Therefore, the government should employ female Protection Officers for the benefit of female victims.
- It is necessary to strictly comply with the law and make timely decisions when settling the case.
- Medical facilities and shelters are needed for women traumatized by domestic violence. There should be enough security and privacy for injured people in nursing homes so that the injured can feel safe and at home there.
Domestic violence is not a serious problem in this era, but it has been persecuted in India for many years because men can do whatever they want and women are made solely for cooking and childbirth. Analysis of many domestic violence cases revealed that when a woman started talking for herself, asked for a job or something good, the male ego clashed and the violence hit a relationship. Cases of domestic violence have been registered not only in remote and rural areas, but also in urban areas where many educated and experienced people live in their families, and domestic violence has also been knocked. In India, dowry is the main reason for domestic violence against women. Every year, many women burn themselves, commit suicide, and hang her neck because they are stabbed by her spouse’s family for dowry and daily molestation. Remedies, protections and penalties are provided to victims by law, but law alone cannot stop domestic violence. It is the defendant’s mental state that is torturing his better half for some reason. Unless the education of these types of men is not for women, but for women, domestic violence will only go down.
Taking the other aspect also if women misuses the law there should be equality in the law for men also because it is not necessary that every-time an aggrieved person should be a female only in some cases there should be men also. So, the law should be equal for both men and women.
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