Domestic violence in India means physical abuse of a person by another person who is a blood relative and usually in general connotation it means the physical abuse inflicted upon a female by her male relatives within the confinements of home.
The Section 3 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 defines it as follow;
For the purposes of this Act, any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence in case it –
(a) harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well-being, whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse and economic abuse; or
(b) harasses, harms, injures or endangers the aggrieved person with a view to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property or valuable security; or
(c) has the effect of threatening the aggrieved person or any person related to her by any conduct mentioned in clause (a) or clause (b); or
(d) otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person.
Lately it has been observed across the society that there has been a tremendous rise in the cases of domestic violence. You can ask any lawyer in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai the biggest metros of India and you will get a similar answer that they have been receiving calls from clients suffering from domestic violence.
A good lawyer in Delhi working for legal aid or NGO or human rights will tell you about the pathetic conditions of women being tortured by their relatives especially the husbands. So, what are the ways for a woman to safeguard herself from such harassment and abuse and what are her legal rights?
While speaking to a Lawyer in Delhi, who has handled many such cases she pointed out that our laws are good enough to protect the women and grant her respite from the domestic violence. Sec 498A and 304B of the Indian Penal Code were already there and in the year 2005 a dedicated law, Domestic Violence Act was enacted.
Under the new law every district has been appointed with a Protection Officer who can take cognizance of such offences or complaints. The aggrieved woman can be put into a shelter house at the behest of the Protection Officer, if needed and can be provided with medical facilities as required. The Magistrate under this law can grant the following reliefs to the aggrieved woman;
Monetary Compensation from the respondent;
Order not to abuse or communicate or harm the woman;
Order the ensure the right to stay in the shared house; and
Grant temporary custody of child to the aggrieved woman
Apart from all the above reliefs the aggrieved woman can also seek any other relief under any other applicable laws in India like Maintenance, separation or divorce. Although the cases of Domestic violence are rising in India but at the same time our legal system and lawyers are well equipped to help and support the aggrieved women.
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