Domestic violence is a sad reality of almost every country, and when it comes to India, it becomes worse. Studies have proven that nearly every other woman faces one or the other types of domestic violence once in her lifetime.
Domestic Violence, in general, means violent, abusive behaviour by one or more household members against another.
Section 3 of The Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 provides the legal definition of domestic violence.
It can be any form, and by any means, for instance, in the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, or any other state, the means are endless.
Types of Domestic Violence
The Protection of Domestic Violence Act,2005 majorly recognizes four types of abuse, They are:
It is the most recognizable form of violence, where it is difficult to hide the person’s intention. This form of violence occurs when a person applies physical force on the victim by hitting, stabbing, choking, or other forms.
This form is the most difficult form of violence to recognize. It occurs when someone gets forced to involve in sexual activity unwillingly. Forced sex even by the partner is a form of violence.
It occurs when someone says or does something that makes a person feel useless. Calling names, ignoring feelings, taunting, constantly criticizing, insulting are just examples of this type of abuse.
When someone tries and controls the financial independence of the other, it causes financial abuse. Restricting to use even a single penny and blaming for every expense are some common ways of abuse.
These are just a few of the violent behaviours faced by women. The list of violence may be endless. To mention some of them:
- Spiritual Violence
- Cultural Violence
- Asking for Dowry
- And many more
Laws and Rights for Women Under Criminal Law
Women in India are provided with rights under various enactments to protect them. These rights are as follows:
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
This act has a broader scope than Section 498A IPC. It protects the women from domestic violence. Through the act, a woman can apply to get protection, monetary relief, custody of the child, etc.
The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act,1956
It protects women from trafficking. The act helps women to protect themselves from trafficking for prostitution as means of living.
The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
It prohibits giving or taking of dowry at the time of marriage. It safeguards the women from being killed or tortured for dowry. Women under this act can file a case against husbands and in-laws.
The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
It provides women with maternal paid leave during pregnancy and after birth. Not any office can expel a woman for taking maternity leaves.
The Family Courts Act, 1984
It has made special family courts for speedy settlement of disputes among families.
The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
It has various provisions that protect women in every aspect of Hindu marriage. A woman can file for divorce under section 13 of the act, ask for restitution of conjugal rights, and much more.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013,
It protects women from being harassed or sexually exploited at the workplace.
Many other such acts protect women in one way or the other.
Both IPC and Cr.P.C. have provisions that protect and provide women’s rights from being exploited at various stages of life.
Case Laws Involving Domestic Violence
Sandhya Wankhede v. Manoj Bhimrao Wankhede
In this case, the Apex Court has held that the proviso of Section 2(q) of The Protection of Women Against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 has not excluded female family members of the husband under the meaning of “adult male.” Thus, the domestic violence case under the Act is maintainable against male and female family members.
Sadhna v. Hemanta
In this case, the Bombay High Court has decided that if the woman is divorced when filing a case, she cannot file a domestic violence case. Thus, divorced women cannot get protected under the act.
For ages, women got victimised of different types of Domestic violence. But now, with certain acts, women get protected and have the right to raise their voices against any ill-treatment. The Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 protects women from any type of domestic violence. Many other acts protect women and provide them with certain rights. Our Court, from time to time, well defines the ambit of such rights in various cases.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic Violence means and includes any harm, injury, harassment etc., whether emotional, physical, sexual or economical to an aggrieved person as described under Section 3 of the Act.
Can a wife living separately from her in-laws with her husband file a case against her in-laws for domestic violence?
No, such a complaint is not maintainable when husband and wife move out of the parental home to live separately, the domestic relation between in-laws and wife comes to an end.
Can maintenance be claimed under the domestic violence act?
Yes, maintenance can get claimed under the domestic violence act.
What kind of abuse get included in the ambit of domestic violence under the Domestic Violence Act?
Physical, Sexual, Financial and Emotional