MODEL RELEASED. Domestic violence. Silhouette of a woman protecting herself from a blow from her partner by holding her arms in front of her face.

This article is written by Tulika Dixit, a BA LLB student from Chanakya Law College, Rudrapur, Kavya Rastogi and Shruti Ahuja pursuing LLB from  Amity University, Lucknow. This article analyzes the utility of the Domestic Violence Act in light of contemporary pandemic, reviewing the cases impacting the current framework of laws against domestic violence, enumerates the impact of gender and differences in challenges faced by various groups in pandemic and at last suggests the socio-legal mechanisms to combat the newly emerged challenges of domestic violence.

Introduction

Women are the most vulnerable sections of the society, especially in times of any crisis. Pandemics are no exception. Rather, they give rise to such an environment that due to the pandemic fear, the situation of conflict, post-conflict and displacement may exacerbate existing violence.  Today when the world is amid lockdown due to COVID-19, the condition of women has deteriorated further during this pandemic and become an important issue. Across the globe, the countries have surfaced the reports of increasing rates of domestic violence. Where the people are busy countering the health pandemic of coronavirus, this gender-based violence in the coronavirus lockdown period is emerging as the shadow pandemic through which women alone have to suffer and deal with. This pandemic has trapped the violence victims in hell with no escape. Abusive households with added financial stress, quarantines and stay at home advisories have become more explosive and eruptive. ‘Stay Home Stay Safe’ is the global norm enforced over the past few weeks to control the spread of virus but staying home is not safe at all for the violence victims. 

Domestic Violence has no universally acceptable definition but when we talk about Domestic Violence, the first thing which comes to our mind is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) but it also circumscribes child or elder abuse, or by any member of household.

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary. The evil it does is permanent.”   

Billions of people may easily relate to this quote by Mahatma Gandhi. Domestic Violence is a form of violence which can happen with any person anytime. It is a conduct with devastating effects.  The violence victim can be anyone, spouses, sexual/ dating/ intimate partners, members, children, cohabitants etc. According to the World Health Organization, one in every three women across the globe experience physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by any perpetrators in their lifetime. Domestic Violence encompass assaults ranging from simple assaults to aggravated bodily battery, kidnapping, threats, intimidation, coercion, stalking, humiliating, verbal abuse, forcible or unlawful entry, arson, destruction of property, sexual violence, marital rape, dowry or bride-price related violence, woman genital mutilation, violence related to exploitation via prostitution, violence towards household people etc. 70% of women in India constitute the victims of domestic violence. Globally, the victims of domestic violence are irrefutably women. In fact, domestic violence is one of the most underreported crimes against women across the globe. But unfortunately, Domestic Violence seems to be a forgotten agenda while locking down India.  With the inaugural announcement of a nationwide lockdown starting at 12 am on 25 March 2020, the government failed to craft a strategy to mark the possible fallouts. One such issue that was out of the extent of the govt. was the way out to deal with domestic violence in the country. 

Domestic Violence is such a crime that is seldom reported. During the lockdown, the domestic violence cases are soaring in heights. According to Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, domestic violence as defined in section 3 of the act, means any act which may cause harm, injury or threat to health, safety, life, limb or well-being either mental or physical of the aggrieved person which may be resulted by actual abuse or threat to abuse in the form of verbal, physical, sexual, emotional or economic.

According to the National Commission for Women in the year 2020, between 25th march to 31stMay 1,477 complaints of domestic violence have been received. Of the whole 130 days of the lockdown, the 68th day of the lockdown period recorded more complaint calls than ever received in March’20 which continued to May’20. As compared with the previous year, these calls were recorded as the highest. NCW has also set up WhatsApp helpline no (+917217735372 ) in April so as to allow women to easily file a complaint because many women are not technology-friendly and have difficulty in expressing their problems through writing e-mails or filing a complaint through a post.

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Types of Domestic Violence

If we think of domestic violence, the first thing that comes into our mind is beating or getting bashed up by an abusive partner or by one’s in-laws when living together under the same household as a married couple or cohabiting with your partner. Apart from physical abuse, there are other kinds of domestic violence too, which people are not aware of and women have felt helpless about it. The plight of the women go unspoken and they cannot take a legitimate stand for themselves since they’re always been taught to tolerate and endure it. So it is really important to understand different signs of abusive behaviour so that instead of self-doubting and restricting themselves, women can take action against the violence and put the culprits behind the bars. The other kinds of domestic violence that are prevailing are as follows:

Verbal and Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is causing damage to one’s self-esteem and mentally harassing the person verbally. It’s explained in Section 3(iii) of The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Verbal abuse is meant to frighten, control and isolate someone against whom this type of violence is inflicted. The abuser can be your spouse, romantic partner. They could be your business partner, parent or guardian as well. This is not a kind of physical abuse.  Some examples of verbal and emotional abuse are:

  • Shouting and insulting the person publicly and privately.
  • Banging doors, destroying furniture and breaking appliances.
  • Keeping her in isolation and taking away all mode of communication so that the person cannot file a complaint. 
  • Threatening the person to kill their loved ones.
  • Questioning their competency to be physically or sexually competent when she refuses or isn’t in the right state of mind to be able to do the same. 
  • Name-calling, using derogatory pet names and continuously criticising them.
  • Insulting and ridiculing them for not having a child and in some cases especially a male child.
  • Patronising them, digital spying and showing indifference. 
  • Calling them needy, dehumanizing behaviour against them and undue blaming for their problems.
  • Pushing the buttons and putting down their accomplishments. 

Economic abuse

Section 3(iv) of the above-mentioned act describes economic abuse.Economic abuse usually happens when a woman is financially dependent on their partners. In this case, the women are deprived of the money to meet the basic needs of herself and her children in other cases. An abuser may also control how their spouse acquires money from anywhere and deprives them to use it for themselves. 

Some examples of economic abuse are: 

  • Not allowing the woman to take employment outside the home.
  • Taking away all the assets, valuables and security that the woman has an interest or entitled under the domestic relationship. 
  • Ceasing all bank accounts of the woman or controlling her accounts or changing the ownership into their names.
  • Controlling when and how the money is spent. 
  • Dictating their choices of buy and asking justification of anything bought by her.
  • Providing women with very small allowances.
  • Taking away all the property and Stree-Dhan which women are provided by their family at the time of the marriage and is protected by law and custom.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is when a woman is forced to have sex or is forced to be a part of any unwanted, unsafe and degrading sexual activity without her consent in or outside of marriage. Sex did within the marriage when done without the consent of the woman is also sexual abuse and is widely known as Marital Rape. Sexual abuse is explained in Section 3(ii) of the act

This type of abuse degrades the dignity of the woman from within more than any other type of abuses inflicted on them. The trauma gets the worst to face by the women since they are despising themselves after the violence was inflicted on them. Sexual violence is a physical type of violence and leaves scars on the mind and body. Some examples of sexual abuse are:

  • Forceful penetration or unwanted sex with a woman (rape). 
  • Using of any sharp object or weapon during sex which may cause pain. Also inserting sex toys forcefully. 
  • Forcing to have unprotected sex which may cause unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Criticising or degrading her sexually.
  • Body shaming her.
  • Forceful sex with others.
  • Videoing/photographing her doing the sexual acts. 
  • Sadistic sexual acts.
  • Forcing her into prostitution. 
  • Using the advantage of a weak spot and forcing her for sex.
  • Pinching or biting on breasts and buttocks forcefully. 

Physical abuse 

Section 3(i) of domestic violence acts defines physical abuse.Physical abuse against a woman happens when she suffers any kind of bodily injury which may cause pain, hurt or threat to her life. The internal injury along with external injury is a part of physical abuse. This may happen when the perpetrator thinks he’s being challenged and then inflicts violence to have his last word.

Some examples of physical abuse are:

  • Beating, kicking, pushing, slapping and punching her.
  • Biting, nipping, squeezing.
  • Suffocating, grabbing, strangling, restraining and choking.
  • Burning, force-feeding. 
  • Spitting at her all the time.
  • Threatening her to leave in some dangerous place.
  • Using some sharp weapons like a belt, shoe to beat her up.
  • Causing some disfigurement or deformity due to the heavy beating.
  • Threatening to kill her.

Other than these abuses, there are other abuses as well as psychological abuse, harassing and stalking, social abuse, spiritual and religious abuse, image-based abuse etc.

Reasons for Domestic Violence during the Pandemic

In light of this article, the reasons for domestic violence in the time of pandemic are stress, frustration, helplessness, anger etc.

  • The violence has spread out across the country and not in only a few areas. The reasons are stress, frustration, anger and helplessness due to the pandemic. Since pandemic has brought a lot of damage to people at par, across the globe, it has made people suffer more economically. This noneconomic stability has led to a lot of mental trauma. Being jobless, having salary cuts and uncertainty of the future due to quarantine routine has everyone on the edge. The self-esteem of the workaholics has come down crashing. People have nothing constructive to do in the household and have developed a way to snap at everything possible, every time due to frustration built up from the pandemic. 

Everyone is affected by the pandemic, whether it’s the upper class, upper-middle-class and people who are below the poverty line as defined by the Official Gazette of India.

  • In the case of the upper classes, the people who have their own business are affected since there is no business to make, provide and make profits from or to trade with. Due to this, the economy which was not rising already came crashing down all at once. With the business affected, the people who depended on the salary coming from the business were affected badly. With no FDI in the picture, the business is closed temporarily. The mental frustration of the men is then vented out on the females of the household who have to go through the verbal and emotional abuse and in some cases, physical abuse too. This happens because when living in a close-knit environment, one tries to put the others down to feel good about them because of the fiasco they are facing currently. This kind of abuse does not only come from the husband but also from the in-laws who are staying under the same roof for 24X7. It gets extremely toxic for the women and emotionally gets extremely dreadful.
  • The upper-middle classes too are facing the same issues. With being jobless and not able to provide the family with the basic amenities, the frustration of the working men completely blows out on the women who are working too. This outburst could be because of jealousy, frustration, helplessness, anger, etc. since the man might have lost their job and the woman has not. This might lead the battles of ego to come into inception since the tables have turned for the men, for they were the sole bread earner of the household and now aren’t able to do the same. This role reversal for women gets heavier because, on one hand, she has the responsibility of the whole household, and then they also have to perform well in the professional to keep her job and be able to feed her family and on the other, she has to listen to all sorts of insults thrown at her by the man of the household. While they are cynical about themselves, they misbehave, become abusive and try to satisfy their machismo by being a gutter mouth and also being physically abusive with the women. The women who have no or next to zero experience of any kind of violence in her life, this pandemic they’ve had a first-hand experience at.
  • The worst hit by the pandemic are people below the poverty line or BPL. These are those people who we call non-educated or less privileged and who satiate themselves through doing menial jobs like domestic work, labouring, farming and car cleaning etc. These people are the worst hit by the pandemic because their source of income was not very much for the starters and after the pandemic and the economy hitting hard by it, no work was available for them to do. Their sole dependency was on the people who hired them for work. But looking at the situation where no work is available to these people, they are just being bitter and do not hold any kind of self-esteem in them anymore. All these situations lead to a frustrated man who is not able to comprehend the basic adversity of the situation and blows out furiously on his woman who is already burdened to look after the household, also trying to satiate his man’s need as a wife.
  • If we take a day in the life of a domestic worker as an example, the female who used to work as a part-time worker in various households, are not able to earn any single penny. In her household, where the man is not earning as much or nothing at all but trying to cope and give the basic amenities and where she is working as a house help trying to match the same, pandemic has made their life come to a standstill.

    Due to the lockdown and quarantine routine, the man has been told to do the household chores, where he has to cook, mop and sweep the floor and look after the children too, with patience which they don’t have at all due to the ongoing situation of pandemic and the issue of economic stability in their minds. To avoid or run away from the problems, they try to vent out their frustration through the consumption of alcohol. Their ant sized ego got all bruised up by doing all the menial jobs which they expect the women to do. The stereotypical ideologies still exist in India and all the more, it is still dug deep down in the poorer sections of the Indian society holding them onto the same version that a woman is supposed to do everything for it’s her fate to do so. The anguish that got all bottled up due to jealously, bruising of the ego in the man, leads to violence against women.
  • Alcohol is not the only reason for the domestic abuse but a major compounding agent in the violence that is inflicted against the women. The social stigma present in the minds of the men concerning women is well known to everyone. Their ideologies against women could be seen by the type of abuse they inflict on women. The consumption of alcohol could be seen as a major triggering point for the violence to start in the first place. Global studies also suggest that a triggering point in a normal fight that turns violent is alcohol. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 55% of the domestic violence perpetrators were drinking alcohol prior to assault. 
  • The consumption of alcohol leads to the outburst of the emotions that are bottled up in a man, who is already frustrated with the fiascos of his life and that makes him feel less of himself as a person. Due to the wrongs that have happened to him, he tends to take his anguish out on his spouse thinking of her as a weaker gender. And since alcohol majorly affects the cognitive process of an individual, every step that is taken against him seems challenging to him. So the reason for the assault done against the women is a collective of the influence of alcohol and other social reasons. Until and unless the assailant has his last word and the last percentage of frustration/anger doesn’t leave his body, the assault done by the perpetrator does not stop. This might lead to serious and horrendous injuries and sometimes death of the victim.
  • One of the other reasons for domestic violence against women is the kind of upbringing one gets from their parents. Education is a really important factor where one has to understand the difference between the wrongs and the rights done against the women and why it is not normal to not to treat women like they aren’t human beings and are just born to cater to the other gender – men. Many men have made it their psyche to subjugate women and treat them harshly with normalcy to prove their machismo. They just want to prove their point to put a balm on their bruised ego. They can’t stand the sight that a woman achieves something good in her life and are sour about it which gets more evident through their actions – Domestic Violence.
  • Violence is also inflicted when there is a cycle of violence done against the men or where a person has faced a lot of fiascos in their life and to answer the challenge which is given by the women to them as “purported” by men, violence is then used as a way to overcome the defeat, in lieu of taking a subtle action or to solve the issue amicably. This type of behaviour has to be dealt with easily and has to be taught about the right ways of living in a society with women equally. Women aren’t inferior to men nor are men superior to women. They both are equal, for, both the genders hold their importance in this world.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 is a parliamentary act which was enacted to protect the women from domestic violence which came into force by 26 October 2006. This act provides for the first time definition of ‘domestic violence’ making the purview of violence broad by including not only the physical but also emotional, verbal, sexual and economic abuse. This is a civil law for protection orders and not meant to be applied criminally. 

The Domestic Violence Act is an act which provides for more effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the constitution who are victims of any sort of violence within the family and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Definition of domestic violence is provided under section 3 of the act as “any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence in case it:

  • 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
  • harasses, harms, injures or endangers the aggrieved person 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
  • 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
  • otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person.”

For the purpose of the explanation of the Act, ‘the Act’ also defines  “physical abuse”, “sexual abuse”, “verbal and emotional abuse” and “economic abuse”.

In a country like India wherein due to the patriarchal setup abusing women became an acceptable norm. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act became consequently a commendable legislation. It contemplates and acknowledges wider varieties of violence towards women. Prior to this Act all different situations of domestic violence inside the family had to be dealt with under the offences that the respective acts of violence constituted below the IPC besides any regard to the gender of the victim. This posed a trouble where the victims befell to be youth or ladies who had been dependent on the assailant.

Impact of Coronavirus on Domestic Violence

The reviews of increasing quotes of home violence have surfaced across the globe. The motive for this upsurge takes place to be with safe heaven in-place measures and vast organizational closures related to COVID-19. The other contributory elements to this problem are stress and related chance factors such as unemployment, frustration, decreased income, restricted resources, alcohol abuse and limited social help are in all likelihood to be in addition compounded.

National Commission for Women acquired 587 complaints from March 23 to April 16, out of which 239 were associated to domestic violence. According to statistics shared via the NCW, 123 instances of home violence were received between February 27 and March 22. In the ultimate 25 days, the fee received 239 greater such complaints.

Not constrained to India only the trouble of domestic violence is perpetrated all over the world as a comply with up to the lockdown mandate. Thousands of human beings are maintaining a march in Paris tense the French authorities to take strong action in opposition to home violence In Mexico, the national network of women shelters has recorded a 60 percent increase in calls for help. Karen Ingala Smith, the founder of Counting Dead Women, a pioneering venture that records the killing of girls by men in the UK, has identified at least sixteen killings between 23 March and 12 April, including that of children.

As adversarial to the very confined response to these incidents with the aid of the Indian Government, some international locations like France and Spain had taken steps to help domestic violence victims out in these challenging times. But the negative aspect is that measures of such sort are not even a section of the Indian Government’s messaging. In India, ladies have been unable to resort complaints in opposition to their abusers at home, given that attaining out to the police was once now not effortless due to the lockdown. Adding to this trouble was the lingering concern of getting overwhelmed up by means of the police forces if they stepped out of their respective residing places.

Another element growing the situations of violence towards women, is the financial vulnerability that the lockdown has pushed numerous families into. The lockdown has brought on a loss of jobs to human beings working in the IT sector, as properly as the Construction sector. This has affected the unorganized sectors hugely. The lockdown has numerous economic as nicely as social costs. These economic fees frequently lead to social prices and stressed that this be seemed into more. To the failure of the authorities the helplines for each home violence and COVID- 19 did now not work and the NIMHANS helpline for dealing with all intellectual issues is a quite unrealistic approach.

Impact of Gender Difference in Challenges Faced by Various Groups in Pandemic

At the instance of crisis, gender equality is a intention that is frequently put on hold. Gendered dimensions have a tendency to be seen as secondary, however, emergency responses that fail to consist of a gender lens are in precise possibility to exacerbate current inequalities, and in turn exacerbate outbreaks.

Policies and public fitness efforts have now not addressed the gendered influences of disease outbreaks. The response to coronavirus sickness 2019 (COVID-19) seems no different. We are now not conscious of any gender evaluation of the outbreak through world fitness institutions or governments in affected nations or in preparedness phases. Recognizing the extent to which sickness outbreaks have an effect on female and guys in another way is a integral step to appreciation the essential and secondary outcomes of a fitness emergency on distinctive humans and communities, and for developing effective, equitable policies and interventions.

Although sex-disaggregated statistics for COVID-19 exhibit equal numbers of cases between men and female so far, there seem to be intercourse differences in mortality and vulnerability to the disease. Emerging proof suggests that greater guys than women are dying, doubtlessly due to sex-based immunological or gendered differences, such as patterns and incidence of smoking.  However, modern-day sex-disaggregated facts are incomplete, cautioning towards early assumptions. Simultaneously, information from the State Council Information Office in China advise that greater than 90% of health-care people in Hubei province are women, emphasizing the gendered nature of the health body of workers and the hazard that predominantly woman fitness workers incur.

Mechanism to Combat Newly Emerged Challenges of Domestic Violence 

As the steps to contain the transmission of the virus may require extra stretches of isolation and confinement for the public, the government all round the globe, want to tackle the upsurge in domestic violence immediately. In this context: 

  • It is integral that governments utilize a human rights and intersectional based approach to ensure that everyone, consisting of the most marginalized, has get right of entry to critical information, support structures and sources all through the modern crisis. 
  • The kingdom governments want to declare helplines as “essential services” that remain open for the duration of lockdowns. 
  • Media can sensitize the public towards gender-based violence, publicize assets and services reachable and encourage the equitable sharing of domestic tasks at home. 
  • Increase resourcing for NGOs that reply to domestic violence and resource — along with shelter, counselling, and felony resource — to survivors, and promote those that continue to be open. 
  • Ensure women’s well timed get admission to vital and complete sexual and reproductive health services for the duration of the crisis, such as maternal health services, secure abortion etc. 
  • Finally, the perpetrators of domestic violence need to be brought to trial and repeated offenders must be dealt with strictly as per the provisions of law.

How to File a Complaint against Domestic Violence

  • The first and basic step is to file a complaint against the domestic abuse i.e., to file an FIR against the assailant. This assailant could be one’s spouse with whom the victim must be residing. The FIR could be filed against the nearest police station in their vicinity. The report describes the first and basic details of the wrongs that have happened with the victim. The police officer on duty cannot deny or refuse to file the complaint and is bound to register it.
  • If the officer describes that the incident happened does not fall under their jurisdiction then one can ask them to file the complaint under Zero-FIR. A Zero-FIR means an FIR that could be filed in any police station irrespective of the incident happened in any jurisdiction and then later on the same report could be transferred to an appropriate police station where the incident took place. 
  • As the police note down every bit of the information provided, the victim has to sign the FIR after cross-checking all the information told to the police officer in charge. This is done so that there is a less chance of disparity in the complaint and the complainant is satisfied with the FIR filed. 
  • If a female is feeling uncomfortable to talk about the incident to a male officer, then the complainant can request a female officer to assist her with whom she can talk freely. A female can also ask someone of her family/friend to accompany her to the police station for filing of the report. The aggrieved can also take a witness along with her to the police station for the same. A woman can seek help from a Protection Officer who is described under section 9 of the Protection of Domestic Violence Act 2005, a service provider, is someone who works for an NGO or freelancer to provide social aid to those who require it or can file a complaint directly to the Magistrate describing the whole incident and can seek for a remedy. 
  • One can file an online complaint if it’s available in one’s state; otherwise can simply file the complaint by visiting the National Commission for Women website. A form is required to be filled out and submitted. After the form is submitted, a receipt number is given which needs to be saved for obtaining the file number, user ID, and password within 10 days of filing a complaint when it is required. 
  • Few Legal Aid Helpline Numbers are as follows
  1. Delhi Police HELPLINE – 1091
  2. National Human Rights Commission – (011) 23385368/9810298900
  3. Women’s Cell, Delhi Police – (011) 24673366/4156/7699
  4. Delhi Commission for Women – (011) 23379181/ 23370597
  5. Counselling Services on Women in Distress – Organised by Delhi Police – 3317004

Latest Case Laws on Domestic Violence

The following cases corroborate the existence of domestic violence in India –

 

  • Ajay Kumar vs. Lata alias Shruti – 

 

Judgement was passed by Justice Dr. Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta in the case titled as Ajay Kumar vs. Lata alias Sharuti dated on April 8, 2019. In reference with the proviso to the section 2(q) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, it was indicative of the fact that an aggrieved wife or a female living in a relationship like marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner, as the case may be. In this case, the brother-in-law was supposed to give the maintenance to the female of the household since her husband who was supposed to give the same, passed away. The Supreme Court directed the brother-in-law to give her the maintenance under sections 2(f), 12(1) and 20(1) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Section 2(f) defines a domestic relationship, “domestic relationship” means a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family

Section 12(1) provides that an aggrieved person may present an application to the Magistrate seeking one or more reliefs under the Act. Under the provisions of Section 20(1), the Magistrate while dealing with an application under sub- Section (1) of Section 12 is empowered to direct the respondent(s) 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 domestic violence.

 

  • Sandhya Wankhade vs. Manoj Bhimrao Wankhade

 

This one case has been the most controversial issue under section 2(q) of the Domestic Violence Act which defines “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 any relief under this Act: provided that an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship in the nature of a marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner.

In the light of the definition of the term, respondent covers only adult male and the judiciary has time and again has confronted with the argument that an aggrieved person can file a complaint under the Domestic Violence Act against an adult male person only and cannot file a complaint against the female members or relatives of the husband’s family i.e. mother-in-law, sister-in-law.

Nonetheless, the Supreme Court in the prior case put to rest the issue by holding that the proviso to Section 2(q) will not exclude female relatives of the husband or male partner from the ambit of the complaint that can be made under the provision of the Domestic Violence Act.

Due to this judgement which was passed by the Supreme Court, it was made transparent that the complaints are not just maintainable against the adult male person but the female relative of such adult male.

 

  • D. Velusamy vs. D. Patchaiammal

 

In this verdict, the Supreme Court gave a wider meaning to the term “aggrieved person” under section 2(a) of the Domestic Violence Act where the Court listed five ingredients of a live-in relationship as follows:

  • Both the parties must behave like a husband and wife and are recognised as husband and wife in front of the society
  • They must be of a valid legal age of marriage.
  • They should qualify to enter into marriage e.g. none of the partners should have a spouse living at the time of entering into a relationship.
  • They must have voluntarily cohabited for a significant period of time.
  • They must have lived together in a shared household

The Supreme Court also observed that not all live-in-relationships will amount to a relationship in the nature of marriage to get the benefit of the Domestic Violence Act. To get such benefit the conditions mentioned above shall be fulfilled and this has to be proved by evidence.

Status of a Keep – The Supreme Court also stated in this case, that if a man has a “Keep” whom he uses mainly for a sexual purpose and maintains her financially and/or as a servant, it would not be a relationship in the nature of marriage.

In this case, the Court also mentions the term “palimony” which means a grant of maintenance to a woman who has lived for a substantial period of time with a man without marrying and is then deserted by him.

 

  • Krishna Bhatacharjee v. Sarathi Choudhury and Another

 

The Supreme Court while enumerating the duty of courts while deciding complaints under the Domestic Violence Act stated that:

  • It is the duty of the Court to scrutinize the facts from all angles whether a plea advanced by the respondent to nullify the grievance of the aggrieved person is really legally sound and correct.
  • The principle “justice to the cause is equivalent to the salt of the ocean” should be kept in mind. The Court of Law is bound to uphold the truth which sparkles when justice is done.
  • Before throwing a petition at the threshold, it is obligatory to see that the person aggrieved under such legislation is not faced with a situation of non-adjudication, for the 2005 Act as we have stated is a beneficial as well as assertively affirmative enactment for the realization of the constitutional rights of women and to ensure that they do not become victims of any kind of domestic violence.

 

  • V.D. Bhanot vs. Savita Bhanot

 

In the case, the Apex Court upheld the Delhi High Court’s view that- “even a wife who had shared a household before the Domestic Violence Act came into force would be entitled to the protection of the Domestic Violence Act”.

Hence, the Domestic Violence Act entitles the aggrieved person to file an Application under the Act even for the acts which have been committed prior to the commencement of the Domestic Violence Act.

Conclusion

This family violence that ladies go via in the society is basically a result of age-old patriarchal structure prevailing in India. The extent is so plenty that even in the time of herbal disaster like coronavirus which is the most unpredictable incident that has came about across the globe; female are having a real difficult time staying indoors. Therefore, the onus is now on the governments that whilst inserting the plans together to respond to one of the largest disaster mankind has ever faced referred to as as Covid-19, the  issue of domestic violence ought to be prioritized. In India, the government has neglected the want to formally combine home violence and intellectual fitness repercussions into the public fitness preparedness and emergency response plans against the pandemic. But as an alternative placing the blame on the authorities we should promote attention about home violence and spotlight the various modes through which complaints should be filed.


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