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AbuseofDomesticViolenceAct

Source:http://www.legalserviceindia.com
Author:Nishanth.Maka
Publishedon:January24,2015

AbuseofDomesticViolence
Act

Nishanth.Maka'sProfile
anddetails

Itisanacceptedfactinthepresentworldthatdomestic
violenceinanyhousehold,relationship,livinginpartners,andmarriageshouldbeconstrued
asviolationofhumanrights.Asaresult,overthelastfewyears,thereisaconsensusamong
variousnationsincludingmembersoftheUnitedNationsthatviolenceperpetratedagainst
womenhasrisenbeyondexpectationsandthatthereisanalarmingincreaseintheviolence
committedagainstwomen.Assuch,mostofthecountrieshaveenactedvariouslawsto
preventsuchviolencebeingunleashedagainstwomeninparticular.InIndia,onesuchpiece
oflegislationcametobeenactedwitheffectfrom26/10/2006undertheheading"The
ProtectionofWomenfromDomesticViolenceAct2005".Nodoubt,therearevarious
offencescoveredundertheprovisionsofIPCtonameoneofthemisthemostcommon
498AoftheIPC,whichprovidesforpunishmentoftheaccusedwhohaspractised
sustainedviolenceagainstwomen,whetherthesamehasresultedindeathofthevictimor
not.Notwithstandingsuchlaws,theactreferredtoabovecameintoexistencewithan
intentiontoprotectwomenvictimsatlargefrompersonswhohavesubjectedthemto
violencewhichistermedasdomesticviolenceasthesamedoesnotencompassviolencein
generalterms.
Inthisact,domesticviolenceincludesactualabuseorthreatthatisphysical,sexual,verbal,
emotionaloreconomic.Inotherwordsviolenceneednotbepurelyphysicalaloneastrying
todeprivethewomanofadecentlifebynotprovidingadecentmaintenancealsoamounts
todomesticviolence.Infact,Articles14,15and21oftheconstitutionguaranteesrightsof
equality,etc.Thisactdrawsstrengthfromprovisionsofthesaidarticlessoastoprovide
equalitytowomentoo.Inthepresentact,anywomanaggrievedinherdomesticrelationship
cancomplaintotheconcernedjudicialmagistratewhetherornotsheislivingwithher
spouse,thatthesaidpersonistreatingherwithsuchcrueltywhichaccordingtosection3of
theactdefinesthetermdomesticviolence.
Domesticviolenceingeneralincludesharmsorinjuries,whichmayinjurehealth,safety,
lifeoftheaggrievedpersonwithanintentiontoforcehertomeetanyunlawfuldemandby
theaccusedincludingdowry,etc.However,domesticviolenceisnotlimitedtomereabuse
byaman,physicalormental,evenfailingtolookafteranywomaninarelationshipwith
himbynotprovidingclothe,foodorshelterdeliberatelywillalsobetermedasdomestic
violenceundertheact.Underthisact,themagistrateordersprotectionofsuchwomenby
orderingformaintenance,etc.Themagistrateisalsoempoweredtopassprotectionorders
infavourofthecomplainantsoastoprotecthim/herfrombeingfurtherabusedbythe
accused.Nongovernmentalorganizationshelpinaidingtheaggrievedwithmedicalhelp,
legalaid,safeshelter,etc.
Whateverarethehonestintentionsofthelegislature,itisseenthattheprovisionsoftheact
ismisusedandabusedbythesocalledvictims.Inotherwords,theprovisionsoftheact
doesnotaffordtheaccusedtoexplainhisstandforthesimplereasonthatevenifthewoman

islivingseparatelyfromhim,shecanstillaccuseherhusbandoranyoneclaimingunderhim
ofcontinuingtothreatenherandsoon.Sincetheprovisionsoftheacthaveapresumptive
value,mostofthetime,theaccusedisleftdefenseless.
Assuch,mostofthetime,theaccusedisatthereceivingendandastheprovisionsarein
additiontowhateverisinexistence,thiswillamounttosubjectingtheaccusedtomultiple
jeopardy.Asaresult,theaccusedhastonotonlypayformaintenancebutalsoisliableto
paythesaidcompensationunderthe"HinduMarriageAct".
Thepresentactmostofthetimeisusedtoharassthehusbandoranyothermemberclaiming
underhimandtoseethatheyieldstotheillegitimatedemandsofthesocalledvictim
insteadofviceversa.Manyatime,agedparentsandotherrelativesarefalselyaccusedof
physicallyandmentallytorturingthesocalledvictim,therebycausingunwantedtension,
whichmayresultinillhealthoftheagedparentsandphysicalandmentaldistresstothe
familymembersoftheaccused.Althoughthisactisdevisedtoprotecttheinterestsofthe
victim,insteaditcausesuntoldpainandmiserytotheaccusedandhiselderlyfamily
members.Accordingtomanylegalexperts,thisactalthoughhassomehonestintentionsof
protectingthevictim,ithascausedmoreharmthangoodduetoitsmisuse,misapplication
andmisinterpretationoftheact.Whenapersonisaccusedundertheprovisionsoftheact,
nomatterwhatmaybetheoutcomeoftheprosecution,thesocialstigmaremains,thus
affectingthefutureprospectsoftheaccused.
Thusagain,theaccusedistormentedbythesocietyeveniftheaccusationisprovenwrong.
Pooranduneducatedwomenmayhavebornethetortureofthehusbandsfamily,buttoday
manywelleducatedwomenareusingthisactforunlawfulpurposes.Theyfalselyaccuse
theirhusbandsandinlawssoastogainsubstantialwealthbymeansofcompensations.
Withsuchwrongintentions,theseselfishwomenarereadytojumpatthesmallest
opportunityandfileacase.Suchmisapplicationandmisuseofthelawisoneofthemain
causesforthedestructionofmanyfamilies.Theactmayneedrevisioninordertoprevent
suchmisuseandmisapplicationoftheact.Thetrueintentionofthisactwastoprotect
domesticviolencevictimsfromfurtherpainandtothusrelievethemfromtheirmiseryand
nottocatertotheselfishneedsofpeoplewhowouldnotmindaccusingtheirownfamilyof
committingatrocitiesforthesakeofgainingfinancialbenefits.Thus,onlygenuinevictims
ofdomesticviolencemustbeidentifiedandgivenassistanceandsuchgreedycomplainants
mustbestoppedfromruiningfamilies.