Violence against women has been prevalent in our society since time immemorial. Domestic violence includes any form of violence against women including physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or economic abuse within the domestic relationship. The term 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.
Some common examples of domestic violence can be causing bodily pain, harm or any danger to life, any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades, or violates the dignity of a woman, ridiculing a woman, especially with regard to not having a child or a male child, demanding dowry etc.
The application seeking relief can be filed before the court of Judicial Magistrate of the first class or the Metropolitan Magistrate within the local limits of which the aggrieved person permanently or temporarily resides or carries on business or is employed; or the respondent resides or carries on business or is employed; or where the cause of action has arisen.
The complaint of Domestic Violence may be filed u/s 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 by an aggrieved person or a Protection Officer or any other person on behalf of the aggrieved person to the Magistrate seeking one or more reliefs under this Act, provided that before passing any order on such application, the Magistrate shall take into consideration any domestic incident report received by him from the Protection Officer or the service provider. Notice of the date of hearing shall be given by the Magistrate. The Magistrate may, at any stage of the proceedings, direct the respondent or the aggrieved person, either singly or jointly, to undergo counseling. The Magistrate after hearing both the parties and on being prima facie satisfied that domestic violence has taken place or is likely to take place, pass relief to the victim by the way of protection orders, preventing the abuser to commit an act of domestic violence.
While disposing off an application, the Magistrate may pass a residence order, under Sec 19 (f) of the said Act, directing the respondent to secure same level of alternate accommodation for the aggrieved person as enjoyed by her in the shared household or to pay rent for the same, if the circumstances so require. The Magistrate can also pass orders restraining the respondent from dispossessing or in any other manner disturbing the possession of the aggrieved person from the shared household, direct the respondent to remove himself from the shared household, restrain the respondent or any of his relatives from entering any portion of the shared household in which the aggrieved person resides, restrain the respondent from alienating or disposing of the shared household or encumbering the same, restrain the respondent from renouncing his rights in the shared household except with the leave of the Magistrate and other similar reliefs depending on the facts of the case.
The Magistrate may even direct the officer-in-charge of the police station in whose jurisdiction the Magistrate has been approached to assist in the implementation of the protection order. He may also direct the respondent to return to the possession of the aggrieved person her “Stridhan” or any other property or valuable security to which she is entitled to.
While disposing off an application, the Magistrate may direct the respondent 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 the domestic violence. According to sec 12 (5) of the Act, the Magistrate shall endeavor to dispose off every application made under sub-section (1) of Sec 12, within a period of sixty days from the date of its first hearing.
To conclude, unfortunately, domestic violence against women has been considered as the most common and the fastest growing crime in India, both in rural and urban areas, making us to stop and ponder whether we, as a society are really progressing or not.Copyright 2023 – Helpline Law
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