File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Protection Of Women From Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) 2005: Analysis Of Important Features

Enacted in 2005, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act has a noble aim - to safeguard the rights of women, as guaranteed by the Constitution, who have fallen victim to any form of violence within their own families. However, it is important to note that while protecting one person, the rights of others must not be infringed upon. As such, courts must maintain a delicate balance between the interests of the aggrieved party and those in opposition. It is imperative that courts also address the areas that have yet to be examined and approach these issues with a positive mindset, in order for the people of India to strive towards achieving excellence.

Important Features:
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), 2005, is a comprehensive law aimed at providing protection to women from domestic violence. It encompasses several crucial elements aimed at establishing a legal structure for tackling and preventing domestic abuse towards women.

Some of its important features are given below:
  • Definition of Domestic Violence: Under the Act, domestic violence is defined as physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, or economic abuse against women that takes place within a household. It also encompasses harassment in dowry demands (Section 3).
  • Duties of Police Officers, Service Providers and Magistrates: The duties of police officers, protection officers, service providers, and magistrates who handle complaints or incidents of domestic violence include informing the affected individual about their rights under the law. These rights include the right to obtain different orders such as protection, monetary relief, custody, residence, or compensation orders. Furthermore, it is their responsibility to make sure that they know about the support services available and Protection Officers who can help them. Moreover, these victims are eligible for free legal aid and have an option to file a complaint under the applicable sections of the Indian Penal Code. Nevertheless, those duties do not discharge police officers from following appropriate legal action upon receiving information concerning the commission of a cognizable offence (Section 5).
  • Protection Orders: The Act grants authority to the court to issue orders for protection, which can restrain the violator from resorting to any act of domestic violence, entering the shared household, or obstructing the right of a woman to reside in such household (Section 18).
  • Competent Court: In accordance with the provisions of the Act, it is decided that the competent court for granting protection orders and other orders under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, as well as to try offenses under this Act, shall be a court of Judicial Magistrate First Class or Metropolitan Magistrate depending upon the jurisdiction within which the person aggrieved resides, carries on business, or is employed; where the respondent resides, carries on business, or is employed; or where the cause of action has arisen (Section 27).
  • Appeal: Regarding the appeal procedure, a complaint may be submitted to the Court of Session within thirty days after the date when the Magistrate's order was presented to either one of the two parties (i.e., to the complainant or respondent), but this must be a later date (Section 29).
  • Residence Order: Residence orders are designed to provide a safe place for women to live, even if this means excluding the abusive partner from their shared home (Section 19).
  • Monetary Relief: Expenses that are incurred and losses that are suffered as a result of domestic violence can be covered by the monetary relief provision. This would include medical expenses, loss of earnings, and compensation for pain and suffering (Section 20).
  • Custody orders: When it comes to children, the court can issue custody orders that will guarantee their safety and well-being, as well as lay down specific arrangements for them to see their noncustodial parent (Section 21).
  • Service Providers: The Act lays the responsibility of Protection Officers in facilitating the filing of complaints and accessibility to the support services for victims. It also prescribes service providers, including shelters, counseling services, medical facilities, and others, as avenues through which victims may receive assistance (Sections 8 & 10).
  • Criminalization of Offence: The criminalization aspect is addressed in Section 31 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. This section outlines that specific act of domestic violence, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, are considered criminal offenses under the Act.
  • Penalties for Violation: The law regulates fines and imprisonment for breaches of protection orders (Section 31).
  • No Fee for Filing Complaints: An interesting provision of the law is that no fee is allowed to be paid as a prerequisite for a complaint, thus ensuring its accessibility for women from all socio-economic strata.
  • Confidentiality and Privacy: Confidentiality and privacy are highlighted in this act as it stresses that the proceedings should be confidential while ensuring that the victim's privacy is also protected. The Magistrate may decide to conduct an in-camera hearing under this Act (Section 16) if they find it appropriate based on case circumstances and at the request of any party involved.
  • Awareness and Training: Section 11 of the Act states that the government is responsible for organizing public awareness programs and training courses for service providers and law enforcement officers to make them aware of these laws and provisions.
Court Judgments:
  • While dealing with an important question regarding the constitutional validity of Section 2(q) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which provides that the word "respondent" shall mean only an adult male, the Bench of Kurian Joseph and R.F. Nariman, JJ said that the words "adult male" in Section 2(q) of the Act should remain deleted as those words are inconsistent with Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
  • In the case of Ajay Kumar v. Lata @ Sharuti (2019), the Supreme Court ruled that under the Domestic Violence Act 2005, widow maintenance can also be provided by a brother-in-law. The Supreme Court rejected the claim of the complainant that section 2 (q) of the Act on the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence defines "respondent" as any male adult who is or was in a domestic relationship with the partner against whom redress is sought. The Supreme Court has drawn up a proposal for domestic union between a woman and her brother-in-law, stating that the brother-in-law and the woman are a joint family.
  • The Supreme Court in Kunapareddy Case ruled that the purpose of passing the DV Act was to provide a remedy in civil law to protect women from being victims of domestic violence.
  • Further in 2020, a Full Bench of the Supreme Court in Satish Chander Ahuja Case emphasized that DV proceedings are governed by CrP.C as provided in Section 28 of the Act and are criminal in nature.
  • In April 2022, the panel of the Supreme Court in Kamatcha Case relied on Dr. P. Pathamanathan Case of the Madras High Court and held that it is incorrect to equate the filing of an application under Section 12 of the DV Act with the filing of a complaint or initiation of a criminal prosecution and therefore the limitation under Section 468 of the Penal Code will not be applicable.
  • The Supreme Court in the case of Lt. Col. V. D. Bhanot v. Savita Bhanot dealt with the issue of retrospective effect of the DV Act. It was held that the past conduct of the parties, even before the commencement of the Act, was relevant for making orders under Sections 18, 19 and 20 of the Act.
  • Supreme Court in S.R. Batra v. Smt. Tarun Batra Case opined that "shared household" means only a house belonging to the husband or rented by the husband or a house belonging to a joint family in which the husband is one of the members. It also found that the property in the sole possession of the husband's mother cannot be called a "joint household" as defined in Section 2(s) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.
  • In the case of Inderjit Singh Grewal v. State of Punjab and Anr, the Supreme Court struck down the proceedings under the DV Act and heard them under Section 482 Cr. PC
  • Mere weekends together or one-night stands would not make it a "domestic relationship", as ruled in the case of D. Velusamy v. D. Patchaiammal, 2010 AIR SCW 6731.
  • In the case of Krishna Bhattacharjee v. Sarathi Choudhury, the Supreme Court held that the DV Act, 2005 is a complete law and covers not only all types of violence and abuse, but also provided a broad definition of terms such as aggrieved and the concept of domestic violence occurred in the light of the Constitution of India. This law guarantees women every such right which is necessary for basic human life and dignity. The preamble of the law clearly states the objective of protecting victims of domestic violence.
  • In the case of M. Palani v. Meenakshi, the court held that: The length of life of the partners is immaterial and not necessary to decide the maintenance case. The court further ruled that if the petitioner and the respondent lived together, the wife is entitled to claim maintenance, as the criterion is a close mutual relationship.

Written By: Md.Imran Wahab, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly