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Laws On Domestic Violence And The Importance Of Women Cell

It is an age-old phenomenon that women have been victims of domestic violence. In a patriarchal society, women often fail to protect themselves if their partners become violent. Cultural patterns, religious practices, economic and political conditions majorly set the precedent as the main cause of domestic violence. This custom of domestic violence may be followed by observing violence between one's parents while growing up, absent or rejecting father, antisocial peer associations, etc.

The imbalance of gender in domestic violence is related to differences in physical strength and size being compared between a man and a female. Nowadays Domestic violence is not simply an argument. It is moreover a pattern of forced control that one person uses over another. Domestic Violence primarily includes - use of physical and sexual violence, threats, emotional insults and economic deprivation as a way to dominate their victims and get their way.

Laws on domestic violence

It must be explained to the victims of domestic violence, that now they not only had relief under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, but also had a remedy under civil law, in the form of the Domestic Violence Act. This legislation is a potent weapon to fight against the evil of domestic violence against women in all its forms, which is widely prevalent but still largely remains invisible in the public domain. All the laws are hereby explained below.
  1. Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961[1]

    As per today there are several laws which have been enacted to protect a married woman from abuses and violence from her husband as well his relatives. Within the ambit of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, harassment for dowry by the husband or his family is considered a crime. The harassment can be caused either mentally or physically, example being forced sex with one�s wife.

    Therefore, Section 498 A has a very wide scope as it covers any wilful conducts against a woman which may force the woman to commit suicide or injury or risk to life, limb or overall health. Now, the practice of dowry stands no value under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, but yet if dowry has been given to or taken by anyone other than the woman, the woman is entitled to that money/property as the case may be under this Act.

  2. The Protection Of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005[2]

    Looking, with the perspective of this Act, any conduct, omission, or commission that harms or injures or has the potential to harm or injure will be considered domestic violence by the law. This law covers children also.

    Moreover, the common victims are women, especially in our country. Expressly, in the United States, it has been reported that 85% of all violent crime experienced by women are cases of intimate partner violence, compared to 3% of violent crimes experienced by men. Therefore, it can easily be said that domestic violence in Indian majorly refers to domestic violence against women.
  1. Who is covered under this Act?

    • All the women who may be a mother, sister, wife, widow or partners living in a shared household are covered in this act.
    • The relationship should be in the nature of marriage or adoption.
    • Simultaneously, relationships with family members living together as a joint family are included as well.
       
  2. Who can file a complaint?

    • Any woman who claims to have been subjected to any act of domestic violence by the offender.
    • Any person on behalf of the accused may file a complaint on her behalf.
    • A child is entitled as well to relief under the Domestic Violence Act. The mother of such child can make an application on behalf of her minor child and under such circumstances where the mother makes an application to the court for herself; her children can be added as co-applicants.
       
  3. Against whom can a complaint be filed?

    • Any mature and adult male member who has been in a domestic relationship with the woman.
    • Relatives of the husband or the male partner.
    • Even includes male and female relatives of the male partner.
       
  4. Who can be informed or to whom the complaint be made?
    Information regarding the complaint of domestic violence can be made to:

    • A police officer
    • Protection Officer
    • Service provider (an NGO) or,
    • Magistrate.
       
  5. Orders which a Magistrate may pass under the Act
    The Magistrate may:
    1. Firstly, direct the respondent or the aggrieved person undergo counseling sessions.
    2. Directs that the woman shall not be evicted or excluded from the household.
    3. It may be directed to record the proceedings in camera.
    4. May issue a Protection order, providing protection to the woman.
    5. Grant monetary relief, so that the aggrieved person can meet her basic needs.
    6. Grant custody orders if the aggrieved is in proper condition to take proper care of her children.
    7. Grant compensation for the injuries made to the victim which includes mental torture and emotional distress caused by the acts of domestic violence committed by that respondent.[3]

Domestic Incident Report (DIR)

  • On receiving a complaint of domestic violence, the Protection Officer or the Service Provider prepares a DIR in Form 1 (as mentioned in the Domestic Violence Act) and then the same is submitted to the Magistrate and copies of the same are submitted to the police officer in charge of the nearby police station.
     
  • The Protection Officer or the Service Provider supports the woman in fling the applications of complaint for reliefs. Then a copy of the DIR is to be annexed with such an application as per the desire of the victim.

Some Judicial Pronouncements
  • In V.D. Bhanot v. Savita Bhanot[4], on 23rd August, 1980 and till 4July, 2005, they lived together. After some time there were misunderstandings between each other, as a result on 29th November, 2006, the respondent filed a petition before the Magistrate under Section 12 of the Protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, hereinafter referred to as the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 seeking various reliefs.

    By his order dated 8th December, 2006 the learned Magistrate granted interim relief to the respondent wife and directed the petitioner husband to pay her a sum of Rs. 6,000/- per month. By a subsequent order dated 17 February, 2007, the Magistrate passed a protection/ residence order under Section 18 and 19 of the Domestic Violence Act protecting the right of the respondent wife to reside in her matrimonial home in Mathura.
     
  • In Raj Kumar Rampal Pandey v. Sarita Raj Kumar Pandey, Bombay High Court passed the residence order in favour of wife under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. In this case the husband has the undivided interest in the house in question after the death of his father.

    During the course of hearing to defeat the legitimate right of the wife, the husband has produced a bogus document of sale of house executed by his mother and also made a statement that the share certificate was issued by society in favour of his mother. The court observed that the husband had interest in the house by virtue of inheritance and he was not a party to the alleged sale transaction. House can be treated as a "shared household'' wherein a wife lives in a domestic relationship with her husband.[5]

The current scenario and statistical data
The most common form of violence against women is Domestic Violence. It adversely affects women and their health conditions such as sex selective abortion of female foetuses, forced suicide.
  • According to The World Health Organization the proportion of women who had ever experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner ranges from 15% to 71%, with the majority percentage between 29% and 62%.[6]
  • According to India's National Family Health Survey-III, which was carried out across 29 states during 2005-06, it was found that a significant part of married women have been physically or sexually abused by their husbands at some time in their lives. The survey clearly displayed that, nationwide, 37.2% of women �experienced violence� after marriage. [7]
  • The trend of Domestic violence against women was recently highlighted by the India's National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) which stated that while in 2000, an average of 125 women faced domestic violence every day, the figure stood at 160 in 2005.
  • Similarly a recent United Nation Population Fund report also revealed that around two-thirds of married women in India were victims of domestic violence.[8]
     

Importance of �Women Cell�
One of the most important gains of the women�s movement in India has been the creation of legislation affecting women and, specifically, violence against women. Increasingly, the women�s movement and the law enforcement machinery of the police have begun to collaborate to make justice accessible to women. Some outcomes of this collaboration are women�s police stations, women�s cells within general police stations, gender training programs, and police counselling cells.

The Special Cell for Women and Children, collaboration between the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and the Mumbai Police, is a unique partnership between the women�s movement and law enforcement. The Special Cell came in 1984, with TISS which aims at providing trained social workers and the police offering infrastructure and administrative support.

This Special Cell works with women, for their families, and with the community in providing a range of services which includes interface with police, emotional support, counselling, and crisis intervention.

At the hours working with the police department, the Special Cell tried to influence the interpretation of legal provisions to widen the police umbrella so that they can get the direct reality of the innocent women as well as the TISS researchers, who worked with the Special Cell, undertook a study of the Special Cell records to analyse the existing database on violence against women.

The specific objectives of the study were to:
  1. Identify patterns and trends of domestic violence from the records at the Special Cell;
  2. Study the nature of violence expressed by women and its reflection within police records;
  3. Examine the nature of intervention sought by women and the organizational responses to them; and
  4. Analyze the police construction of violence cases and the responses of the Special Cell.

Conclusion
Domestic violence has been a social evil since the early times and it is still prevalent in the present scenario, especially in the Indian society. Violence against women � particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence � is a major public health problem and a violation of women rights.

It can negatively affect women�s physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health, and may increase the risk of acquiring HIV in some settings. All in all, it takes away the right to freely live from women and hinders with the basic human rights that must be guaranteed to all natural human beings.

Earlier, women were not given any protection against this as it was seen as a right of their spouses or partners to control them but now several Acts and laws have been passed to prevent and reduce such violence against women.

The Women Cell is constituted to help maintain a harmonious atmosphere at the Institute, to enable women to pursue their work with dignity and reassurance. The Cell has been working to raise awareness on gender equality issues. The complaints which fall within the Commission�s adopted procedure to handle complaints are registered, processed, analyzed, and then, required help is provided to the needy. It has become a single united association that works for the protection and betterment of women and is easily available to the general public.

End-Notes:
  1. 237Th Report On Compounding Of (Ipc) Offences
  2. 243Rd Report On Section 498A Ipc
  3. National Commission for Women
  4. (2012) 3 SCC 183
  5. 2008(6)BomCR831
  6. World health organisation https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women
  7. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) India 2005-06 [FRIND3-Vol1 and Vol2]
  8. Indian J Community Med. 2008 Apr; 33(2)

    Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Aayushi Kiran
    Awarded certificate of Excellence
    Authentication No: AU123821884600-26-0821

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