The nature is "she"
This quote shows the importance of women in the world. This is something that
has been quoted by many feminist people while describing the importance and to
raise various issues faced by the women in the society. In this article too, we
are going to discuss about an issue which is quite in concern due to the
lockdown and people being in there home.
Generally, when we talk about the gender based laws then there is one
fundamental right restricting the discrimination and providing right to equality
but the fact that the Indian society is a male dominating society and women have
been subjected to various cruelties and hence there have been various
legislations protecting and providing various rights to the women in the
society. These legislations have been also held constitutional due to falling in
the ambit of Article 15(3) of the Constitution of India providing for the
positive discrimination for the upliftment of the women and children. One of
such cruelties, domestic violence was prohibited let's know about it in detail.
The Act defines the domestic violence in various types under Section 3 where it
says that harming, injuring or endangering the health, safety or well being of
the woman including sexual, physical, verbal and emotional and economic abuses
including abuses for the demand of dowry. The meanings of physical, sexual,
verbal and emotional, and economic abuse has been given in the explanation of
section 3 itself as given below:
- 13 Physical abuse means any act or conduct which is of such a nature as to
cause bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, limb, or health or impair the health
or development of the aggrieved person and includes assault, criminal
intimidation and criminal force;
- "Sexual abuse" includes any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses,
humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of woman;
- "Verbal and emotional abuse" includes:
- Insults, ridicule, humiliation, name calling and insults or ridicule
specially with regard to not having a child or a male child; and
- Repeated threats to cause physical pain to any person in whom the
aggrieved person is interested.
- "Economic abuse" includes:
- Deprivation of all or any economic or financial resources to which the
aggrieved person is entitled under any law or custom whether payable under
an order of a court or otherwise or which the aggrieved person requires out
of necessity including, but not limited to, household necessities for the
aggrieved person and her children, if any, stridhan, property, jointly or separately owned
by the aggrieved person, payment of rental related to the shared household and
- Disposal of household effects, any alienation of assets whether movable
or immovable, valuables, shares, securities, bonds and the like or other
property in which the aggrieved person has an interest or is entitled to use
by virtue of the domestic relationship or which may be reasonably required
by the aggrieved person or her children or her stridhan or any other property jointly or
separately held by the aggrieved person; and
- Prohibition or restriction to continued access to resources or
facilities which the aggrieved person is entitled to use or enjoy by virtue
of the domestic relationship including access to the shared household.
Who Can File A Complaint
Section 2(a) of the Domestic Violence Act defines "aggrieved person" as any
woman who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the respondent and
who alleges to have been subjected to any act of domestic violence by the
The Domestic Violence Act not only covers those women who are or have been in a
relationship with the abuser but it also covers those women who have lived
together in a shared household and are related by consanguinity, marriage of
through a relationship in the nature of marriage or adoption.
Even those women who are sisters, widows, mothers, single women, or living in
any other relationship with the abuser are entitled to legal protection under
the Domestic Violence Act.
It will not be wrong to say that the domestic violence act gives a wide power to
anyone who can possibly report the violence and provides protection to all those
who can possibly be subjected to domestic violence.
In the case of S.R. Batra & Another Vs. Smt. Taruna Batra
, the Supreme Court
with reference to definition of shared household under Section 2(s) of the
Domestic Violence Act stated that the definition of ‘shared household' in
Section 2(s) of the Act is not very happily worded, and appears to be the result
of clumsy drafting requires to be interpreted in a sensible manner.
held that under Section 17(1) of the Act wife is only entitled to claim a right
to residence in a shared household, and a ‘shared household' would only mean the
house belonging to or taken on rent by the husband, or the house which belongs
to the joint family of which the husband is a member.
Women In Live-In And Domastic Violance:
A wider meaning to an "aggrieved
person" under Section 2(a) of the Domestic Violence Act was conferred by the
Supreme Court in the case of D. Veluswamy v. D. Patchaiammal
, wherein the
Court enumerated five ingredients of a live in relationship as follows:
- Both the parties must behave as husband and wife and are recognized as
husband and wife in front of society
- They must be of a valid legal age of marriage
- They should qualify to enter into marriage eg. None of the partner should
have a souse living at the time of entering into 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 Domestic
Violence Act. To get such benefit the conditions mentioned above shall be
fulfilled and this has to be proved by evidence.
Against Whom The Complaint Can Be Filed:
Section 2(q) of the Domestic Violence
Act defines "respondent" as 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.
However, the Supreme Court in the case of Sandhya Wankhede vs. Manoj Bhimrao
 put to rest the issue by holding that the proviso to Section 2(q)
does not exclude female relatives of the husband or male partner from the ambit
of a complaint that can be made under the provisions of the Domestic Violence
Misuses By The Women
Though the Domestic Violence Act is a beneficial legislation, the same has been
many times reported to be misused by women. For instance, in several cases women
register complaint under Domestic Violence Act against one and all relatives of
husband even without any evidence of abuse against them.
Due to the increasing rate of misuse of legislation, in the case of Ashish Dixit
vs. State of UP & Anr., The Supreme Court has held that a wife cannot
implicate one and all in a Domestic violence case. In this case, the complainant
apart from arraying the husband and in-laws in the complaint had also included
all and sundry as parties to the case, of which the complainant didn't even know
The extreme decision of the Supreme Court shows the severity of the matter and
misuse of legislation by the women for their satisfaction.
Picture Of The Other Side:
When on the one hand, women are misusing the
legislation made for their benefit, on the other hand there are women who are
silently tolerating the violence due to various reasons. Some of them can be
observed as given below:
- Lack of awareness,
- Family pressure,
- Welfare of her children,
- Non-active behavior of police, etc.
It can be said that the legislation was made for the betterment of the women and
to protect their right to live a dignified life under Article 21 of the
Constitution of India along with other relevant provisions. The Act covers a
broad area and actions when it comes to definition of violence. In the similar
manner, when it comes to who can file a complaint or against whom such complaint
may be filed then to the ambit of this act is quite broad as it tries to cover
every possible person who can report or commit such violence.
Further, when there is a law favoring someone then there is a set of society
which finds many ways of misusing the same. In the similar manner there are many
women who are in the actual need of this legislation but they are unable to
access the same due to the reasons as discussed.
In the final view, it can be said that the cases that are being reported cannot
be absolutely believed to be genuine and on the contrary if no case is being
filed then that cannot be surely said to be the end of such a problem. One is
required to apply his/her judicial mind and have to analyze the situation before
concluding on any point.
- Section 2(f) of Domestic Violence Act– 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
- AIR 2007 SC 1118
- (2010) 10 SCC 469
- (2011) 3 SCC 650
- AIR 2013 SC 1077