FAQs on the Domestic Violence Act

FAQs on the Domestic Violence Act

What is included in domestic violence?

Ans: Domestic violence includes any kind of physical, mental, sexual, verbal, emotional, and economic abuse.

What is the first legal step I can take in case of domestic violence?

Ans: You can register a complaint with a local protection officer or local police officer, NGO dealing with rights and protection of women, or with the magistrate. If you are not in a condition to go outside for filing a written complaint then dial 100 (Police helpline) as soon as possible, a complaint will be recorded automatically and this will help you proceed with further legal action.

Where I can file a complaint?

Ans: You can file a complaint where you are residing permanently or temporarily or carried on your employment or business. A complaint can also be registered at the residence of the abuser or where the incident took place.

Against whom a complaint can be filed?

Ans: A complaint can be filed against any adult person who abuses a woman while living in a domestic relationship with such a woman. It can be a husband, father, brother, or male partner in a live-in relationship. A complaint can also be filed against any relative of the husband.

Who can be a victim under the Domestic Violence Act?

Ans: Domestic Violence Act is not restricted to only married women. Even sisters, mothers, widows, single women, women living in live-in relationships are protected under this Act.

My husband puts restrictions on me to see my parents and friends and also used to insult me in the public, is it comes under domestic violence?

Ans: Yes, it amounts to domestic violence. As emotional abuse covers humiliation, ridicule, verbal abuse, isolation as well as restriction on movement.

Can I file a domestic violence complaint if my husband dispossesses me from our joint property?

Ans: Yes, you can file domestic violence complaint against your husband because it comes under the ambit of economic abuse. Economic abuse means depriving the woman of using economic resources to maintain herself.

My husband kicked me out of the house, whether he can do so as per law?

Ans: No, he can’t do this whether that house belongs to you or not and that house is on your name or not. Every woman in a domestic relationship shall have the right to reside in a household.

Can a mother-in-law file a complaint against the daughter-in-law?

Ans: Yes, where the mother is a victim of violence caused by her son as well as the wife of her son, then she is entitled to file a case of domestic violence against her son and her daughter-in-law as well.

Is a minor male entitled to reliefs under this Act?

Ans: Yes, the mother can make an application on the behalf of her minor child whether it is male or female. The children can also be added as co-applicants for relief under this Act.

Can I file a complaint at the place of employment or business of the abuser?

Ans: Yes, you can file the complaint where the abuser is doing his job or carried on his business.

Is my brother can file a complaint on my behalf?

Ans: Yes, anyone from your parents, brother/sisters, relatives, or friends can give an application to the concerned officer in order to register a complaint of domestic violence.

Can a complaint be filed against the female relatives?

Ans: Yes, according to the latest verdict of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, a complaint could be filed against the female relatives of male if they are found to be abusing the woman.

Can a wife implicate all the members of the family?

Ans: No, she can’t implicate those members who are not a party to the crime/abuse.

What kind of relief Magistrate may grant to the victim?

Ans: The magistrate can pass orders to conduct counseling for parties. Except that he/she may issue any protection order, residency order, monetary relief, compensation order, and custody order in favour of the victim.

Can a victim get ex-parte order or interim relief under the Act?

Ans: Yes, if the Magistrate is satisfied that the abuse has occurred, and then he/she may pass ex-parte orders or grant interim relief to the victim.

How long does the protection order stay?

Ans: The protection order shall remain in force till the victim applies for the discharge of the same. Otherwise, the Magistrate can vacate the orders if he/she is satisfied that circumstances have been changed.

What if the abuser doesn’t follow the protection order?

Ans: In that case, the abuser can be punished with imprisonment up to 1 year or a fine which can be imposed up to Rs. 20,000/- or both. Breach of such order is cognizable (where police can arrest without warrant) and non-bailable offence.

Who are protection officers?

Ans: Protection officers are appointed by the State Govt. in the jurisdiction of every Judicial Magistrate. A protection officer is responsible to ensure that the woman and her children are not victimized during the filing of the domestic violence incident report.

What if the protection officer is not discharging his/her duty?

Ans: A protection officer can be punished with imprisonment up to 1 year or a fine up to Rs. 20,000/- or both if he/she fails to discharge any duty as directed by the Magistrate.

Is the Domestic Violence Act applicable to partners living in a live-in relationships?

Ans: Yes, it is applicable to partners living in a live-in relationship. All relationships where two persons (male and female) living together in a shared household, and who are related by consanguinity (close blood relationship), marriage, or through a relationship like marriage, adoption are covered under the ambit of this Act.

What rights do daughters have if they are being abused by their parents?

Ans: Daughters have the right to take protection from the court in case of abuse being caused by the parents. Additionally, an unmarried daughter can claim maintenance and other residential rights from her father.

-Kiranpreet Kaur

Associate at Aggarwals & Associates, S.A.S. Nagar, Mohali