THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT/INDIA
in short* :
The Domestic Violence Act introduces into the existing law the following concepts:
· The civil wrong of domestic violence;
· The right to protection against domestic violence by obtaining protection orders, residence orders and monetary relief orders.
· The right to be informed of the accessibility of such orders and the services of accredited service providers; and
· The right to reside in shared household.
The Bill defines domestic violence "as any act, omission or conduct which is of such nature as to harm or has the potential of harming or injuring the health, safety or well being of a women. Such violence could be physical, sexual, verbal, mental or economic."
It protects a person against violence in a domestic relationship i.e. a relationship either by marriage or birth or consanguinity or custom or cohabitation.
A person aggrieved can obtain the following orders:
· Protection order
· Residence order
· Monetary relief order
· Temporary child custody order
She can approach the Court by filling a petition listing out the details of her case and asking for the orders that would protect her from violence. She can obtain an order even in a pending suit or criminal case such as divorce case or a criminal case of cruelty. The person aggrieved can insist that a court while granting bail to the respondent impose conditions, which would protect her from violence. If for any reason she is unable to move the Court, a petition may be brought by a person authorized by her or an NGO or a protection officer.
The Court can grant immediate relief and confirm it after hearing both parties
A protection order prohibits the respondent from:
· Committing acts of domestic violence.
· Helping someone else commit such acts.
· Entering the office or house of the person aggrieved.
· Communicating with the person aggrieved.
· Selling of property or emptying bank lockers and accounts.
· Causing violence to people assisting the person aggrieved.
By a Residence order, the Court may pass orders in relation to the "shared household" such as:
· Helping the person aggrieved to remain in the house.
· Preventing her from being removed from the house.
· Prohibiting the respondent from entering the house.
· Restraining the respondent from selling or giving the house away.
· Restraining the respondent from giving up his right or claim in house.
· Directing the respondent from finding an alternative house for the person aggrieved.
A Monetary Relief order entitles the person aggrieved to meet the expenses incurred by her in meeting her needs and the needs of her children, if any including money to meet:
· Loss of earnings.
· Medical expenses.
· Maintenance, including for the children, if any.
· Loss on account of damage or removal of property.
· Compensation for the domestic violence inflicted upon her.
An order is valid for two years and may be renewed thereafter. Breach of an order is a cognizable and non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment upto three years or fine, which may extend to Rs. 20,000 or both.
Such offence may be tried by the Court which had passed the orders whose breach is alleged.
The bill contemplates two institutions
The Protection Officers and Accredited Service Providers .The former shall be in charge of coordinating the responses of the police and various registered service providers such as shelters, hospitals, counselling centres, rehabilitation centres and legal aid offices. The State shall frame rules for the accreditation of these service providers.
The person aggrieved can file a petition where either she or the respondent resides or where she suffered the domestic violence.
The Bill provides for mandatory counselling of the respondent and even joint counselling with the person aggrieved if she is agreeable.
*editing credits to a friend who does not have a blog and thus cannot be linked:P but if said friend is reading this and wishes to be acknowledged by name, please contact me and I shall do it :)