Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act)

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Overview:

The Supreme Court recently agreed to examine whether a transgender woman can claim maintenance under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act).

About Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (DV Act)

  • The DV Act was enacted by Parliament on September 13, 2005, and extends to the whole of India.
  • It is basically meant to provide protection to a wife or female live-in partner from violence at the hands of the husband, or a male live-in-partner, or his relatives. 
  • Domestic violence under the Act includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse, whether physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, or economic.
  • Harassment by way of dowry demands is also covered under the definition of domestic violence.
  • Who is covered under the Act?
    • The Act covers all women who may be mother, sister, wife, widow, or partners living in a shared household.
    • The relationship may be in the nature of marriage or adoption.
    • In addition, relationships with family members living together as a joint family are also included. 
  • Who can file a complaint?
    • Any woman who alleges to have been subjected to any act of domestic violence by the offender or any person may file a complaint on her behalf.
    • A child is also entitled to relief under the DV Act. The mother of such a child can make an application on behalf of her minor child (whether male or female). 
    • In cases where the mother makes an application to the court for herself, the children can also be added as co-applicants.
    • However, no female relative of the husband or the male partner can file a complaint against the wife or the female partner.
  • Against whom can a complaint be filed?
    • Any adult male member who has been in a domestic relationship with the woman
    • Relatives of the husband or the male partner (Includes both male and female relatives of the male partner)
  • Remedies available: Under the law, women can apply for reliefs such as
    • Protection Order
    • Residence Order for residing at Matrimonial House
    • Monetary Orders, which include maintenance for herself and her children
    • Temporary custody of children
    • Compensation order for the damages caused to her
  • It is only when the relief granted by the courts is breached that criminal action is taken against the respondent.
  • Protection Officers:
    • Under the DV Act, Protection Officers have been appointed by the Government to help the aggrieved woman in filing the case.
    • They are to be attached to the Magistrates of the courts for the area notified for each protection officer.
    • The Protection Officer facilitates the women to approach the court by providing legal aid and get appropriate relief from the courts concerned. 
    • Further, they execute the orders of the Court wherever necessary with the help of the police.
    • Options are also available to the aggrieved person to file the petition before the Judicial Magistrate Court, or with the service provider, or at a nearby police station.
  • Service Providers:
    • Under the DV Act, Service Providers are members of notified Non Governmental Organizations. 
    • They co-ordinate with all the stakeholders to get justice and relief for the victims of domestic violence.
    • They help the aggrieved women in filing the Domestic Incident Report, provide accommodation in the short-stay homes along with their children, counsel them, and help the aggrieved get medical treatment if necessary. 
    • They also impart them with vocational training to help them secure employment and sustainable income.

Q1) What is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO)?

An NGO is a group that functions independently of any government. It is usually non-profit. NGOs, sometimes called civil society organizations, are established on community, national, and international levels to serve a social or political goal such as a humanitarian cause or the protection of the environment.

Source: Supreme Court to decide whether transgender woman can claim maintenance under Domestic Violence Act