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.