Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar said that “I measure the progress of a community with the degree of progress women have achieved.” In the democratic nation of India, everyone has the same rights, regardless of gender. Women were seen as a minority in our nation’s history, and men held the majority of the decision-making positions. Women were thought to serve males while men were supposed to be the breadwinners. To safeguard women, special committees have been established, and some rights have been granted. In India, the judiciary is crucial in interpreting these constitutional laws.
Domestic abuse of women is a prevalent occurrence in Indian culture. Many women experience it in their daily lives, and the majority of them have become so used to it that they don’t even report it. According to the National Family Health Survey (NHFS-4), which was published by the Union Health Ministry, from the age of fifteen, domestic abuse of some kind has affected one in three Indian women.
DEFINITION OF THE ACT
For the first time in Indian law, “Domestic Violence” is defined in the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005. It is a thorough description that covers not just physical violence but also other types of violence, including sexual, emotional/verbal, and economic abuse.
Under this statute, several forms of abuse and violence are considered to be domestic violence. Abuse of any form harms your health and well-being as well as you personally. For example, someone might annoy or harm you or your family in exchange for a dowry, money, or property. Domestic violence also includes making harassing or harmful threats. It also encompasses any behavior that makes you suffer emotionally or physically. Abuse can take many different forms, including verbal, emotional, physical, and financial. Domestic violence need not take the shape of action; it can also take the form of not acting at all. For instance, failing to give money to support the family or the children would fall under this definition of economic abuse.
SCOPE OF THE ACT
Other women living in a home, such as sisters, widows, or mothers, are also protected by the law. Its main objective is to protect the wife or live-in partner who is a woman from domestic abuse done by the husband or male live-in partner or members of his family. Domestic violence, according to the law, includes actual abuse physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, or financial as well as threats of harm. This idea also includes making false dowry demands to intimidate the woman or her family.
The 2005 Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act aims to accomplish the following goals:
- To recognize domestic violence as a crime that must be punished under the law.
- To safeguard domestic abuse victims when such crimes are committed.
- To deliver justice to the harmed party in a timely, affordable, and practical manner.
- To stop domestic violence from happening and to respond appropriately if it does.
- To put in place enough initiatives and programs for victims of domestic abuse and to ensure their recovery.
- To increase public awareness of domestic violence.
- To impose severe penalties and must make those responsible for committing such horrible acts of violence accountable.
- To establish and enforce laws that adhere to global standards for the prevention of domestic violence.
LEGISLATIVE INTENT OF THE ACT
Because of traditional society and conventions, women tend not to report the majority of domestic abuse cases. Despite experiencing numerous forms of domestic violence, many women choose not to report it. Even though the nations have a system in place for women to report cases of domestic abuse against their spouses, this behavior persists.
In Bhartiben Bipinbhai Tamboli v. State of Gujarat and Ors, The court ruled that domestic abuse is widespread in India in this particular case. Many women encounter it in their daily lives in one way or another, whether they are mothers, wives, sisters, partners, daughters, mothers, or solitary women. Nevertheless, it is the least frequently reported instance of cruelty, largely due to social stigma and women’s attitudes.
In Lalita Toppo v. State of Jharkhand and Ors, the court made it abundantly plain that an estranged wife or someone living with them who has not been lawfully married is eligible to make a support claim under the Act, not under Section 125 of the CrPC. The court read Section 3(a) broadly and deemed economic abuse to be a kind of domestic violence.
In the case of Vandhana v. T. Srikanth, the Madras High Court stated that the Act was further described as “an Act to provide for more effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
In Ashish Dixit v. State of U.P and Another, The court ruled that a wife cannot name any members of the family other than the husband and the laws because in this case, the petitioner added family members to the lawsuit of who not even the complainant was aware.
As determined in Sadhana v. Hemant, divorced women are not eligible for benefits under the Act.
For women to feel safe and protected in the privacy of their own homes, the Act is essential to the Indian legal system’s effort to preserve their rights. The Act offers domestic violence victims civil remedies. And before the Act was passed, domestic violence victims had to turn to civil courts to obtain civil remedies like divorce, child custody, any kind of injunction, or maintenance. As a result, the Act made the Indian legislature’s essential amendments.
Author’s Name: Archana K Chandran (Advocate)
 <https://inbreakthrough.org/protection-women-dom.estic-violence-act-2005/> accessed on November 12, 2022.
 ‘The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005’, Abanti Bose <https://blog.ipleaders.in/the-protection-of-women-from-domestic-violence-act-2005/> accessed on November 12, 2022.
 ‘Domestic Violence Against Women in India’, Lokesh Chauhan <https://lexforti.com/legal-news/domestic-violence-against-women-in-india/> accessed on November 12, 2022.
 Bhartiben Bipinbhai Tamboli v. State of Gujarat and Ors, MANU/GJ/0025/2018.
 Lalita Toppo v. State of Jharkhand and Ors, MANU/SC/1476/2018.
 Vandhana v. T. Srikanth, 2007 SCC Online Mad 553.
 Ashish Dixit v. State of U.P and Another, (2013) 4 SCC 176.
 Sadhana v. Hemant, MANU/MH/0689/2019.