Domestic Violence in India.
By- Abhishek Puri
Domestic violence means any kind of violence suffered by a woman in her house hold after marriage and that violence may be in relation from her husband or from his relatives and may be dealing with any kind of violence i.e. it may be cruelty, adultery, unlawfully confining a lady or hurting her grievously or mere asking or pressurizing her for providing dowry. In India there is no recognized definition of expressions “Domestic Violence”. The victims do not even take any legal remedy against this act as there are so many reasons for this as they may be educationally backward and may not having familiarity with the legal system but an Act named “The Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005” was enacted for the betterment of women and for providing them adequate relief or compensation. According to a National Family and Health Survey in 2005, total lifetime prevalence of domestic violence was 33.5% and 8.5% for sexual violence among women aged 15–49.The instance of violence was reported to be lowest among Buddhist and Jain women, and highest among Muslim women in India.
1. Dowry Death-This kind of domestic violence deals with demand of dowry by the husband of wife or by any of his relatives and under this the women may suffer any bodily injury or harm of such kind that may result in her death and that must be done within the 7 years of the marriage. This may be proved by any of the neighbors or by relatives who has listened from the deceased or her letters to her parents may prove the happening of this act now this act.
2. Cruelty-This kind of violence deals with the willful conduct of such kind that may drive the women to commit suicide or may harm her and cause injury of such kind that may result in loss of life, limb or health of the women and this may relate with ignoring the women or taunting her or denying food to her or may relate with forcing her to have sexual intercourse. Cruelty may be physical or mental and for conducting cruelty a series of small acts or a single act may be done.
3. Hurt and Grievous Hurt-This kind of violence deals with hurting a women or doing any act by which the lady may suffer any harm or hurt or such kind that may render her unfit for doing or carrying out her daily pursuits or working. In this kind of violence the harm may be of grievous nature and the woman may suffer from injuries like breaking of bones or injury of a serious nature.
4. Wrongful restraint and Wrongful confinement-This kind of violence the women is stopped from going out of the house or locked up in a particular room and in this the time period of wrongfully confining is irrelevant as women are having free right to move and proceed in any direction that they want to. When a woman is obstructed or prevented from proceeding beyond certain circumscribed limits it amounts to violence against women.
5. Adultery-In this kind of violence when married man is having a sexual relationship with another married woman his act amounts to violence against his legally wedded wife. In this offence certain conditions must be fulfilled.
· He has sexual intercourse with a woman who legally married to another person.
· He is having knowledge that she is married.
· There is no consent of the husband of the married woman for having sexual intercourse with another person.
In India to deal the offence of domestic violence an Act named The Protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was enacted by the parliament for the protection of women who suffer domestic violence at house hold and this act has various of the provisions which are made for the benefit of woman and for safeguarding them and for providing them adequate relief and justice in various other laws also the punishment is prescribed by the parliament to deal with the offences of the domestic violence and they are as follows:-
Section 304-B-Dowry death- Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.
Section 498-A-Cruelty- Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty-Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation-For the purposes of this section, “cruelty” means— (a) any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or
(b) Harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.
Section 323-Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt-Whoever, except in the case provided for by section 334, voluntarily causes hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
Section 325- Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt-Whoever, except in the case provided for by section 335, voluntarily causes grievous hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Section 341- Punishment for wrongful restraint-whoever wrongfully restrains any person shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.
Section 342-Punishment for wrongful confinement-whoever wrongfully confines any person shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
Section 497-Adultery-Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.
It could be said that the Act was passed to protect the needs of women and not men. After all, the very title of the Act indicates that it has been enacted to protect the rights of women. Yet, it must also be kept in mind that domestic violence, though predominantly is not only faced by women, be they wives, mothers, sisters or daughters, is also aimed against male person at times. It seems a poor excuse to say that male person should not be provided easy access to relief from domestic violence simply because of their gender i.e. they are male. Even if other kinds of violence could be adequately addressed by the IPC (though this hardly seems the case), it is a fact that the sexual abuse of male person cannot be redressed in any appropriate manner by it. Even in the 172nd Law Commission report, it was argued, among other things, that the offence of rape as addressed in the IPC should be defined in gender-neutral terms, so that the protection could be extended to male person as well. This was necessary keeping in mind the increased and increasing instances of sexual abuse of children, male and female. Once it is acceded that male person are affected as much by sexual abuse by female, it must be accepted that they need to be protected from such abuse within the “private” sphere too. On the face of it, there seems to be no concrete reason for denying male person protection from domestic violence even sometimes just to humiliate the male person or their family false allegations are put forth on them under this Act.
Francis Coralie Mullin v. Union Territory Delhi, Administrator, and the Supreme Court stated, any act which damages or injures or interferes with the use of any limb or faculty of a person, either permanently or even temporarily, would be within the inhibition of Article 21.This right is incorporated in the Act through the definition of physical abuse, which constitutes domestic violence (and is hence punishable under the Act). Physical abuse is said to consist of acts or conduct of such nature that they cause bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, limb or health, or impair the health or development of the aggrieved person. Apart from this, the Act also includes similar acts of physical violence and certain acts of physical violence as envisaged in the Indian Penal Code within the definition of domestic violence. By adoption of such an expansive definition, the Act protects the right of women against violence.
Ahmadabad Municipal Corporation v. Nawab Khan Gulab Khan, the Supreme Court emphasized the fact that the right to life included in its ambit the right to live with human dignity, basing its opinion on a host of cases that had been decided in favor of this proposition. The right to dignity would include the right against being subjected to humiliating sexual acts. It would also include the right against being insulted. These two facets of the right to life find mention under the definitions of sexual abuse and emotional abuse, respectively. A praiseworthy aspect of the legislation is the very conception of emotional abuse as a form of domestic violence. The recognition of sexual abuse of the wife by the husband as a form of violation to the person is creditable; especially as such sexual abuse is not recognized by the IPC as an offence. These acts would fall within the confines of domestic violence as envisaged by the Act, though the definition would not be limited to it.
Chameli Singh v. State of U.P. -It was held that the right to life would include the right to shelter, distinguishing the matter at hand from Gauri Shankar v. Union of India where the question had related to eviction of a tenant under a statute. Ss. 6 and 17 of the Domestic Violence Act reinforce this right. Under S.6, it is a duty of the Protection Officer to provide the aggrieved party accommodation where the party has no place of accommodation, on request by such party or otherwise. Under S.17, the party’s right to continue staying in the shared household is protected. These provisions thereby enable women to use the various protections given to them without any fear of being left homeless.
It can be concluded that the Act provides protection to the women from the violence they may face at their house hold yet it provides them protection it has also laid down punishments for the perpetrator but somehow it is favorable for women only and discriminate men as they cannot approach under this Act against women. Domestic Violence does not distinguish between races, sex, and caste as it can happen to anyone in the society and it is our duty to provide necessary help to the victims and punish the perpetrator. This Act has also laid kinds of domestic violence including their punishments also.
 Dr.S.C. Tripathi & Vibha Arora, Law Relating To Women & Children 31 (6TH ed. 2015).
 The Indian Penal Code, 1860, No. 45, Acts of Parliament, 1860 (India).
 (1981) 2 S.C.R. 516 (India).
 A.I.R. 1997 S.C. 152 (India).