In most of the male dominated societies, like India, women are never given equal status and opportunities as men. They are always treated to be inferior. In the olden days girls were married young, they were expected to do all the household chores of the in laws in a very young age. Not only this, they were continuously harassed and tortured by the husband and his relatives either for demanding dowry or for mere suppressing her dreams. She was not treated more than an animal.
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The situation has become better in the present time, but the act of domestic violence has not been eradicated completely. In the present scenario women are still subject to continuous harassment and cruelty by the husband and other in laws. But today’s woman is not same as the woman in the past. She has become more independent and aware regarding her rights. There still exists a section of such backward class of women who are not so educated and are facing the evil of domestic violence.
Law in regard to domestic violence
The government and the legal system of India have taken many steps to protect the women of the country from ill treatment and cruelty of the husband. One such provision is mentioned in the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Section –498-A. Husband or relatives of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty.
According to this section, if the husband or any of his relative ,subjects a woman to cruelty then they shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years along with fine.
It was held in B. S. Joshi v. State of Haryana, 2003 Cri. L. J. 2028 ( S. C.) , that the main object of Section-498-A was to protect the women from the torture by husband of his family in connection with the demand of dowry.
In KoppisettiSubbharao alias Subramaniam v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (2009) 3 Cr. L. J. 3480 S. C. it was held that the term ‘husband’ used in Section 498-A is not limited to cover only those persons who have entered into legally valid marriage but also includes anyone who has undergone some or other form of marriage and thereby assumed for himself the position of husband to live, co-habitate and exercise authority as such husband over another woman.
A major enactment to protect the women from domestic violence is in the form of an act of Parliament of India i.e. the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence, 2005. This act primarily provides protection to the wife or female live in partner from domestic violence by his husband or his relatives. This law further extends to the protection of women living in a household like sisters, widows and mothers. According to this act, domestic violence includes actual abuse thatcan be physical, sexual, verbal, emotional as well as economic. Further, this act also covered the harassment by the family of the husband or by the husband himself in the way of unlawful dowry.
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This act also provides for the woman’s right to reside in matrimonial or shared household, whether or not she has any title or rights in the household.
Domestic violence amidst lockdown
The entire world is shut down due to the pandemic spreading across the globe. The lockdown is not only weakening the economy of the country, but is also affecting the social life of the people.
According to a report of the National Commission for Women in India, the number of domestic violence cases have doubled. The reason for such rise can possibly be the widespread organizational closure. The men have to stay at home for the whole day and they are taking out their frustration on their wives. On the other hand, women are also confined within the four walls from day to night and they do not find anyone to share their grief. The other factors contributing to this issue are rise in stress level and associated risk factors like unemployment, limited resources, reduced income etc.
Effects of domestic violence on children
The children who grow up witnessing domestic violence have a greater risk of turning up as an arrogant, rude, violent child. Such incidents of fights between the parents have a great adverse effect on the mental health of the child. It indirectly affect their physical growth as well. The children facing the situation of domestic violence among their parents also have a chance of being violent in their future relationships. A small mistake of the parents can turn up their child into a criminal.
The domestic violence has been seen mostly in the patriarchal society like ours. There are a few cases of domestic abuse against the men as well. The victim facing this evil is hit by various physical as well as emotional harm which includes emotional distress, eating and sleeping disturbances, ongoing anxiety and depression, lowering of self esteem and many other.
The domestic abuse does not only affect the victim but also has an adverse effect on the entire family, friends, children and other related persons. Several factors contribute to the activities of domestic violence which can be childhood abuse, Drug and alcohol abuse.
The law treats it as a criminal offence as stated in the Indian Penal Code under section 498-A and also under section 304- B which is related to the dowry death. Coercing a women for demand of dowry is a punishable offence and the laws regarding such illegal activities are strict in nature.
From the another point of view, it has also been treated as a civil wrong under the Protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 where the required action is taken against the husband and his relative on the petition of the women suffering from such domestic abuse.
The government and legislative body has played it’s part in eradicating this evil from the society. Now it’s the turn of general people to spread awareness regarding the ill-effects of the practice of domestic violence. This can be done through organizing various legal camps in the rural areas. Also, the counseling of people doing domestic abuse is equally important. The victim should report regarding any act of the domestic violence at it’s initial stage.
For case Specific Advice on Domestic Violence, contact TOP/EXPERT/BEST Lawyer in Chandigarh Panchkula Mohali Derabassi Kharar Zirakpur
This Story is written by Riya Rana
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