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WOMEN EMPOWERMENT (by Adv.Rana Ranjit Singh)

July 17, 2020, 6:01 p.m. by Adv.Rana Ranjit Singh ( 499 views)

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The incidence of domestic violence against women has been increasing over the years. But in India, before 1983, the issue of domestic violence was outside the domain of law. It was only recognized in different matrimonial laws, where cruelty is one of the valid grounds for divorce but there was no provision of immediate relief to stop the violence on the women.

The Vienna accord of 1994 and the Beijing declaration and the platform for action 1995 have acknowledged that domestic violence is undoubtedly a human right issue. The domestic violence in India is widely prevalent but has remained undetectable in the public domain the civil laws legislated in India doesn’t address or take into consideration the domestic violence. Before passing the Domestic Violence Act,2005 women subjected to cruelty by her husband or his relatives, is considered as an offense under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. That to provide a remedy in the civil law to prevent the domestic violence and protect women from being the victim of domestic violence in the society and hence, the Domestic Violence Bill was introduced in the parliament.

The passing of The Protection Of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005 by the Parliament which came into force on 26.10.2006 in INDIA is considered as an important step in addressing the issue of domestic violence and also it protected the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14,15 and 21 of the Constitution of India to the women under the Civil Law. Legal reforms are meaningless unless they are proceeded by social reforms.

WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE? AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT, 2005.

Domestic violence can be described as when one adult in a relationship misuses power to control another. It is an establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. Domestic violence isn’t just hitting, or fighting, or an occasional argument. It is an abuse of power. The abuser tortures and controls the victim by calculated threats, intimidation, and physical violence. Although both men and women can be abused, in most cases, the victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are also abused or neglected. Although the woman is usually the primary target, violence is sometimes directed toward children, and sometimes toward family members and friends.

Domestic violence refers to violence against women, especially in matrimonial homes. Therefore, domestic violence is recognized as a significant barrier to the empowerment of women.

Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, or intimate partner violence can be broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends, or co-habitation. Domestic violence has many forms including physical aggression (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, throwing objects ) or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive /covert abuse; and economic deprivation.

The protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 gives the legal definition of “ Domestic violence” under section 3 (a to d) along with explanation I & II. The DV Actis applicable to the whole India including Jammu & Kashmir as on date. It is a civil law which features on the reliefs given to aggrieved woman such as compensation, protection, right to residence in the “shared household” etc., unlike in the criminal law, where the prime focus is on punishing the accused. It covers all kind of violence faced by a woman at a “shared household”.Domestic violence includes causing any harm or injury to the safety, life, or wellbeing of the aggrieved woman by committing any sexual, verbal, or economic abuse. The definition of Domestic Violence includes four categories of abuse namely; physical, sexual, verbal&emotional, and economic.

“PHYSICAL ABUSE” is any act or conduct which causes bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, limb, or health or impair the health or development of the aggrieved person. It also includes assault, criminal intimidation, and criminal force.

“SEXUAL ABUSE” is any sexual conduct that violates the dignity of a woman. The definition of sexual abuse is not exclusive and hence time and again the courts have recognized other forms of sexual abuse, such as forced sexual intercourse, demands to indulge in oral sex, or watch pornography.

“VERBAL AND EMOTIONAL ABUSE” includes ridicule, humiliation, name-calling especially about not having a child or not having a male child and repeated threats to cause physical pain to any person whom the aggrieved is interested in. Verbal and emotional abuse can also take place in several forms such as character assassination of the aggrieved woman, name-calling, unwarranted comments regarding not bringing dowry, threatening to commit suicide as a method of coercion, preventing a woman to get married as per her choice, etc.

“ECONOMIC ABUSE” is depriving the aggrieved woman of all sorts of financial resources to which she is entitled to under any law or custom or legal order or which she requires out of necessity, such as for running the household, taking care of the children, etc. It also includes alienation of the movable or immovable assets in which she has interest too, prohibiting the aggrieved woman or putting restrictions on her to continue the use of resources or facilities. Courts have also interpreted not giving food to the aggrieved person, interfering with the aggrieved person’s ability to get employment, forcing a woman to leave her job, etc. as a form of economic abuse.

The DV Act applies to all women, irrespective of their marital status, age, or religious beliefs. The broad definition of Domestic Violence under the DV Act protects the rights of women guaranteed to them under the Indian Constitutional, to achieve the violence-free home.That Domestic Violence Act,2005 applies to those women who are or have been in a relationship with the abuser where both parties have lived together in a shared household and are related by consanguinity, marriage or through a relationship like marriage or adoption. The Act applies to those women who are sisters, widows, mothers, single women, or living with abusers are entitled to legal protection under the Domestic Violence Bill however, the Act.

This Act provides for the right of women to secure housing, to reside in her matrimonial home or shared household, whether or not she has any title or rights in such a home or household. This right is secured by a residence order which is passed by a magistrate. This Act empowers the judicial magistrate to pass a protection order in favor of the aggrieved person to prevent the aggressor/ respondent from committing an act of domestic violence or attempting to communicate with her, isolating any assets used by both the parties and causing violence to the aggrieved person or her relatives or others who provide her assistance from the domestic violence.

This Act has been proved to be a golden triangle rights protection legislation by the Parliament in favor of women empowerment.

 

-Adv.Rana Ranjit Singh

-Advocate on Record, Supreme Court


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