The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDV)is an Act implemented to protect women from domestic violence. It has been brought into force by the government and Ministry of Women and Child Development on 26 October 2006. The Act provides a definition of “domestic violence” that includes not only physical violence, but also other forms of violence such as emotional and psychological abuse. This definition also includes harassment by way of unlawful dowry demands to the women or their family.
It is a civil law for protection and is not meant to penalize or provide punishments. It protects and helps women to live in a violence-free environment. It provides only temporary and emergency relief. It has certain crossovers from civil to criminal law, so when the protection order or Magistrate’s order is being violated, criminal law will start.
Procedures involved under PWDVA
Step 1: Informing the Protection Officer.
Step 2: Aggrieved women must be informed of their rights under law. Police officer, Protection Officer, Service Provider or Magistrate who has received a complaint shall inform them of their right to make an application for receiving relief by way of protection order, an order for monetary relief, a residence order, a custody order, a compensation order.
Step 3: The Protection Officer issues a Domestic Incident Report to the Magistrate and forwards the copies thereafter to the Police Officer in charge.
Step 4: Once the matter is received by the Magistrate, The Magistrate shall fix a date of the hearing, which shall not ordinarily be beyond three days from the receipt of the application from the Court, and shall undertake to dispose every application within a period of 60 days from the date of the first hearing.
Step 5: Informing the respondent relating to the date of hearing. A notice of the date of hearing shall be given by the Magistrate to the Protection Officer who shall give it to the respondent or on any other person that has been directed by the Magistrate within a maximum period of two days.
Step 6: The Magistrate may direct either of the parties to undergo counselling and seek assistance of a qualified service provider with sufficient experience. The proceedings are conducted on camera.
Step 7: Whether or not she has any beneficial interest, right, title the aggrieved person has the right to reside in a shared household and shall not be evicted.
Step 8: The Magistrate provides opportunity of being heard, if satisfied that domestic violence has taken place, can pass a protection order or a residence order and direct the respondent to pay the monetary relief.
Step 9: If the protection order has been breached, it shall be punished with either imprisonment fine or both.
Step 10: The Central and the State Government shall take measures to ensure that, Provisions of this Act are given wide publicity through media Central and State government officers including police officers, members of the judicial services etc are given periodic sensitization and awareness training on issues which are addressed by this Act.
Reliefs available under the Domestic Violence Act
The remedies that are available under the PWDV Act to an aggrieved person are as follows:
- Protection orders (Section 18)
- Residence Order (Section 19)
- Monetary Relief (Section 20)
- Custody Orders (Section 21)
- Compensation Orders (Section 22)
- The Magistrate’s power to grant interim and ex parte orders (Section 23)
Although the major objective of this Act is to protect women against domestic violence, certain portions of the law is in need of development. This Act provides civil remedies to the victims of domestic violence. In order to receive any remedies for divorce or custody of children,women has to approach the civil courts. Considering the above, it can be said that the Domestic Violence Act has certainly brought about the required change in the system. The Domestic Violence Act, has succeeded in categorising types of domestic violence and providing the necessary redressal measures to casualties.
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