This article deals with topic titled ‘Domestic Violence’.
Note- This is part of our series on Society for UPSC. For more articles, click here.
What is Domestic Violence?
- It is also known as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
- Domestic violence in India is endemic. Around 70% of women in India are victims
- Most visible form
- Includes slapping, kicking, hitting, beating etc
- Erode woman’s sense of self-worth
- Include harassment; threats, verbal abuse , blaming and isolation.
- Includes touching or fondling; sexual coercion ; wife swapping
- Dowry Demands : can lead to physical & emotional abuse and even dowry death and bride burning
- Patriarchal household structure
- Cultural acceptance of Domestic Violence.
- Alcoholic husband.
- Not having a male child.
- Violence against young widows esp in rural areas – they are cursed for their husband’s death
- Under Reporting : Under reporting & non reporting encourage partner to indulge more into this
- Emotional Distress & suicidal tendencies in women suffering from Domestic Violence.
- Infringement of Fundamental Rights of women including Right to Life
- Serious health problems : Injury, Unwanted Pregnancy etc
- Negative Impact on Children : Children of such parents also face psychological problems and they live in atmosphere of fear
- Domestic Violence has been modified – it includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse that is physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic and further harassment by way of unlawful dowry demands to the woman or her relatives.
- Widened the scope of the term WOMEN – Act now covers “live- in partners”, wives, sisters, widows, mothers, single women, divorced women
- Right to Secure Housing i.e. right to reside in the matrimonial or shared household, whether or not she has any title or rights in the household.
- Principal of Locus Standi doesn’t apply
- For women who prefer not to stay in the shared household, state needs to create shelter homes.
- First hearing within 3 days after receiving application and dispose the case in 60 days.
- Protection Officers to provide assistance to woman for medical examination, legal aid etc
- Act has a provision of upto 1 year imprisonment
Negative points / Lacunae
- Madras High Court Bench observed – it can be misused by the women to file frivolous cases
- A man can be booked under the Domestic Violence act even if women feel that she has been mentally harassed and verbally abused. But these terms are subjective
- Conviction rate is very low (3%) .
- Marital rape is not included
- No provision of online filing of cases
- Number of protection officers appointed in state is inadequate
Recent Judgement making it Gender Neutral
|Supreme Court has laid down that a woman can also file a complaint against another woman, accusing her of domestic violence.
Reasoning of Court
- Since the perpetrators and abettors of domestic violence can also be women, insulating them would frustrate the objectives of the Act. Under this immunity, females and minors can continue to commit domestic violence.
- It discriminates between persons similarly situated and, thus, violates Article 14 of the Constitution.
Significance of the Change
- It makes Domestic Violence gender neutral
- However, there are concerns that it would encourage husbands to file counter cases against their wives through their mothers or sisters.