Definition of domestic violence
— For the purposes of this Act, any act, omission or commission, or conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence in case it –
- a) harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well‑being, whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, and economic abuse; or
- b) harasses, harms, injures, or endangers the aggrieved person with a view to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property or valuable security; or
- c) has the effect of threatening the aggrieved person or any person related to her by any conduct mentioned in clause (a) or clause (b); or
- d) otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person.
The important difference between the protection provided by IPC
and the D.V. Act
is that it is former focuses cruelty against the wife only and such is committed by either husband or any relative of the husband. This makes the working of the provision very limited. However, it is removed in the D.V. Act, 2005
According to Section 2(q) of D. V. Act, 2005
‘Respondent’ means any adult male person who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and against whom the aggrieved person has sought any relief under this Act: Provided that an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship in the nature of a marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner.
According to Section 2(a) of the D.V. Act, 2005 “aggrieved person”
means any woman who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship
with the respondent and who alleges to have been Subjected to any act of domestic violence
by the respondent;
An act, omission, commission, or conduct of the respondent
There should be an act, omission, commission, or conduct on the part of the respondent which leads to domestic violence. Such act, omission, commission, or conduct should be as mentioned under Section 3 of the D.V. Act.
Harm, Or Injuries Or Endangers The Health, Safety, Life, Limb Or Well-Being (Physical or mental)
An act by the respondent can be said to be an act of domestic violence only if it falls under this category. There should be harm, injuries, or endangerment of the health, safety, life, limb, or well-being of the respondent. If such is not proved then no case will form under this act unless it falls under any other category of the following provision.
Causing Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Verbal And Emotional Abuse And Economic Abuse
There should be the presence of abuse committed by the respondent on the aggrieved party. The types of abuse are explained in detail in the following article.
In the case LalitaToppo V/s State of Jharkhand and Anr.
, the bench stated that Section 3 (a) of the D.V. Act, 2005, which defines the term “domestic violence” which also includes “economic abuse” as domestic violence. The court also stated that under this section of the D.V. Act the wife and even the live-in partner would be entitled to the relief which is more than what is provided in 125 Cr. P.C.
Harasses, Harms, Injures Or Endangers The Aggrieved Person With A View To Coerce Her Or Any Other Person Related To Her
If the husband does any act which includes harassment, harm, injuries or endangers the aggrieved person or someone related to her for the demand of dowry or valuable security then such will lead to domestic violence. This section has clearly mentioned that no physical harm is necessary to prove domestic violence. The demand for dowry or valuable security leads to mental harassment that is equal to domestic violence.
Effect Of Threatening The Aggrieved Person Or Any Person Related To Her
If there is any type of threatening committed by the respondent on the aggrieved person then that will lead to domestic violence. Such threatening does not necessarily have to be on the aggrieved person. If such an act of threatening is committed even on a person who is related to her which will lead to mental frustration that will result in commission domestic violence against the aggrieved person.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof to prove the existence of an offense under the D.V. Act, 2005 the aggrieved party has to prove the allegations put by her.
According to Section 101 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the burden of proof is on the person who alleges that a certain person has committed the offense.
Example- A desires a Court to give judgment that B shall be punished for a crime which A says B has committed. A must prove that B has committed the crime.
In Kamlesh Devi V/s Jaipal and Ors.
, it was held that mere allegations are not sufficient to bring a case under D.V. Act.