After a month in lockdown the Government of India has now allowed the selling of liquor in the country. The consumption of alcohol while being at home can increase the serious problem of domestic violence. It is estimated that 55 percent of people who commit domestic abuse were drinking. According to WHO alcohol consumption especially at a harmful and hazardous level is a major contributor to the occurrence of inmate partner violence. The prominent role that alcohol plays in instances of domestic violence shows how closely these two are related.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, provides that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms outlined in the Declarations without discrimination of any kind, such as sex. Domestic violence is undoubtedly a human rights issue and a serious deterrent to development. The Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [CEDAW] is the main foundation of rights in respect of women to which 189 countries including India are members to date. The Convention inter alia recognized that the discrimination against women hampers economic growth and detrimentally hampers the society at large.
In India earlier legislation has given the women the powers in respective fields but particularly, so far that the torture cruelty and harassment are concerned the provisions of sections 498- A, 304- B of Indian Penal Code and the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 are basic provisions. National and international bounties compelled the Indian Government to enact the Protecting of Women from Domestic Violence Act of 2005 for making restrictive provisions for errant family members for prohibiting harassment or any violence towards any women or girls. The Act of 2005 specifically is to provide for more effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Another important feature of this Act is the woman’s right to secure housing. The Act provides for the woman’s right to reside in a matrimonial or shared household, whether or not she has any title or rights in the household. No Doubt India has Women Specified and Women related legislation both Constitutional and Legal.
Other than the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, an aggrieved woman may seek remedy under civil law and also under matrimonial laws like the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Special Marriage Act 1954, the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939 and all enactments that recognize cruelty as a valid ground for divorce. Similarly, in Criminal Law a woman has the option to initiate criminal action against her abuser. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence, 2005 has defined “aggrieved person” under section 2(a) – “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”.
It covers those women who are or have been in relations with the abusers where both parties have lived together in a shared household and are related by consanguinity, marriage or through a relationship like marriage or adaption. Also relationship with family members living together as a joint family is also included. This enactment also includes females in live-in relationships. The Act gave a wide interpretation of the words “domestic abuse”, and “domestic relationship”, which included the live-in relationships and also entitled women to reliefs under it.
Besides the limitations of the laws relating to domestic violence in India, there are positive aspects also. The legislation on domestic violence has created awareness among women and society. No longer women have to stay in the same place where they are ill-treated.
By. Akshita Singh
Legal Eagles Eye
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