DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND WAY FORWARD
The term ‘Domestic Violence’ refers to a behavior which is used by the people in a marital relationship to gain or maintain power and control over the other partner. It happens when one of the partners tries to dominate the other partner in a relationship. We can’t say that it is merely an argument. It is a pattern of coercive control by one partner over the other partner.The term domestic violence includes the behavior of humiliating, manipulating, frightening, intimidating, hurting, blaming, or wounding someone. It happens between the married couple and their family or the couples who are dating. The cases of Domestic Violence are growing at a swift pace in India.It occurs not only in a poor family but in wealthy families as well. It has both social and legal aspects.In India, people feel that domestic violence occurs only on women, but it happens on a large number of men too.
MEANING OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Section 3 of Domestic Violence Act 2005 defines Domestic Violence.According to Sec. 3 of the Act respondent shall constitute domestic violence if his act causes harm or injury to the victims life which includes verbal abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economical abuse or physical abuse with the view to meet any unlawful demand for dowry, other property or other valuable security. The act also further defines four types of abuse.
· Physical Abuse: It involves the activity which causes harm to the body of the victim i.e., kicking, punching, grabbing, murder, etc.
· Verbal &Emotional Abuse: Emotional abuse includes verbal &non-verbal abuse. Verbal abuse means insulting, humiliation, &name-calling, etc. Non-verbal means without the use of words, which includes isolation, intimidation or any such conduct without saying anything which emotionally hurts. It involves the destruction of victim’s self-worth.
· Sexual Abuse:Sexual abuse includes sexual assault, harassment, and other demeaning behaviors that violates the dignity of a woman.
· Economic Abuse: This includes controlling one intimate partner over the other partners access to economic resources. It includes withholding cash, preventing from choosing own career, forcing her to work against her will.
This Covid-19 created huge chaos in the live human being and also affected entire economy of the country, be it developed countries or developing countries. One such problem caused by this pandemic is increment in high number of cases of domestic violence. As the entire country of the world were under lockdown still major sector of the economy are under unlocking phases. According to Marlene Schiappa, the French Secretary of Equality, domestic violence cases also increases whenever the family spends more time together. Seeing a rapid increase in cases, France government announced for free counseling as Paris alone faced 36%increment in cases and other part of France also faced this problem. Similarly, other countries like Germany, Canada, United Kingdom and United States also faced the same increment in the cases of domestic violence. In India during lockdown , the National Commission for Women (NCW) has registered 587 complaints of domestic violence between 23 March and 16 April. 45% of complaints have been increased from the previous 25 days. It is not that violence occurred only due to lockdown even in previous years, such cases were seen. According to the reports of National Crime Records Bureau, domestic violence was the biggest Crime against women in Indian 2018.According to a data, the crime rate per lakh women population was increased to 58.1 in 2018 in comparison to 57.9 in 2017.From the time social distancing was enacted, reports of domestic violence have been increased up to 25%.In 2020 The idea of lockdown to overcome the situation of Covid-29 has just worsened the conditions of domestic violence by confining the victims with their culprits/offender/criminals at the place where they meant to be the safest than the other place. Homes that is the safest place for a person has been the worst in this pandemic for the victims of domestic violence.
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS& NATIONAL LAWS
A. INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS
There are certain international conventions to protect women from various types of violence.These conventions form the basis of national laws. National laws in India on Domestic Violence.
1. DECLARATION ON ELIMINATION OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN, 1967.
This convention was adopted on 7th November 1967, by General Assembly of United Nation to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. It also ensure that women married or unmarried equal right with man in the field of economic and social life.
2. CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN, 1979
This convention was adopted on 18th December 1979, by the General Assembly. This convention was made to fulfill the purpose stated in Art. 1,2 and 55 of the above declaration.This convention grant guarantee for equality &freedom from discrimination that occur in public & private space.
3. DECLARATION ON THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, 1993
It was a first instrument that exclusively deals with the issue of violence against women.
B. NATIONAL LAWS
1. THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT, 2005
The offense of domestic violence in India is governed by this law which was enacted in the year 2005, with the view to protect the women from domestic violence and also to provide protection to the victim. This law is civil in nature.
2. INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860
Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code deals with the violence done on married women either by her in-laws or by her husband or any relatives of her husband. This section basically provides for cruelty, which includes unlawful demands of dowry.
JUDICIAL APPROACH TOWARDS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
The judiciary of India also played a vital role in the protection of women against this societal evil through various judgment. Some of the important cases are as follow:
In the case of Paniben v. State of Gujarat broadly reflects the judicial approach on the present matter. The court observed that every time a case relating to dowry death comes up, it causes ripples in the pool of conscience of the court. Nothing could be more barbarous; nothing could be more heinous than this sort of crime. The main cause for killing young married woman or daughter-in-law is basically greed. In the case of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation v. Nawab Khan Gulab Khan, the Supreme court observe that the right to dignity would include the right against being subjected to humiliating sexual acts.In the case of S. Gopal Reddy v. State of A.P, the Hon'ble Court observed that the alarming increasing in cases relating to harassment, torture, abetted suicides and dowry deaths of young innocent married woman has always sent shock waves to the society but unfortunately the evil has continued unabated. Awakening of the collective consciousness is the need of the day.
Domestic violence is a societal evil in today's world. It may have a far wider and deeper impact in real life than what has been covered in this article. In this COVID-19 pandemic, the cases of domestic violence have been increased at a higher rate.Despite of being many laws on Domestic Violence, its tough to control its increasing ratio.
- Mahima Raj & Alisha Maheshwari
 The PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT 2005. Explanation of section 3 of The PROTECTION OF WOMEN FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACT 2005. AIR 1992 SC 1817. AIR 1997 SC 152. (1996) 4 Supreme Court Cases 596.