What are the remedies available to a woman under Domestic Violence Act?

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Although India is being called as the motherland, women have been exploited and discriminated in all places whether civilised or primitive society. Nearly 51% of the men surveyed confirm that they had physically abused their wife for many different reasons at least once in their married life. Article 15 of our Constitution states to make special laws by giving preferential treatment to women.

Section 2 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 explains about Aggrieved Person who is a woman who has been subject to any act of domestic violence by her husband/respondent. Section 3 of the Act explains various acts that include under domestic violence like, endangers health and safety both mentally or physically of aggrieved person, harms injures or threatens to do so, economic abuse, restriction laid by the husband all come under domestic violence.

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The rights that this Act provides are Right to be free from violence, Right to reside in shared household, and Right to seek remedies. An aggrieved person or any one on her behalf can present an application to the magistrate seeking reliefs under the said Act. Section 17 of the Act states that aggrieved person cannot be evicted from the shared household. Magistrate if satisfied that domestic violence had taken place pass protection order in favour of aggrieved person. Magistrate can impose additional conditions that he deems necessary for the protection of the aggrieved person. Section 20 provides monetary reliefs looking at the standard of living of the aggrieved person. He can order for a lump sum payment of maintenance too. Such relief amount should be paid by respondent to aggrieved person within the specified time. Custody of the children to the aggrieved person can be ordered by magistrate. He can even grant compensation to the aggrieved person directing the respondent to pay such amount for mental torture and emotional distress.

In this case Dennison Paulraj & Others vs. Union of India (3 April, 2009) the Vienna Accord of 1994 and the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action (1995) have discussed domestic violence in a worldwide phenomenon and in International fora.

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by Sushma Javare.