Posts Tagged ‘indian penal code’


Guest post by Monica Sarkar, freelance journalist:

‘Eve teasing’. It’s such a cute, endearing term, isn’t it? Almost sounds like a child’s game, like ‘Hyde and Seek’ or ‘Kiss Chase’.

Well, it’s not. It’s a sugar-coated expression commonly used in India for the sexual harassment of women; invading their personal space as they walk down the street; and heckling, amongst other less pleasing but truthful terms.

Since the horrific Delhi gang-rape and murder of a 23-year old woman, many Indian women have come forward with their stories of the perils of being a woman in India. As a British-born Indian woman who has visited India many times, I can also share the same tales.

Men aggressively – or subtly – brushing past me or following me, even though I was in the company of elders. I was once getting off the metro in Kolkata in broad daylight and a crowd of men who were stood either side of the train doors suddenly moved in front so I would be forced to barge past them as I disembarked the train.

During New Year’s Eve in Goa a few years ago, similar occurrences happened whilst I was in the company of male and female friends in a crowded area of the North. It got so bad that I threateningly raised a water bottle to hit anyone who dared to come close, under the blind eyes of patrolling police officers. That’s the worst thing – not really knowing who you can turn to.

Even during the recent mass protests following the gang-rape attack, the BBC reported that men still tried to grope women in the crowd.

Can we talk?

But where does this frustration come from, to the point where a man will get his kicks from brushing past a strange woman? And why can it transform itself into a monstrous desire to abuse, or even kill?

Walk of life doesn’t matter either, as three politicians – governors of the country – resigned after being caught watching porn on their mobile phones in parliament. One was even a women’s affair minister.

Most importantly, if these men, or people close to them, feel they have a problem, where can they go and who can they talk to in order to solve it? There lies a real problem: Indians don’t talk enough about sex. Having spent extensive amounts of time in Indian society, talking about it is seen as embarrassing, or even dirty.

Even topics such as homosexuality or a physical or mental disability can be seen as shameful and hampering the chances of marriage.

The gang-rape victim’s friend recently revealed the hesitancy of passers-by and even the police to help them as they were left badly injured at the side of the road by the attackers. When asked why Indians do not discuss such issues, he reportedly told Zee News:

“In our society, we try to hide such things. If something bad has happened with us, then we try to hide thinking what will the other person say. Also because our friends and relatives talk behind our back about such incidents, that we try to prevent them from becoming public.”

Shame is on the woman

In fact, sexual assault or rape is commonly seen as humiliating for the victim. Attacks are so common that many Indian media outlets reuse the same images to illustrate stories of such attacks, usually depicted as a “shamed woman”.

In addition to these perceptions, there is a complete lack of trust in India’s justice and policing system to give people the confidence to come forward. In fact, Indians often joke about the carelessness of their police officers. But now is the time to stop laughing and start talking about the issues which are suppressed and subsequently not dealt with.

Official figures show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded last year in India were against women. It is thought that the real figure is much higher because of the many cases that are left unreported to the police.

India is a country of contrasts indeed. On the one hand, you have the peaceful haven of temples and ashrams and vibrant celebrations. On the other, you have a deeply rooted, dark culture of female oppression that lurks beneath a colourful surface.

However, with the mass outcry and demands for change, India has reacted brilliantly. Let’s not forget other countries in the shadow of this tragedy that have the same problems; I’ve been heckled and received sexual advancements in places like Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and even here in London too.

In India, the message is loud and clear – Indians have had enough. But along with protesting to governors of this country, Indians need to communicate more openly and freely with one another as well, in order to break taboos and cultivate understanding.

Firstly, though, let’s stop using a pretty name like ‘eve-teasing’, shall we? It’s called sexual harassment, or gender violence at its extreme. Let’s be very clear about that.

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Guest blog by Prashanth Kagali:
Rape means, “the crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will.”
I am a positive person and would love to inspire people and get inspired from them. But I have no idea how to inspire a girl who is raped. I feel shame even to approach considering the resentment she would be having against men, which is perfectly right on her part.
When fathers are raping their own daughters, there is no way a girl can trust any man. Even animals would not do this kind of heinous act. As the above definition goes, rape is something that is forced onto another person, against their will. Being a guy if someone forces me to do a simple thing as eating something, which is against my will, I reject it in the strongest of terms. I may never understand what a girl goes through and how it feels for her when someone rapes her, but forcing someone against their will even for smallest of things is just not respecting that person what he or she is.
What needs to be done?
Enough is written about the Rape incidents and its good people are talking and writing more about it. We always have to address the root cause of any problem. Here is where the education comes into picture. Education means not only what is taught at school but also at home. Parents have to teach their male children how to respect girls and how to treat them.
If only these Rape incidents have to end, then every parent should handover their son, a rapist, to the police and ensure strict action is taken. Tell me, how many parents or sisters or brothers would treat their sons or brothers with the same anger as they treat with any other rapist? It’s all about taking a stand.
We cannot live peacefully in a world if one tries to dominate the other. It’s all about giving respect to the other sex. Men need to be educated about the pain that girls goes through when they are raped. No matter what law is passed and what punishment is granted, rape can never be eliminated unless rapists exercise self-control.
I don’t get the idea of movies showing rape scenes. According to me it doesn’t make any sense. Rape scenes should be banned in movies. These rape scenes clearly show that men can exercise control over women. May be this is also in some way helping the rapists. Passing a single law or legislation or holding committees or giving death sentences can never eliminate rape. As we all know how death sentences are given in India. If the amount of time and money spent on deciding whether to give death sentence to Kasab is any indication then you can imagine what would be the case in these rape incidents.
Women deserve respect and it’s a shame that they have to fight for it even today.

According to Wikipedia ‘Acid attack’ or vitriolage is defined as the act of throwing acid onto the body of a person “with the intention of injuring or disfiguring [them] out of jealousy or revenge”. Perpetrators of these attacks throw acid at their victims, usually at their faces, burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones. The long-term consequences of these attacks include blindness and permanent scarring of the face and body.

As a part of Justice For Women, I have come across some acid attack cases and have been managing groups and pages such for these victims: Archana Kumari, Inderjit Kaur, Sonali Mukherjee and recently a 15-year old girl called Tuba Tabassum.

With every new case, the wounds get deeper, the crime gets graver and the heart gets heavier. How could one human being put another through such a horrendous act of terror? It turns the victim into the living dead. Acid attack doesn’t just deforms one’s face and body, it takes away their whole personality, their identity and more than that, their life; It causes extreme physical and mental suffering to victims and permanently mar their psyche. I personally could not think of an act more inhumane than this one.

According to a report by the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School, the Committee on International Human Rights of the New York City Bar Association, the Cornell Law School International Human Rights Clinic, and the Virtue Foundation, called COMBATING ACID VIOLENCE IN BANGLADESH, INDIA, AND CAMBODIA, “acid violence is prevalent in these countries because of three related factors: gender inequality and discrimination, the easy availability of acid, and impunity for acid attack perpetrators.”

Since I wasn’t completely aware of acid attack know-how, I did research on the topic by reading the above mentioned report, Raahnuma.org and Tehelka:

What are the most common types of acids used in acid attacks?

Most commonly available acids used to attack victims are hydrochloric, sulfuric, or nitric acid, which quickly burns through flesh and bone.

What are the reasons behind these acid attacks?

They result from domestic or land disputes, dowry demands or revenge. In many cases they are a form of gender based violence, perhaps because a young girl or woman spurned sexual advances or rejected a marriage proposal.

What are the after-effects/consequences of the acid attack on victims?

Acid attacks cause immediate damage, disfigurement, pain, and long lasting medical complications for victims. Acid can melt away a victim’s skin and flesh, going as far as dissolving bones. The burned skin dies, turning black and leathery, and severe scarring results.

After the attacks, victims are at risk of breathing failure due to the inhalation of acid vapors which cause either a poisonous reaction or swelling in the lungs. In the weeks or even months after the attack, acid burn victims may suffer from infections, which can also cause death if not treated properly.

How long does it take for the acid to start affecting the skin?

It takes five seconds of contact to cause superficial burns and 30 seconds to result in full-thickness burns.

What kind of First Aid must be provided to an acid attack victim?
  1. As quickly as possible, flush contaminated area with lukewarm, gently flowing water for at least 20-30 minutes, by the clock. If irritation persists, repeat flushing.
  2. While flushing the eyes use lukewarm water and keep the eyelids open at all times to allow uninterrupted flushing to rinse every last residue of acid.
  3. Neutral saline solution may be used as soon as it is available without interrupting the flushing.
  4. Call for an ambulance right away and keep flushing until one arrives.
  5. Under running water, remove clothing, shoes, jewelry watch any other contaminated item touching the skin.
  6. Keep contaminated clothing, shoes and all other items in a plastic bag for evidence.

Dos and Don’ts:

  • Do not take off any clothing that is stuck to the burn.
  • Do not interrupt flushing at any time.
  • Do not soak the burn in water.
  • Do not use ice as this will damage the skin.
  • Do not use a fluffy cloth, like a towel or blanket.
  • Do not break or pop any blisters.
  • Do not use butter, grease, oils or ointments if it is a severe burn..
  • Make sure the person is breathing, and administer CPR if necessary
  • Give him/her a pain reliever medicine.
  • Cool the burn with running water or a cold damp cloth.

For more details, please refer to Raahnuma, a site dedicated to providing information, support and resources to victims of abuse of any kind and their families.

Why do acid attack victim require to undergo multiple reconstruction surgeries?

Victims must endure painful surgical procedures just to prevent further harm and suffering.

If not washed off immediately, acid continues to burn the skin, and may eventually cause skeletal damage and organ failure. If the dead skin is not removed from an acid violence victims’ body within four or five days, the new skin may grow to cause further facial deformities. If there is burned skin tissue around the neck and armpit areas, it must be removed to facilitate movement.

After a while, some skin may grow back and grow over eyelids or nostrils of victims, or pull on existing skin resulting in the formation of lumps.

To avoid severe pain and further disabilities, acid burn victims need staged surgeries and constant physical therapy to ensure that scarred tissue remains elastic and does not harm other parts of the body.

Why are acid attacks so common in our country?

The biggest reason for the high frequency rate of acid attacks in India is that concentrated acid is cheap and easily available in the market, for as low as Rs. 16-25 per liter.

Furthermore there are no legal restrictions imposed on buying or selling acid. Anyone can legally purchase acid over the counter in pharmacies, automobile repair shops, goldsmith shops, and open-air markets. Acid is also heavily used in many households as a cleaning agent.

Why must we treat acid attacks as a grave criminal act and what should be the punishment like?

Acid attack perpetrators do not usually intend to kill their victims, but to cause long-lasting physical damage and emotional trauma.

Even if the perpetrator does not intend to cause death, the injuries sustained by the victim may still result in death.

Is there an international legislation for acid attacks?

Acid violence constitutes gender-based violence, a form of discrimination under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

What must be the State’s involvement in curbing the increasing number of acid attacks?
  1. States committed to decreasing the rate of acid attacks should enact laws regulating the handling of acid such as
    • Requiring the storage and sale of acid in labeled containers indicating the nature of the content, cautioning users about its dangerousness, and warning them of the penalties associated with misuse of acid.
    • Banning the use of concentrated forms of acid for household purposes where less potentially harmful alternatives are available.
  2. States must enact targeted legislation and policies to address acid violence and also ensure effective implementation of those laws and policies by conducting appropriate investigations, protecting victims from threats that could undermine these investigations and providing just punishment to the perpetrators of acid attacks.
Where does India stand as far as formulating a legislation dedicated solely to acid attack is concerned?

The National Commission for Women (NCW) came up with a draft of the Prevention of Offences (by Acids) Act, 2008.

The draft Bill proposed by the NCW suggested that a national acid attack victims’ assistance board be set up to recommend to the government strategies for regulating and controlling the production, hoarding, import, sale and distribution of acids.

The Cabinet has passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2012, with special provisions for acid victims. For the first time, acid attacks have been included under a standalone provision in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

It has been proposed that two sections — 326A (hurt by acid attack) and 326B (attempt to throw or administer acid) — be added to the IPC. This is a non-bailable offence. The proposed law states that the attacker could get a jail term of 10 years to life for causing hurt by acid. He or she could be sent to jail for up to seven years for attempting to do so.

The law states that there should be an additional clause in the law making where the State should take up the responsibility of compensating the victim if the accused fails to do so. Some states such as Karnataka have adopted a mechanism to pay the victim from State funds. Recently, the Delhi Government too announced that it would pay a compensation of up to Rs. 3 lakh to a victim in case there is disfigurement of the face.

Special mention-ASTI:

Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) is the only organisation in the world working at the international level to end acid and burns violence. It also works with UN agencies, NGOs and strategic partners from across the world to increase awareness of acid violence and develop effective responses at the national and international level. In India, the partner is called Acid Survivors Forum India.

Needless to say, there is an urgent need for India to pass a separate law to curb this vicious act of hatred towards women called acid attack. The actual number of such cases may exceed our imagination since there is no national statistics available to record cases of acid attack. Also, most of these cases go unreported due to various reasons such as economic background of the family, threats to victims, insensitive treatment by police and medical staff of the victims etc.

We need to open our eyes to this deadly threat of acid attack and must ask the government to regulate distribution of commonly available acid as well as regulate laws specifically targeting the heinous act of acid attack.

For this purpose, we have formed a group on Facebook called Students Against Acid Attack to collect like-minded, strong-headed youth on a shared platform, that realizes the urgency of the situation and stands united to support this cause. Kindly join, share and be a part of the student collective to fight for the human rights of these acid attack victims and ensure that justice is duly served.

Because together this generation can and shall make this country proud!


Recently I came across this case happening in one of my extended circles. A married woman in late 20s alleged that her husband of 10 years is gay and filed for divorce in the court. She claimed that both her daughters (aged 6-yrs and 2-yrs) are conceived off another man because her own husband was incapable of forming a sexual relationship with her due to his sexual orientation.
What I found appalling was that she left both her daughters with the husband’s family and took off to her mother’s. She has now joined a college and is portraying herself as a single girl in order to get married to this other man of resourceful means.

I don’t know how the court has reacted to her allegations specially since if the daughters are not natural-born to her husband, why should he be entitled to their custody? His case is evidently stronger than his wife’s since she’s the one that cheated and left her kids with his family. But in his last conversation to a relative he told that the court seems inclined towards the wife and he may even have to pay compensation for the divorce along with getting custody of the children.

How fair is that to the man and his family is all I ask? Why does he have to pay for his wife’s self-confessed infidelity, insensitivity and ill-attachment to her own kids?

Another case that recently happened in one of my father’s friends’ family is that a newly wed asked for a hefty sum of money to be transferred to her mother’s account or else she’ll file a dowry case against the husband and his family.When the family  did not pay heed to her threats, she filed a case against the husband claiming he is impotent and has an extra-marital affair. The court ruled in her favor and she received a handsome alimony.

When I was a toddler, our neighbors’ son, a doctor got married to a woman who was under a false identity, filed a case of dowry demand  and domestic violence and put the whole family behind the bars in return for heavy compensation in cash. Her false identity was discovered when she was caught doing the same to another family and our neighbors were finally let out of jail a decade later. Justice may have been served late but the family is now living in slums, trying to make ends meet through daily wage jobs.

I am sure these are not the only cases you have heard about.

Women go to the police with a complaint (may be false), but the system provides to record that as a criminal complaint and that data adds in to the National Statistics of Crime Against Women. When male goes with a genuine complaint the police at max can record a Non Cognizable offence against the women. That will never reflect in the statistics. Then how will one guage crime against men? Every 100 Suicides in India have 63 Males and 37 Females. Every 100 male suicides have 45 married males, and every 100 women suicides have 25 married Women. Married women suicides have default arrests of the inlaws under presumed dowry death. Married men suicides entitle wife for a 50% share in property. — Jinesh Zaveri, an advocate on men’s rights in marriage laws.

The biggest threats to Indian men and Indian families is Article 498A of Indian Penal Code , Passed by Indian Parliament in 1983, which is a criminal law (not a civil law):

“Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. The offence is Cognizable, non-compoundable and non-bailable.”

498a can only be invoked by wife/daughter-in-law or her relative. Most cases where Sec 498A is invoked turn out to be false (as repeatedly accepted by High Courts and Supreme Court in India) as they are mere blackmail attempts by the wife (or her close relatives) when faced with a strained marriage. In most cases 498a complaint is followed by the demand of huge amount of money (extortion) to settle the case out of the court. This section is non-bailable(you have to appear in court and get bail from the judge), non-compoundable (complaint can’t be withdrawn) and cognizable (register and investigate the complaint, although in practice most of the time arrest happens before investigation). There have been countless instances where, without any investigation, the police has arrested elderly parents, unmarried sisters, pregnant sister-in-laws and even 3 year old children. In these cases unsuspecting family of husband has to go through a lot of mental torture and harassment by the corrupt Indian legal system. A typical case goes on for years (5-7 years is typical) and the conviction rate is about 2% only. Some accused parents, sisters and even husbands have committed suicide after time in jail. — 498a.org, a website to raise awareness on 498A of IPC and it’s increasing misuse by the Indian daughter-in-laws.

One of the most hazardous and disastrous social evils in society along with crime against women is misandry i.e. hatred towards men, and is visible in following forms:

  1.  Presence of anti-male gender biased laws in India.
  2.  Little awareness of men’s issues.
  3. Trivialization of men’s problems.
  4. Male disposability.
  5. Systematic gender-based discrimination against men across policies – either public or private.
  6. No special protection accorded to men from serious issues like incidences of terror from intimate partners, immediate family and extended family.
  7. Gender based discrimination against fathers.
  8. Gender based discrimination against boys in education schemes.
  9. Irrational distribution of responsibilities across the two genders.
  10. No allocation of budget by Government towards male friendly causes and objectives.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) as many as 61,453 married men ended their lives in 2010, compared to 31,754 women. The NCRB report in 2011 concluded that at least 16 people committed suicide every hour and the total figure was 1.35 lakh; Suicides due to divorce and “illegitimate pregnancy” saw a rise of 54% and 20% respectively in 2011. The report showed that 70% of victims were married. While social and economic causes led most men to commit suicide, emotional and personal causes mainly drove women to take the extreme step.

Taking into consideration shortfall in Indian Penal code of basic human right of men and protection, a new law named ‘Saving Men from Intimate Terror Act’ SMITA is on the anvil. This bill is supposed to be tabled in the Parliament this winter session and debate would be held in the Rajyasabha as given to understand from the Standing Committee of the Parliament. — Fight For Justice, a blog on protecting men’s right in India.

SMITA is a joint initiative by the Indian Social Awareness and Activism Forum (INSAAF) and Confidare Research, drafted to protect men and boys from domestic violence from their spouse, girlfriends and parents.

Various forms of abuse against men by the opposite sex have been classified by  them under:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Legal abuse
  • Economic abuse
  • Sexual abuse

The draft bill was sent as a petition to the Rajya Sabha by the NGOs, following which an acknowledgement was sent to the petitioners, paving the way for a discussion on it in the Upper House.

If you are one of the victims of women-centric family laws in the country, you can seek support at NGOs such as Men’s Rights AssociationSave Indian Family Foundation/All India Men’s Welfare Association.
Every coin has two sides to it, without looking at the other, one should not form an opinion. Justice For Women was not a result of misandry but an attempt to protect, save, empower and fight for equality of our own kind.
The purpose of this post is to aware the readers of the threats of women-centric laws to the men in India and to show our support for SMITA. This is not to say that crime against women and inferior status of women in India is a myth.
Everyone deserves fair and just trial. Gender bias deepens division of society based on sex and I believe we would all agree this country needs to learn solidarity, unity and tolerance towards those different from ourselves.

Guest post by Neha on domestic violence, the law, its application and how to defend yourself if falsely accused.
DISCLAIMER: THIS POST SPEAKS ABOUT ONE OF THE MOST SENSITIVE TOPICS – DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. I INTEND TO COVER ALL THE IMPORTANT ASPECTS RELATED TO THIS TOPIC WHICH INCLUDE LEGAL ASPECTS, JUDICIAL ASPECTS, ADMINISTRATIVE ASPECTS AND FACTS. THE VIEWS POSTED HERE ARE PURELY MINE. I REQUEST YOU ALL NOT TO GENERALIZE THEM AND ACT PURELY BASED ON THEM.
Part – 1. The Law

So many bloggers on this blogosphere have written something related to women suffering from physical abuse by her husband, so many newspapers and news channels report various news about dowry death, or torturing a woman to an extent that she decides to end her life rather than living in such a terrible state. Such cases which catch the public eye through the medium of media are very few. The numbers in the limelight are not even 10% close to what is actually reaching the stage of a police complaint against the accuse (which is a husband always, that is what I have seen at least). Additionally, there are very few people (again, usually women) who actually file a complaint against the party who has been accused of physical abuse, mental torture and/or dowry demand. Most of them prefer to keep quiet about this due to various reasons like family and society pressure, no or minimum financial support, future of kid/s , inefficiency of legal system and so on and so forth.

My intention for writing this post is not to give anybody a negative picture of either the judicial system or the administrative system. I simply want to put forward the picture that I have seen so far in my practice. I have never been directly involved in these matters – in a lawyer’s term, we call it family court practice – but, I have referred to, studied and come across many such cases that fall within the purview of domestic violence.

Earlier, there was only one section – Section 498-A of Indian Penal Code (popularly known as IPC) which protected a woman who had become a victim of domestic violence by her husband or his relative/s. But in the year 2005, a new law – The Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was enacted that specified the smallest of detail that can cause torture and/or physical as well as mental harassment to a woman.

What does the Law say?

Our Judicial system considers the harassment of the women as a criminal offence. Section 498A of IPC says that: S/498-A – Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation-For the purpose of this section, “cruelty” means:

(a) Any willful conduct which is of such a nature as is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health whether mental or physical) of the woman; or

(b) Harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure by her or any person related to her meet such demand.

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. Explanation I.-For the purposes of this section,-

(i) “physical abuse” means any act or conduct which is of such a nature as to cause bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, limb, or health or impair the health or development of the aggrieved person and includes assault, criminal intimidation and criminal force;

(ii) “sexual abuse” includes any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the dignity of woman;

(iii) “verbal and emotional abuse” includes-

(a) insults, ridicule, humiliation, name calling and insults or ridicule specially with regard to not having a child or a male child; and

(b) repeated threats to cause physical pain to any person in whom the aggrieved person is interested.

(iv) “economic abuse” includes-

(a) deprivation of all or any economic or financial resources to which the aggrieved person is entitled under any law or custom whether payable under an order of a court or otherwise or which the aggrieved person requires out of necessity including, but not limited to, household necessities for the aggrieved person and her children, if any, stridhan, property, jointly or separately owned by the aggrieved person, payment of rental related to the shared household and maintenance;

(b) disposal of household effects, any alienation of assets whether movable or immovable, valuables, shares, securities, bonds and the like or other property in which the aggrieved person has an interest or is entitled to use by virtue of the domestic relationship or which may be reasonably required by the aggrieved person or her children or her stridhan or any other property jointly or separately held by the aggrieved person; and

(c) prohibition or restriction to continued access to resources or facilities which the aggrieved person is entitled to use or enjoy by virtue of the domestic relationship including access to the shared household.

Explanation: II.-For the purpose of determining whether any act, omission, commission or conduct of the respondent constitutes “domestic violence” under this section, the overall facts and circumstances of the case shall be taken into consideration.

******
Part 2. Applicability of the Law – The Process 

1. The procedure for filing the complaint against the accused is that the victim can go to the police station nearby and file the complaint.

2. This offense is a non-bailable offense. To get the bail, the accused has to be presented in the court in front of the judge.

3. This offense is a non-compoundable offense. That means the complaint once filed cannot be withdrawn by the complainant or her relatives.

4. It is a cognizable offense. That means the complaint has be registered and investigated before making any arrests.

******

The first part of this post spoke about the legal aspects of the Section 498 – A and Domestic Violence Act. My intentions for this post are not only to give information about how law works and protects you, but to give you a general guideline on how few precautionary measures can help you to protect your and your family’s interest when any kind of a case is filed.

Applicability of the Law – The Practice 

In case of complaint filed under Section 498-A and Domestic Violence Act, the usual practice that has been followed is:

1. Whether to lodge the complaint or not, it depends on which party is stronger – the accused or the complainant.

2. Even though it is a cognizable offense, in most of the cases the arrests are made immediately after the complaint is lodged. There is no investigation made before arresting the accused party/ies.

3. Stronger the lawyer, stronger the case. Here I am not talking about a knowledgeable lawyer, but i am talking about influential lawyer. It is easy to know the law. A fresh graduate fighting his/her first case can also help you out in these matters, but when there is a question of getting a bail at the earliest, or making sure that the case gets sorted out as a settlement between two parties, you need a good and influential lawyer. That time it does not matter whether you are right or wrong. All that matters is who is your lawyer.

*****

If you are falsely charged with a case on domestic violence, the points mentioned below are the measures you can take when framed or before being framed:

1. Enter into a Prenuptial Agreement (Prenup) before marriage. Prenup is a declaration saying that neither of the parties has demanded or given any dowry. The jewellery, articles, clothes, vehicles etc. all are given to the girl as a gift by her parents and/or relatives. (If any of you require a prenup copy, then please mention that as a separate comment along with your e-mail id. I will send it to you and not publish the comment containing your id.)

2. Get the prenup duly signed and executed by the parties. Further, two witnesses each party must sign the Prenup as well.

3. Make a list of the articles brought in by the girl at the time of the wedding. The girl has a de facto (actual) right on Stridhan. Stridhan means and includes property inherited by the woman from her family or husband’s family; property received by her under a compromise, adverse possession or in lieu of maintenance; property obtained in partition; and property bought using proceeds from stridhan. However, gifts to the husband by the woman or her relatives will not be part of her stridhan.

4. Evidence plays a very crucial role when a complaint is filed. It can convict the innocent and evict the guilty. Thus it is highly recommended to keep all the documents viz. Marriage certificate, bank statements, Prenup, the list of the gifts received at the time of the wedding, wedding pictures, bills etc. Safely, copy them all and get the marriage certificate notarized so that both the parties have the valid copy of the same.

5. When a woman is physically abused, she should go to the doctor immediately, get the treatment and certificate mentioning the specific reason for the injuries from him. Here, it is highly recommended to go to a government hospital for the treatment as the certificate issued by the government hospital has a stronger legal stand. This point can be raised by a man who has been framed wrongfully by a woman when the case comes in the court. It may or may not help, but can be useful.

6. When a physical or verbal abuse is happening, start screaming and alert your neighbours. This can help you to get witnesses when you do not have sufficient evidences to prove your point. Further, it may help to avoid the damage being done further.

7. The moment you get the idea that there may arise some problem regarding any general or a specific issue; consult a lawyer before hand rather than waiting for the problem to take over first. This will help you maintain peace of mind and nerve when in trouble.

8. If possible, install the recording, itemized bills and caller id facilities on your landlines and mobiles.

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