Are proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act civil or criminal? The Gordian knot.
Updated: Jun 24, 2022
The aim of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is to protect women from any type of violence that occurs in the household. According to the court, it's not really solely a civil or criminal offence. The complaint may be reregistered under a civil or criminal statute, depending on the intensity and type of the violence.
The high court remarked in a petition filed under the DV Statute whether the term "domestic violence" falls under the criminal act or not.
The court stated that this is a civil act but later legislation decided to bring such situations under the code of criminal procedure to take immediate and effective action. The word violence has a criminal connotation and may relate to criminal conduct, yet the purpose of the act is to offer legal help to a victim of domestic abuse.
In a case, a husband filed a petition in the Bengaluru Rural District trial court, claiming that his wife's complaint had been delayed. The husband also opposed his wife's appeal for the release of the Rs. 4.32 Lacs he had placed for maintenance.
According to the bench, a woman can seek remedies under section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act. She has the legal right to do so, hence the restriction imposed by section 468 of the Cr.P.C. does not apply here.
The aim of the Domestic Violence Act, according to the court, is to provide legal protection to women against any type of violence that occurs in the household.
If every act of domestic abuse is regarded as a crime, the legislature does not need to enact different acts such as 498A, 306, 304B, or offences against the body in Chapter XVI of the IPC for the Domestic Violence Act.
The court determined that the petition was not time-barred and ordered the trial court to release the funds, stating that the wife has complete authority over the funds.