Violence against women is the fastest growing crime in India. To deal with it several laws have been enacted including the domestic violence act, 2005. This act seeks to protect against any kind of abuse whether physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, or economic abuse. It provides for the rights of women in her matrimonial home or shared household.
A woman who is victim of any kind of abuse can be file an application to magistrate seeking reliefs provided under this act. Protection officer appointed by the court can also be filed such application on behalf of the victim. Victim can claim damages or compensation from such abuser. This application does not affect the right of victim to file suit under other provisions relating to domestic violence under other acts. Upon application, the magistrate shall fix date of hearing. A notice of such date is then given by magistrate to protection officer, which is then served on the alleged abuser.
After hearing both the parties, magistrate may pass a protection order in favor of victim and prohibit the respondent from committing any act of violence, alienating property, communicating or any sort of act which is harmful to the victim. Magistrate may also pass residence order in favor of victim to secure her right to live in the household. Any monetary relief may also be granted for loss of earnings, medical expenses, maintenance etc. magistrate may also order for temporary custody of any child to such victim.
Since proceedings take time and it might not be safe for the victim to wait for such long time period, the magistrate is also empowered to make interim orders. If he is satisfied that there has been an act of domestic violence or there is likelihood of domestic violence, he may grant interim and ex-parte order as he thinks fit. The magistrate may such order on the basis of an affidavit furnished by victim in proper form.
The protection officer is duty bound to prepare domestic incident report upon receipt of complaint of domestic violence. Such report, if made, has to be considered by the magistrate to assess whether or not domestic violence has occurred or not. Thus such report must be prepared with caution and care. Along with the report, the magistrate may consider other evidences or circumstances to decide upon the question of domestic violence.