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Domestic Violence Act, 2005

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 which is popularly known as Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was enacted by the Parliament on 13th September 2005 and came into effect on 26th October 2006. It is a comprehensive Act which is primarily meant to provide protection to the wife or female live-in partner from violence at the hands of the husband or male live-in partner or his relatives.

  1. The protection of women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
  2. Enacted by Parliament on 13th September, 2005.
  3. Come into effect on 26th October, 2006.
  4. It intends to provide protection to the wife or female live-in partner from violence at the hands of the husbands or male live-in partner or his relatives.
  5. It also extends its protection to women who are sisters, widows or mothers.
  6. Child abuse is also included in it.
  7. Harrassment by way of dowry demand is included under it as an offence.
  8. Act provides for the appointment of protection officers by the Government to help the victims.
  9. Punishment of one years maximum imprisonment and Twnety thousand rupees each or both to the offenders is mentioned
  10. The Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is to extend its protection to women who are sisters, widows or mothers..
  11. Domestic violence under the Domestic Violence Act 2005, includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse whether physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economical.
  12. Harassment by way of unlawful dowry demands to the women or her relatives would also be covered under this act as an offence.


Main features of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005

  1. Domestic Violence Act, 2005 widens the scope of the term women and also violence or abuse to them. The Act now covers women who are or have been in a relationship with the abuser where both parties have lived together in a shared household and are related by consanguineous marriage or a relationship in the nature of marriage, or adoption in addition relation-ship with family members living together as a joint family are also included. Sisters, widows, mothers, single women or living with the abuser are entitled to get legal protection under this Act.
  2. The Definition of Domestic Violence has been modified under this Act and it includes actual abuse or the threat of abuse that is physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic and further harassment by way of unlawful dowry demands to the woman or her relatives would also be covered under this definition.
  3. Right to Secure Housing is one of the most important features of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The Act provides for the woman’s right to reside in the matrimonial or shared household, whether or not she has any title or rights in the household. This right is secured by a residence order, which is passed by a court.
  4. Under the Act, court can pass protection orders that prevent the abuser from aiding or committing an act of domestic violence or any other specified act, entering a workplace or any other place frequented by the abused, attempting to communicate with the abused, isolating any assets used by both the parties and causing violence to the abused, her relatives and others who provide her assistance from the domestic violence.
  5. Domestic Violence Act, 2005, provides for appointment of protection officers and NGOs to provide assistance to the woman for medical examination, legal aid and safe Shelter.
  6. Domestic Violence Act, 2005, provides for breach of protection order or interim protection order by the respondent as a cognisable and non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees or with both. Non-compliance or discharge of duties by the protection officer is also sought to be made an offence under the Act with similar punishment.
  7. Domestic Violence Act, 2005 has covered the legal loophole in the Justice delivery system for women in India, presently, where a woman is subjected to cruelty by her husband or his relatives. It is an offence under Section 498A of the IPC. The civil law does not, however address this issue in its entirety. Therefore, it was necessary to enact a law, keeping in view the rights guaranteed under articles 14, 15 and 21 in the Constitution of India to provide for a remedy under the Civil Law, which is intended to protect the women from being victims of domestic violence and to prevent the occurrence of domestic violence in the society. This Act is an important step in that direction.


  • Domestic Violence Act, 2005, has been hailed by a large section of society, including the Human right activists, feminists and other women organisations as an extremely progressive piece of legislation in the direction of providing equal socio-economic rights and empowerment to the women in the country.
  • While there is a section which questions the effectiveness of the Act when there are already various penal laws for woman to seek remedy like, Sec. 498A (cruelty against women) 304/B (dowry death), 306 (abetment to suicide) of IPC and Sec. 125 of CrPC. Further, so far there are various instances of misuse of these Laws. So enacting another law would lead to more abuse of the Laws.
  • The Government has passed the law, it now needs to put in place the mechanism of implementation. For this the government has to provide funding to en-courage the registration of service providers who will need the protections of this new law.
  • The Government will also have to initiate a wide-spread campaign for public awareness. It also needs to implement training programs to sensitise the police, media and judiciary to the dimensions, scope and functioning of this new law.