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Domestic Violence and legal protection for women in IndiaPrepared by Jennifer Bennet,.. II year BA programme Jesus and Mary College

Demand for international & domestic law

The concept of substantive equality and womens rights as human right has, gradually been established

Womens rights are Human Rights the

urgent need for the universal application to women of the rights and principles with regard to equality,security,liberty,integrity and dignity of all human beings UN declaration on Elimination of Violence Against WomenWomenA/RES/48/104,85th plenary meeting, 20 December 1993.

Declaration of Elimination of Violence against women, 1993.

Violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men.

Article 4, Declaration of Elimination of Violence against women, 1993.

.States should pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of elimination violence against women and, to this end, should: (d) Develop penal, civil, labour and administrative sanctions in domestic legislation to punish and redress the wrongs caused to women who are subjected to violence; women who are subjected to violence should be provided with access to the mechanisms of justice and, as provided for by national legislation, to just and effective remedies for the harm that they have suffered; States should also inform women of their rights in seeking redress through such mechanisms;

Incidence of violence in India Nearly

two in five (37%) married women experience some form of physical or sexual violence by their husbands 16% experience emotional violence Only 2% of abused women have ever sought help from the police. - National Family health survey, 2005-06 2005-

Why Separate Law of Domestic Violence?...cont

1) Remedies were available in the form of civil laws such as those dealing with divorce and criminal laws such as Section 498A Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), which acknowledged cruelty within marriages, these were limited in their approach and did not address the need for immediate relief and support- a prime supportrequirement of women facing domestic violence.

Why Separate Law of Domestic Violence?...cont 2)

Due to embedded cultural values, even the limited legal remedies available in cases of Violence Against Women (VAW), such as Section 498A IPC, were restricted to married women.

Why Separate Law of Domestic Violence?...cont 3)

There was no relief available to women in other domestic relationships such as mothers, daughters, women in live-in liverelationships and others facing domestic violence.

Why Separate Law of Domestic Violence?...cont4) It is also important to note that registration of marriage was, and still is, not compulsory and that many marriages were contracted under personal/customary laws. Therefore, prior to the enactment of a specific legislation that dealt with domestic violence, women were often unable to prove existence of marriage and avail necessary remedies.

Why Separate Law of Domestic Violence?...cont

5) In India, one of the most commonly occurring problems in cases of domestic violence is the dispossession of the dependent female from the shared household. household. In a patriarchal society such as ours, usually only male family members are given possession of the premises and it therefore, becomes easier to dispossess the dependent wife, daughter, mother and so on, as the case may be. This is specially so because the Indian matrimonial regime does not confer property rights on a woman upon marriage.

Campaign for a law on domestic violence


NGOs campaigned for change Lobbied with the government

Protection of women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA) The

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. for the first time, formally recognizes a womens right to a violence free home.

What Does the PWDVA Provide?1. 2. 3. 4.


Recognition of the Right to be free from violence The PWDVA provides a declaration of a womans Right to reside in the shared household The right to obtain civil reliefs on violation of the rights recognised under the Act The Act provides a single window clearance system for women seeking legal redress, wherein an aggrieved woman can seek multiple reliefs in one single proceeding. In recognition of the fact that women need more than just access to court, the law has put in place multiple support structures, such as Protection Officers, Service Providers and shelter homes to support the woman in distress and assist courts in justice delivery.