Cruelty and domestic violence

Cruelty and domestic violence


Domestic violence and cruelty in India. In Rupali Devi Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors the Supreme court has explained the cruelty.

Hon’ble Supreme court has overserved that “Cruelty” which is the important ingredient of the offence under Section 498A IPC. Cruelty also means the intentional infliction of mental and physical impact on a human being”.

 Meaning of cruelty and domestic violence

The definition of Cruelty has not mentioned anywhere in our law books. Cruelty can be both physical or mental. Therefore, the meaning of cruelty is the impact on the psychological state of the wife by acts on the part of the husband.

Law of Divorce and Mutual Divorce in India

Mental cruelty and domestic violence

Mental cruelty is borne out of physical or abusive and humiliating verbal exchanges. That would continue within the parental home albeit there might not be any overt act of physical cruelty at such place.

Furthermore, the definition of domestic violence under the PWDVA, 2005 contemplates harm or injuries that endanger the health, safety, life, limb or wellbeing.

Domestic violence under PWDVA states that harm or injuries that endanger the health, safety, life, limb or wellbeing. That can be whether mental or physical, also as emotional abuse.

Domestic Violence Act

The issue of cruelty and domestic violence is not only with the lower and middle-class people of India. But also upper-class people facing the issue of domestic violence. Lots of women are not reporting the issue of domestic violence.

Some times women’s family members do not support the women and hesitate to report due to the shame and guilt issue. Most also women think that it will difficult to prove domestic violence. That the aggrieved women get monetary relief with the help of the domestic violence act.

Reliefs in Domestic Violence

But, after enacting the Domestic Violence Act 2005, the women of India get hope. Magistrate can interim relief to the aggrieved person in case of any urgency. In the case of any circumstances, the magistrate can conduct the trial in camera.

  • And expecting some relief from the law. the Domestic Violence Act 2005 gives lots of power to women like as under:
  • Every woman who is in a domestic relationship has the right to reside in a domestic relationship in the shared household. And she shall not remove from share household.
  • The magistrate shall pass a protection order in favor of aggrieved women if he satisfies that domestic violence has taken place or is likely to taken place. Protection orders prohibit the respondent from committing an act of domestic violence. Prohibits the respondent from entering the place of employment, etc.
  • Magistrates can also pass residence orders in favor of aggrieved women if domestic violence has taken place. And restrain the respondents from dispossessing or disturbing the possession of an aggrieved person. Direct the respondent to remove himself from the share household. Restrain the respondent or any of his relatives from entering in share households where an aggrieved person resides. Restrain the respondent from disposing of the shared household.
  • If the magistrate satisfies that domestic violence has taken place. He can grant monetary relief to the aggrieved person to meet the expenses incurred and losses suffered.
  • In addition to the above relief magistrate also direct the respondent to pay compensation to the aggrieved person.

Also, the problem of domestic violence can look from the perspective of criminal and civil laws. In India, as per the provisions, the magistrates can follow his procedure. The magistrate has the power to issue warrants and distress warrants.

Case Laws

Sejal Dharmesh Ved Vs. The State Of Maharashtra & Ors(2014 ALL MR (Cri) 636)

Earlier, A wife who was in the domestic relationship, but that domestic relationship ceases only because of any domestic violence. She can certainly apply such domestic violence that took place whilst she lived in that relationship. Such an application has required to file within a reasonable time to show that the relationship would give her the cause of action to sue under the D.V. Act for the reliefs under the Act.

Wife has returned from the USA and thereafter from the domestic relationship. And lived in India for one year cannot file an application about that relationship after such time. Such a wife cannot take in any domestic relationship.

Catherine Edward Anthony Vs. Edward Samping Anthony & Anr. 2019 ALL MR (Cri) 415

Interim maintenance – Applicant-wife claiming maintenance of Rs. 80,000/- p.m. for herself and her son. The husband was working in Abu Dhabi and earning more than Rs. 2 lakhs p.m. Husband also admitted his income. However, Trial Court merely on the ground that the cost of living in Abu Dhabi was higher and the husband was also paying EMI of flat. Hence trial court has awarded maintenance of Rs. 8,000/- p.m. Award of Trial Court not justified. Hence wife and her son entitled to interim maintenance of Rs. 50,000/- p.m.

Anil Gopal Bhatia Vs. The State of Maharashtra & Anr (2018 ALL MR (Cri) 786)

Right of residence- Order directing to pay rent of Rs.17,000/- p.m. to wife instead of Rs.7,000/-. Wife and daughter living separately in the rented house. The Petitioner is residing in the luxurious flat having amenities of the gym and swimming pool. So, being the wife she is also entitled to a similar type of residence. The impugned order passed to secure the same level of accommodation. Order proper.

Baban Trimbak Folk & Ors. Vs. The State of Maharashtra & Ors (2018 ALL MR (Cri) 4662)

A perusal of Section 2(q) of the DV Act, wherein the word ‘respondent’ has defined does not specifically exclude a female member being a respondent. On the contrary, the wording of the proviso makes it abundantly clear that an aggrieved wife may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband. Since the noun ‘relative’ has not qualified by making it applicable to a specific gender, it cannot be said that the legislature was intending to save the females of the family from a proceeding under the D.V. Act.

Hypothetically, if a mother-in-law or an unmarried sister, or for that matter even a married sister of the husband who has to stay together or otherwise in the same shared household, if they indulge in any of these abuses, one cannot comprehend as to why they should be excluded from being respondents in a proceeding launched by the wife under Section 12 of the Act.

There could be a physical abuse at the hands of the mother-in-law as well as the sisters-in-law. Similarly, there could be verbal as well as emotional abuse as also economic abuse.

Lalita Toppo Vs. The State of Jharkhand & Anr 2019 ALL SCR (Cri) 126

Maintenance – Women who are not legally wedded wife is not entitled to maintenance u/S.125 of Cr.P.C. However, she can seek maintenance under provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Zeba Khan & Ors. Vs. State of U.P. & Anr. 2019 ALL MR (Cri) JOURNAL 227

Report of Protection Officer or Service Provider has not a condition precedent for filing a complaint. DV Act does not contemplate the filing of the petition within the territorial jurisdiction of concerned Service Provider or Protection Officer. Even without submission of reports by Protection Officer or Service Provider, the court can sou moto proceed to admit or hear complaints.

Kanupriya Sharma Vs. State & Anr. 2019 ALL MR (Cri) JOURNAL 401

Grant of Interim maintenance – Respondent contended that wife has gainfully employed therefore she has not entitled to interim maintenance. Held, interim maintenance has fixed on taking prima facie view of the matter. Hence the disputed question of facts raised at that stage, requiring evidence cannot be gone into. Unless undisputed evidence is produced by the husband establishing that wife is gainfully employed, relief of interim maintenance cannot be declined.

Dispute as to whether the wife is gainfully employed or not. Court cannot assume that because she is educated or was employed before her marriage, she would be gainfully employed.


So, after discussion of above i.e. Domestic Violence Act and related judgement, it has clear that Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act has very much helpful to the aggrieved women, those who have suffered harassment and cruelty at the hands of husband and his relatives.

Also read Landmark Judgement of Supreme Court of India



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