Section 18 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 plays a crucial role in safeguarding the rights and well-being of aggrieved individuals.
Domestic violence is a pervasive issue that affects individuals across the globe, cutting across age, gender and socioeconomic lines. In recognition of the need to address this serious concern, The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was enacted in India.
This article delves into the intricacies of Section 18 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005, exploring its provisions and the protective measures it affords to those who have experienced or are at risk of domestic violence.
Understanding Section 18 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005
Section 18 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 empowers Magistrates to issue protection orders after assessing that domestic violence has occurred or is likely to occur. These orders are comprehensive and multifaceted, aiming to shield the aggrieved person from further harm and harassment. Let’s examine each facet of the protection orders outlined in Section 18 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
Section 18 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 has been extracted here for ease of reference:
“Section 18 in The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
18. Protection orders.—The Magistrate may, after giving the aggrieved person and the respondent an opportunity of being heard and on being prima facie satisfied that domestic violence has taken place or is likely to take place, pass a protection order in favour of the aggrieved person and prohibit the respondent from—
(a) committing any act of domestic violence;
(b) aiding or abetting in the commission of acts of domestic violence;
(c) entering the place of employment of the aggrieved person or, if the person aggrieved is a child, its school or any other place frequented by the aggrieved person;
(d) attempting to communicate in any form, whatsoever, with the aggrieved person, including personal, oral or written or electronic or telephonic contact;
(e) alienating any assets, operating bank lockers or bank accounts used or held or enjoyed by both the parties, jointly by the aggrieved person and the respondent or singly by the respondent, including her stridhan or any other property held either jointly by the parties or separately by them without the leave of the Magistrate;
(f) causing violence to the dependants, other relatives or any person who give the aggrieved person assistance from domestic violence;
(g) committing any other act as specified in the protection order.”
Prohibition of Committing Acts of Domestic Violence
The foremost aspect of the protection order is the prohibition of the respondent from committing any act of domestic violence. This broad prohibition serves as a preventive measure, aiming to break the cycle of abuse and create a safer environment for the survivor.
Prohibition of Aiding or Abetting
Section 18 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 recognises the importance of holding not only the primary perpetrator but also those who aid or abet in domestic violence accountable.
By prohibiting any involvement in the commission of such acts, the law seeks to discourage collaboration in the perpetration of violence.
Restrictions on Entering Specific Places under Section 18 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005
To ensure the safety of the aggrieved person, the Magistrate can impose restrictions on the respondent’s entry into specific places.
This includes the workplace of the aggrieved person and, if applicable, the school or other frequented locations if the aggrieved person is a child. These restrictions aim to create safe spaces for the survivor, free from the threat of encountering the perpetrator.
Restrictions on Communication
Effective communication restrictions are crucial in preventing further emotional distress and potential harm.
Section 18 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 prohibits the respondent from attempting to communicate with the aggrieved person through various means, including personal, oral, written, electronic, or telephonic contact. This restriction recognises the need to sever ties that may perpetuate the cycle of abuse.
Prohibition on Alienating Assets
Economic abuse is a prevalent form of domestic violence. Section 18 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 addresses this by prohibiting the respondent from alienating assets without the leave of the Magistrate.
This includes assets jointly held by the parties, such as bank accounts, lockers, or property. Such safeguards are vital in preserving the financial independence and security of the survivor.
Protection of Dependents and Other Relatives
Recognising that domestic violence often has ripple effects on dependents and other relatives, Section 18 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 prohibits the respondent from causing violence to these individuals. This broader protection ensures that the impact of domestic violence is mitigated not only for the survivors but also for those connected to them.
Compliance with the Protection Order
The catch-all provision in Section 18(g) prohibits the respondent from committing any other acts as specified in the protection order. This flexibility allows the Magistrate to tailor the protection order to the specific circumstances of the case, ensuring a comprehensive and effective safeguard for the aggrieved person.
Challenges and Implementation of Section 18 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
While Section 18 provides a robust legal framework for protecting survivors of domestic violence, its effective implementation faces challenges. Adequate awareness, law enforcement and judicial personnel training and community outreach are essential components in realising the intended protections.
Section 18 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 empowers Magistrates to issue protection orders in cases of domestic violence. After providing both the aggrieved person and respondent an opportunity to be heard, the Magistrate, when prima facie satisfied that domestic violence has occurred or is likely, can pass orders prohibiting the respondent from committing further violence.
This includes restrictions on aiding or abetting violence, entering specific places, communicating with the aggrieved person, alienating assets, causing harm to dependents, and complying with any other act specified in the protection order. These measures aim to safeguard the rights and well-being of individuals facing domestic violence.
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