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Sister-in-law causes domestic violence – What should I do?

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My sister-in-law causes domestic violence. She is very greedy and tortured me because she did not get proper respect from my parents. I used to ignore her activities because I want peace in my life. She has assaulted me on several occasions and tried to throw me away from the house. She is very influential and my husband does not listen to a single word against her. Being victimize of such violence I have decided to take appropriate legal action against her. Can I file a case against her under the domestic violence act?

Question from: Haryana

Your sister-in-law is causing domestic violence so you can file a complaint against her. You are living in a shared household under the domestic relationship. Any kind of violence you face in a shared household is constitute a ground for filing a complaint under section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act 2005. Thus, you should file a complaint under section 12 of the D. V. Act.

Scope of Domestic Violence Act

Domestic violence is a vicious or horrible form of violence because it commits within the four walls of the family house. It became an intrinsic part of our society. The term domestic violence does not confine to the violence between husband and wife but also includes violence by other family members who are living together.

The reason behind such abuse is an orthodox and idiotic mindset or a desire to exploit someone for personal benefits. Domestic violence can occur in many forms and take many dimensions. Therefore, the D. V. Act provides several reliefs to the victim of domestic violence. It gives complete protection to the aggrieved person and secures her valuable rights.

File a Complaint under section 12 DV Act

It is evident from your question that your sister-in-law causes domestic violence. According to section 2(q) & 3 of the DV Act, you can file a complaint against her. You can file a complaint against any relative of the husband [Sandhya Manoj Wankhede vs Manoj Bhimrao Wankhede (2011) 3 SCC]. Hence, your complaint is sustainable under section 12 of the DV Act.

Section 12 of the DV Act provides a procedure for filing a complaint. You can file the complaint either yourself or through the protection officer. If you prefer the complaint through the protection officer then he may prepare an incident report and send it with the complaint. The Magistrate shall consider the incident report before passing any order. You can seek one or more reliefs under this Act.

The complaint will be presented in the court of Judicial Magistrate of the first class. If you do not want to file the complaint personally, then you can take the assistance of the protection officer. For availing his help, you should contact the Secretary of the legal service authority (LSA) or in-charge of Mahila Thana. The government has established an LSA in each district civil court.

Produce evidence along with the complaint

You should also produce some evidence along with the complaint to prima facie prove that respondent has committed the act of domestic violence. Your sister-in-law causes domestic violence so you should collect some evidence of such violence.

She did not commit physical or bodily injury. She humiliated and threatened you on several occasions. Such humiliation comes within the meaning of verbal and emotional abuse.

The DV Act regards the insult, humiliation, ridicule, name-calling, repeated threats etc. as verbal and emotional abuse. Those abuses do not inflict any visible mark on the body, hence, not necessary to produce documentary proof of verbal and emotional abuses. You should state all the incidents and circumstances in the complaint.

The relief you can seek under the DV Act

The DV Act provides several relief to the person aggrieved of domestic violence. Particularly in your case, you can seek a protection order under section 18 of the DV Act. Through this order, the court shall prohibit the respondent from committing, aiding or attempting to commit any domestic violence.

In addition to it, you can also seek a residence order (section 19) for restraining the respondent from expelling you from the shared household. If you think that your husband can retaliate, then you can also seek residence order against him. The court may restrain him from dispossessing you from the marital home.

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