I’m a victim of domestic violence. My husband and in-laws have been committing cruelty even on petty issues. I left my matrimonial home and living with my parents. Can I get monetary relief under the domestic violence act?
A wife is entitled to maintenance upon proof that the husband has neglected or refused to maintain her and further that she is unable to maintain herself. Wife is entitled to an order for maintenance against her husband.
Maintenance orders can be passed by the Magistrate under section 125 of the code of criminal procedure. If the wife is a victim of domestic violence she can seek maintenance order under section 20 of the protection of a woman from a domestic violence act.
You want to seek monetary relief as provided under the domestic violence act, so you have to prove that you are an aggrieved person as the result of domestic violence. You have to fulfil conditions mentioned under section 3 of the DV Act. Section 3 of the DV Act defines domestic violence as
Definition of domestic violence – For the purposes of this Act, any act omission or commission or conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence in case it-
(a) harms or injuries or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well-being whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse and economic abuse; or
(b) harasses, harms, injuries or endangers the aggrieved person with a view to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property or valuable security; or
(c) has the effect of threatening the aggrieved person or any person related to her by any conduct mentioned in clause (a) or clause (b); or(d) otherwise injuries or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person.
Monetary relief is one of the relieves mentioned under DV Act. The magistrate is empowered under section 20 of the DV Act to pass an order of monetary relief if an aggrieved person is being subject to economic abuse. Deprivation of all or any economic or financial resources to which aggrieved person is legally entitled is an act of economic abuse.
The denial of household necessities of the wife is also an economic abuse. You have been illegally prohibited by your husband to get medical aid, your property is disposed of by your husband and even your salary is withdrawal by your husband.
These are the act of economic abuse and you are entitled to get economic relief under section 20 of the DV Act. The monetary relief to be ordered by the Magistrate under Section 20 of the DV Act, is to meet the expenses incurred and the loss suffered by the aggrieved person. The loss suffered is nothing but the loss of financial resources to be paid by the husband to his wife towards her maintenance.
It is not necessary to get monetary relief first, you can approach the Magistrate under section 125 of the Code of criminal procedure for maintenance.
It would be easier than section 20 of the DV Act to get maintenance order because you have to prove only that your husband neglects or refuses to maintain and you are unable to maintain yourself. The monetary relief paid by way of maintenance can be an order under Section 125 of the Code of criminal procedure.
If maintenance order passed by the Magistrate under section 125, it shall not be a bar to avail monetary relief under section 20 of the DV Act. Section 20(1)(d) of the DV Act, which states that the monetary relief granted under Section 20 of the Act may include an order for maintenance, in addition to an order of maintenance under Section 125 of the Code.
Thus, it is crystal clear that a wife, who has suffered domestic violence by the act of the husband in neglecting or refusing to maintain her is entitled to approach the Judicial Magistrate seeking an order under Section 125 of the Code, which itself is a monetary relief under Section 20 of the Act.