NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK
The Act is a beneficial piece of legislation, which is an outcome of the Vienna Accord of 1994 and the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action (1995). It is also a result of United Nations Committee on Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Undoubtedly domestic violence is being committed in India on an epidemic scale. Although the criminal law deals with domestic violence in the form of Section 498-A IPC, it was felt that there is no remedy under the civil law. Therefore, in order to get rid of the mischief of domestic violence, the Parliament, in its wisdom, enacted the Act, which came into force on 26 October, 2006. Undoubtedly the Act is meant to protect the women from domestic violence committed against them by the husband and his family members. The Act has recognised the fact that domestic violence is limited not only to physical and mental cruelty, but can also extend to verbal and emotional abuse, and even to economic abuse. The Act has recognised the fact that mental cruelty can take the form of verbal and emotional abuse, such an abuse would include threat to causing physical abuse to any person in whom the aggrieved person is 14 interested. Moreover, the Act has recognised that aggrieved person has a right to economic resources of the husband and his family members, has a right to “stridhan”, and has a right to be maintained. In case her economic rights are violated by the husband or his family members, then according to Section 3 of the Act, domestic violence is committed. Since the Act is a social beneficial piece of legislation, Section 3 of the Act must be given a liberal interpretation.
Moreover, she has been denied her stridhan, she has been denied maintenance, she had been denied access to shared household even after October 26, 2006. Hence, civil wrongs are continuing even after the date when the Act has come into force. Therefore the question of retrospective application of the Act does not arise in the present case. After all as long as the civil wrongs are continued to be committed after 2006, the Act will control such acts of domestic violence.