In India the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence (DV) Act, 2005, will apply retrospectively

Mumbai Victims of domestic violence incidents that have happened even before the Act came into force can now heave a sigh of relief as the Bombay High Court on Saturday held that provisions of the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence (DV) Act, 2005, will apply retrospectively.

This order means that women can seek benefit of the welfare provisions provided in the new Act even though they have faced violence even before the Act came into effect in October 2006.

The order has been passed on a petition filed by a 60-year-old Pune-based former government servant, who had challenged an order passed by a magistrate in September 2008 favouring his 58-year-old wife under the new DV Act. Justice Abhay Oka has upheld the magistrate’s order that had held the Act to be treated retrospectively. The husband’s contention was that he had been living separately since 2001 and hence the Act cannot be invoked in his case.

He claimed that his wife had been residing separately and she had filed for divorce on grounds of cruelty and adultery. He contented that as they have been living seperately since 2001, there was no question of the husband committing any act of domestic violence after October 17, 2006, the date when the DV Act came into effect.

In February 2008, the wife filed an application under the DV Act seeking relief with regard to residence. The husband opposed the plea stating the DV Act would not apply retrospectively. The magistrate rejected the contention and allowed the wife’s application.

The DV Act, 2005, provides protection against abuse to women including wives, live-in partners, widows, sisters and mothers.


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