Asking a woman to have children is not domestic violence: Supreme Court

india | Saturday, October 21st, 2017
Team Asianet Newsable
Highlights
  • The order came in light of a case filed against cricketer Yuvraj Singh and his mother under the Domestic Violence Act, for telling his sister-in-law to have a baby.
  • The Supreme Court said that in-laws wanting to be grandparents is a natural phenomena, unless there is history of domestic violence.
  • A senior counsel said, "Unless there is a direct mental, physical, sexual or emotional abuse by the extended family, which can be proved with evidence, cases cannot be booked against them."

In a groundbreaking order passed by the Supreme Court, it was said that if in-laws ask a woman to conceive, then it does not attract penalties under the Domestic Violence Act unless the woman is able to provide evidence pertaining to any verbal, physical or emotional abuse inflicted on her. Experts believe that if a woman is administered medical treatment against her will or impregnated forcefully, then that constitutes physical abuse.

The order came in light of a case filed against cricketer Yuvraj Singh and his mother under the Domestic Violence Act, for telling his sister-in-law to have a baby. Experts believe that the complainant will have to prove that she has been the victim of physical abuse for the case to hold valid.

According to a sub-clause of the Protection of Women from the Domestic Violence Act of 2005, "If the aggrieved person is subjected to insults, ridicule, humiliation, or name-calling with regard to not having a child or a male child," then it is considered verbal or emotional abuse. However, the law does not prevent in-laws from asking a woman in conceive. 

Supreme Court advocate S.Vani said, "In-laws wanting to be grandparents is a natural phenomenon. In case the family shares a positive intimacy with the daughter-in-law, then, as per the law, there is nothing wrong with them asking her to conceive, unless there is constant physical, mental, and emotional torture and humiliation such as calling the woman barren.”  

She further added that in order for the DV Act to be applicable, the aggrieved person and the respondents must have lived together in a shared household and they should be related to each other through birth, consanguinity, marriage, or some other legal relationship.

Speaking about members of the respondents' families being included in cases filed under the DV Act for being silent spectators of the abuse, Deputy Commissioner of Police Joel Davis said, "Generally, in families that are influential, members of the extended family get dragged into the case because of advice given to the aggrieved person by his or her counsel. But in most cases, the aggrieved persons are not able to prove the offence, and courts take serious cognisance of this. Unless there is a direct mental, physical, sexual or emotional abuse by the extended family, which can be proved with evidence, cases cannot be booked against them."

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act of 2005, comprises four different aspects of abuse- verbal, economic, physical and sexual.  In other words, any coersion that leads to physical or mental harm or denying inaccessibility to movable or immovable assets or streedhan attracts penalties under the Domestic Violence Act. Depriving the victim of economic resources and alienating her from shares, securities and the like or other property in which the aggrieved person has an interest or is entitled to use by virtue of the domestic relationship. 

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