Not only men, but women can also be prosecuted under the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence (DV) Act. The Supreme Court has struck down the words “adult male” from the pertinent provision in the DV Act to lay down that a female can also file a complaint against another female, accusing her of domestic violence.
Under Section 2(q) of the 2005 Act, a complaint can be made only against an “adult male person”, thereby insulating females from being accused of offences mentioned under the law. But a bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F Nariman ruled Thursday that this provision frustrated the objective of the legislation since “perpetrators and abettors of domestic violence” can be women too.
It noted that the legislative intent of providing effective protection to rights of female could “easily be defeated by an adult male person not standing in the forefront, but putting forward female persons” who could forcibly evict a female or defeat any other order passed under the Act without fear of inviting prosecution.