Can a trans woman invoke the Domestic Violence Act
- November 5, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Can a trans woman invoke the Domestic Violence Act
Context: The Supreme Court recently agreed to examine whether a transgender woman can claim maintenance under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act)
More about the news:
- The Supreme Court has agreed to examine whether a transgender woman who underwent sex-reassignment surgery can be considered an “aggrieved person” under the Domestic Violence Act of 2005.
- This decision comes in response to an appeal filed by the transgender woman’s husband against a Bombay High Court ruling that upheld her status as an “aggrieved person” based on her self-identified gender.
What is the case all about:
- A trans woman and her male partner, who got married in 2016 but faced marital differences, entered a legal dispute.
- The trans woman filed a plea for interim maintenance under the 2005 Domestic Violence Act, leading to a trial court’s order for the husband to pay Rs. 12,000 per month.
- After his appeal was dismissed, the husband argued in the Bombay High Court that the trans person did not qualify as an “aggrieved person” as the term referred to “women” in domestic relationships.
- He also claimed that the trans woman did not possess a certificate issued under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, and thus could not be considered a woman under the DV Act.
Who is an “aggrieved person”:
- Section 2(a) of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 defines an “aggrieved person” as a woman who has experienced domestic violence in a domestic relationship with the respondent.
- A “domestic relationship,” as per Section 2(f) of the Act, pertains to individuals who have lived together in a shared household due to consanguinity, marriage, a marriage-like relationship, adoption, or as family members in a joint family.
- The 2005 Act was created to enhance the protection of women’s rights as guaranteed by the Constitution and includes provisions for monetary relief provided to an aggrieved person by the respondent, following a Magistrate’s order, to cover expenses and losses caused by domestic violence.
- In this specific case, a trans woman who underwent sex reassignment surgery in June 2016 claimed eligibility as an “aggrieved person” under the DV Act, asserting a transition from transgender to female.
What is the process for a transgender person to change their gender:
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, gives transgender individuals the right to be recognized according to their own sexual orientation
- Section 5 of the Act allows transgender persons to apply for an “identity certificate” through a district magistrate, to be supported by the necessary documents
- Section 7 of the Act defines the procedure for changing gender. It allows trans individuals undergoing gender affirmation surgery to apply for an “amended certificate” from a county judge. This certificate allows them to change their first name on their birth certificate and other official documents related to their identity.
What is Domestic Violence Act(DV Act):
- The Domestic Violence Act was enacted by the Indian Parliament on September 13, 2005, and it applies throughout the entire country.
- The primary purpose of the DV Act is to safeguard wives or female live-in partners from violence inflicted by their husbands, male live-in partners, or their respective relatives.
- Domestic violence, as defined by the Act, encompasses actual physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, economic abuse, or threats thereof. It also includes harassment related to dowry demands.
- The Act extends its coverage to all women, including mothers, sisters, wives, widows, or partners living in a shared household. This may involve relationships resembling marriage or adoption, as well as those within families living together as a joint family.
- Any woman who claims to have experienced domestic violence by an offender or any person can file a complaint. A child is also entitled to relief under the DV Act, and their mother can file on their behalf.
- The Act does not allow female relatives of the husband or male partner to file a complaint against the wife or female partner.
- Complaints can be filed against adult males who have been in a domestic relationship with the woman, as well as relatives of the husband or male partner, encompassing both male and female relatives.
- The DV Act provides several remedies, including Protection Orders, Residence Orders for staying in the matrimonial house, Monetary Orders for maintenance of the woman and her children, temporary custody of children, and compensation orders for damages.
- Criminal action is taken against the respondent when the orders granted by the courts are violated.
- Protection Officers appointed under the DV Act assist aggrieved women in filing cases. They are associated with the Magistrates of the courts within their designated areas, providing legal aid and court relief assistance.
- Aggrieved individuals have the option to file petitions before the Judicial Magistrate Court, service providers, or nearby police stations.
- Service Providers, members of recognized Non-Governmental Organizations, collaborate with various stakeholders to seek justice and relief for victims of domestic violence. They assist aggrieved women in filing Domestic Incident Reports, offer accommodation in short-stay homes for women and their children, provide counseling, facilitate medical treatment, and offer vocational training for employment and income generation.