National Family and Health Survey has estimated that there is a 33% chance of women in age group 15-49 of facing domestic violence of some sort. This is a worrying figure, and steps need to be taken urgently to ensure welfare and security of women in their own homes.


Steps by government:

The Parliament has enacted several laws to protect the women from domestic violence at the hands of husband or his relatives.

  1. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
  2. In 1983, it introduced s.498-A in the IPC
  3. Domestic Violence Act, 2005 Issue


These have been hailed as landmark legislation giving voice to the silent sufferers.




  • In various cases relatives of husband are wrongly implicated who then have to undergo the rigours of the criminal justice system.
  • Thus, there is a demand for amending these laws. Recently, the issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha.
  • This side says that Low conviction rates are a reason that amendment is needed; as per NCRB out of 426 cases registered under the DV Act in 2014 only 13 were convicted.
  • The low rate of conviction doesn’t reveal the extent of misuse or abuse of the law as other factors like compromise, lack of evidence etc. also play a role in non-conviction.
  • The real causes of misuse, as identified by Law Commission in its 243rd report, are
    • Firstly, the mechanical and casual manner in which police exercises their right to arrest – power of arrest is a tool to prevent any further harm to the victim.
      • However, this must be used sparingly as it results in irreversible harm to reputation which bleaks the chances of conciliation later on.
    • Secondly, approach towards addressing matrimonial disputes – these are inherently different from other criminal cases due to the scope as well as need for conciliation between the parties.
  • Recommendations as per Law Commission report:
    • The police must follow the guidelines of arrest as given by SC in DK Basu vs State of West Bengal.
    • The necessity of arrest has to be properly established.
    • A mechanism of dispute settlement like conciliation and mediation must be mandatorily initiated before making any arrest, unless the facts disclose an aggravated form of cruelty.
    • Option of compounding of offence should be available to parties.
    • Need to inculcate sensitivity among all the actors in matrimonial litigation- police, lawyers and judiciary.