Jul 26, 2022

‘Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya’: Domestic violence is no joke

The seemingly ‘comedy’ film depicts several scenes of misogyny towards women. This scene becomes the crowning glory of the entire movie that reeks only of problematic tropes passed off by the makers as “comedy” – instances which are, sadly, lived experiences of many Indian women. “Pati-Patni ka maamla hai” or “Husband-wife’s internal marital matter” – an excuse to avoid intervention by onlookers. In the second wave of Feminism in the west, “Personal is Political ” by Carol Hanisch. This slogan boldly attempted shifting the focus of traditional ideologies towards the private sphere.

If the husband was brought before a court under Indian law, he could be punished for committing domestic violence under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Domestic violence can take the following forms:

  • Physical abuse – Any act or conduct which causes bodily pain, harm, or danger to life, health, or development of a woman, including assault, criminal intimidation and criminal force.
  • Sexual abuse – Any conduct of a sexual nature that abuses, humiliates, degrades or violates a woman’s dignity.
  • Verbal and emotional abuse – Insults, ridicule, humiliation, and name calling, especially with regard to not having a child or a male child. It also includes repeated threats to cause physical pain to any person in whom the affected person has an interest.
  • Economic abuse – Depriving a woman of economic or financial resources to which she has a legal right. This could  be maintenance payable to her under a court order or even basic necessities for the household and children, etc.

A woman can file a domestic violence complaint against any person with whom she is/has been in a domestic relationship. This includes:

  • Husband/male partner
  • Relatives of her husband or male partner, including in-laws, aunts, uncles, etc.
  • Minors (on a case-to-case basis)

While deciding the case, the court can order the respondent to pay monetary relief to cover any expenses and losses that the woman has incurred because of domestic violence. The monetary amount granted should be adequate, reasonable and consistent with the standard of living that she is used to.

Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 also punishes cruelty by the husband or his relatives. It is a crime for the husband or his relatives to deliberately cause serious injury to the wife, or endanger her health/life. The punishment is jail time for up to three years and a fine.

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