There is no specific time limit1 for filing a complaint against domestic violence, but you must be able to prove that you were in a domestic relationship with the harasser at the time the violence took place. However, if there is a delay in complaining against the domestic violence that you have faced, you might be asked to explain the reasons behind the delay.
Given below are some specific situations where you may file a complaint against domestic violence:
Complaining for Acts before 2005
Though the law2 on domestic violence came into force in 2005, the law allows you to file an application for relief and/or protection even against any domestic violence that happened before 2005. If you are a woman who faced violence before 2005, you would still be entitled to protection under the law and you can approach the Court to file a case. For example, if a woman, Sita, faced domestic violence from her mother-in-law in 2001, she would still be eligible to go to Court to file a domestic violence case , even if the law on domestic violence came into force after she had already experienced domestic violence.
Complain after Divorce
You can file a complaint against domestic violence even if you are already divorced3. For example, Seema got married in 2012 and for two years she faced physical violence from her husband. She divorced her husband in 2014. Seema has a right to file a domestic violence case after 2014 against her ex-husband for hurting her during the two years she was married to him. This is because at the time she faced domestic violence, she was in a domestic relationship with the harasser i.e. her husband.
- Vikas and Ors. v. Usha Rani and Ors. 2018 (3) RCR (Criminal) 307.
- V.D.Bhanot v. Savita Bhanot (2012) 3 SCC 183.
- Smt.Sabana @ Chand Bai & Anr vs Mohd.Talib Ali & Anr 2014 (2) RCR (Criminal) 293.