What is the Time Limit to Complain against Domestic Violence?

Last updated on Apr 8, 2022

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.

  1. Vikas and Ors. v. Usha Rani and Ors. 2018 (3) RCR (Criminal) 307.[]
  2. V.D.Bhanot v. Savita Bhanot (2012) 3 SCC 183.[]
  3. Smt.Sabana @ Chand Bai & Anr vs Mohd.Talib Ali & Anr 2014 (2) RCR (Criminal) 293.[]

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July 18, 2022

Can a women file a complain after a week of being beaten cruely by her husband.Due to some reason she didn’t filed complaint immediately but now she realised that she is dying every second and she will not spare her husband, what shall she do now?


August 8, 2022

She may file a report at any time. You can also refer to our explainer on How can you get immediate protection against domestic violence

Dinesh Tank

July 21, 2022

Inlaws of my widow daughter have not handed over her right in insurance policies after death of her husband as nomination was in favour of husband’s brothers before her marriage. My daughter has already filed civil suit at Mumbai and now she has shifted to her matrimonial house at Jaipur. So can she file DV case against in laws residing at Mumbai for economical harrasment and streedhan from Jaipur ?


August 8, 2022

Yes, she can.


July 24, 2022

Husband deserted wife with no proper reasons just after daughter was born. Wife forced to live with her parents. Living separately for 13 yrs.. Husband challenges that will keep case pending until daughter is major so that does not have to pay maintenance.. Can dv still be filed in such case


August 12, 2022

There is no specific time limit for filing a complaint against domestic violence however, DV case is not maintainable after 1 year of no-cohabitation. The apex court judgement in Inder kumar Grewal case is relevant.

Alternatively, she can file a case of divorce on the ground of desertion even though her child is minor. If one of the spouses voluntarily abandons his/her partner , the abandoned spouse can file a divorce case on the ground of desertion.


August 2, 2022

My wife filed 498a case agaist me and my family members which is totally false what can I do legally


August 12, 2022

Below is a list of legal remedies that one can use for protection against section 498a IPC if a woman decides to misuse the law and threatens to register a false case against you for personal gains.

I. Collect all Evidence & Documents: The first step in proving a false accusation would be to gather all substantial material elaborating well on the 498a case details. You must start collecting as much evidence as possible, which includes: Any conversation between you or your family member with your wife or her relatives like any SMS, emails, letters, call recordings, etc. Any evidence that proves that your wife moved willingly out of your house.Any evidence that shows no demands for dowry were made before or after the wedding

II. Get an Anticipatory Bail: If you think your wife may file an FIR under Section 498A, hire a criminal defense lawyer and get an anticipatory bail to prevent yourself or your family member’s arrest. Anticipatory bail is like a precautionary bail in case police move ahead to arrest you or your family members. You can file for anticipatory bail for protection against section 498a IPC case under Section 438 of CrPC

III. Get the 498a FIR Quashed: You can also get the false 498A FIR quashed by High Court under Section 482 of CrPC. Courts are generally reluctant to quash an FIR or interfere in the law and order process, but if you have sufficient proof, the court has the power to quash the false 498A FIR filed by your wife

IV. File an FIR against your wife for false 498A complaint: You can also file an FIR against your wife for blackmailing or filing a false 498A case against you. Police in India usually do not favor such FIR, but if you make your case foolproof, the police cannot deny you to file an FIR against your wife. Get your complaint drafted by a good criminal lawyer so that the police cannot reject it on any grounds. If the police refuse to register your FIR, you can file a written complaint against the police officer, with the Superintendent of that police station.

V. File a case for Restitution of Conjugal Rights: If your wife has left her matrimonial home and went back to live with her family, you can file a case for RCR i.e. restitution of conjugal rights against your wife under Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act. You can mention all the terms and conditions that she’ll have to follow to start living with you once again.

VI. File a defamation case against false 498A case: You can also file a defamation case against your wife for maligning your image by filing a false 498A case against you. While fighting the 498a case, the duration of the case will depend largely on the evidence produced before the court and how efficiently your lawyer fights in the court representing your case.

Yet, despite the lack of legal protection against section 498A IPC case, there is a list of sections which we have identified for you, which might be helpful in this case, if you wish to file a counter case against your wife such as:

1. If your wife is conspiring a crime against you, then under Section 120B IPC, you can file a case against her.
2. If you suspect that false evidence is being framed or presented against you then under Section 191 IPC, you can file a case alleging that you are being framed wrongfully.
3. Man being a social animal, reputation is everything for him. So if she threatens you to defame or falsely drag you and your family to court, you can file a counter case of defamation under Section 500 of IPC.
4. In a situation where your wife threatens you to do harm to you or your family or anything related to you, gather the evidence and present it to court under Section 506 of IPC.
5. If you believe that the complaint registered by your wife is false you can file an application under Section 227 stating that the 498A case filled by your wife is false.
6. If you have enough proofs, or if she does not have enough proof to substantiate the charges, chances are that the judge just dismisses the 498A case as it is a framed one.
7. If she breaks into your home, creates a scene, and goes to a ‘protection officer’ and lies that you abused her ‘physically, emotionally, or economically’, file a damage recovery case under Section 9 of CPC against her.
7. Legally, you must issue notice on the same day or the next day. The suit will continue for a long time. It has no risk.

The Indian courts and enforcement authorities have become vigilant in dealing with cases regarding Section 498A due to an increasing number of false cases. However, if you are a victim who needs protection against section 498a IPC case, then you should be aware of all your legal rights and use them.


August 13, 2022

My wife has left matrimonial home and left with 2yrs son on her one wish and is now not willing to come back and blocked all contacts and not responding to any messages or call. Even her parents are not talking even after visiting her home. Now i fear she migh frame any false case against us. It’s been 2 months since she has done this. Pls. guide me what can we do in this case


August 22, 2022

As your wife has left the home for no valid reason and she has left the house with a son aged 2 years and knowingly blocked all contacts so, if you want her to come back and join your matrimonial home you may file a case under Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act for restitution of conjugal rights, or if you want a divorce than for that purpose another suit has to be filed on the ground that your wife has left home without any reason and she has blocked all contacts and there is no whereabout of her since 2 months.


September 18, 2022

Can it be a case of domestic violence if wife harms herself, made injury herself and took pictures of injuries?
What will be the options left out in such scenario.


September 21, 2022

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 has defined the term ‘domestic violence’. According to that definition, an injury made by the wife on herself in itself is not an act of domestic violence because the violence has not been done on her by a domestic relationship. However, some people with depression and other troubles with mental health are known to indulge in acts of self-harm.
The definition of ‘domestic violence’ includes verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and harm to health and safety of mental wellbeing of the victim.
Therefore, if the wife is being subjected to verbal and emotional abuse, whether or not it results in self-harm, such abuse will be seen as domestic violence in the eyes of the law and the family members committing it on her can be punished.
If the wife is injuring herself, a psychotherapist or psychiatrist should be consulted for getting suggestions for her wellbeing.
If the wife threatens to harm herself without any reason, just to alarm the family members or to make other family members act in a certain manner, the family can call the police and report the wife under section 506 of Indian Penal Code for causing criminal intimidation.
If the wife is causing injuries to herself without any reason, and wrongly reporting it to any authority like the police to start false criminal proceedings against any person, then such action of the wife can then be reported to the police under Section 211 of the Indian Penal Code.
If the wife is injuring herself due to fights with any person or spousal differences, she can be taken to the Commission for Women of the State where she is living, for example Delhi Commission for Women in case she is living at Delhi, where she and the people she is having fights with can receive counselling.

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