applicability of DV Act to daughters
Is the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act 2005 applicable to daughters too?
yes the provisions of Domestic Violence Act 205 are very much applicable to all women who are in domestic relationship (relationship by way of blood, marriage, family member or adoption).
Yes, provisions of the Domestic Violence Act 2005 are applicable to daughters too. The definition of "Aggrieved Person" provided under §2(a) of the Act, refers not any specific relationship of the aggrieved woman with respect to the respondent. The requirement is that she must be in a 'domestic relationship' with the respondent. As per the definition of 'domestic relationship' means “a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family”. Thus here, too making the definition neutral, relationships such as daughter is validly included so as to make the Act applicable and beneficial to them.  Section 2(f), The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
The Domestic Violence Act, 2005 can be availed of by an aggrieved person who may be “any woman who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the respondent and who alleges to have been subjected to any act of domestic violence by the respondent” , against a respondent who may be “any adult male person who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and against whom the aggrieved person has sought relief under the act.” Domestic relationship means “a relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage, or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family.” Therefore, the present law only provides protection to women who are in a domestic relationship and does not allow women to be charged under the law. That is also reflected in the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Act. However, the proviso to the definition of ‘respondent’ which states that “an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship in the nature of a marriage may also file a complaint against relative of a husband or the male partner” is capable of being interpreted as being inclusive of ‘women’ in certain cases. Time and again it has been observed that sometimes a mother is maltreated by her son and his wife, so does that mean that a mother-in-law cannot file a case under the said law against her daughter-in-law? The Delhi High Court had stated that a mother-in-law can take recourse under the Domestic Violence Act by further elaborating on the Domestic Violence Act and then emphasizing that even those women who are sisters, widows, mothers, single women or living with the abuser are entitled to legal protection under the Act and it can't just be limited to providing relief to harassed daughters-in-law. However, there is no definitive pronouncement on the issue. There are no instances of other High Courts or the Supreme Court holding conclusively that daughters are liable to be prosecuted under the Act. Going by legislative intention, it is doubtful whether the proviso to the definition of respondent can be so interpreted to include daughters. This is further substantiated by a recent statement of the Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi who said that she wanted to amend the Domestic Violence Act to allow women to seek protection from their daughters-in-law also. The reason for this is that many cases have been brought to the notice of the minister where in elderly women have been tortured by their sons and daughter-in-law. Even if the case is genuine no case can be registered against the daughter-in-law under the law. But experts feel that the decision to keep women out of the purview of the definition of respondents in the law was deliberate and calculated. If changes are made that allow a mother-in-law to move against a daughter-in-law, it would mean that the moment a woman files a domestic violence or a dowry case against her in-laws, her husband would get his mother to file a counter case against her under the Domestic Violence Act. That will open the floodgates for misuse of the law.  Section 2(a) of The Domestic Violence Act, 2005  Section 2(q) of The Domestic Violence Act, 2005  Section 2(f) of The Domestic Violence Act, 2005  Proviso, Section 2 (q) of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005  Abhinav Garg, Domestic Violence Act not just limited to harassed daughter-in-laws, says court, The Times of India, September 3, 2011, available at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Domestic-Violence-Act-not-just-limited-to-harassed-daughter-in-laws-says-court/articleshow/9842509.cms (last visited on 3 September 2014)  Abantika Ghosh, “Not just daughters-in-law, Maneka says Domestic Violence Act must protect mothers-in-law too”, The Indian Express, July 23, 2014, available at http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/not-just-daughters-in-law-maneka-says-domestic-violence-act-must-protect-mothers-in-law-too/ (last visited on September 4, 2014)  Supra note 4
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