All you need to know about the filing of Domestic Incident Report
Experiencing violence in any form affects the physical and mental well-being of a person. The trauma increases when such abuse comes from people who are otherwise supposed to protect you. Reporting events of domestic violence to the authorities is troublesome, especially when you are clueless about the process followed. People who have some idea about domestic violence case procedures must have heard about a domestic violence incident report. The page below deals with various aspects related to a DIR report in detail.
Domestic Incident Report (DIR)
As it can be understood through the terms used, ‘domestic’ indicates something related to home or family relations, ‘incident’ refers to a particular event, and ‘report’ means information in a specific manner. Complaints related to domestic violence are recorded in the domestic incident report format. Hence, a DIR report contains information regarding an event or multiple events of violence in a household.
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, popularly known as DV Act, is the law in India which protects women against various kinds of abuse in domestic relationships.
What is DIR in DV Case?
Whenever the authorities are approached for reporting a domestic violence case, detailed events of abuse are discussed with the aggrieved person for preparation of a domestic violence report. However, people usually have no idea about what exactly a DIR report is. Just the way an FIR initiates a police case, a DIR lays the foundation for a domestic violence case.
Section 2 (e) of DV Act defines a domestic incident report as “a report made in the prescribed form on receipt of a complaint of domestic violence from an aggrieved person.” The purpose of this report is to give a glimpse of incidents of domestic violence with the aggrieved in a precise, unbiased manner.
Section 9 of Domestic Violence Act specifies the duties and functions of Protection Officers. It also lays the roadmap to be followed by the Protection Officers and the Magistrate concerned with regard to domestic violence incident report.
Section 10 (2)(a) of DV Act, 2005 empowers the service providers under the Act to register a DIR in DV case. Such a report has to be presented along with the application to the Magistrate under Section 12 of DV Act in a domestic violence case.
Who can file Complaint under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005?
According to Section 4 of DV Act, 2005, any person having information related to domestic violence may inform the Protection Officer. Such a person does not necessarily need to be the victim of domestic violence, her relative or friend, but any person having information of abuse. On the other hand, a domestic violence complaint can be filed by the aggrieved woman herself. A DIR report is prepared on receipt of a complaint from an aggrieved person. A domestic violence incident report is not necessary in case of violence other than physical abuse, as decided by Bombay High Court in Sabah Sami Khan v. Adnan Sami Khan, 2010 SCC OnLine Bom 1629.
Domestic Incident Report Format
The Form 1 of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Rules, 2006 provides a detailed form for domestic violence incident report. The format requires following details:
Personal information and contact details of complainant
Details of respondents
Details of children of aggrieved person, if any
Details of incidents of sexual, verbal, emotional or economic violence
Harassment through dowry demands
Details of documents accompanied with the complaint
Prayers, assistance needed by the aggrieved
Domestic Incident Report is Made by Which Officer?
According to the provisions of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the following authorities are empowered to prepare a DIR report:
Protection officers are appointed by the respective state governments. The main duties of the protection officers are mentioned under Section 9 (1) of the Act. The role involves assisting the victim of domestic violence as well as the magistrate in a domestic violence case.
On the other hand, a Service Provider as per Section 10 of the Act is an association, society, or a company formed with the objective of protecting the rights and interests of women. The services may include legal, medical, financial aid or others. It may be noted that the Service Providers need to register with the respective state government for the purposes of the DV Act.
Important Judgments on Domestic Violence Incident Report
Laws provide the pathway to be followed by the government and private authorities so concerned. However, in the instance of confusion during implementation, authoritative courts bring clarity, and also change the rules, if needed. Given below are some case laws related to DIR report:
Prabha Tyagi v. Kamlesh Devi, (2022) 8 SCC 90– The Supreme Court held that “the Act does not make it mandatory for aggrieved to make an application before Magistrate only through the Protection Officer or Service Provider. When an aggrieved person files an application by herself or with an advocate’s assistance and not the Protection Officer or Service Provider, there would be no Domestic Incident Report received by the Magistrate for consideration.”
Satish Chander Ahuja v. Sneha Ahuja, (2021) 1 SCC 414 – The Supreme Court , pointing towards the consideration of application to Magistrate under Section 12, held that “Consideration of DIR report does not mean that the Magistrate can pass orders solely relying upon the domestic violence incident report received by him from the Protection Officer or the Service Provider.”
Santosh Bakshi v. State of Punjab, (2014) 13 SCC 25 – While disposing of a criminal appeal, the Supreme Court held that “If a complaint is made by a woman alleging offence under the DV Act, 2005, committed by any member of a family, matter is to be looked upon seriously. The police cannot submit a report that no case is made out without proper verification and investigation.”
Bhupender Singh Mehra v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2010 SCC OnLine Del 4778 – The Delhi High Court held that “On an application under Section 12 of D.V. Act, notice can be issued to the respondent only after taking the domestic incident report, because the same would reflect as to which of the respondents, notice has to be issued, as to who was causing domestic violence, what was the nature of violence and when it was committed.”
Sabah Sami Khan v. Adnan Sami Khan, 2010 SCC OnLine Bom 1629 – The Bombay High Court held that “A domestic incident report cannot be made in case of any application alleging domestic violence other than physical violence, e.g. verbal or emotional abuse. An application made under Sections 18 and 19 of the Act may have to be considered based upon the facts of each case and not necessarily with the aid and assistance of any protection officer or service provider. It may be required to be considered only upon the application made to the court by the aggrieved person herself. In such a case no domestic incident report may be filed or may be necessitated.”
Thus, the Court’s view can be summed up with the fact that DIR in DV cases needs to be filed by the Protection Officers or Service Providers, and not through an advocate. Also, the report being connected with physical abuse, it should not be taken casually by the authorities, and the domestic incident report is not mandatory as well.
Queries Related to Domestic Violence Incident Report
1. What happens after a domestic incident report?
Once a domestic violence incident report is prepared, the protection officer has to forward a copy of the same to the officer in charge of the police station and Magistrate. Meanwhile, the respondent and others are summoned, and the domestic violence case proceeds further before the Magistrate.
2. Does a domestic incident report go on your record?
Yes. The Magistrate is required to consider a domestic violence incident report under Section 12, received through the Protection Officer or Service Provider before passing any order. The original application/ complaint as well as DIR are regarded in a combined manner by the Magistrate to decide a domestic violence case. Thus, it has to be on record.
3. Whether a domestic incident report is mandatory?
Once a complaint of domestic violence is brought before the authorities through a Protection Officer, preparation of DIR is necessary according to the Domestic Violence Act. However, for a complaint directly made to the Magistrate, it may be avoided. The purpose of a DIR report is to bring the facts related to incidents of domestic violence on record, without any bias.
4. Who prepares the domestic violence incident report?
The duty to prepare a DIR has been delegated to the Protection Officers or Service Providers as per Domestic Violence Act.
5. Can advocates prepare a DIR report?
People often assume that advocates can also prepare a DIR report, but the same needs to be prepared genuinely without any bias. An aggrieved person’s advocate will write in a manner that goes in his/ her client’s favour. The court also clarified this point in the case of Prabha Tyagi as mentioned above.