Can domestic violence cases be prosecuted without the cooperation of the victim?

Answer By law4u team

Yes, domestic violence cases can be prosecuted even without the cooperation of the victim in India. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (PWDVA) provides provisions for the prosecution of domestic violence cases, and the law does not require the victim's cooperation for criminal proceedings to be initiated. Here's how such cases can proceed: State Prosecution: In cases where the victim does not wish to pursue legal action or testify against the perpetrator, the state can still initiate criminal proceedings based on other available evidence and witness testimony. The state prosecutor can rely on the testimony of witnesses, medical reports, forensic evidence, and other documentation to build a case against the accused. Police Investigation: Law enforcement agencies have the authority to investigate domestic violence cases independently, even if the victim is reluctant to cooperate. Police can gather evidence, interview witnesses, collect medical reports, and take statements from family members or neighbors who may have knowledge of the abuse. Court Proceedings: Once the police have gathered sufficient evidence, they can file a charge sheet or a complaint before the appropriate court, initiating criminal proceedings against the accused. The court will then proceed with the trial based on the evidence presented by the prosecution. Protection Orders: In addition to criminal prosecution, the PWDVA also provides for civil remedies such as protection orders, residence orders, and monetary relief, which can be sought by the victim or by authorities on behalf of the victim, without the victim's direct involvement in the legal proceedings. Public Prosecutors: In many cases, public prosecutors appointed by the state take charge of prosecuting domestic violence cases on behalf of the government. These prosecutors are responsible for presenting evidence, examining witnesses, and advocating for justice, regardless of the victim's cooperation. It's important to note that while the victim's cooperation can strengthen the case against the perpetrator, the absence of cooperation does not necessarily prevent prosecution. The state has a duty to protect victims of domestic violence and pursue justice on their behalf, even if the victim is unwilling or unable to actively participate in the legal process.

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