In DV Act, for getting the relief of interim maintenance / maintenance for herself and children, residential orders, protection orders, custody of children, compensation etc. there is no limitation of one year as the acts perpetrated by the husband to give scope to the wife to claim all these reliefs are described in the Act as "acts of domestic violence" and are not described as "offences". Further, para 3 of the objects of the Act clearly indicates that this Act is intended to provide remedy under civil law. So, DV Act is not criminal law but a civil law, even though it is tried in the court of magistrate. so, the courts repeatedly held that this Act can be operative retrospectively, even though there is a cardinnal principle in criminal law, that every criminal law must be enforceable prospectively but not retrospectively. So, there should be no doubts the DV Act is a civil law, even though it is tried by magistrate in the criminal court and some of the provisions of Cr.P.C. is applicable in respect of the proceedings under this Act.
Now Section 28 gives a very interesting reading. In this Section, it is provided - "all proceedings under Section 12, 18, 19, 20,21, 22 and 23 and offences under Section 31 shall be ......." . It means that violatin of protection order as described in Section 31 is an Offence, where as other acts of husband are merely acts of domestic violence and are not offences as far as this Act is concerned. Section 468 of Cr.P.C., which talks of limitation in respect of Offences only, indicates that where punishment is for one year, the limitation of one year is applicable. By analysis, it can be concluded that that there is no limitation as far as reliefs qua domestic violence acts perpetrated by husband are concerned. But in these proceedings, either interim or final protection order is issued in favour of the wife and children and the same is violated, then the limitation of one year is applicable and she can move the court for punishment under Section 31 only within one year from the date of violation of protection order. In respect of other reliefs, there is no limitation and a wife has liberty to approach the court to get redressal of her grievance.