Landmark cases on Domestic Violence

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  1. Supreme Court: Mere vague allegation that respondents are family members will not be sufficient to maintain the complaint [ Date – 01-11-2019]

      A bench of Justice Banerjee and Justice Shah in the case titled as Kamlesh Devi vs Jaipal & Ors[1]. Dated 04.10.2019 has opined that mere vague allegation is not sufficient to bring the case within domestic violence act. The Supreme Court is in favour of high court order and hence dismissed the petition for special leave.

  • Supreme Court: Domestic Violence vs Section 125 CrPC: Both are independent proceedings [ Date – 29-10-2019]

      The Supreme Court of India has made significant observations, the magistrate indirectly granted maintenance at a rate of Rs. 2,000 per month to the respondent till the proceedings under section 125 crpc is not decided. The order is without jurisdiction and therefore wholly unjustified and unsustainable.

  • Delhi High Court: Qualification and the capacity to earn cannot be a ground to deny interim maintenance to a wife [Date – 24-08-2019]

      A bench of Justice Sachdeva has passed the order in the case titled as Binita Dass v. Uttam Kumar [2]on 09.08.2019. Delhi High Court has held that Magistrate cannot deny interim maintenance to wife only because she has earning capacity or is a qualified person.

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  • Calcutta High Court: Determination of compensation has to be rational and it should not be an outcome of guesses, High Court allowed wife Rs.1,00,000 as compensation [ Date – 15-07-2019]

      Justice Mitra has passed the order in the case titled as Smt. Haimanti Mal vs The State of West Bengal [3] on 09.07.2019. Calcutta High Court has awarded Rs.1,00,000/- as compensation to the wife for mental agony suffered due to the conduct of the husband. But, in absence of any evidence or materials on record the grant of compensation cannot be justified. Section 22 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 speaks about compensation and damages for the injuries, including mental torture and emotional distress, caused by the acts of domestic violence committed by the respondent.

  • Delhi High Court: With an annual turnover of Rs. 1 crore, the husband was pleading his income as Rs.10,000/-, HC did not agree and enhanced the maintenance awarded to wife [Date – 03-07-2019]

      Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva has passed the order in the case titled as Manju Sharma vs Vipin [4] on 01.07.2019. Delhi High Court has enhanced the maintenance to be given to the wife when it found that husband was not disclosing his true income where his annual turnover apparently was Rs.1 crore. The interim maintenance was enhanced from Rs.10,000 per month to Rs. 30,000 per month keeping in mind the requirements of the petitioner and her daughter.    

  • Madhya Pradesh High Court: Wife living separately cannot file case against parents-in law [ Date – 20-06-2019]

      Justice Awasthi has passed the order in the case titled as Kuldeep Singh Vs. Rekha [5]on 18.06.2019. Madhya Pradesh High Court has held that if the wife and husband leaves the share households to establish their own household, the domestic relationship comes to an end in respect of parents and therefore complaint under DV Act cannot be maintained against them. Under the Domestic Violence Act the first per-condition is that the applicant must be an aggrieved person is a person defined in Section 2(a) of the Act. The domestic relationship must be there between the aggrieved person and respondent to invoke Domestic Violence Act.

  • SC on Domestic Violence: Aggrieved wife may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner, as the case may be [ Date – 05-06-2019]

      Justice Dr Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta have passed the judgement in the case titled as  Ajay Kumar v. Lata alias Sharuti dated on April 8, 2019. In accordance with the proviso to the section 2(q) of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, indicates that both, an aggrieved wife or a female living in a relationship in the nature of marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner, as the case may be.

  • Delhi High Court: Domestic Violence vs Section 125 CrPC: Wife entitled for maintenance under both provisions subject to adjustment [ Date – 20-05-2019]

      Justice Sachdeva has passed the order in the case titled as Vikas Bhutani v. State [6]on 17.05.2019. Delhi High Court has observed that even if maintenance under Section 125 CrPC was granted, the wife is entitled for maintenance for domestic violence though there can be an adjustment qua earlier maintenance. The object of grant of maintenance is to afford a subsistence allowance to the wife, who is not able to maintain herself. The court directed the amount of Rs. 40,000 per month to be paid by the petitioner from the date of filing of application.

  • Supreme Court: Husband has to pay maintenance even if wife is well educated [Date – 15-05-2019]

      Justice Khanwilkar and Justice Rastogi has passed the order in the case titled as Megha Khandelwal v. Rajat Khandelwal[7] on 10.05.2019. Supreme Court enhanced substantially an interim maintenance for wife in a domestic violence case despite the fact that the wife was well educated. Supreme court found it appropriate to enhance the interim maintenance to Rs. 25,000 per month to be paid to the petitioner.

  1. Bombay High Court: A Divorcee is not entitled benefit of Domestic Violence Act [Date – 22-03-2019]

      Justice Giratkar has passed the order in case titled Sadhana vs Hemant [8]on 18.04.2019. Bombay High Court has held that if at the time of filing of petition, the wife has already been divorced, there cannot be any domestic relationship and as such, divorced wife cannot be entitled for protection under Domestic Violence Act.

  1. Bombay High Court: Order of maintenance under DV Act set aside by HC in absence of any act of Domestic Violence committed by husband [ Date – 17-03-2019]

      Case titled Vijayanand Dattaram Naik v. Vishranti Vijayanand Naik[9], was decided on date 13-02-2019 by Justice C.V. Bhadang of Goa bench of Bombay High Court, allowed  a petition filed by the husband and quashed trial court’s order whereby it had partly allowed the wifes’ application filed under Section 20 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. It was left open for the wife to take recourse to any other remedy as may be available under law. The husband was directed to pay a monthly sum of Rs 5,000 for a period of six months.

Latest Judgement was given about Grant on Relief

The Supreme Court has observed that mere passing of a ‘maintenance’ order under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure does not bar an ‘aggrieved person’ from seeking appropriate reliefs under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The bench comprising Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justice Indira Banerjee dismissed a special leave petition against Delhi.

In a significant verdict, the Supreme Court held that the relief granted the right to the residence to a married woman under the domestic violence law by a criminal court is “relevant” and can be considered even in civil proceedings seeking her eviction from the matrimonial home. Deliberating in detail about the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the apex court said, “The progress of any society depends on its ability to protect and promote the rights of its women.

“Guaranteeing equal rights and privileges to women by the Constitution had marked the step towards the transformation of the status of the women in this country,” it said. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah also termed as “incorrect law” and set aside an earlier judgment’s interpretation of the definition of “shared household” under the Act and said that the definition was quite exhaustive and intended to provide the residence to the victim women under the law. “The definition of shared household given in Section 2(s) cannot be read to mean that shared household can only be that household which is household of the joint family to which husband is a member or in which husband of the aggrieved person has a share,” the bench. It said shared household meant the place where the woman lives or at any stage has lived in a domestic relationship either singly or along with the husband and it includes the house “owned or tenanted”. The top court, however, said the interim order protecting the right to residence of a woman under the law will not come in the way of filing civil cases related to the property.

“The pendency of proceedings under (Domestic Violence) Act or any order interim or final passed under the Domestic Violence Act,2005 under Section 19 regarding the right of residence is not an embargo for initiating or continuing any civil proceedings, which relate to the subject matter of order interim or final passed in proceedings under the DV Act,” it said.

“The judgment or order of the criminal court granting an interim or final relief under Section 19 of Domestic Violence Act,2005 are relevant within the meaning of Section 43 of the Evidence Act and can be referred to and looked into by the civil court,” it held. A civil court is to determine issues in proceedings based on evidence that has been led by the parties before it, the judgement said. Referring to facts of the case, the court said the lawsuit filed in a civil court for eviction of a woman was “fully maintainable” and issues raised by her father-in-law, who claims to own the house, as well as by the woman claiming a right to the residence were to be “addressed and decided based on evidence”. The top court’s verdict came on an appeal of 76-year-old Delhi resident Satish Chander Ahuja against a Delhi High Court’s judgement.

The Delhi High Court had set aside an order of a trial court passed in 2019 asking the daughter-in-law of Ahuja to vacate his premises. The High Court had also passed several directions and asked the civil court to decide the lawsuit afresh. Ahuja had said that the property belonged to him and neither his son nor his daughter-in-law has any ownership rights over it and it led to the passing of an order asking the woman to vacate the premises. The husband had filed a separate case for the decree of divorce against his wife and the woman had filed a criminal complaint under the domestic violence law against the husband, Ahuja and the mother-in-law. A criminal court had passed an interim order under the Domestic Violence Act that she be not dispossessed until further orders.

However, the father-in-law then filed a civil suit and got a decree of eviction. The top court concurred with the high court’s finding which had said that in all the cases, the husband of the woman needed to be made a party by the trial court by invoking its “suo motu powers” under the Civil Procedure Code. The Trial Court will then consider whether the appellant had made an unambiguous admission about the respondent’s ownership rights in respect of the suit premises; if she has and her only defence to being dispossessed therefrom is her right of residence under the Domestic Violence Act,2005 then the Trial Court shall, before passing a decree of possession on the wife premise of ownership rights, ensure that given the subsisting rights of the appellant under the Domestic Violence Act,2005 she is provided with an alternate accommodation as per Section 19(1)(f) of the Domestic Violence Act,2005 which will continue to be provided to her till the subsistence of her matrimonial relationship,” the high court had held.

[1] Special Leave Petition (Criminal) 9320 of 2019 Diary No(s).34053 of 2019

[2] 2019 SCC OnLine Del 9666

[3] C.R.R. No. 3907 of 2016

[4] CRL.REV.P. 103/2015

[5] LQ 2011 HC 27116

[6] CRL.REV.P., 579 of 2017

[7] Crl.A. No. – 909/2019

[8] Criminal Revision Application (REVN) No.121 of 2018

[9] 2019 (2) BOMCR (CRI)

Author- Lingamaneni Meghana

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