Another judgment is analyzed below which concludes that women / female relatives of husband/man cannot be made ‘respondent’ under Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA).
First see the 2(q) clause of PWDVA which defines respondent. Note that almost all the reliefs mentioned are claimable only against respondent.
(q) “respondent” means any adult male person wbo is, or has been, in a
domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and against whom the aggrieved
pcrson has sought any relief under this Act,
Provided that an ‘aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship in the
nature of a marriage may also file a complamt against a relative of the husband or
the male partner;
Now from the judgment we read the following, esp note the bold portions:
The word complaint as appeared in the definition of
respondent under Section 2(q) of the Act has not been
defined anywhere in the Act. Although it is not provided
that the definition of complaint can be considered the same
as provided under the Cr.P.C. but at the same time it is also
not prohibited. In view of this, the definition of complaint
can appropriately be seen in Cr.P.C. which goes as under :-
2(d) “complaint” means any allegation made orally or in
writing to a Magistrate, with a view to his taking action
under this Code, that some person, whether known or
unknown, has committed an offence, but does not
include a police report.
It is clear by this definition that a complaint as provided in
Cr.P.C. can only be for an offence. As mentioned
hereinabove only two offences have been mentioned in this
Act and those are (1) under Section 31 and (2) under
Section 33. It appears that this word complaint appeared in
the definition of respondent has been used for initiating
proceedings for these two offences and an aggrieved wife or
female living in a relationship in the nature of a marriage
has been given a right to file a complaint against a relative
of the husband or the male partner. This word complaint
cannot be considered beyond the scope of the main
provision of this Section which has been defined in first
part of Section 2(q) that is for any relief under this Act. As
provided in Section 31 of the Act, a complaint can be filed
against a person who has not complied with a protection
order or interim protection order.
Thus, it is clear by the definition of respondent that
for obtaining any relief under this Act an application can be
filed or a proceeding can be initiated against only adult
male person and on such application or under such
proceeding, aforementioned protection order can be passed.
Obviously those orders will also be passed only against the
adult male person. As provided under Section 31 of the Act,
non-compliance of a protection order or an interim
protection order has been made punishable and as such it
can be said that the complaint for this offence can only be
filed against such adult male person/respondent who has not
complied with the protection order. Hence, it is clear that
the application under Section 12 of the Act which has been
filed by the respondent against petitioners No.3 and 4, who
are not adult male persons, is not maintainable.
The jokers who drafted this act wanted to surreptitiously add a clause so that a ‘complaint’ could be made against any relative of man/husband. But the subsequent reading of the act clearly says that relief is sought only from respondent and respondent solely is responsible in case of default on protection order etc. The idea of “also file a complaint against a relative” seems to allow a broad application of the act and terrorize everyone in husband/man’s family merely by relation to husband/man.