Inclusion of the whole baraat (marriage party) of husband’s relatives in PWDVA (Domestic Violence) complaint was nothing new, now it has got stamp of approval of division bench of Chennai high court.
Read here about my earlier blog post on similar judgment by Madurai bench of Chennai high court.
CHENNAI: A woman, who is a victim of domestic violence, can include the names of her husband as well as his adult male and female relatives while initiating civil proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act, the Madras High Court has ruled.
A landmark judgment to this effect was delivered by a division bench comprising Justice C Nagappan and Justice PR Shivakumar in a case where it had requested the state public prosecutor, P Kumaresan, to be the amicus curiae. The chief justice had referred the matter to the bench after single judges had taken divergent views on the matter.
The case relates to a criminal original petition filed by R Nivendran and five of his relatives against his wife Nivashini’s application under the act, claiming several kinds of relief from her husband, his parents and sister.
Nivendran’s family members contended that under the act no woman member of the husband’s family could be arrayed as respondents, as the act contemplated relief only against the “adult male person and not a woman.”
Nivashini, however, filed a counter-affidavit saying a wife or a woman partner may file a complaint against the male partner as well as a relative. The term ‘relative’ would include a woman and it cannot be restricted only to the adult male person. Public prosecutor Kumaresan submitted that the term ‘relative’ in the Section 2(q) of the Act could mean only a male relative, and that it could also be a female relative of the husband. He said that the permission granted by the court to the aggrieved woman to remain in the shared accommodation would become redundant if it was not binding on the female relatives of the husband or male partner.
Concurring with his submissions, the bench said: “We hold that the ‘respondent’ as defined under Section 2(q) of the act includes a female relative of the husband/male partner, and women could be added as respondents in an application under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act.”
The Domestic Violence Act comes to the aid of a woman who has lived with her husband/male partner in a shared household and has suffered physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse. The aggrieved woman can claim several kinds of relief such as right to remain in the shared household, protection orders, monetary relief towards medical expenses and loss of earnings, custody orders relating to children, and compensation for injuries and mental torture.