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Now we come to the section which is music to the ears of feminist wives and the divorce industry lawyers.
(1) While disposing of an application under sub-section (1) of section 12, the Magistrate may direct the respondent to pay monetary relief to meet the expenses incurred and losses suffered by the aggrieved person and any child of the aggrieved person as a result of the domestic violence and such relief may include but is not limited to-
(a) the loss of earnings;
(b) the medical expenses;
(c) the loss caused due to the destruction, damage or removal of any property from the control of the aggrieved person; and
Comments: Sub-section 12(1) basically refers to the application by wife to magistrate to get one or more reliefs possible under PWDVA. Under sub-sections (a)-(c), wife can claim various kind of monetary compensations which are SEPARATE from the monthly maintenance.
Comment: Above is the most important clause of PWDVA which enables a woman to ask for monthly maintenance from husband. It is drafted very favourably to women seeking relief, since it allows the possibility of a maintenance order either under CrPC 125, or in addition to CrPC 125 order, or any other law in force which means any other maintenance awarded under HMA 24 too! Which means that in theory a woman can file a CrPC 125 case first, and follow up with DV case later asking for maintenance in both! Or she may be getting maintenance already under Section 24 of Hindu Marriage Act (HMA 24), and yet file a DV case seeking maintenance under it too.
To reiterate, the compensation asked in sub-section (a)-(c) is separate from monthly maintenance.
In practice too, it is seen that a few women file both CrPC 125 and DV case on husbands with a gap of few months in between, and ask for maintenance under both. Logically and legally speaking, law should not permit award of relief on same grounds multiple times. However the drafting has been done cleverly assuming the judges will take it to be a beneficial legislation and be kind enough to award maintenance in DV case even if maintenance under separate CrPC 125 case is already awarded. In practice, it is seen that sometimes women are able to get a maintenance award under both. The husband can request the court to take into account the fact that already sufficient maintenance has been awarded to the wife. There are few judgments against this kind of practice, for example, the below Delhi HC judgment by justice S N Dhingra which dismissed maintenance under PWDVA when CrPC 125 maintenance was already awarded.
Extract from above judgment is given below:
The basic point to argue on is that if wife has won maintenance order in one case, and files another one to claim additional maintenance, then you should deny this new maintenance based on the fact that she is already well-maintained due to your paying her based on a previous maintenance order of another court. I think this is a point of law which is either unknown to may advocates, or who are just plain lazy and don’t want to delve into intricacies of the law and various judgments. The only reason for a judge to award a maintenance amount when it is already ordered in another court is when the judge thinks the previous maintenance amount is not sufficient. You have to impress upon the judge to do a careful look at wife’s submissions regarding her expenses and needs, rather than passing a summary order granting maintenance.
(3) The Magistrate shall have the power to order an appropriate lump sum payment or monthly payments of maintenance, as the nature and circumstances of the case may require.
Comment: Sub-section (2) above gives magistrate the power to award such amount of maintenance which would make wife’s standard of living similar to when she had left the husband’s house. This is somewhat similar to case law followed in awarding maintenance under Hindu Marriage Act also. We will discuss an advanced technique in next section about how a "DV House" can be used to lower such maintenance.
Sub-section (3) makes it possible for judge to give a lumpsum maintenance too, whereas under CrPC 125 only monthly maintenance is allowed (barring state amendments). In practice, we don’t hear award of lumpsum maintenance though.
(5) The respondent shall pay the monetary relief granted to the aggrieved person within the period specified in the order under sub-section (1).
(6) Upon the failure on the part of the respondent to make payment in terms of the order under sub-section (1), the Magistrate may direct the employer or a debtor of the respondent, to directly pay to the aggrieved person or to deposit with the court a portion of the wages or salaries or debt due to or accrued to the credit of the respondent, which amount may be adjusted towards the monetary relief payable by the respondent.
Comment: Sub-section 20(6) above give magistrate the power to direct husband’s employer to directly debit portion of his salary and deposit it towards his maintenance obligation. It’s one more reason it’s not a good idea for husbands to not fight the maintenance case well, but think that one will not pay and see what happens. The possibility of a court order being given to employer is not a good idea to keep a professional and responsible image. But hang on! It doesn’t mean leaving one’s job is a good idea. That’s about the worst possible idea to avoid problems due to maintenance and other cases, as we discuss later.