Calcutta High Court recently held that depriving a woman of her Stridhan or any other financial or economic resources to which she is entitled constitutes domestic violence under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (PWDV Act).
Stridhan is gifts/ presents given to a woman voluntarily by her family during her wedding.
“The deprivation of petitioner to any economic or financial resources which the aggrieved person is entitled under any law is also Domestic Violence. In this case, it is the fact that the petitioner was deprived of her Stridhan articles for a long, which were under the custody of the opposite parties. This fact is tantamount to Domestic Violence” stated Single-judge Justice Subhendu Samanta.
The High Court bench quashed the Howrah Sessions judge’s order. The sessions judge had set aside the Magistrate Court order granting compensation and other monetary relief to a widow.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by a widow seeking financial relief from her in-laws. Her husband died on October 29, 2010 and she was allegedly asked to leave her matrimonial house the very next day after the death. The petitioner alleged that in-laws didn’t give her Stridhan and other articles.
She alleged that her in-laws subjected her to cruelty when her husband was alive. However, the in-laws submitted that she left the home voluntarily.
On July 31, 2015, Magistrate Court allowed the woman’s plea seeking compensation and monetary relief. But Session Court quashed the Magistrate Court’s order on April 7, 2018.
Citing two explanations behind the widow leaving her matrimonial home, the High Court stated, “First, widow may have felt very alone in absence of her husband and took cozy shelter at her father’s home; Second, there existed no good terms with her in-laws; that is the lady was not well at her matrimonial home.”
The bench noted that the Sessions court committed an injustice by not considering the entire case of the widow before him. The Court also noted that the widow didn’t have any source of income.
The bench added, “She is now residing at her father’s home at the mercy of her father. The day-to-day expenses of her livelihood is not a deniable factor. She is only to lay her hand to her father for to meet out the daily expenses. Thus the circumstances incurred and loss suffered by the petitioner is itself proved from the facts and circumstances of this case.”
The bench noted that the in-laws argument has no merit on that score.
While allowing the plea of the woman, the bench ruled, “Ultimately, it is the irony of fate, that instead of specific legislative intent, the widow lady is roaming doors of Courts since long 10 years without receiving any monetary relief.“