In a significant observation, a Mumbai Session Court made it clear that an aggrieved wife can file domestic violence complaint against the relatives of the assailant who don’t share a household with her.
Additional Sessions Judge UM Padwad noted that the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act is not limited to reliefs only against those who reside with the survivor.
“Had that been so, it would have been very convenient to cause violence or any other trouble to the aggrieved person through the relatives not sharing the same household and yet remained out of the clutches of the DV Act,” the court observed.
ASJ Padwad was hearing an appeal challenging a Magistrate order where it was held that since the appellant’s brother-in-law never resided with the appellant in a shared household, he cannot be considered to be a respondent as defined by Section 2 (q) of DV Act.
“Such an observation of the learned Metropolitan Magistrate however, is wholly misplaced. It is for the simple reason that the proviso to Section 2 (q) of the DV Act makes it very clear that an aggrieved wife can also file a complaint against a relative of the husband,” clarified ASJ Padwad.
He also noted that such an observation would render the law futile.
Holding that any relative of the husband if not sharing or shared the same household cannot be a respondent would amount to giving licence to those relatives to commit violence to the aggrieved person and thereby rendering the very Act meaningless, the Court added.
The bench went on to add, “In the present case, there were enough references to indicate that the brother-in-law was involved in the violence, the proceedings against him were determined to be tenable. Hence, the appropriate trial court was directed to continue proceedings against him.”