Supreme Court: Deciding a case of domestic violence, where the decree of divorce had been obtained subsequently, the Court held that an act of domestic violence once committed, subsequent decree of divorce will not absolve the liability of the respondent from the offence committed or to deny the benefit to which the aggrieved person is entitled under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act) including monetary relief under Section 20, Child Custody under Section 21, Compensation under Section 22 and interim or ex parte order under Section 23 of the DV Act.
In the present case, the appellant obtained an ex parte ‘Khula’ from Mufti under the Muslim Personal Law on 09.05.2008 and filed a petition under Section 12 of the DV Act on 29.09.2009 alleging that the respondent was not providing maintenance to her and her child under Sections 8 to 23 of the DV Act. The bench of Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya and S.A. Bobde, JJ, considering the fact that the respondent had challenged the ex parte ‘Khula’ and had filed a petition for restitution of conjugal rights, held that it cannot be concluded that the decree of divorce was granted on 09.05.2008.
Moreover, the Court was of the opinion that even if after obtaining the decree of divorce, the wife who had shared the household in the past but was no longer residing with the husband, can file a petition under Section 12 of the DV Act if subjected to domestic violence seeking relief under Section 18 to 23 of the DV Act. In the present case, where the parties were represented by Shilpa Singh and KC Dua, the alleged domestic violence took place between January, 2006 and September, 2007. Hence, the Court held that even if it is accepted that the appellant had obtained ex parte ‘Khula’ under the Muslim Personal Law from the Mufti on 09.05.2008, the petition under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was maintainable. Juveria Abdul Majid Patni v. Atif Iqbal Mansoori, Criminal Appeal No. 2069 of 2014, decided on 18.09.2014
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