Bombay High Court: Manish Pitale, J., expressed while addressing the present application that,
“Second marriage cannot come within the definition of domestic violence.”
By the instant application, applicants sought quashing of criminal proceedings filed by sole respondent under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
Further, the applicants also prayed for setting aside the orders passed by the Court of Judicial Magistrate.
Applicant 1 got married to the sole respondent and soon after the marriage, there was matrimonial discord between the two, because of which, applicant 1 filed a divorce proceeding on the ground of cruelty.
The divorce decree granted was confirmed upto the Supreme Court and the rejection of the application for restitution of conjugal rights filed by the respondent also stood confirmed.
Bench stated that the contentions raised on behalf of applicant 1 on ground of cruelty were accepted by all the Courts and hence the said findings attained finality.
Question for consideration:
- Whether respondent is entitled to rely upon incidents pertaining to the same time period and relatable to the allegation and contentions raised to claim that she had suffered domestic violence at the hands of the applicants, as defined under the DV Act.
- Whether the act of applicant 1 preforming a second marriage after the grant of divorce decree can be said to be an act of domestic violence under the provisions of the DV Act?
- Whether the proceedings initiated by respondent under provisions of the DV Act can be said to be an abuse of process of law?
Analysis, Law and Decision
High Court stated that on perusal of Sections 12 to 23 of the D.V. Act, respondent has indeed raised the very issues and contentions that she had relied upon during the initial round of litigation pertaining to the divorce petition filed by applicant 1 and application or restitution of conjugal rights filed by respondent.
Hence, respondent cannot be permitted to reiterate the same by filing application under the provisions of the DV Act, 3 months after the Supreme Court dismissed her Special Leave Petition and confirmed the findings rendered by the Family Court and this Court on identical issues.
Court rejected the contention that the second marriage performed by applicant 1, after grant of divorce decree amounted to domestic violence.
Section 3 of the D.V. Act defines ‘domestic violence’ in an elaborate manner and it refers to physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse and economic abuse. This is in the context of a domestic relation shared between the aggrieved person and respondent.
Family Court granted divorce on the ground of cruelty cannot eb denied in the present matter.
Merely because applicant 1 performed second marriage cannot come within the definition of domestic violence under Section 3 of the D.V. Act.
The manner in which the proceedings were sought to be initiated under the provisions of DV Act was nothing but an abuse of process of law.
Court noted that the respondent appeared to be interested in initiating and continuing the proceedings as a tool of harassment against the applicants.
Prayers pertaining to monthly maintenance, compensation, residence order, etc., have all been made of the contentions raised in the earlier round of litigation.
In view of the above background, High Court held that continuance of the proceedings would amount to permitting abuse of the process of law, hence the same cannot be permitted. [Bhushan v. Nilesha Bhushan Deshmukh, Criminal Application (APL) No. 164 of 2017, decided on 9-08-2021]
Advocates before the Court:
S.A. Mohta, Advocate for applicants