Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: Sandeep K. Shinde, J., examines whether an application under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act on behalf of relatives of deceased seeking monetary relief, possession of ‘stridhan’ and compensation was maintainable or not.

Question for Consideration:

Whether an application presented by the petitioners under Section 12 of the D.V. Act on behalf of deceased, Suchita Sapre, seeking:

(i) monetary relief under Section 20(b) i.e. reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by petitioner 2 for the treatment of deceased, Suchita;

(ii) possession of “Streedhan” of late, Suchita under Section 19(8) of the D.V. Act; and

(iii) compensation under Section 22 from the respondents, was maintainable?”

Trajectory of the Case  

Petitioner 1 was the minor daughter of the deceased. Respondent 1 was the father of the petitioner and respondents 2 and 3 were the grandfather and grandmother of petitioner 1, whereas petitioner 2 was the mother of the deceased.

It was stated that the deceased was neglected by her husband and in0laws and was subjected to physical, verbal and economic abuses by the respondent due to which she suffered serious sickness and later passed away.

Petitioners alleged the respondents did not bother to look after Suchita in her lifetime and even during her illness. Petitioner 2 (mother of Suchita) would claim that, she had spent Rs 60,00,000 for Suchita’s treatment and would also claim that, she had gifted gold ornaments in Suchita’s marriage, which are in the custody of mother-in-law, respondent 3.

In view of the above background, petitioner had presented an application under Section 12 of the DV Act.

Respondents questioned the locus of the petitioners and maintainability of the present application under Section 12 of the DV Act stated that the reliefs under the said Act could not have been sought on behalf of the deceased.

Later, petitioners’ application was rejected and in appeal, the order of Additional Sessions Judge was confirmed, and the said orders have been assailed in the instant petition.

Significant Point: Suchita died in the year 2013, whereas the petitioner presented the application for various reliefs in 2015.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court noted that petitioners did not claim themselves to be “aggrieved person” but asserted their right to present an application under Section 12 of the DV Act on behalf of the deceased who as per them was an aggrieved person. Therefore, the petitioners sought enforcement of the personal rights of the deceased.

The Bench held that the rights sought to be enforced by the petitioner by presenting an application under Section 12 of the DV Act was clearly not maintainable for the following reasons:

  • the right to claim monetary reliefs, protection order and compensation under the D.V. Act, are personal-statutory and inalienable rights of the “aggrieved person”. These rights extinguish on the death of “aggrieved person”. For that reason, such rights were not enforceable by legal representatives of “aggrieved person”.
  • expression “aggrieved person” has to be understood and given restrictive meaning, in view of the Statement of Object and Reasons of the Act. Defined expression “aggrieved person” is not inclusive and thus by process of interpretative explanation, its scope cannot be expanded like suggested by the petitioners, as it would counter the Scheme and Object of the Act and would defeat the intention of the legislation.
  • although “any other person” can present an application under Section 12 of the D.V. Act, on behalf of “aggrieved person”, nevertheless, such “other person” cannot maintain an application independently of an “aggrieved person”. Infact, Section 12 of the D.V. Act, simply enables, the “aggrieved person” to present an application under the Act through “any other person”. That being the Scheme of the Act, “aggrieved person” must be living (alive) while presenting the application.

Hence, petitioners’ application was rightly rejected by Trial Court and Appellate Court.

In view of the above discussion, petition was disposed of. [Kanaka Kedar Sapre v. Kedar Narhar Sapre, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 1, decided on 4-1-2022]

Advocates before the Court:

Mr. Abhijeet Sarwate, Advocate for the petitioner.

Mr. Tapan Thatte a/w. Mr. Amar Patil i/by. Mr. Shantanu Adkar, Advocate for respondents 1 to 3.

Mr. A.R. Patil, APP for State.

Tripura High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: S.G. Chattopadhyay, J., elaborated on the aspect of economic abuse in term of Section 3 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Factual Matrix

Wife had presented an application under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, wherein she referred to several incidents of domestic violence against her husband.

Further, she alleged that her husband subjected her to harassment and torture for dowry and since she was unable to meet his demand, she was physically assaulted by her husband on various dates. Gradually he developed an extramarital affair. When the wife raised a protest against his conduct he assaulted her.

Trial Court found the wife to be entitled to a protection order, residence order and monetary relief, respondents were directed to make payment of Rs 2000/- per month as rent for accommodation to the aggrieved and further payment of Rs 15,000/- per month as monetary relief in the form of maintenance.

Additional Sessions Judge also partly allowed the appeal of the husband, his mother, brother and sister, by which the husband was solely proved to have committed domestic violence upon his wife and others were discharged from the liabilities.

In the present revision petition, husband has challenged the impugned judgment of the Additional Sessions Judge.

Core Issue agitated by the husband’s counsel:

Relief under the DV Act had been provided to the wife in absence of any proof of domestic violence.

Under Section 12 of the DV Act only the aggrieved person or a protection officer appointed under the DV Act or any other person on behalf the aggrieved person may present an application to the magistrate seeking one or more reliefs under this Act.

Allegation of domestic violence is a sine qua non for pursuing a petition under the DV Act.

Further, Court observed that under Section 3 of the DV Act which defines domestic violence, ‘economic abuse’ is a form of domestic violence.

Section 3 relates to ‘economic abuse’ which includes deprivation of all or any economic financial resources to which the aggrieved person is entitled under any law or custom whether payable under an order of a court or otherwise.

Bench held that in the present matter, wife is obviously legally entitled to maintenance allowance from her husband who is a government employee since she made a good case of justifying why she was living separately.

Denial of maintenance to wife would definitely cause ‘economic abuse’ within the meaning of Section 3 of the Domestic Violence Act, therefore no infirmity in the impugned judgment was found.

Court directed that the monetary relief shall be paid by the husband by depositing the same in the wife’s savings bank account. The Family Court will determine the mode of payment of the outstanding arrear till 31-01-2021 after issuing notice to the parties and hearing them in person.

If the husband fails to pay the arrear, the same shall be deducted from his salary and paid to the wife.

In view of the above. Petition was dismissed. [Ramendra Kishore Bhattacharjee v. Madhurima Bhattacharjee, 2021 SCC OnLine Tri 79, decided on 10-02-2021]

Advocates for the parties:

For the Appellant: Mr B. Deb, Adv.

For the Respondent: Mr S. Debnath, Addl. PP Mr Raju Datta

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: While passing the order in a criminal revision petition, a Single Judge Bench comprising of Rathnakala, J. held that the obligation of the husband to maintain the wife continues throughout the matrimonial life and the husband cannot get away with an excuse that for many years no request was made by the wife for the maintenance amount.

In the present case, the wife filed a petition under S. 12 of the Act for various relief. The learned Magistrate ordered maintenance and compensation in favor of the wife which was modified by the lower appellate court. The husband-revision petitioner, challenged the maintainability of the petition filed by the wife under S. 12 of the Act for maintenance and compensation. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that there was no cause to file the petition since there was no harassment/ill treatment or domestic violence as defined under S. 3 of the Act.

The Court, rejecting the contention of the petitioner held that domestic violence under S. 3 of the Act, includes economic abuse also. The omission of the husband in neglecting to maintain the aggrieved wife falls within the description of S. 3 of the Act. The husband was living with another woman, which was another form of domestic violence, emotional. It was held that the petitioner was guilty of offence of domestic violence under the Act and could not escape liability. [Kasturi v. Subhas, Criminal Revision Petition No. 539/2017, dated August 3, 2017]