Extending the purview of the domestic violence act, the Bombay high court held that an aggrieved woman can seek relief from the female relatives of her husband or live-in partner.
Kalyan resident Chandrakant Wagh had sought quashing of a complaint filed by his wife, in which she had included his female relatives as respondents. Wagh’s lawyer argued that section 2 (q) of the act defines respondent as any adult male person who is or has been in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved woman.
Justice Roshan Dalvi held that the definition does not limit the scope of the legislation only to men in the domestic relationship.
The latter part of the definition states that an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship in the nature of marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner, he said. The judge noted that a provision in section 19 of the act specifies that an order under can be passed against women too.
Discarding Wagh’s argument that the complaint was not filed in a prescribed format, Dalvi said, “The act is a beneficial legislation. It is meant for protection of violated women and is required to be interpreted to enhance justice to women and not to frustrate it.”
Wagh had moved the high court after his plea for quashing the complaint was turned down by a judicial magistrate at Kalyan in 2010. The additional sessions judge, too, rejected his appeal in 2011, after which he moved the high court.