Can a woman charge female family members of her husband or live-in partner under the Domestic Violence Act? The Delhi High Court will now settle this tricky question.
There is a raging debate on whether the law enacted for the welfare of women can be used against female family members with different courts across the country expressing conflicting views.
A petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court by a woman against her whom her daughter- in- law filed a case
in the lower court under the Act.
Her lawyers Arvind Jain and K.C. Miittal have contended that Section 2 Clause (q) of the Act only brings under its ambit adult male persons of the family of a woman’s husband or live-in partner.
“A plain reading of this definition clause would show that an application will not lie under the provisions of this Act against a female,” said Miittal, claiming there is a “gender restriction”.
A bench of justices A.K. Sikri and Ajit Bharihoke has sought the response of the Ministries of Law and Women and Child Welfare on the issue by May 18.
Madhya Pradesh and Madras High Courts have said such an application filed against the female members is not maintainable. However, the Kerala High Court has held that the definition would only cover adult male persons.
“If the word ‘a relative’ of the husband or the male partner is read without gender than even the minor male/female relatives will also be covered within the law which can never be the intention of the legislatures while enacting the DV Act,” the petition stated.