Women can be charged under Domestic Violence Act
Female members of a family can be charged under the Domestic Violence Act in case of harassment of a woman, a Delhi court has said.delhi Updated: Apr 11, 2010 10:15 IST
Female members of a family can be charged under the Domestic Violence Act in case of harassment of a woman, a Delhi court has said.
The order assumes importance in the wake of raging debate whether the law enacted for the welfare of women can be used against them or not, as different High Courts have expressed "conflicting views".
Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau, while giving an interpretation of the provisions for protection of women in the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, said the law provided that a wife can file complaint against her husband and his relatives which include both males and females.
"Section 2 Clause (q) of the Act which provides that 'an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship in the nature of a marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner'. The provision includes both male and females," the judge said.
The judge, however, noted that different High Courts have taken "conflicting views" on the issue of whether the female members of a family can be covered under the Domestic Violence Act or not.
"A view which is in consonance with and fulfils the objective of the Act has to be followed. A meaningful interpretation has to be given so as to ensure that the purpose of the Act is not defeated," the court said.
It, however, noted that there may be cases where the provisions of the Act are abused by roping in all members of the family who may have "no concern" with the matrimonial disputes between the husband and the wife.
The court noted that in this regard the view of some of the High Courts including the Madhya Pradesh High Court is that such an application filed against the female members is not maintainable.
However, the Kerala High Court has held that the first part of the definition would cover only the adult male persons, but the proviso to the same would cover any relative of the husband, both male and female.
It shall be open to the trial court in such cases to direct the deletion of such parties, the judge said.
The court passed these observations while rejecting a revision petition of certain women members of a family who challenged an order of a Metropolitan Magistrate dismissing their plea to remove their names from a complaint filed under the Domestic Violence Act.
"Trial court cannot be expected to continue with such proceedings against such family members who have been malafidely roped in but at the same time, the trial court is not required to jump to any such conclusions of malafides on mere asking of the respondents before it," the court said.
The trial courts could definitely remove the names of any member of the family from the list of accused if it reached to a conclusion on merit that the allegations against them were false and not sustainable, it said.