The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act has become an effective armour against “mean” husbands. A former military nurse, Valsala Chandran, who was hounded out of her husband’s house, has become the first woman in the state to win a case under the new Act.
Kottayam first class judicial magistrate NK Prasannakumari has granted her permission to occupy the palatial house built by her husband, who married another woman without divorcing her.
The court has also ordered the Thiruvananthapuram city police commissioner to provide Valsala and her two sons “enough protection” to stay in the house.
A Dubai-based businessman, P Chandrasekharan Pillai (57), had married Valsala (51) in the early eighties.
She had to resign from her job to accompany her husband to the Gulf. The couple has two sons, aged 23 and 20.
But their marriage of 17 years hit the rocks and Valsala was forced to come back to Kerala in 1998.
Once she returned, her husband married another woman in the Gulf without legally terminating his first marriage. Much to her shock, he did not even allow her to enter the newly-constructed house in Sasthamangalam, the heart of the capital.
“His main grouse was that I was turning more spiritual, but it was not true. Later he married a woman from Kollam,” Valsala narrated.
Once the options failed, she moved the family court at Kottayam for permanent alimony. After calculating her salary (had she been in the service she would have been in the rank of a colonel now), the court had issued an attachment notice worth Rs 1 crore.
Even after obtaining the attachment notice, she was denied entry to the house forcing her to seek refuge under the new Act. “I had to really toil to make ends meet. I am happy that the court gave me justice,” Valsala said.
“Perhaps this is the first such verdict in the country under the new law. ‘Right to secure housing’ is an important provision in the Act, which will help others, facing similar plight, in getting speedy justice,” Valsala’s counsel Ramachandran Kunnapally, said.