The Bombay high court last week held that victims of domestic violence can seek refuge under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act, 2005, even in cases that occurred before the legislation came into force if the abuse continued thereafter.
Earlier, the provisions of the act could not be implemented retrospectively.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Karimkhan Sailanikhan, 47, who drove his wife, Nahid Akhtar, out of their home for not giving in to his demands for dowry.
He had challenged an order by the Khamgaon sessions court, which had dismissed his objection to Akhtar’s complaint before a magistrate.
In 2009, Akhtar filed a complaint under the DV Act, seeking monthly maintenance of Rs5,000, lump sum alimony of Rs1 lakh and a compensation of Rs2 lakh. Sailanikhan sought to quash the proceedings contending that Nahid left him on May 9, 2001 while the act became effective only on October 26, 2006.
Dismissing Sailanikhan’s petition, justice AP Bhangle ruled that provisions of the DV Act will be applicable to any wife who has been deprived of her marital home before the act came into force, but who was denied access even after it did.
“Giving relief to the wife for such continuous breach of legal right…would not amount to giving retrospective effect to the provisions of the DV Act,” the justice clarified.