Can’t sue for domestic violence if marriage declared null and void, rules Bombay high court
The court struck down proceedings initiated by a 37-year-old woman from Akola.mumbai Updated: Aug 13, 2017 01:27 IST
Once a marriage has been declared null and void, a woman cannot ask for action against her husband under the 2005 domestic violence (DV) Act, the Bombay high court said, striking down proceedings initiated by a 37-year-old woman from Akola.
Justice PN Deshmukh said after a family court at Akola said the marriage was null and void, “there was no relationship” between her and the husband.
The couple got married in February 2013. On a marriage petition filed by her 50-year-old husband, in May 2015, the family court declared the marriage as null and void.
The next year, when the woman initiated proceedings invoking provisions of the DV Act, the husband objected.
He said the proceedings under the DV Act was not maintainable.
In December 2016, the magistrate court overruled the objection holding the DV Act does not require parties to be formally married, and in May 2017, the sessions court at Akola dismissed the husband’s appeal and upheld the magisterial order. The man then approached the high court.
In the high court, it was argued on behalf of the husband that a matrimonial relationship between the parties was an essential condition to invoke the DV Act, and in this case, there was no valid matrimonial relationship.
The husband’s lawyer cited a 2010 ruling of the Supreme Court (D Velusamy’s case) in which it was held the “relationship in the nature of marriage” was akin to a common law marriage and said that if the couple was not married, the live-in partners must hold themselves out to society as being akin to spouses, they must be of legal age to marry, otherwise qualified to enter into a legal marriage and must have voluntarily cohabited.
Justice Deshmukh accepted the husband’s contentions noting that in the same judgement the Apex Court has, in unequivocal terms, held that all live-in relationships will not amount to a relationship in the nature of marriage to get the benefit of the DV Act.