Complaint under DV Act not maintainable after divorce; Punjab & Haryana HC [Read Judgment]

Complaint under DV Act not maintainable after divorce; Punjab & Haryana HC [Read Judgment]


Once the domestic relationship came to an end after the decree of divorce the complaint under the Domestic Violence Act could not have been filed, the Court observed.


The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that a complaint under Domestic Violence Act is not maintainable after divorce and the domestic relationship between the aggrieved person and the respondent must be present and alive at the time when the complaint under Domestic Violence Act is filed.

Justice Anita Chaudhry, in a petition under Section 482 CrPC, seeking quashing of complaint filed by brother of his Ex-wife (Divorce was decreed Ex Parte), quashed the complaint and observed that provisions under the Domestic Violence Act can be invoked only when the domestic relationship is in existence.

DOMESTIC RELATIONSHIP HAS TO BE IN THE PRESENT

The Court referring to Section 2(a) of the Domestic Violence Act observed “The use of the word is any woman 'who is' or 'has been'. Both the expressions are in the present tense. The legislature has not used the word 'who was' or 'had been'. This means the domestic relationship has to be in the present and not in the past. The definition requires that on the date Act come into force, the woman should be in domestic relationship.”

Referring to Section 2 (f)of the Act which defines ‘domestic relationship’, the court observed “The definition clearly speaks of a domestic relationship between two persons who live or have at any point of time lived together in a shared household and are related by marriage or through a relationship in the nature of marriage. This definition also speaks about the existence of a relationship by marriage or a relationship in the nature of marriage at the time. The expression used is 'are related' by marriage. The expression by the legislature is not 'were related'. From the bare reading of these two provisions it is apparent that the intention of the legislature is to protect those women who are living in a domestic relationship.”

Referring to Harbans Lal Malik vs. Payal Malik the Court said that that definition of 'wife' as available in Section 125 Cr.PC cannot be merged into Domestic Violence Act.

‘ABUSE OF PROCESS OF THE COURT’

Quashing the complaint, the Court observed “it is held that the present complaint is an abuse of the process of the Court. The domestic relationship had come to an end. The complainant had impleaded relatives who were not living in theshared house and permitting the Magistrate to proceed with the complaint would be an abuse of the process of law. The complaint and the proceedings therein are quashed.”

Read the Judgment here.