It is not every person who can invoke the jurisdiction of the Court under the 2005 Act, simply for claiming maintenance, as the purpose of the enactment is to protect rights of women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family, the court said.
The Bombay High Court has observed that the provisions of Domestic Violence Act cannot be invoked simply for claiming maintenance unless the party alleges an act of domestic violence and approach the court in the capacity as an “aggrieved person”.
The family court, in this case, directed the husband to pay maintenance of Rs.2 lakh to the wife under Section 20 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The husband moved the high court challenging the said order.
Justice Bharati H Dangre perused the application filed by the wife and observed that apart from making the allegations that the husband is well-off and earning a huge amount and the wife is left with no source of livelihood, not a single averment has been made as to any act of domestic violence.
Only ‘Aggrieved Person’ can invoke
The bench observed that the reliefs contemplated under the Domestic Violence Act were available to an aggrieved person who alleges that she is or has been in domestic relationship with the respondent and was subjected to any act of domestic violence by the respondent. Allegation about the commission of a Domestic Violence Act is prerequisite for the magistrate or Court of competent jurisdiction to exercise the powers under the Protection from Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, and grant of any reliefs contemplated under the Act, the court said agreeing with the submission that that the provisions of DV Act cannot be invoked unless the party alleges an act of domestic violence and approach the court in the capacity as an "aggrieved person".
Terming the family court order as ‘grossly erroneous’, the court further observed: “Though the Family Court in the impugned order has noted the submissions advanced on behalf of the petitioner-husband that the preliminary requirement of the domestic violence has not been proved by the petitioner and therefore application is not maintainable, the Family Court did not pay any heed to the said submission and rather proceeded to decide the matter on its own merits. The Court has merely noted that as per provision of Section-20 of the D.V. Act aggrieved by had claimed monetary relief for herself and her children however, a whether the applicant is an "aggrieved person" has not at all been considered by the Family Court. Though the Act of Domestic Violence would be established after rendering evidence before the Court, at least the Court prima facie must be satisfied that the person approaching is as an "aggrieved person". It is not every person who can invoke the jurisdiction of the Court under the 2005 Act, simply for claiming maintenance, as the purpose of the enactment is to protect rights of women who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family.”
The court finally remanded the matter to family court for it to decide the entitlement of maintenance of the wife under Section 20 of the Domestic Violence Act.