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'Aggrieved Person' Under The Domestic Violence Act Includes A Foreign Citizen: Rajasthan High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
23 Nov 2021 3:45 AM GMT
Aggrieved Person Under The Domestic Violence Act Includes A Foreign Citizen: Rajasthan High Court
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In a significant observation, the Rajasthan High Court (Jodhpur Bench) has held that as per Section 2(a) of the Domestic Violence Act of 2005, the definition of 'aggrieved person', would include any woman including a foreign citizen, who is subjected to domestic violence.Such a woman is very much entitled to get the protection of Section 12 of the Act of 2005 [Application to Magistrate],...

In a significant observation, the Rajasthan High Court (Jodhpur Bench) has held that as per Section 2(a) of the Domestic Violence Act of 2005, the definition of 'aggrieved person', would include any woman including a foreign citizen, who is subjected to domestic violence.

Such a woman is very much entitled to get the protection of Section 12 of the Act of 2005 [Application to Magistrate], the Court further ruled.

Significantly, the Bench of Justice Vinit Kumar Mathur also observed that a plain reading of the Domestic Violence Act reveals that protection under the Act is extended to the persons who are temporarily resident of India, being covered under the definition of aggrieved person as per section 2 (a) of the Act of 2005.

The case before the Court

One Catherine Nieiddu, a Canadian citizen filed a complaint against her husband, Robarto Nieddu (petitioner before the Court) under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.

The petitioner preferred an application against the complaint of her wife, on the ground of maintainability of the complaint as being non-maintainable. The same was dismissed by the trial court vide order dated February 11, 2021.

The order was assailed by the petitioner by way of filing an appeal before the appellate court, and the same was also rejected by the appellate court vide order dated August 5, 2021.

Aggrieved against both the orders, the instant petition was moved before the High Court.

Before the Court, it was submitted by the petitioner that the complaint of respondent No.2 i.e. before the trial court under Section 12 of the Act of 2005 was not maintainable as the petitioner and respondent No.2 are not Indian citizens and thus, are not amenable to the jurisdiction of the Act of 2005.

Lastly, he submitted that since the petitioner was only a resident of India at that relevant point of time will not confer jurisdiction in the instant case.

Court's order

Observing that a woman of foreign origin can maintain an application under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence as such a woman would come under the purview of the definition of 'aggrieved person' as per Section 2 (a) of the Act, the Court, at the outset, observed thus:

"The fact that the respondent No.2 (woman) is resident of Jodhpur for last about 25 years and after having solemnized marriage with the petitioner, the incident which is reported in the complaint also took place at Jodhpur and therefore, in view of definitions enumerated under sections 2 (a) and 12 of the Act of 2005, it is held that the application preferred by the respondent No.2 before the trial court is maintainable"

Importantly, referring to Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the Court remarked that even Article 21 of the Constitution of India extends the benefit of protection not only to every citizen of the country, but also to a "person" who may not be a citizen of the Country.

"Article 21 states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law. Therefore, looked at from that angle, a person aggrieved i.e. respondent No.2 is very much entitled to get protection of section 12 of the Act of 2005," the Court noted as it dismissed the petition.

Case title - Robarto Nieddu v. State Of Rajasthan and Another 

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