The High Court of Orissa on Tuesday held that for maintaining proceedings under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, it is not necessary for the woman to have lived in a shared household with the accused at the time of making an application to the Magistrate.
Justice S.K. Sahoo observed, “For subjecting a woman to any act of domestic violence as defined under section 3 of the P.W.D.V. Act and maintaining an application under section 12 of the P.W.D.V. Act, it is not necessary that the woman concerned must be living with the respondent under one roof or in a shared household at the time of presenting the application to the Magistrate.”
The Court was hearing a challenge to an order passed in July this year by the Sessions Judge, Bhubaneswar, upholding the maintainability of the proceedings initiated by the wife under the DV Act.
The maintainability of the proceedings were challenged, among other things, on the ground that there existed no “domestic relationship” between the couple for almost 4 years before the filing of the proceedings under the Act.
The complainant-wife had submitted that the expression, “who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household” as per Section 2(f) of the Act shows that subsisting relationship between the parties i.e., the aggrieved person and a respondent is not a sine qua non for filing an application for seeking relief under Section 12 of the Act.
The Court agreed with the submissions made by the complainant-wife, and upheld the maintainability of the application, observing, “When the divorce proceeding is subjudiced between the parties and there is no severance of status between them, merely because they are living at separate places since 2012, since it is the case of the opposite party that the petitioner was regularly coming to the rented house of the opposite party at Bhubaneswar and subjecting her to physical and mental torture, it can very well be said that the legal relationship between husband and wife continues and it has not been snapped and it is very much present and alive.”
Read the Judgment here.
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