The Rajasthan High Court in Geeta Singh vs. State of Rajasthan and Anr dismissed the DV application of Geeta Singh, filed under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 claiming interim monetary relief to her daughter Geetanjali.
One of the reliefs sought is that respondent may be directed to pay 700 pounds per month as living expenditure as she was pursuing higher studies at Cardiff University, England.
Geetanjali’s father contended he had borne all the school and college education expenses for his daughter and even took care of educational and all other expenses for her higher studies at Nottingham, England.
The question involved was whether the unmarried daughter, who has already completed her post graduation from a reputed university in India like Delhi University and who also pursued her further studies at Nottingham, England, in 2009, is an aggrieved person within the meaning of the Act, and if yes, whether she can claim interim monetary relief as her living expenses for pursuing her further studies without the consent of her father merely by the reason that presently she does not have her own independent source of income and her other educational expenses were being incurred by her mother after taking loan from a bank.
The sub-section (1) of Section 20 of the Act is as follows:-
While disposing of an application under sub-section (1) of section 12, the Magistrate may direct the respondent to pay monetary relief to meet the expenses incurred and losses suffered by the aggrieved person and any child of the aggrieved person as a result of the domestic violence and such relief may include but is not limited to—
(a) the loss of earnings;
(b) the medical expenses;
(c) the loss caused due to the destruction, damage or removal of any property from the control of the aggrieved person; and
(d) the maintenance for the aggrieved person as well as her children, if any, including an order under or in addition to an order of maintenance under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) or any other law for the time being in force.
To be an aggrieved person for the purpose of the Act, following conditions are required to be fulfilled:
(i) the woman must have a domestic relationship with the respondent;
(ii) she must be subjected to some kind of domestic violence by the respondent.
The question in the present case was whether refusal by the father to incur living expenses of his daughter could be commission of economic abuse.
Justice Prashant Kumar Agarwal, speaking for the bench, held that:
“Expenses incurred or to be incurred by daughter of a person for her reasonable studies can be said to be a requirement out of necessity but living expenses incurred or to be incurred by a daughter for pursuing her further higher studies from a foreign University and more particularly in view of the fact that she has already obtained a post graduate degree from a reputed university in India and has already taken further studies from a foreign university and is capable of earning her own income by joining a job and who has joined her further studies without the consent of his father rather against his wishes cannot be said to be a requirement out of necessity and even if father has refused to bear such expenses, it cannot be said that the daughter has been subjected to economic abuse within the meaning of the Act. Although, the Act has been enacted to provide more effective protection of the rights of women but that does not mean that a woman can claim any expenses as monetary relief from the respondent.”
The court held that since the daughter does not come under the purview of an “aggrieved”, she was not entitled to maintenance and thus, the appeal was dismissed.
Read the order here.