The Bombay High Court has denied the relief under Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act to a woman who was living with a married man for 15 years. The Court was hearing a revision application against an order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Thane. The Additional Sessions Judge had ruled that the woman was in a "live-in relationship" with the married man and was entitled to relief under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence (DV) Act. The man was consequently, directed to pay a monthly allowance of Rs. 7, 000 for day to day expenses, household expenses and all other expenses including residential expenses. He was also directed to pay Rs. 6,500 each per month to both their daughters.
The core issue to be considered by the High Court was that whether there was sufficient material before the Trial Court to come to the conclusion that they both had lived in the relationship in the nature of marriage.
The Court noted that the woman had developed a relationship with the married man while she was working in his company. Separate accommodation was made available to them, where they had been staying as husband and wife. They subsequently had two children.
While examining the question as to whether the woman had enquired about the marital status of the man, the Court observed that since they had been in a relationship for almost 15 years, common sense required that she should have made enquiries about his marital status. The Court then inferred that the woman knew about the marital status of the man.
The Court also noted that the woman had not been able to give a single instance where they had appeared as husband and wife in the society on any occasion of marriage or party.
The Court hence ruled that such a relationship cannot be relationship in the nature of marriage. She and her daughters were therefore, not entitled for any relief under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The Court however noted that the daughters may be entitled for relief under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal procedure.
Read the Judgment here.