In a significant development, a Jammu and Kashmir court clarified that the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act) has been formulated and enacted to shield women from atrocities/violence and not cause harassment to other spouse’.
In addition, the J&K court held that the provisions of the DV Act should not ‘further aggravate the marital discord’. The observations came to the fore while the court was hearing a petition filed by the wife alleging domestic violence from her husband.
Judge Fayaz Ahmad Qureshi noted that the DV Act cannot be referred to with an intention to disrupt the conjugal lives of a couple existing peacefully.
“It is quite obvious that the object of Protection of Women (from Domestic Violence) Act, is to give protection to women from the violence which takes place when they live in such domestic relation.
This is to protect legitimate and genuine cases where the aggrieved person does not indulge in acts that defeat the purpose and object of the legislation. Domestic Violence Act has not been enacted to cause harassment to the other spouse or to further aggravate the matrimonial discord to the extent of throwing the respondent out of his own house,” the judge of small causes court said.
The J&K court further imposed a cost of Rs 10 lakh fine on the woman who threw her husband out of their house after procuring orders under the DV Act, only to eventually withdraw the petition. Allowing her to withdraw her petition, the Court directed her to pay the aforesaid cost to the respondent (husband) as compensation, given he was deprived of accommodation while the petition was impending.
Facts of the case:
In the case at hand, the petitioner (wife) alleged domestic violence at the hands of the husband and basis the Court’s order dated March 23, 2019, he was evicted from his own residence.
Subsequently, the Court modified the order in April and asked the disputed parties to accommodate each other in the house and asked the wife to allot two rooms to the husband to avail. Further, the wife appealed against the revised April order before the Supreme Court, however, lost.
Subsequently, the respondent filed a plea before the J&K Court seeking the execution and implementation of the April order. The Court, in November, directed the competent SHO to implement the order of April and at this point, the wife filed the plea at hand seeking withdrawal.
‘Glaring example of abuse of Domestic Violence Act’
The Court stated that the case is one glaring example of an abuse of the Domestic Violence Act, and legal procedures as the applicant exhausted proceedings up to its ‘maximum capacity of elasticity’.
‘The applicant appears to have chosen a short-cut to withdraw from the proceedings to ensure that order dates April 29 passed by the court is not implemented and the respondent, who was restrained from entering his own house continues to be deprived of shared-household though it is admitted that both the parties have lived together as husband and wife for more than 30 years,” the Court observed.
Further, the Court did not debar the wife from withdrawing her petition but directed her to compensate her husband for the agony and inconvenience caused to him.
“Besides, both the parties are directed to restore the same position with respect to possession of the shared-household as existed on the date of the institution of the present petition,” the order read.