Domestic Violence Act complaints can't be filed at places of casual visits, should be instituted in place of temporary or permanent residence

Domestic Violence Act complaints can't be filed at places of casual visits, should be instituted in place of temporary or permanent residence

Afla Rasheed Khan Vs Dr Mazharuddin Ali Khan

Bombay HC

03/12/2021

WP No. 4184 of 2021

About/from the judgment:

The High Court held that an aggrieved person cannot choose to file a petition under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act at any and every place, even if she was a mere casual visitor to that place.

Instant petition assailed the order by which the Metropolitan Magistrate refused to entertain an application under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 for want of jurisdiction envisaged under Section 27 of the said Act and in consequence, directed to return the application to the petitioner.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court stated that every statute has to be interpreted keeping in mind the purpose for which it has been enacted and the interpretation must be such, so as to advance the purpose of the act and should not be such as to defeat, the intention of the legislature.

In the case on hand, since after applicant’s marriage, she was continuously residing in Hyderabad. It appeared that she was subjected to domestic violence at Hyderabad, whereupon she had filed a complaint.

Later, she came to Mumbai and resided in a hotel situated within the local limits of Metropolitan Magistrate, Bandra. Soon thereafter, she filed two non-cognizable complaints and reported that she was forced to flee to Mumbai, to protect herself and she believed and apprehended being under constant surveillance at the instance of her husband and son in their attempt to keep a watch on her actions, whereby she was frightened and harassed by them.

Whereafter, she filed an application under Section 12 of the D.V. Act, which was within 23 days, after her arrival in Mumbai from Hyderabad.

Court noted from the complaint, and argument that Respondents being highly influential persons in Hyderabad and although applicant ventured to lodge a complaint against them, she won’t be able to secure any relief from police or such other agency under the D.V. Act. From 1993 till 2021 she was subjected to domestic violence, she did not take any measure to protect her life, property or to prevent the respondents from causing or inflicting domestic violence to her.

Question for Consideration

Whether application under Section 12 filed by the Petitioner discloses or implies her intention to reside at a place in Mumbai or was it just casual or flying visit to acquire jurisdiction?

In Court’s opinion looking at the applicant’s background it was difficult to accept her contention that she could not seek a protection order at Hyderabad.

“…application in no way suggest or implies that she was forced to leave the Hyderabad and or she was intending to reside in Mumbai.”

In view of the chronology of the events, applicant engineered the cause of action with an intention to file a case and confer jurisdiction upon the Magistrate.

Thus, Court held that the applicant was not “temporarily” residing within the jurisdiction of the Court of Magistrate and no cause of action arose in Mumbai. The facts of the case suggest that the applicant’s visit to Mumbai was ‘casual visit’ and did not imply a definite intention to stay at a particular place. Therefore, Magistrate’s order cannot be faulted with, either for wrong or non-exercise of jurisdiction.

“…if liberal construction is placed upon the provision, made under Section 27 of the Act, as sought by the Applicants, it may lead to abuse of legal process of law, as aggrieved person may choose, any place, where she may be a casual visitor.”

Hence, impugned order declining to entertain, petitioner’s application under Section 12 for want of jurisdiction could not be faulted with.

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