Divorced woman, too, can seek protection under Domestic Violence Act
Bipin vs Meera and ors
Kerala HC, Ernakulam Bench
Crl.MC.No. 2990 of 2016
About/from the judgment:
“The joint application for divorce contains a unilateral undertaking by the wife that she will not claim money, ornaments or future maintenance. There is nothing to show that this was in consideration for a mutually satisfactory settlement of all the existing claims. In such circumstances, it can only be treated as consent obtained from the wife either by coercion or obtained by compulsion of circumstances or as a condition imposed on a desperate wife by the husband for consenting to a divorce.”
The reliefs sought can be granted only to a woman who is or has a subsisting matrimonial relationship or a relationship in the nature of a matrimonial relationship and not to a divorced wife.
Relying on a previous case Priya v. Shibu (2008(3) KLT 1), the judgment that was reasserted by the court was: “The words “has lived” and “have lived” [Under section 2 of the DV Act, 2005] are employed for the purpose of showing the past relationship and they cannot be so construed as to mean that unless the “domestic relationship” continues on the date of application, the applicant will have no locus standi to move the magistrate. This view is perfectly in consonance with the object of the Statute and is the most logical and rational interpretation of the Statute.” Thus, the court held that the relief sought Meera under Section 20 of the Act was perfectly maintainable.
At any rate, even if all other reliefs can be granted, a relief in the nature of protection order cannot be granted to a divorced wife and child born in such relationship, since the matrimonial relationship was brought to an end factually and legally.
It is not unusual that even after divorce, certain obligations arising from past matrimonial relationship continue… It cannot be confined within the barriers of time and space. Further, the scope of Section 18, which is wide enough to take in any violence which is likely to take place in the place of employment of aggrieved person, or if the aggrieved person is a minor, its school or any place frequented by child or attempting to communicate with the aggrieved person by any means, including electronic media, indicates that domestic violence may spread outside, even beyond the four walls of the matrimonial home. Hence, any act of violence which satisfies the definition of Section 3 of the Act and has a rational nexus to the past matrimonial relationship, or which arises therefrom or as a sequel to that relationship should conceptually fall within the provisions of Domestic Violence Act… Hence, even a divorced wife is entitled to initiate proceedings under Sections 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 of D.V Act to seek appropriate reliefs.
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