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"Domestic Violence Act enacted to protect women, not harass men:" Court imposes ₹10 lakh fine on wife for misusing law against husband
Shamshada Akhter Vs Ajaz Parvaiz Shah
Case No: 3722349/2019 - CNR No: JKSG03-000850-2019
About/from the judgment:
In a decision of significant import, a local court in Jammu and Kashmir has stated that the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act) was enacted to protect women from violence and not to harass the spouse or aggravate marital dischord.
The court said that the Act cannot be allowed to be used in a manner that it spoils lives of couples living peacefully.
"It is quite obvious that the object of Protection of Women (from Domestic Violence) Act, is to give protection to women from 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 which defeats 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 Court of Judge Small Causes said.
The Court, therefore, imposed ₹10 lakh cost on a woman who after procuring orders under the DV Act to throw her husband out of his house, had eventually decided to withdraw her petition.
The Court allowed the wife to withdraw the case filed in the year 2019 but ordered her to pay ₹10 lakh to the respondent-husband as compensation, since he was deprived of shelter and accommodation in his own house during the pendency of the petition.
The Court in its order, also observed that a law which is disproportionate when it comes to the level of protection it affords, can also be counter productive and instead of giving protection to the legitimate cases of domestic violence, it may have the potential to destroy marital institution.
"Therefore, it is important to sift and weigh cases to preserve the efficacy of Domestic Violence Act for legitimate and genuine cases," the judge underscored.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by the wife alleging domestic violence at the hands of the husband. On March 23, 2019, the Court had passed an ex-parte order restraining the husband from entering in his own residential house. On the strength of the said order, the husband was evicted from his own house by the wife.
On April 29, 2019, the Court modified the March 23 order. As per the April order, the Court asked the parties to accommodate each other and also asked the wife to provide two rooms in the house to the husband.
The wife appealed against the same right upto the Supreme Court but lost.
Consequently, the respondent husband filed a plea before the Court seeking implementation of its April 29, 2019 order.
On November 15, 2021 the Court in that plea directed the concerned SHO to implement the order of April 29, 2019 in letter and spirit.
At this juncture, the petitioner filed the present plea seeking withdrawal of her petition.
The applicant-wife contended that it is her choice to proceed with or withdraw the petition and the other side cannot raise any objection if the case is withdrawn.
He argued that even if the wife has challenged the order dated April 2019 passed by this Court where both were directed to accommodate each other in a cordial and freely relation in the house, that will not preclude her to withdraw the petition in which such order was passed even after High Court and Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal.
The husband argued that the intention of the wife is not to withdraw the petition but to frustrate the order dated April 2019 order which was not passed in her favour and avoid its implementation.
The Court said that this case was one such glaring example of an abuse of the process of law, where the applicant has protracted the proceedings up to its "maximum capacity of elasticity" . The case was dragged right up to the Supreme Court with the wife ensuring that the husband remains deprived of the shared-household even though it was owned by him, the Court opined.
"The applicant appears to have chosen a short-cut to withdraw from the proceedings to ensure that order dated April 29, 2019 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 said.
Eventually, the Court did not debar the wife from withdrawing the petition. However, the Court said it has to be conscious of the fact that after putting the husband on trial not only before various forums, the wife has withdrawn from the proceedings and therefore, the other side has to be compensated for the pain, agony and inconvenience including the cost of the litigation suffered.
Thus, while allowing the application for withdrawal, the Court ordered payment of ₹10 lakh compensation to her husband.
"The petitioner/AP shall pay cost of ₹10 lakh to the respondent who has been deprived of shelter and accommodation from his own house under the garb of order obtained in the instant petition. 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 said.
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