Mumbai: In a significant ruling, Bombay High Court has held that a woman can file a complaint of cruelty under the Domestic Violence Act against female family members too, and not just the male relatives.
"The DV Act is a beneficial legislation. It is meant for protection of violated women," said Justice Roshan Dalvi in her recent order.
Section 2(q) of DV Act does not specify a male relative, so female relatives cannot be exempted, the judge said. The section defines `respondent` against whom a complaint may be filed.
Provision to Section 19 specifies that an order under 19(1)(b) alone cannot be passed against a woman, which implies that order under all other clauses can be passed against a woman, the High Court said. (Section 19 provides for the types of orders that can be passed for the protection of victim).
"The beneficial legislation is required to be interpreted to enhance justice to women and not to frustrate it," the judge said.
The High Court was hearing a petition filed by Chandrakant Wagh who had sought quashing of an order passed a magistrate at Kalyan.
His wife had filed an application before the magistrate under the Act, and also sought interim maintenance.
Wagh`s contention was that an application under DV Act cannot be made against any adult female person under Section 2(q).
Another objection of Wagh was that the application had not been made in the required format. But the High Court dismissed it, saying that "the legislation must further justice and not frustrate it" because of technical reasons.
"If the application is not in the prescribed form and the required details are not furnished as per Form II specified under the Act, it should not deter any Magistrate or court from granting any relief," the court said.