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Domestic violence: Women relatives of hubby can be booked

Last Updated: Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 19:55

Mumbai: In a significant order, Bombay High
Court has ruled that complaint can be filed against female
relatives of husband under Domestic Violence Act.

Reversing a session`s court order, the High Court in its
direction last week, asked the Magistrate to proceed with the
trial against a victim`s mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

While giving the directions, Justice Abhay Oka observed
if the legislature wanted to exclude female relatives from the
definition of "respondent", it would have specifically made
such provision.

According to the victim`s complaint in June 2004, she
was beaten up by her husband, mother-in-law and others, and
was thrown out of home.

Subsequently Archana filed a complaint with magistrate
under the Act, demanding, among other things, that she be
allowed to live in the house owned by her mother-in-law.

The Magistrate, in 2008, passed an interim order, asking
her in-laws to allow her to stay in their house. Judge also
asked police in Daman to give her protection.

Urmilaben Naik, her mother-in-law, along with others
challenged magistrate`s order before Sessions Court and
contended that under the Domestic Violence Act, relief cannot
be sought against a female relative of husband.

They also argued that house -- which they were ordered
to share with Archana -- belonged solely to Urmilaben, so
Archana had no claim on it.

Sessions court upheld this contention, deleting names
of female relatives, including the mother-in-law, from the

But, Justice Oka quashed Sessions Court order and asked
Magistrate to proceed with the trial observing that there was
no provision in the Act which substantiated the order.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 19:55
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