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
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.