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S.26 of DV Act does not ouster the jurisdiction of the Magistrate even if relief as U/S.18 to S.22 of the DV Act is granted in other proceedings: High Court of New Delhi

PWDV Act provides for a complete mechanism for enforcement of the rights claimed under Section 12 of PWDV Act and merely because the rights as provided under Sections 18 to 22 of PWDV Act can be claimed in other legal proceedings also does not imply ouster of jurisdiction of the Magistrate to try the matter once divorce proceedings have been filed.. This was held in SANDEEP AGGARWAL v. VINITI AGGARWAL [TR.P.(CRL.) 19/2020] in the High Court of New Delhi by single bench consisting of JUSTICE MUKTA GUPTA.

Facts are that the petitioner is seeking transfer of the complaint filed by the respondent under Section 12 of the PWDV Act and the execution petitions filed therein from the Court of learned Metropolitan Magistrate to the learned Principal Judge, Family Courts, where the petitioner has filed a petition seeking divorce.

The counsel for the petitioner relied upon Section 26 of the PWDV Act which also empowers the Family Court to decide the complaint and execution petitions. Reliance was also placed on the decision in the case of Santosh Machindra Mulik Vs. Mohini Mithu Choudhari.

The counsel for respondent contended that the petitioner was not entitled to be heard in matrimonial proceedings as he had not cleared arrears of maintenance and as execution petitions filed by the respondent are pending before the learned Metropolitan Magistrate. And placed reliance on case of Santosh Sehgal Vs. Murari Lal Sehgal.

The court referred to the Apex court judgment in order to discuss the interpretation of Section 26 of the DV Act in Smt. Neetu Singh Vs. Sunil Singh, where in it was held that, “9. Section 26 of the Act has been inserted with an objective that in addition to the provisions of Section 12 the aggrieved person is entitled to any relief available underSections 18,19,20,21and22in any legal proceeding, before a civil Court, family Court or a criminal Court, affecting the aggrieved person and the respondent whether such proceeding was initiated before or after the commencement of the Act. Sub- section (2) of Section 26 further envisages that any relief referred to in Sub-section (1) may be sought for in addition to and along with any other relief that the aggrieved person may seek in such suit or legal proceeding before a civil or criminal Court. Sub-section (3) cast duty on the aggrieved person that in case any relief has been obtained by the aggrieved person in any proceedings other than a proceeding under Section 12 of this Act, she shall be bound to inform the Magistrate of the grant of such relief.”

The court  also referred to the judgement of  Capt. C.V.S. Ravi Vs. Mrs. Ratna Sailaja, wherein the following observations were made, “Unless the Court has been specifically empowered to entertain an independent application filed under Section 12 of the Act, transfer of a pending application filed under Section 12 of the Act from the file of the learned Magistrate to the file of the Family Court cannot be ordered.”

Considering the facts of the case and the earlier precedents the court held that, Section 26 of PWDV Act does not contemplate ouster of jurisdiction of the Magistrate even in a case some relief as contemplated under Sections 18 to 22 of the PWDV Act is granted by the civil or criminal court in some other legal proceedings. Thus dismissing the petition.

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