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Scope of the Domestic violence act is to benefit and protect the rights of women: High Court of Allahabad

The ‘The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was enacted to provide for a more effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution, who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Matters which deal with narrow interpretation of the act that would leave the women in distress must not be adopted since it would defeat the purpose of the act. This was decreed by the Hon’ble Justice Dr. Yogendra Kumar Srivastava in the case of Nivesh Gupta @ Ankur Gupta and 2 others vs. The State of U.P. and Anr. [APPLICATION U/S 482 No. ­ 6947 of 2021] on the 06th of July 2021 before the Hon’ble High court at Allahabad.

The brief facts of the case are, the present application seeks to challenge the order dated 7.11.2020, by means of which, the complaint registered filed by the opposite party no. 2, has been directed to be registered fixing a date and the subsequent orders, in terms of which, further dates have been fixed in the case. The applicants have also sought quashing of the proceedings of the complaint case. The only ground, which is sought to be canvassed to challenge the order registering the case and also seeking quashing of the proceedings, is that the applicants are not living with the opposite party no. 2 in a ‘shared household’ and, therefore, the proceedings under ‘The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005’, would not be maintainable.

The counsel for the state submits that, the contention, which is sought to be raised by the applicants with regard to the parties not living together in a shared household, would require adjudication by the competent court and the applicants can raise their defence in the proceedings before the court below. It was also submitted that, in the facts of the present case, the complaint filed by the opposite party no. 2 has merely been registered, and the present application seeking quashing of the proceedings, is clearly premature and is not liable to be entertained at this stage. The learned judge heard both the parties and observed that, the intent behind enacting the domestic violence act was to ensure protection for women from domestic violence. The provisions under the DV Act seek to cover those women, who are or have been in a relationship with the abuser, where both parties have lived together in a ‘shared household’ or related by consanguinity or marriage or through a relationship in the nature of marriage or adoption.

The court observed that looking to the beneficial nature of the provisions contained under the DV Act, its interpretation should be in a manner to effectuate its objects and purpose. It relied on the judgement in the case of, Vaishali Abhimanyu Joshi vs. Nanasaheb Gopal Joshi (2017) 14 SCC 373 wherein, “Section 26 of the 2005 Act has to be interpreted in a manner to effectuate the very purpose and object of the Act. Unless the determination of claim by an aggrieved person seeking any order as contemplated by the 2005 Act is expressly barred from consideration by a civil court, this Court shall be loath to read in bar in consideration of any such claim in any legal proceeding before the civil court.”

Keeping this in mind, the court decreed that, “It would be obligatory on the Court in a given case to scrutinise the facts from all angles so as to examine whether the plea advanced with regard to maintainability is on a sound legal basis or has been raised solely with a view to nullify the grievance of the aggrieved person. The beneficial and the affirmative object of the enactment would be required to be taken into view while dealing with such questions relating to maintainability and a narrow interpretation, which may leave the aggrieved woman in distress, remediless or in a situation of non-adjudication, would have to be eschewed. Having regard to the aforesaid and looking to the beneficial nature of the statute and its affirmative purpose, a claim for protection under the DV Act may not be thrown out at the threshold and the question of maintainability would require a proper appreciation of facts of the case and a thorough deliberation of the issues raised.” The application was dismissed and the parties were directed to appear before the court below and file their objections and contest the case on merits.

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