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Domestic relation can only be established by sharing a household with the aggrieved woman under DV Act: High Court of Bombay at Nagpur

A person can be said to have a domestic relationship with the aggrieved woman, if that person lives or at any stage has lived in a shared household with the aggrieved woman. For alleging a case against a person under DV Act, it has to be a person who has been in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved woman. A single-judge bench comprising of Justice Manish Pitale adjudicating the matter of Sanket v.State of  Maharastra (CRIMINAL APPLICATION (APL) NO. 166/2019) dealt with the issue of whether to quash the complaint of the non-applicant or not.

In the present case, the applicant submitted that the complaint filed by the non-applicant Nos. 2 and 3 before the Magistrate under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2003 is not maintainable.

Applicant no.1 is brother-in-law and Applicant No. 2 is father-in-law and Applicant No.-3 is the mother-in-law of the non-applicant. The complaint has been filed against the husband of non-applicant No.2 The complaint has been filed under Sections 11, 18, 19, 20, and 21 of the DV Act.

The applicant submits that the applicant has lived in the same house with non-applicant No. 2 and her husband. The applicant invited the attention of this Court to various provisions of the DV Act and submitted that the applicants cannot be said to be having a domestic relationship with non-applicant No.2 and that, therefore, the complaint deserves to be quashed at this stage itself.

The non-applicants submitted that allegations appeared to be made against the husband and there is no averment regarding the applicants having shared a household with non-applicant No.2

The court observed that the definitions of “Domestic Relationship” and “Shared Household” are inter-related and that a person can be said to have a domestic relationship with the aggrieved woman if that person lives or at any stage has lived in a shared household with the aggrieved woman. The definition of “respondent” also specifically states that it has to be a person who has been in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved woman. Hence it would be necessary that the applicants before this Court fall within the definition of “respondent”, in the backdrop of the definitions of “domestic relationship” and “shared household”, as given in the DV Act. It is only then that they can be alleged to have committed domestic violence as defined in Section 2(g) read with Section 3 of the DV Act. Also after A perusal of the complaint, it is clear that non-applicant No.2 has not stated at any place in the said complaint that the said applicants live or have lived with non-applicant No.2 at any stage in a shared household. The prayer clauses in the complaint filed by nonapplicant Nos. 2 and 3, all pertain to reliefs sought only against the husband and none of the prayers pertain to any other relief sought against the applicants before this Court. Therefore, the mandatory requirement of the persons arrayed as respondents having a domestic relationship is not satisfied on the face of it in the present case. Once it is found that the applicants before this Court could not have been arrayed as respondents by non-applicant No.2, in the complaint filed under the provisions of DV Act, it becomes clear that the proceedings are pending before the Magistrate do not deserve to continue as against the applicants.

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