29 Jul 2007, 1126 hrs IST,PTI
NEW DELHI: A court here has dismissed a woman's complaint against her in-laws under the domestic violence law, saying she could claim right of residence and maintenance only from her husband.
Metropolitan Magistrate Nirja Bhatia rejected the application on the ground that the woman's husband was maintaining a separate residence and a perusal of records showed that he was capable of providing a life of dignity and peace to her.
Neetu filed a complaint against seven members of her husband's family under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, seeking compensation of Rs five lakh for mental agony and harassment and alimony.
She accused them of torturing her for bringing insufficient dowry and contended that she was thrown out of her matrimonial home on June 16 last year.
Neetu, a mother of three, however, did not implead her husband, who had been reportedly living separately from her for some time. She claimed he earned very little, a plea that did not go down well with the court.
Citing an apex court judgement, the court held that the complainant had the right to claim residence and maintenance from her husband and not from her in-laws.
The court further relied on the report of a protection officer, who proved that Neetu used to pay monthly rent to her mother-in-law when the couple lived in their matrimonial home in north Delhi.
Neetu's status in the matrimonial home was "not due to the factum of her relationship arising out of consanguinity with her mother-in-law" but because of an independent contract as landlord and tenants, it said.
"The said fact (of her paying the rent) has been concealed in the complaint which does not disclose any reason for the complainant to ask for maintenance or monetary compensation," the court held.