Thursday, February 18, 2010

''Respondent'' includes female relatives of husband: HC

''Respondent'' includes female relatives of husband: HC

Thu, Feb 18 12:31 AM

Chennai, Feb 17 (PTI): The Madras High Court today clarified that the word ''respondent'' as defined under the ''Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act'' includes female relatives of the husband or male partner.

A division bench comprising Justices C Nagappan and P R Sivakumar held in their order on a petition filed by one R Nivendran and five others that the statement of objects and reasons of the Act referred to any relative of the husband or the male partner and the provision to sub-section (1) of section 19 of the Act made it clear that the word mentioned in provision 2 (q) was not restricted to a male relative only and would include the female relatives also.

The petitioners sought to quash proceedings pending before the Judicial Magistrate Court at Chengalpattu. The Bench said the petition may be listed before the court concerned for disposal.

The petitioner contended that in the proceedings before the Magistrate, three among those sought to be prosecuted were women. The Act requires that the respondents be only adult males and not women, the petition claimed.

The wife of Nivendran had filed a petition before the Magistrate under the Act against her husband and her in-laws, including three women.

Courtesy_

Also read the related stories

Women liable for violence at home: HC

A Subramani, TNN, Feb 18, 2010, 04.39am IST

CHENNAI: A woman, who is a victim of domestic violence, can include the names of her husband as well as his adult male and female relatives while initiating civil proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act, the Madras High Court has ruled.

A landmark judgment to this effect was delivered by a division bench comprising Justice C Nagappan and Justice PR Shivakumar in a case where it had requested the state public prosecutor, P Kumaresan, to be the amicus curiae. The chief justice had referred the matter to the bench after single judges had taken divergent views on the matter.

The case relates to a criminal original petition filed by R Nivendran and five of his relatives against his wife Nivashini's application under the act, claiming several kinds of relief from her husband, his parents and sister. Nivendran's family members contended that under the act no woman member of the husband's family could be arrayed as respondents, as the act contemplated relief only against the "adult male person and not a woman."

Nivashini, however, filed a counter-affidavit saying a wife or a woman partner may file a complaint against the male partner as well as a relative. The term 'relative' would include a woman and it cannot be restricted only to the adult male person. Public prosecutor Kumaresan submitted that the term 'relative' in the Section 2(q) of the Act could mean only a male relative, and that it could also be a female relative of the husband. He said that the permission granted by the court to the aggrieved woman to remain in the shared accommodation would become redundant if it was not binding on the female relatives of the husband or male partner.

Concurring with his submissions, the bench said: "We hold that the 'respondent' as defined under Section 2(q) of the act includes a female relative of the husband/male partner, and women could be added as respondents in an application under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act."

The Domestic Violence Act comes to the aid of a woman who has lived with her husband/male partner in a shared household and has suffered physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse. The aggrieved woman can claim several kinds of relief such as right to remain in the shared household, protection orders, monetary relief towards medical expenses and loss of earnings, custody orders relating to children, and compensation for injuries and mental torture.

Courtesy_


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