The Bombay High Court’s Aurangabad Bench recently raised its concern over the “trend” of estranged wives misusing the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, to file cases against their husbands and their family members, including distant relatives, even if they did not live together.
A single-judge bench of Justice R M Joshi on July 18 passed an order in the criminal application filed by the two brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law, who were named by a woman in her complaint under the Domestic Violence Act, seeking the quashing of proceedings against them.
The bench said, “Not only the husband and joint family members residing under one roof are made respondents but even distant relatives who have no domestic relationship are also roped in order to cause harassment and to build pressure on estranged husbands”.
The petitioners through Advocate G J Kore had claimed they did not share a “domestic relationship” as provided in the law with the woman as they did not stay with her.
“The domestic relationship between the aggrieved person and respondent is sine qua non (essential element) to maintain any proceeding under DV Act. In order to constitute a relationship between two persons as a domestic relationship, they must live or at any point in time lived together in a shared household when they are related by consanguinity, marriage or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family,” the court observed.
The bench added the relationship of the complainant with the three petitioners is of a “family member”, however, to constitute a domestic relationship and maintain any complaint under the Domestic Violence Act, they must be living together with the aggrieved person as a “joint family”, which was not the case.
It quashed and set aside the proceedings before the Judicial Magistrate First Class. The court also held that the application by her husband, mother-in-law and her third brother-in-law was withdrawn.