Can Husband Initiate Proceedings against Wife u/Domestic Violence Act?

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1977

June 11, 2018

The Protection of Women under Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act) was enacted with the object of women empowerment in India and considering the fact that women had been suffering violence from their family members. Even the Object of the Act states an Act to provide for 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…

Thus, the DV Act is a social legislation formulated with the legislative intent to primarily prevent atrocities and violence against women in India. However, the Indian Judiciary in a recent case has interpreted the law to hold that even a husband can initiate proceedings against wife under the DV Act.

The High Court of Karnataka in the case of Mohd. Zakir v. Shabana & Ors.[1], held that a petition under the DV Act by the husband or an adult male can be entertained. To arrive at its decision, the High Court placed reliance on Supreme Court’s judgment in the case of Hiral P. Harsora v. Kusum Narottamdas Harsora[2], wherein the Supreme Court while striking down a portion of Section 2(a) of the Act (defining “aggrieved person”) on the ground that it is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and the phrase “adult male” as appearing in Section 2(q) of the Act stood deleted.

In view of the aforesaid ruling of Apex Court, the High Court opined that If the said sub-section is read after deleting the expression ‘adult male’, it would appear that any person, whether male or female, aggrieved and alleging violation of the provisions of the Act could invoke the provisions under the Act. In that view of the matter, the petitioner’s complaint could not have been trashed on the ground that the Act does not contemplate provision for men and it could only be in respect of women.

However, the aforesaid verdict of High Court passed by Justice Anand Byrareddy was later on withdrawn by him when an Advocate opposed the verdict alleging that the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Hirala Harsora case had been wrongly interpreted by the Judge.

In view of the aforesaid, it would be relevant to throw some light on the provisions. Section 2(q) of the Act defines “respondent” as any adult male person who is, or has been, in a domestic relationship with the aggrieved person and against whom the aggrieved person has sought any relief under this Act. Thus, under the provisions of the Act, the respondent i.e. against whom proceedings under the DV Act could be invoked earlier included the adult male member of the family only. However, in the Hiralal Harsora case the Supreme Court declared that the words “adult male” in Section 2(q) of the Act will stand deleted since these words do not square with Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Hence, a complain under the DV Act can be initiated under female member of the family also.

Related Posts

All you need to Know about Domestic Violence Act: Law and Judgments

Who can Claim Relief under Domestic Violence Act, 2005?

[1] Crl. P 2351 of 2018

[2] (2016) 10 SCC 165