Estranged Wife or Live-in-Partner can Claim Maintenance u/Domestic Violence Act- Supreme Court

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November 01, 2018

Case name: Lalita Toppo v. State of Jharkhand & anr.

The Three-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, in this recent case has categorically held that maintenance can be claimed under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (Domestic Violence Act) even if the claimant is not a legally wedded wife and therefore not entitled to claim of maintenance under Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Bench explained that the provisions contained in Section 3(a) of the DVC Act, 2005 which defines the term “domestic violence” also constitutes “economic abuse” as domestic violence. The Court further opined that under the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, the victim i.e. estranged wife or live-in-partner would be entitled to more relief than what is contemplated under Section 125 of the CrPC i.e. to a shared household also.

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