Cruelty case against husband possible even after divorce says SC
A woman can lodge a complaint under the domestic violence law against the excesses committed by her ex-husband even after divorce, the Supreme Court has said.
The court refused to interfere with the order of the Rajasthan High Court which held that the absence of subsisting domestic relationship in no manner prevents a court from granting relief to the aggrieved woman.
The High Court had passed the order while adjudicating a matrimonial dispute.
A Bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi and Navin Sinha dismissed the appeal against the high court verdict, saying it was not inclined to interfere with the order in the facts of the case.
During the hearing, advocate Dushyant Parashar, appearing for the estranged husband, said that the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which came into force on October 26, 2006, could not be applied retrospectively.
He submitted that if the provisions of the domestic violence law were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would be subjected to gross misuse.
Parashar contended that husband-wife relationship often ends on an acrimonious note and if the provisions of the Act were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would further increase the acrimony and rule out the possibility of any compromise.
He said that legislature's purposive interpretation has to be kept in mind while interpreting any provisions of the law.
The Bench, however, refused to agree with the contention of Parashar and declined to interfere with the high court order in the facts of the case.
The High Court had held on October 30, 2013 that the subsistence of marriage or domestic relationship was not a condition precedent for an aggrieved person to invoke the protection orders and other reliefs under the provisions of the Act.
"If the aggrieved person had been in domestic relationship at any point of time even prior to coming into the force of the Act and was subjected to domestic violence, the person is entitled to invoke the remedial measures provided under the Act," it had said.
The High Court had said cited an example saying that even after the dissolution of marriage between the parties, if an ex-husband attempts to commit an act of violence such as entering the place of employment of the divorced wife, trying to establish contact with her or causing violence to her dependents or other relatives, she is not precluded from seeking protection orders under the law.
It had said that likewise, if the divorced husband attempts to dispossess the woman from the shared household or property jointly owned, she can approach a court for appropriate relief.