Can a wife demand compensation or maintenance from her husband's girlfriend under provisions of the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005?
The Gujarat high court is to decide on the issue after getting the first case of this type for adjudication.
The issue came in the form of a petition by one Jalpaben Padsala from Rajkot, who wanted the complaint filed under DV Act against her to be quashed. As per case details, a couple Meetaben and Gautam Akbari developed differences and began staying separately in 2002. Last year, the wife filed a complaint under domestic violence laws alleging that Jalpaben was her husband's kept, and she sufferred a lot due to their relationship. Hence, she along with Akbari should be made to compensate her and action should be taken against her as well as per the law.
The DV Act is a civil law, which provides that in cases like that of Meetaben who has sought compensation under section 12 of the Act, the respondents can be directed by court to compensate the complainant or to maintain her.
After a magisterial court in Rajkot began proceedings on Meetaben's complaint, Jalpaben moved HC demanding that the complaint against her at least be quashed. Her counsel Umesh Trivediargued that a woman can file a complaint against her husband and his relatives only. He submitted that Jalpaben was not a relative of the husband and, therefore, she cannot be made liable to pay to the wife.
The lawyer also referred to a Supreme Court judgement, wherein while dealing with a case of section 498 of IPC, the apex court examined who could be considered a relative. Even Gujarat high court, in June last year, quashed a complaint filed by a woman in Bhavnagar, whereby she sought to charge her husband's girlfriend for domestic violence under section 498 of IPC.
On the other hand, Meetaben's lawyer Krunal Shah referred to the Act and submitted that words "aggrieved person" is well defined in the law.
Justice R H Shukla admitted the petition with observation that the matter required consideration. HC has stayed the proceedings and scheduled further proceeding in the second week of the month.