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Now,women can also be booked under DV Act,as per SC ruling

Female relatives also liable under Domestic Violence Act: Supreme Court

Published: Tuesday, Feb 1, 2011, 20:16 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI


Female relatives of a husband can also be booked under the Domestic Violence Act if a complaint is lodged by the wife, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph in a judgement set aside the concurrent orders of a sessions court and the Bombay High Court that female relatives of the husband cannot be booked under the Act as the legislation was meant only against the husband or any other male member.

"No restrictive meaning has been given to the expression 'relative' nor has the said expression been specifically defined in the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, to make it specific to males only."

"In such circumstances, it is clear that the legislature never intended to exclude female relatives of the husband or male partner from the ambit of a complaint that can be made under the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005," Justice Kabir said writing the judgement.

The apex court passed the ruling while upholding an appeal filed by Sandhya Manoj Wankhade, the aggrieved wife, challenging the findings of the lower courts which besides precluding female members from being booked for the alleged offence, also asked her to vacate the matrimonial house in Amravati district in Maharashtra since it was registered in the name of her mother-in-law Ramabai.

The wife had filed the complaint against husband Manoj Bhimrao Wankhade, widowed mother-in-law Ramabai and a sister-in-law under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.


 31 Replies

Avnish Kaur (Consultant)     08 February 2011

This is called as creating new laws by self imagination, judiciary is there to interpret laws not create it . DV act specifically mentions "male respondent" but corrupt judiciary wants to make more money out of it.

2 Like


@Avnish ji


DV Act mentions that husband's "relatives" can be booked."relatives" doesn't mean "male relatives".It includes both genders.

Rather it's a blessing.Even a cruel daughter inlaw can be booked by mother inlaw,if her son is no more and can't defend her.Else cruelty will continue,without any relief.Do u want this?

This decision will bring equality of both s*xes.

Otherwise even when mother inlaw is more cruel than the husband,only husband faces all pressure,while his mother sits and watches the scene.

Such a decision will serve a good lesson to all cruel female inlaws,that they cant harass another woman by shooting at her from the shoulders of male members and then getting away from it.

3 Like

Avnish Kaur (Consultant)     08 February 2011

madam please go through dv act , it mentions male respondent

2 Like

Ambika (NA)     08 February 2011

I am posting this from the bare act. Now it is your turn to read it carefully Avnish Madam. 


q) "respondent" means 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:Provided that an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship in the nature of a marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner;

1 Like

Ambika (NA)     08 February 2011

This would take you to the text I have posted, Meenal and Avnish. It says Compaint against a husband's relative or a male partner. Husband's relative would be both male and female , 

Or a male partner expression does not affect the validity of first expression: Husband's relatives...



Arup (UNEMPLOYED)     08 February 2011

1) respondent" means any adult male person

2) also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner


2 Like

Jamai Of Law (propra)     08 February 2011

Although the interpretation is correct ........................... still the drafted law is humorous.


"aggrieved person" also means any woman............ who is in domestic relationship such as............. when they are related by consanguinity..............


(q) "respondent" means any adult male person ..........and if respondent happens to be husband or male partner in the nature of marriage then his relatives........................




A) An "aggrieved female" is married then.........

She can file DV against husband, all in-laws ...


B) Else If an "aggrieved female" is un-married/single/divorced/widowed/minor or major .........and if she is living, or has lived before in a shared household,  with relatives, parents (whether joint family or not ) when they are related by consanguinity..............  to call it a domestic relationship  then.......



She can file DV against males relatives ....................such as father, male guardian, foster/step....relatives as  father, brothers, cousins,  foster/step brothers,........ all male relatives where there is joint family



But she can't file DV against female relatives when they are related by consanguinity.................such as mother/female guardianstep/foster/step....relatives as......  mother & sisters ...all female relatives where there is joint family ....................




No need to interpret so much now.


SC has ruled that women will also be respondents from now on!


So kudos to SC!

Ambika (NA)     08 February 2011

Arup ji, sorry to say but it is not male relative, it i sjust relative, and male partner is her husband or a male partner in live in relationship. And yes, Meenal is right...Arup ji, you have to now convince SC with your interpretation. 

Jamai Of Law (propra)     08 February 2011

Ambika ji is correct.



All the In-laws of a woman (all genders male/female/in-between..)............


All the Live-in-In-Laws of a woman (all genders male/female/in-between..) ................................. 


 All other male  relatives  in domestic-relationship

(exept female/in-between genders....as they are spared by the wisdom of the telented law-makers!!!)


can be made RESPONDENTS in DV case!!

1 Like

ASHUTOSH (lawyer)     08 February 2011

hi to all this judgement show a suprem court is really a graveyards and they fail to appriciates there judicial mind this such type of judgement only give power to a women to unssaret harash to the other family members of the hus band

Ambika (NA)     08 February 2011

Please write a protest lettert to SC and tell them SC is a grave yard.

All the best

1 Like

Tajobsindia (Senior Partner )     08 February 2011

@ Jumping folks (Meenal / Jamai and Ambika),

It is not going to be the last word from
Apex Court especially from a particular pro women Lordship and it would be interesting to see the fate of same women in society when one amidst the Re. Judgment Lordship’s very soon become the next CJI!

However, these besides the point my point of view is best defied by quoting the very Apex Court in catena of decisions and placing reliance on these and others as in my opinion this Re. Judgment from Apex Court is arbitrary, unfair, unreasonable, unjustified, oppressive, contradictory, conflicting, discriminatory, and unconstitutional provision of law  which is bound momentarily to result in absolute absurdity and having no nexus or rational relation with the real objective sought to be achieved. It is just matter of quick time that few of the Rights Activist will approach the Hon’ble Apex Court for Justice challenging the Constitutional validity of the same and for proper, pragmatic and meaningful application of the law.

However, if these tricia (@ Meenal / Jamai and Ambika) commenting so passionately on Re. Apex Court Judgment have an iota of criminal read with societal classification of Statutes as in a in-depth legal knowledge then they should especially know even t
he word complaint as appeared in the definition of respondent under Section 2(q) of the Act has not been defined anywhere in the Act. Further it is not provided that the definition of complaint can be considered the same as provided under the Cr. P.C but at the same time it is also not prohibited. In view of this, the definition of complaint can appropriately be seen in Cr. PC which goes as under:

2. (d) "complaint" means any allegation made orally or in writing to a Magistrate, with a view to his taking action under this Code, that some person, whether known or unknown, has committed an offence, but does not include a police report.

Hence, it is clear by this definition that a complaint as provided in Cr. P.C. can only be for an offence. As mentioned hereinabove only two offences have been mentioned bl**dy hell in this Act and those are (1) under S. 31 and (2) under S. 33. To prudent mind who prefer harmonious construction over ‘classification construction” to appease only a particular segment of society it appears that this word complaint appeared in the definition of respondent has been used for initiating proceedings for these two offences and an aggrieved wife or female living in a relationship in the nature of a marriage has been given a right to file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner. This word complaint cannot be considered beyond the scope of the main provision of this Section which has been defined in first part of S. 2(q) that is for any relief under this Act. As provided in S. 31 of the Act, a complaint can be filed against a person who has not complied with a protection order or interim protection order.

Thus, it is clear by the definition of respondent that for obtaining any relief under this Act an application can be filed or a proceeding can be initiated against only adult male person and on such application or under such proceeding, aforementioned protection order can be passed. Obviously those orders will also be passed only against the adult male person. As provided under Section 31 of the Act, non-compliance of a protection order or an interim protection order has been made punishable and as such it can be said that the complaint for this offence can only be filed against such adult male person/respondent who has not complied with the protection order.

The Hon’ble the then CJI A. N. Ray, K. K. Mathew, V. R. Krishna Iyer and S. Murtaza Fazal Ali, JJ. In Re. Dwarka Parsad versus Dwarka Das Saraf (AIR 1975 SC 1758) has rightly propounded that

                          “if on a fair construction, the principle provision is clear, a  
                           proviso cannot expand or limit it. A proviso must be
                           limited to the subject matter of the enacting clause. A
                           proviso must prima facie be read and considered in
                           relation to the principle matter to which it is a proviso. It is
                           not a separate or independent enactment.”

Hon’ble Justice S.B. Sinha and Markandey Katju of Supreme Court of
India in Re.: S.R. Batra and Anr. VS Smt. Taruna Batra observed with a heavy heart regarding draftsmanship of the DV Act that


“No doubt, the definition of ‘shared household' in Section 2(s) of the Act is not very happily worded, and appears to be the result of clumsy drafting, but we have to give it an interpretation which is sensible and which does not lead to chaos in society”. It is most humbly submitted that same is the case with drafting of section 2(q) of DV Act which is absolutely absurd and seems to deliver altogether a different connotation than intended by the legislature enacting a special statute for protection to women and children under Article 15(3) of the Constitution of India. Hon’ble Justice S.B. Sinha and Markandey Katju of Supreme Court has also propounded that “it is well settled that any interpretation which leads to absurdity should not be accepted”.


Hon'ble Justice Fazal Ali and Sabyasachi Mukharjee in Re.: Pratibha Rani V/s. Suraj Kumar (AIR 1985 S.C. 628 at page 630) in a most pious moments with divine powers conferred by Saraswati, has honestly confessed and cautioned that

“Sometimes the law which is meant to import justice and fair play to the citizens or people of the country is so torn and twisted by a morbid interpretative process that instead of giving heaven to the disappointed and dejected litigants it negatives their well established rights in law.”

Kindly note in legal Forums come for discussions with legal bent of minds not with just kitty party tu – tu mai – mai style (read khaps) as it will not lead you much further. If any of you three have any pure legal points of Law to say then the board is wide open for proper legal debates otherwise enjoy few thumbs up and thumps down and ultimately the same legal point remains unattended to.

All the best jumping folks.............

2 Like

Kiran (nil)     09 February 2011

Ambika ji & Meenal ji are verymuch right. Respodent can be a female aswell.

And this SC judgement is really too good. because MIL's burn their son's marriage, they are the main reasons.

Wow Judgement ...............wow.

MIL also make their daughter in law's as respodent.  And vice versa

1 Like

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