Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence application can be filed against daughter-in-law?

Domestic violence act was enacted by the legislature for females to prevent and punish the offenders who commit violence or ill treatment either physical or mental, while living in a domestic

relationship.

A woman aggrieved of such violence or ill treatment has been defined as “aggrieved person” under section 2(a) of the domestic violence act as under:-

“2(a) “aggrieved person” means any woman who is or has been in a domestic relationship with the respondent and who alleges to have been subjected to any act of domestic violence by the respondent;

An person against whom an application can be made under this act is called as respondent which is defined in section 2 (q) of the domestic violence act as under

Section 2 (q) “respondent” 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 the relative of the husband or the male partner.

After reading this provision it seems that only male persons can be arrayed as respondent whereas this controversy was put to rest by the Hon’ble supreme court of India in case titled as Sou. Sandhya Manoj Wankhade

vs. Manoj Bhimrao Wankhade & Ors., 2011 (3) SCC 650 wherein it was held that females can also be arrayed as respondent under the domestic violence act.

Since the enactment of the act most of the aggrieved persons who have approached the courts under this act are wife(s) who has made complaints of domestic violence against her husband and in laws. Whereas this law covers all the females who live in domestic relationship. It can be mother, sister, daughter, wife or a

woman living in a live in relationship.

If a mother is subjected to domestic violence by her son and his wife (her daughter-in-law) then she will also be covered within the meaning of aggrieved person under the domestic violence act and can approach the court to seek remedy under this act. Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in case titled as KUSUM LATA SHARMA versus STATE & ANR  Crl. M.C. No. 725/2011 dated 02.09.2011 while holding that respondent under this can also be a daughter in law held as follows:-

“……………..A mother who is being maltreated and harassed by her son would be an “aggrieved person”. If the said harassment is caused through the female relative of the son i.e. his wife, the said female relative will fall within

the ambit of the “respondent”. This phenomenon of the daughters-in-law harassing their mothers-in-law especially who are dependent is not uncommon in the Indian society.”