In an appeal filed before the Bombay High Court to quash proceedings under Protection of Women from Domestic Abuse Act, 2005 in the subordinate judiciary, the Court allowed the appeal and quashed the said proceedings and other related proceedings, on the ground that second marriage after a valid divorce cannot be taken as a cause of action for Domestic violence.
The facts of the case are pertinent to the conclusion drawn by the Court. The facts are that the Appellant and the Respondent got married in 2011 but due to discord in the relations filed for divorce in the Family Court a few years later. The divorce was granted to the Appellant on the ground of cruelty towards him. Moreover, an application for restitution of conjugal rights filed by the Respondent was denied in the impugned judgement.
This order was challenged before the High Court and the Supreme Court, all of which upheld the divorce. The Special Leave Petition filed by the Respondent were denied in the Supreme Court.
After dismissal the Respondent filed a case under Section 12 to 23 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Abuse Act, 2005 with allegations similar to those made in the proceedings pertaining to the divorce decree and the application for restitution of conjugal rights. She claimed that the Appellant had performed cruelty by solemnizing a second marriage. The Respondent therein demanded monthly maintenance, compensation, residence order and other monetary relief.
The Appellant approached the High Court praying for quashing of the proceedings in the Family Court. The Court thereafter stayed the proceedings until further orders. The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the proceedings initiated by the Respondent were untenable since same facts and incidents that were referred to and relied upon in the earlier set of proceedings pertaining to the divorce decree and rejection of the application for restitution of conjugal rights, were relied upon in the said application. It was also submitted that performing a second marriage could not be an incident for which the respondent could invoke provisions of the D.V. Act.
The Court held that contentions alleged by the respondent had been considered and decided by the Family Court and that the findings had attained finality up to the Supreme Court. Therefore, the Respondent cannot be permitted to reiterate the same by filing application under the provisions of the D.V. Act, three months after the Supreme Court dismissed her Special Leave Petition.
The Court further held that Section 3 of the D.V. Act defines ‘domestic violence’ in an elaborate manner and it refers to physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and economic abuse. It is in the context of a domestic relationship shared between the aggrieved person and the respondent. Merely because the Applicant performed a second marriage cannot come within the definition of Domestic Violence.
Thereby appeal was allowed.