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Domestic Violence Act applies retrospectively: HC

Days after the Delhi High Court ruled there could be no discrimination between the men and women officers in the matter of granting Permanent Commission in armed forces...

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi |
March 23, 2010 12:06:18 am

Days after the Delhi High Court ruled there could be no discrimination between the men and women officers in the matter of granting Permanent Commission in armed forces,it guaranteed huge reprieve to women against domestic violence.

Justice V K Jain of the High Court on Monday ruled that women were entitled to all kinds of relief under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act even if the complaint pertained to a date prior to October 2005 when the law came into force.

Women have often been denied relief by courts on the ground that the Act had no retrospective effect and hence the petitions citing incidents of domestic violence prior to October 2005 were not maintainable.

“I am of the view that a petition under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,2005,is maintainable even if the act of domestic violence was committed before the Act came into force,” Justice Jain ruled.

There is no difference between the women who were subjected to domestic violence before 2005 and those who were later,as any differentiation would tantamount to denying the right of equality before law guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution,the court held.

“Any discriminatory treatment to women in either category would be violative of their constitutional right guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution.

The court needs to eschew from taking an interpretation,which would not only be violative of the rights of the women but also result in denying them the benefit of the Act,” Justice Jain noted.

The court was adjudicating a petition by a woman,whose plea was dismissed by a trial court noting that since she was allegedly driven out of her matrimonial home in July 2005,her accusations of domestic violence pertained to the date before the Act was notified.

Allowing her petition,Justice Jain asked the trial court to note that there was no flaw in her petition.

Defining the statute as a “landmark initiative taken by the Parliament to confer important benefits to the women,” the Delhi High Court said the provisions of the Act should be rightly interpreted so that women were saved not only from physical abuse but also threat of abuse,whether physical,mental,sexual,verbal or economical.

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