–Report by Muskan Chanda
- An application was filed by the Respondent under Section 12 of the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 2005 ( DV Act) before the Chief Magistrate, Tis Hazari Court, stating that she was already married when she met the petitioner in the year 2009.
- In 2014 respondent got married to the petitioner after obtaining a divorce from her husband. The respondent had a son, named Master Jatin, aged thirteen years, from her previous wedding. The petitioner had not disclosed his marital status to the respondent at the time they each met thus inducing the respondent to marry him. The petitioner executed a wedding Agreement to indicate his genuineness and responsibility towards the respondent and her kid.
- Within the agreement it had been mentioned that the respondent was married and incorporates a son from her previous wedding. Later the petitioner herein told the respondent that his spouse is on dialysis and wouldn’t survive long and so he’s trying to find a life partner.
- Further, the respondent took a divorce from her husband and got married to the petitioner in 2014. Another Agreement-cum-Marriage Deed was entered into between the petitioner and also the respondent on 22 November 2014.
- The petitioner herein had organized a rental accommodation and both of them were living as husband and wife. The name of the petitioner is mentioned as the father of the kid of the respondent in the school records. In the bank accounts of the respondent, the petitioner is shown as a nominee.
- Differences arose between the parties and also the respondent was subjected to physical and mental abuse by the petitioner. The respondent filed an FIR against the petitioner. The respondent prayed for an order restraining the petitioner from evicting the respondent from the rented accommodation. An application for a grant of interim maintenance has conjointly been filed by the respondent.
The learned counsel for the petitioner contends that an application under Section 12 of the DV Act could be filed solely by an aggrieved person. According to the definition of “aggrieved person” under Section 2(a) of the DV Act. An aggrieved person has been defined as any woman who is or has been, in a domestic relationship with an individual and who alleges to have been subjected to any act of domestic violence by that person. He states that the respondent in her application has admitted that both the parties were married when they met. When the respondent knew that the petitioner was married to somebody else the respondent cannot claim any relief under the DV Act. Till the issue of maintainability is not decided, the decision to pay ad-interim maintenance to the respondent is unreasonable.
The learned counsel for the respondent contended that the respondent and petition got along in the year 2009 and got married in the year 2014 and they resided together for 6 years before the difference arose between them in the year 2020. He contends that it was not as if the petitioner was a casual visitor to the house. The learned counsel for the respondent states that the petitioner has filed an affidavit and entered into a contract with the respondent stating that he has married the respondent and that he would take care of the respondent and the child. He further stated that in school records the petitioner is shown as the father of the child and in the bank accounts of the respondent, the petitioner is shown as the nominee. Hence, the application filed by the respondent was maintainable and the orders of the learned Metropolitan Magistrate and the Additional Sessions Judge rejecting that directed the petitioner to pay ad-interim maintenance of Rs. ten thousand per month to the respondent does not warrant any interference.
The learned Metropolitan Magistrate passed an order on 26 October 2020, had directed the petitioner to pay a sum of Rs ten thousand per month to the respondent herein as an interim arrangement. The principal challenge is that the order could not be passed since the application under the DV Act was not maintainable as the respondent is not an aggrieved person.
In case the Metropolitan Magistrate, after evidence is led, concludes that the respondent herein was not entitled to the protection of the DV Act then adequate safeguards must be made to ensure that the respondent returns the amount received by her as interim maintenance in terms of the order dated 26 October 2020, passed by the learned Metropolitan Magistrate back to the petitioner with interest.