The Rajasthan High Court has taken a firm stance against the common practice of implicating all relatives of a husband in domestic violence cases, irrespective of their actual involvement in the alleged offenses. In a recent revision petition heard by Justice Ashok Kumar Jain, distant relatives of the complainant’s husband were absolved of charges under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act.
The petitioners, distant relatives of the husband, had their complaint dismissed by Justice Jain’s bench, along with the nullification of the process initiated by the Magistrate. The court emphasized that the issuance of legal process must involve a meticulous examination of substantial evidence rather than being a mere procedural formality. Notably, the distant relatives in question were not residing with the husband or his wife when the domestic violence complaint was lodged.
Justice Jain underscored the need for specific allegations against accused relatives rather than their inclusion based solely on their relationship with the husband. The court pointed out that the complainant had failed to clarify the roles or specific actions of these distant relatives in her complaint, merely including them due to their familial association with the husband.
The court condemned the complaint as an attempt to harass the distant relatives due to the absence of specific averments regarding their role. Terming the proceedings against these relatives as an ‘abuse of process of law,’ the court noted that although seeking compensation of Rs 10 lakhs from them, the complainant did not provide a clear delineation of the actions for which they were to be held liable.
Advocate Abhishek Bharadwaj, representing the revision petitioners, cited legal precedents to emphasize the complainant’s failure to establish the required ‘domestic relationship’ under the DV Act to implicate these distant relatives. He argued against their inclusion based on mere apprehension, asserting that proceedings under Section 12 of the DV Act cannot be initiated without concrete grounds.
Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 enables an aggrieved person to seek a protection order from the Magistrate, directing the accused (respondent) to desist from committing domestic violence. This provision allows the Magistrate to issue various directives within the protection order, including restraining the respondent from contacting or harassing the aggrieved party, preventing dispossession from the shared household, or mandating monetary relief or alternative accommodation. The order may be modified based on changed circumstances, and any breach by the respondent can lead to legal repercussions. Overall, Section 12 serves to safeguard the aggrieved person, offering legal recourse to prevent further acts of domestic violence and ensuring their safety and well-being within the domestic setting.
In contrast, counsel representing the complainant, advocate Vishwas Sharma, contended that evidence during the trial would substantiate the alleged domestic violence perpetrated by the distant relatives.
Previously, the revision petitioners had appealed to the Karauli Additional Sessions Judge No. 1 against the order in the criminal case. Following its dismissal, they pursued the current revision petition before the Rajasthan High Court.
The Court, allowing the revision petition, dismissed the case against the distant relatives. It clarified that proceedings under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act against these particular petitioners stand dismissed, while the case continues against other non-applicants.