Karnataka High Court ruled that the husband’s extramarital partner can’t be a respondent in an application moved by his wife under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act)
By: Sachin Jain, Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi
The petitioner was inferred of having an illicit relationship with the husband of the woman who had filed a complaint of domestic violence but there was no allegation of cruelty against her.
The judgment passed by Justice Shreeniwas Harish Kumar noted that as per Section 2(q) of the DV Act, “only those persons who have been in a domestic relationship can be made as respondents.”
“Section 2(q) of the Act makes it clear that only those persons who have been in the domestic relationship can be made as respondents. In this case, as argued by the petitioner’s counsel, the allegation against the petitioner is that the 1st respondent’s husband was suspected to be having an illegal relationship with the petitioner and he thought of bringing the petitioner to his house. Except for this allegation, there are no other allegations against the petitioner which indicate that she too joined with the husband of the 1st respondent in harassing her. Therefore the petitioner does not come within the scope of the respondent as envisaged under Section 2(q) of the Act. Making her respondent in the application filed under Section 12 of the Act is unwarranted,” the bench decreed.
Petitioner’s counsel, Advocate MH Prakash, contended that she has, with no cause, been made a party by the first respondent(wife) in her application before the Magistrate under Section 12 of the DV Act.
It was contended that she could not have been made a party to the case as she does not come within the definition of a respondent as mentioned under Section 2(q) of the DV Act.
But the wife(respondent) opposed the plea contending that she was harassed in the first place because of an illicit relationship between the petitioner and her husband. It was further contended that Domestic Violence has been committed on the petitioner’s incitement. Therefore, making her a party to the application filed under Section 12 of the DV Act is unavoidable.
The bench then began evaluating the scope of Section 2(q) of the DV Act to infer who can be made a respondent.
Section 2(q) of the Act reads:
“Section 2(q) ‘respondent’ means 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 like marriage may also file a complaint against a relative of the husband or the male partner.”
The bench concluded that the woman (petitioner) with whom the husband was allegedly having an illicit affair, won’t fall under the ambit of ‘respondent’ as defined under section 2(q) of the DV Act.
“Section 2(q) of the Act makes it clear that only those persons who have been in the domestic relationship can be made as respondents,” the Court stated.
The Court ordered to quash the proceedings already moved against the petitioner only before the trial court while permitting the petition moved by her. Accordingly, the petition is allowed.