1 August 2022


Supreme Court

Shyamlal Devda and Ors. Vs. Parimala




Court has to be prima facie satisfied that, there have been instances of domestic violence before issuing notice

Present appeal arises out of the impugned judgment passed by the High Court by which the High Court has dismissed the petition filed by the Appellants stating that, the Metropolitan Magistrate, Bengaluru has the jurisdiction to entertain the complaint filed by the Respondent under Sections 18, 19 and 20 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 ("Domestic Violence Act").

The Appellants contended that, neither the marriage of the parties was solemnized at Bengaluru nor the matrimonial house was at Bengaluru and therefore, the Magistrate Court at Bengaluru has no jurisdiction to entertain the petition filed under the Domestic Violence Act. Learned Counsel submitted that, vague allegations have been levelled against the family members of the husband-Appellant No. 14 which are not at all substantiated. Learned Counsel further submitted that, with a view to harass the family members of her husband, the Respondent has arraigned all the family members of her husband including those who are residents in the State of Rajasthan, Gujarat and other relatives in Chennai and the complaint is an abuse of the process of the Court.

Section 18 of the Domestic Violence Act relates to protection order. In terms of Section 18 of the Act, intention of the legislature is to provide more protection to woman. Section 20 of the Act empowers the court to order for monetary relief to the "aggrieved party". When acts of domestic violence is alleged, before issuing notice, the court has to be prima facie satisfied that there have been instances of domestic violence.

In the present case, the Respondent has made allegations of domestic violence against fourteen Appellants. Admittedly, the matrimonial house of the Respondent and Appellant No. 1 has been at Chennai. Insofar as Appellant No. 14-husband of the Respondent and Appellants No. 1 and 2-Parents-in-law, there are averments of alleging domestic violence alleging that they have taken away the jewellery of the Respondent gifted to her by her father during marriage and the alleged acts of harassment to the Respondent. There are no specific allegations as to how other relatives of Appellant No. 14 have caused the acts of domestic violence. It is also not known as to how other relatives who are residents of Gujarat and Rajasthan can be held responsible for award of monetary relief to the Respondent.

The High Court was not right in saying that, there was prima facie case against the other Appellants No. 3 to 13. Since, there are no specific allegations against Appellants No. 3 to 13, the criminal case of domestic violence against them cannot be continued and is liable to be quashed.

Section 27 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 makes it clear that the petition under the Domestic Violence Act can be filed in a court where the "person aggrieved" permanently or temporarily resides or carries on business or is employed. In the present case, the Respondent is residing with her parents within the territorial limits of Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Bengaluru.

In view of Section 27(1) (a) of the Act, the Metropolitan Magistrate court, Bengaluru has the jurisdiction to entertain the complaint and take cognizance of the offence. There is no merit in the contention raising objection as to the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Magistrate Court at Bengaluru. Case filed against the Appellants No. 3 to 13 is quashed and this appeal is partly allowed. The learned VI Additional Metropolitan Magistrate at Bengaluru shall proceed with case against Appellants No. 1, 2 and 14 and dispose the same in accordance with law.

Tags : Complaint Cognizance Jurisdiction

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