Madurai

Domestic Violence Act prone to misuse, says High Court

The Madras High Court Bench here has observed that Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 suffers from inherent flaws which tempt women to misuse their provisions and men to dread being prosecuted under the law without any rhyme or reason.

Dismissing a writ petition, Justice S. Vaidyanathan said: “The notable flaw in this law is that it lends itself to such easy misuse that women will find it hard to resist the temptation to teach a lesson to their male relatives and will file frivolous and false cases.

“One can be certain that there is something sinister about a law when it intimidates and instils fear in innocent people. When a person who has not committed any crime begins to fear punishment under the provisions of a law, it will certainly create panic amidst men.

“Now-a-days, filing cases under the Domestic Violence Act by women has become a common one. Therefore, a neutral and an unprejudiced law is needed to protect the genuine victims of domestic violence irrespective of their gender.”

The judge also said that a similar trend of misuse was observed in the case of Section 498A (a woman being subjected to cruelty by her husband or his relatives) of the Indian Penal Code. It forced the Supreme Court to term such misuse as ‘legal terrorism.’

Insofar as the present writ petition was concerned, the judge said that the petitioner had filed the case with the objective of wrecking vengeance against her father-in-law and pressurising him to agree for a settlement in two criminal cases registered in connection with domestic disputes.

The judge pointed out that the petitioner had lodged a complaint against her husband and in-laws who had countered it with another case lodged against her and her parents. Subsequently, she came to know that her father-in-law, a government schoolteacher, was about to be promoted as Headmaster.

Hence, she made a representation to the Virudhunagar District Educational Officer to withhold the promotion since he was facing a criminal case and filed the writ petition seeking a direction to the officer to dispose of her representation within a stipulated time.

Holding that the petitioner had no right to seek such a direction to the employer of her father-in-law, the judge imposed a cost of Rs.5,000 on her. The money was ordered to be paid to Chief Justice’s Relief Fund and then used for rehabilitation of victims of multiple earthquakes that hit Nepal last month.



“Inherent flaws tempt women to misuse the provisions and men to dread being prosecuted”



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Printable version | Sep 18, 2020 7:32:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/domestic-violence-act-prone-to-misuse-says-high-court/article7331523.ece

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