Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Husband’s girlfriend cannot be booked for domestic violence

A woman can lodge a complaint against her husband and in-laws under domestic violence laws, but not her husband’s girlfriend. In one such case, as the Gujarat High Court has recently quashed a complaint filed by a wife against her husband’s so-called beloved.

Wife lodged a complaint in July last year at the Chaklasi police station near Nadiad against her husband Fatabhai and his family members accusing them of demanding dowry and putting her through physical and mental torture. The police booked all the persons under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 498A.
Interestingly, the police also booked one Rasila Parmar on Mamtaben’s complaint, though she was not a member of the family. Wife accused Parmar of having illicit relationship with her husband, and therefore Fatabhai used to torture his wife.
But this was not acceptable to Parmar, who is employed with a government department. She approached the high court against Mamtaben’s complaint. Her lawyer, Haresh Trivedi contended before the court that Mamtaben could not make even a single statement against the woman to show how she was instrumental in the act of violence and harassment. He claimed that Parmar was not a family member, neither was she residing with the family. And in absence of any connection of Parmar with Mamtaben and her in-laws, she cannot be held responsible for the alleged act of domestic violence.
Parmar’s counsel also alleged that wife had tried to implicate her in this case merely with a view to subverting her chance of promotion in government job. The case against Parmar cannot stand because technically she does not fall under the definition of a relative. On his argument, the court made Wife a party in proceeding in order to seek her version, but she did not turn up.
After hearing advocate Trivedi and the public prosecutor, Justice Akil Kureshi quashed the FIR against Parmar holding that Wife’s complaint under 498A cannot stand against her husband’s so-called lover.

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