Check abuse of Domestic Violence Act to settle scores

New Delhi Court says harassment of husband’s aged parents, married sisters through false accusations must
be prevented
Unchecked abuse of the Domestic Violence Act has led a city court to observe that a system needs to be
put in place to prevent the exploitation and “terrorisation” of aged parents and married sisters from the
clutches of the special law that was drafted solely to grant relief to harassed women.
“Married sisters residing in their own matrimonial houses are not part of the shared household or joint
family as contemplated under the Domestic Violence Act. They cannot be terrorised into abandoning their
parental family under the fear of involvement in litigations connected with domestic violence,” Additional
Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said.
The court made it clear that while married sisters could not be charged with criminal liability, they were still
entitled to the rights that could be claimed from their parental homes.
ASJ Lau further expressed concerns over the misuse of the Act by making women parties in the domestic
violence petitions just because they happened to be sisters of the husband.
The court noted that an increasing number of cases abusing special legislations have come to light and
instances are not rare where the women protection laws have been used as weapons to settle personal
scores in cases of marital discord.
“Misuse of anti-dowry and domestic violence laws is a matter of serious concern. It is necessary for the
courts to ensure that aged parents, married sisters and other relatives are not subjected to false
accusations. Any such attempt should be curtailed at the earliest,” ASJ Lau said.
“It is the obligation of the court to check systematic corruption, due to the abuse of special legislations by
a few, to ensure that the genuine victims of domestic abuse are granted timely justice.”
The court made the observations while dismissing a woman’s petition against a magisterial order refusing
to summon the married sisters of her estranged husband in a case under the Act.
The woman had claimed that even though the sisters-in-law were not residing with her, they had
continuously abused her emotionally, verbally and physically whenever they visited her matrimonial house.
Her husband had submitted that his sisters got married around 20 years before his marriage and had no
relationship with his estranged wife.

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