BANGALORE: Can a woman try another woman under the provisions of the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005 ?
No, says the Karnataka High Court.
Clearing this confusion, the division Bench comprising Justice K L Manjunath and Justice B S Patil said a complaint under this act against her mother-in-law or sister-in-law or women relatives can be registered, but the police can initiate action against them (respondents) only under Section 498A of the IPC or any other suitable enactments of law.
The Bench gave this clarification while dealing with the petition filed by one Leelavati.
In respect of residential rights, custody rights or protection, women can file complaints against only male members under the Domestic Violence Act but not against female members like mother-in-law or sisters-in-law or any others, the division Bench clarified with regard to ambiguity of the meaning of the word relative, in the provision in section 2(q) of the Act.
Leelavati, a resident of Okalipuram, had filed complaints against her husband Bhaskar, father-in-law Murugeshan, mother-in-law Nalini and sister-in-law Kavitha under this Act, before the magistrate court. This was challenged by her husband and others. The fast track court had ordered that except Bhaskar’s, other names should be dropped from the complaint.
Leelavati challenged this decision before the high court. The single bench, while concurring with the fast track court, referred this matter to the division bench for clarification.