Domestic Violence Act: Needn’t give notice to kin at first go, says HC : The Tribune India

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Domestic Violence Act: Needn’t give notice to kin at first go, says HC

Lays down procedure to be followed by magistrates

Domestic Violence Act: Needn’t give notice to kin at first go, says HC


Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, May 2

In a significant judgment liable to change the way pleas filed under the Domestic Violence Act are acted upon, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has laid down the procedure for magistrates to follow in the states of Punjab and Haryana, along with the UT Chandigarh. Among other things, Justice Jagmohan Bansal has made it clear that the magistrates dealing with such matters may not issue a notice at the first instance to distant relatives.

Justice Bansal also directed the Registrar-General to circulate the judgment among all District and Sessions Judges within the jurisdiction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The direction came in a case where a woman filed a complaint not only against the husband, but also distant relatives and family friends.

Taking up the plea, the jurisdictional magistrate, vide an order dated September 23, 2022, issued a notice to the petitioners, along with the husband and family of the complainant’s husband. The petitioners then moved the High Court through advocate PS Ahluwalia for quashing the complaint and the impugned notice.

Justice Bansal took note of the fact that petitions were daily being filed before the High Court assailing pleas under Section 12 and subsequent notice under Section 13 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. Section 12 empowers an aggrieved woman to file an application before the magistrate for various reliefs under the DV Act.

Elaborating on the procedure, Justice Bansal asserted that all respondents may not be mechanically issued a notice under Section 13 in case of a petition under Section 12 of the DV Act. “A notice at the first instance may not be issued to distant relatives”.

Justice Bansal further asserted that the magistrate was expected to apply his mind regarding “distant and sundry relatives of the respondents” arrayed by an aggrieved person. The presence of respondents may not be required where they were represented through a counsel.

Justice Bansal ruled that the magistrate was expected to pass an appropriate order in case of an application by the respondents on the grounds of jurisdiction, maintainability or deletion from array of respondents. “In case an application was filed seeking alteration, modification or revocation of an order passed under the Act, the magistrate in terms of Section 25 of the DV Act is expected to pass an order, if parties are able to show change of circumstances,” he said.

Referring to multiple judgments on the issue, Justice Bansal asserted that the proceedings under Section 12 were civil in nature and the notice issued under Section 13 was not a summons under the provisions of the CrPC. A petition before the HC under Section 482 of the CrPC was not maintainable against a petition under Section 12 or notice under Section 13.

Circulate judgement among judges

  • The Registrar-General has been asked to circulate the judgment among all District & Sessions Judges
  • The direction came in a case where a woman filed a complaint against her husband, distant relatives

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