A victim of domestic violence cannot be denied the right to live independently without her husband only because she moved in with her parents, a sessions court has said while quashing a trial court order which had refused to grant her a separate house allowance. Additional Sessions Judge Lokesh Kumar Sharma asked the magisterial court to decide afresh the woman’s plea for Rs 12,000 a month for separate accommodation and said the court should have considered it as socially benevolent to protect such domestic violence victims.
“Mere fact that the woman was or has been residing at her parental house cannot be a valid ground for denial of her right to separate residence…her parents could not be held responsible for keeping her and her minor child after getting her married,” the judge said while allowing her appeal.
The judge said that even if the woman could not place on record any document to show her standard of living during subsistence of her marriage, nothing had prevented the court from assessing an amount for her to maintain a separate house.
“Nothing had prevented the court from taking judicial notice of the prevalent rates of rent in the locality and thereafter to assess the space required for the residence of the appellant and her minor daughter. It should have awarded her some amount towards her alternate accommodation.
“The magistrate should have also considered the fact that this is an act qualifying under the category of ‘Socially Benevolent Legislation’, brought into effect to save women, who were victims of domestic violence, from starvation and destitution and to restore their status in society to what they were earlier enjoying in their marital homes,” the judge said and remanded the matter back to the trial court.
According to the complaint lodged by the woman, she was tortured physically, verbally and emotionally at the hands of her husband after which she filed a complaint against him and sought reliefs under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.
The woman, who, along with her minor daughter, was now living with her parents, had also sought entitlement to a separate residence, which was denied by the magisterial court on the ground that she was already living with her parents and there were no documents on record to assess the level of accommodation which she enjoyed in the matrimonial house.