Delhi court –PWDVA-MIL SIL can file PWDVA on Bahu ?-'Mother, sisters protected equal to man's wife'
19 Sep 2010
NEW DELHI: The mother and sisters of a man are equally protected in a dispute with his wife under the Domestic Violence Act and they cannot be made accused without a scrutiny of charges against them, a Delhi court has said.
"The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 protects the mothers, sisters and daughters from any kind of physical and mental abuse or violence in as much as it does the daughter-in-law. The court as a protector and implementor of rights, is required to perform a balancing act," Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau.
The court said that raising allegations by a woman against her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law without any substance would rather cause violence to them.
"Making wild allegations against an unmarried sister-in-law of a tender marriageable age by an estranged wife of brother tantamounts to inflicting violence upon her and it is the duty of the court to ensure that she is protected from the same.
"Violence can also be inflicted by an estranged wife or daughter-in-law or sister-in-law upon other members of the husband's family to gain and secure personal points and financial control or for separating her husband from his parents and other family members," the court said.
It further said that mother-in-law or sisters-in-law (married or unmarried) cannot be permitted to be subjected to harassment only because they happen to be related to the estranged husband of the woman (complainant).
"It is necessary to ensure the court does not get swayed by astute legal drafting of the counsel and is required to get at the truth of the allegations by examining them on the touch-stone of reasonableness and probabilities. Where a complaint appears to have been filed on grounds only to humiliate the family members, the same is required to be thrown out at the earliest opportunity", the court said.
The court made these observations while setting aside an order to summon the mother, two sisters-in-law including the married one of a man on a complaint filed by his wife alleging harassment.
ASJ Lau pointed out that the complainant alleged that her in-law had forcibly taken away her salary and wages which is false and incorrect as she herself admitted that she was not working. The court also said that the allegations regarding harassment for dowry do not appear to be "credible and truthful" particularly in view of the background that the marriage between the sparring couple was a secret, runaway marriage as an outcome of a love affair between them.
The woman said that she had married the man in July, 2008 and had faced harassment and torture for dowry.