'Domestic violence law gives no right to seek maintenance'
The Delhi High Court Tuesday held that the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 does not give a woman any additional right to claim maintenance from husband.
Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra, while dismissing the petition of Rachna Kathuria, said the act only puts on fast track the enforcement of existing right of maintenance available to an aggrieved person.
'If a woman living separate from her husband had already filed a suit claiming maintenance and after adjudication maintenance has been determined by a competent court either in civil suit or by the court of metropolitan magistrate in an application under section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), she does not have a right to claim additional maintenance under the act,' said Justice Dhingra.
Under the act, the court of metropolitan magistrate (MM) has the power to grant maintenance and monetary relief on an interim basis in a fast track manner only in those cases where a woman has not exercised her right of claiming maintenance either under civil court or under section 125 of CrPC.
'If the woman has already moved court and her right to maintenance has been adjudicated by a competent civil court or by a competent court of MM under section 125 CrPC, for any enhancement of maintenance already granted, she will have to move the same court and she cannot approach the MM court under the act by way of an application of interim or final nature to grant additional maintenance,' the court said.
The petitioner had filed an application under the act seeking maintenance.
An MM dismissed the application after finding that a civil suit is already going in a different court and she was getting a total maintenance of Rs.4,000 per month from her husband.
The court also noted that Rachna was living away from her husband Ramesh since January 1996. She also filed a civil suit under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act and an application under section 125 CrPC.
Justice Dhingra in his observation said that in case the petitioner felt that maintenance awarded to her was not sufficient, the proper course for her was to approach the concerned court for modification of the order in which she had filed civil suit and which has granted her maintenance.