Friday, June 13, 2014

Have to follow Delhi high court order on domestic violence Act, says Bombay high court | PIL seeks to grant all women in house power to use Domestic Violence Act

Have to follow Delhi high court order on domestic violence Act, says Bombay high court

Pushpa (L) and her daughter Kusum filed the PIL
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday was informed that the Delhi high court has upheld the inclusion of a mother of a male abuser for relief under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, and also that the Supreme Court had rejected an appeal filed against this order.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sonak heard a petition by Kusum Harsora (54) and her 78-year-old mother challenging the exclusion of women, other than wife/live-in partner, of a male abuser. A magistrate had rejected their complaint against a sister-in-law and Kusum's two sisters on the grounds that a mother and sister do not qualify as "aggrieved persons" under the Act. Kusum informed the court that the Delhi HC in Kusumlata Sharma versus State of Delhi (NCR) on September 2, 2011, had held that that a mother-in-law is also entitled to file a domestic violence complaint against her daughter-in-law.

"While the Delhi HC does not say about a sister, but it is understood to include her. We'll have to follow the (Delhi HC) order," said Justice Shah.

But the Centre's advocate, Dhiren Shah, sought time to "confirm" the SC order and if the women and child welfare development ministry knew of it. The next hearing is on June 17.


PIL seeks to grant all women in house power to use Domestic Violence Act

Women in a household other than a daughter-in-law or a live-in partner could be allowed to file a case under the Domestic Violence (DV) Act if the Bombay High Court rules in favour of a Public Interest Litigation currently before it. 

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sonak on Thursday gave the central government five days to verify if the Supreme Court had passed any order on the issue.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by a mother-daughter duo who are challenging the validity of Section 2(q) of the DV Act, which restricts the definition of a respondent to male members of the family. The PIL, filed by Kusum Harsora, 54, and her mother Pushpa, 78, says the section discriminates between women living in the same household.

During the hearing on Thursday, Kusum argued on the basis of details given in the PIL and later submitted a 2013 Delhi High Court judgment in which a mother-in-law was allowed to file a complaint under the DV Act against her daughter-in-law.

The court then asked the Union government's advocate, Dhiren Shah, to verify if there was any Supreme Court judgment on the issue and to inform the court of this after the lunch-break. The advocates informed the court that there was one SC judgment that could help Kusum but they wanted time to verify the facts.

The PIL says that both petitioners had lodged a complaint against Kusum's brother, sister-in-law and two sisters for subjecting them to mental and physical harassment. But in February 2012, a single-judge bench of the HC discharged all three women, holding that no complaint under the DV Act can be filed against the female members.

The mother-daughter petition challenges this very provision, saying that though the legislation is supposed to protect women from domestic violence, it discriminates between two women in a domestic relationship.

According to the PIL, while the provision allows a wife or a woman in a live-in relationship to file a complaint against her husband or male partner and/or any of his relatives, it does not allow other women in a domestic relationship to lodge a complaint and seek relief against other female members of the family. This would include a daughter-in-law, sister or daughter.

"The proviso ignores the fact that even female members of the family can be perpetrators of domestic violence. There is no rational basis of classification between a wife or a woman in a live-in relationship and other females of the family," says the PIL.

On Wednesday, the Union government had filed an affidavit saying that allowing a man's female relatives to seek relief under the said Act could make it prone to misuse. Though the affidavit agreed that women other than wives or partners were also susceptible to domestic violence, it denied that the Act causes undue hardship to other women in the house.


'Bramhakumari' arrested for extorting Rs 7 lakh from elderly man by filing false rape case

P Naveen,TNN | Apr 12, 2014, 12.16 AM IST

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh police on Friday caught a woman and a lawyer for extorting a sum of Rs 7 lakh from an elderly man by allegedly threatening him to implicate him in a case of rape. This incident took place in Gwalior district on Friday evening.
The accused woman had joined the Bramhakumaris six years ago, after separating from her husband, said police adding that she had filed similar complaints against other people also. 

They were arrested red-handed while collecting money from the man, they were threatening to implicate, said police. 

Earlier this month, accused Rekha Rajak, 33, lodged a complaint with Mahila police station that she was raped by Ram Nivas Sharma, 69, head of Brahma Kumaris' ashram, resident of Thatipur area in Gwalior. She told police that she was exploited for long and then raped by the accused during her three-month stay at the ashram. 

The extortion angle came up in the case when Sharma, who has been accused by the women of committing rape, lodged a counter complaint. 

While police initiated investigations and booked Sharma, she offered a deal of Rs 7 lakh to Sharma to withdraw the complaint. 

Sharma informed the matter to police and continued negotiations with the woman. Mayank recorded the telephonic conversation and handed it over to the police. 

Unaware of the police complaint, the woman asked Sharma to deposit Rs 5 lakh in her bank account and hand over remaining amount to the lawyer. 

"We have arrested the woman and her accomplice for registering a false case of rape against Sharma and collecting Rs 7 lakh extortion money," Gwalior SP Pramod Vermatold TOI. 

Sum of Rs 5 lakh (with its series number given by Sharma) were recovered in the bank, Rs 2 lakh was seized from her accomplice, the SP added. Police claim she had made similar complaints against other people including her father-in-law. 

"It seems that she has made false complaints in the past also. We are investigating it," said the SP.

Senior police officials claim that there had been several instances, especially in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, where women have misused the law as a "weapon for vengeance and vendetta". 

"Many of the cases are being reported by those women who have consensual physical relationship with a man but when the relationship breaks due to one reason or the other, the women use the law as a weapon for vengeance and personal vendetta to extort money and sometimes even to force the man to get married to her," said a senior police officer quoting a remark by Delhi high court. 

While granting anticipatory bail to a man facing rape charges filed by a woman claiming to be his wife in May 2013, Delhi high court had said that judges should "cautiously examine the intentions of the girl to find out whether the rape complaint is genuine or has malafide motives".