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Reliefs U/S 18 to 21 of Domestic Violence Act May Also Be Sought In a Civil Court: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court on Thursday pronounced that any relief available under Sections 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 of Domestic Violence Act may also be sought in any legal proceedings, before a Civil Court.

The bench consists of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice M.R. Shah were hearing appeal filed by Satish Chander Ahuja questioning the judgment of Delhi High Court in whish Court has set aside the decree granted in favour of the plaintiff. The High Court remanded the matter back to the Trial Court for fresh adjudication in accordance with the directions given by the High Court. The plaintiff aggrieved by the judgment of the High Court has come up in this appeal.

The son of the appellant, Raveen Ahuja was married to the respondent, Sneha Ahuja (Respondent). The respondent after filing of Divorce Petition, filed an application under Section 12 of Domestic Violence Act, 2005. A written statement was filed by the defendant pleading that house property was acquired by the plaintiff through joint family funds and not his self-acquired property. The defendant claimed that the suit property is a shared household as per provision of Section 2(s) of the Act, 2005, the defendant has right to stay/reside in the shared household.

The bench observes ”The definition of shared household given under Section 2(s) of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 beginning with expression “shared household means a household where the person aggrieved lives or at any stage has lived in a domestic relationship either singly or along with the respondent and includes……………. The section uses both the expressions “means and includes”.

The respondent in a proceeding under Domestic Violence Act can be any relative of the husband. In event, the shared household belongs to any relative of the husband with whom in a domestic relationship the woman has lived, the conditions mentioned in Section 2(s) are satisfied and the said house will become a shared household.

“Any relief available under Sections 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22 of the Act, 2005 may also be sought in any legal proceeding, before a civil court, family court or a criminal court being the aggrieved person. Thus, the defendant is entitled to claim relief under Section 19 in suit, which has been filed by the plaintiff.” reads the judgment.

The Apex Court concluded that the pendency of proceedings under Act, 2005 or any order interim or final passed under D.V. Act under Section 19 regarding right of residence is not an embargo for initiating or continuing any civil proceedings, which relate to the subject matter of order interim or final passed in proceedings under D.V. Act, 2005.

A civil court is to determine the issues in civil proceedings on the basis of evidence, which has been led by the parties before the civil court. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal considering opinion that High Court has rightly set aside the decree of the Trial Court and remanded the matter for fresh adjudication.

Read the Judgment:

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