Madras High Court: Domestic Violence Act

    To protect women against domestic violence and the occurrence of domestic violence in society the Domestic Violence Act,2005 was implemented. 

    Under Section 12, of the D.V Act an application can be made by the aggrieved person to the Magistrate and by the powers vested under Section 18-23 various kinds of reliefs can be obtained which are of civil nature. However, looking at more than 1000 cases pending between 2007 to 2010 the Madras High Court observed that by giving it a criminal colour under Section 482 Criminal procedure Code,1973 there is a tendency to misuse theproceedingsas aweapon of harassment against persons unrelated to the proceedings by making them stand beforea Magistrate like accused persons. Hence the court has issued the following directions:

    • An application under Section 12. of the D.V. Act, is not a complaint under Section 2(d) of the Cr. P.C.
    • The Magistrate must issue a notice for appearance under Section 13 of D.V.Act accompanied by affidavit and copy of the petition and no summon shall be issued as in Cr. P.C 
    • The parties can be represented by the duly authorized counsel and the personal appearance of relatives and other third parties to the domestic relationship shall be insisted only upon compelling reasons being shown.
    • The magistrate has the powers to issue ex-parte orders
    • Depending on each case the magistrate can decide to whom the notice should be issued as it is not mandatory to issue notice notices to all parties arrayed as respondents.
    • The process can be revived and recalled under this Act and the Magistrate can alter, modify or revoke any order showing the change of circumstances
    • Any respondent who has been joined improperly as a party can get their names withdrawn.
    • Reliefs can also be claimed in a pending proceeding before a civil, criminal, or family court as a counterclaim.