The Domestic Violence Act- Are the Female “Respondent”?
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[As per Section 2 Clause (q) of DV Act, the Respondent means any adult male person who is or has been in a domestic relationship. Hence, a plain reading of this definition clause would show that an ...
[As per Section 2 Clause (q) of DV Act, the Respondent means any adult male person who is or has been in a domestic relationship. Hence, a plain reading of this definition clause would show that an application will not lie under the provisions of this Act against a female. There is ambiguity in the definition clause if the main enacting part is read with the proviso which uses, the expression “relative of the husband” thereby extending the meaning of respondent without any gender restriction. The High Courts have different views, while MP High Court & Madras High Court opined that female members cannot be made as respondents in the proceedings under the DV Act, the judgments of Rajasthan High Court held that a female relative is not excluded from the definition of respondent contained in Section 2(q) of the Act. Recently, the Andhra Pradesh High Court in its speaking judgment held that the 'respondent' as defined under Section 2(q) of the Act includes a female relative. However, till date there is no final word of Apex Court with respect to this vexed question of law in view of divergent view of different High Courts. The question is basically with respect to the correct interpretation and scope of proviso to Section 2 (q) DV Act in the context of the scheme underlying the other provisions of the Act as well as in tune with the object set out in the statement of objects and reasons.]
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