By Lovisha Aggarwal | January 11, 2019
COURT: Delhi HC
CASE: Shachi Mahajan v. Santosh Mahajan (dated 10-01-2019)
Husband left the matrimonial house without informing anyone. Because of alleged attempts of Mother-in-Law to remove the Daughter-in-Law from the Matrimonial House, on a petition filed by the Daughter-in-Law, protection order was passed on 07.11.2012, restraining the Mother-in-Law from dispossessing her from the shared household.
Subsequently as the electricity bill was not paid, electricity supply to the said property was disconnected in 2015 so the Daughter-in-Law was constrained to shift to her mother’s house. When the Daughter-in-Law got an order for restoration of the electricity, she could not enter the premises as the locks of the premises had been changed by the Mother-in-Law.
A complaint under section 31 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 was filed against the Mother-in-law. Mother-in-Law filed an application under Section 25 of the DV Act, seeking modification of the protection order. The Metropolitan Magistrate directed the Mother-in-Law to hand over the keys of the shared household to the Daughter-in-Law.
Mother-in-Law filed a Revision Petition before the High Court.
The subject property was then sold to a third party by way of a registered Sale Deed dated 31.10.2018 by the Mother-in-Law.
Pending the proceedings before the Trial Court, subject property now stands transferred to a third party by way of a registered sale deed. Neither the husband nor the Mother-in-Law have any surviving share in the subject property after the registration of the sale deed in favour of a third party.
Equities have to be balance i.e.
No doubt, the action of the Mother-in-Law in disposing of the property by way of a registered sale deed has caused loss to the Daughter-in-Law, however it may be seen that there was no order restraining the Mother-in-Law from selling or alienating the subject property and, as such, she cannot be penalised in terms of Section 31 of the Domestic Violence Act. However, the action of the Mother-in-Law in selling the subject property, though not strictly illegal, has caused loss to the Daughter- in-Law.
RELEVANT LEGAL PROVISIONS
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
While disposing of an application under sub-section (1) of section 12, the Magistrate may, on being satisfied that domestic violence has taken place, pass a residence order –
(f) directing the respondent to secure same level of alternate accommodation for the aggrieved person as enjoyed by her in the shared household or to pay rent for the same, if the circumstances so require:
Provided that no order under clause (b) shall be passed against any person who is a woman.
(1) While disposing of an application under sub-section (1) of section 12, the Magistrate may direct the respondent to pay monetary relief to meet the expenses incurred and losses suffered by the aggrieved person and any child of the aggrieved person as a result of the domestic violence and such relief may include, but not limited to,-
(c) the loss caused due to the destruction, damage or removal of any property from the control of the aggrieved person; and
(2) The monetary relief granted under this section shall be adequate, fair and reasonable and consistent with the standard of living to which the aggrieved person is accustomed.
(1) A protection order made under section 18 shall be in force till the aggrieved person applies for discharge.
(2) If the Magistrate, on receipt of an application from the aggrieved person or the respondent, is satisfied that there is a change in the circumstances requiring alteration, modification or revocation of any order made under this Act, he may, for reasons to be recorded in writing pass such order, as he may deem appropriate.
Penalty for breach of protection order by respondent.–
(1) A breach of protection order, or of an interim protection order, by the respondent shall be an offence under this Act and shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees, or with both.
(2) The offence under sub-section (1) shall as far as practicable be tried by the Magistrate who had passed the order, the breach of which has been alleged to have been caused by the accused.
(3) While framing charges under sub-section (1), the Magistrates may also frame charges under section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or any other provision of that Code or the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961), as the case may be, if the facts disclose the commission of an offence under those provisions.
Read the complete judgement here