Mumbai Magistrate rejects woman’s plea of an interim possession of her matrimonial home
Mumbai : The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 seeks to protect the rights of women and preserves her right to reside in her matrimonial home or shared household. However, in a rare instance the Mumbai magistrate has declined entry of a woman in her own house. In an order passed by the Mumbai Magistrate recently, the woman was declined interim maintenance or possession of a flat in Mumbai based Matunga area. The Magistrate stated that the woman was unable to show that her alleged decade-old dispossession from it was due to domestic violence.
The flat is jointly owned by both the woman and her husband who are US based residents.
Last year, the woman had sought to invoke salutary provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, to secure her rights to the shared residence, a monthly maintenance of Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs. 5 crore as compensation and reimbursement during their separation. In her petition the woman had alleged that she was physically and verbally abused by her husband for several years. Both got married in 1994 and lived in US for few years. Since, she lived in a foreign land therefore had to adjust to the circumstances. She has also alleged that her husband often accused her of illicit and adulterous relations.
Later on, they both moved to Mumbai between 2006 and 2008 and purchased a flat in Matunga. However, the woman alleged that her husband’s violent and suspicious behaviour continued. In 2008, the woman stated that her husband allegedly tried to suffocate her, causing threat to her life. She then moved on to her mother’s house seeking some relief from the domestic violence. The woman further alleges that by June last year, he dispossessed her of the Mumbai flat for which she had contributed too. Citing judgements, the woman’s lawyer Haresh Thacker argued the law would apply to even shared household in existence before the Act coming into force.
The husband’s lawyer Ishika Tolani raised questions about the maintainability of her plea on grounds of delay of 10 years and lack of proof. Ms. Tolani said that the husband had applied for divorce against her before the US court which had granted it in early 2018. The court observed that the woman did not file an FIR over her allegations.
The court in its recent order has stated that “It is impossible that a well-qualified woman maintains silence over the abuse and seeks no protection under the DV (Domestic Violence) Act so far. This has raised doubts against her domestic violence allegations. It is observed that though both began to live separately in 2008, dispute over the flat had come up in June 2017. So it is a clear case that she was not dispossessed by domestic violence.