Women under Muslim Personal Law can invoke Domestic Violence Act
In a latest landmark judgment by the Bombay High Court titled Mr Ali Abbas Daruwala v/s Mrs Shehnaz Daruwala (Writ Petition No. 114 of 2018 with Civil Application No. 518 of 2018) which was pronounced on May 4,
2018, the Bombay High Court has held that merely because parties are governed by the Muslim Personal Law, it should not be an impediment in the wife invoking provisions of the Domestic Violence Act. In other words it implies that the wife even if governed by the Muslim Personal Law is fully entitled to invoke the provisions of the Domestic Violence (DV) Act whenever she finds it necessary to do so. Justice Smt Bharati H Dangre who was hearing the case held in no uncertain terms that there is no embargo on a court to grant relief to a woman who is an “aggrieved person” within the meaning of the DV Act, merely because she is a Muslim. Very rightly so!
While craving for the exclusive indulgence of my esteemed readers, let me inform here that the Bombay High Court was hearing a writ petition filed by one Ali Abbas Daruwala who had challenged a judgment delivered by the Family Court of Bandra dated June 22, 2017, wherein the wife’s application for maintenance was allowed. The Family Court of Bandra in its judgment had directed Ali Abbas to pay Rs 25,000 per month to the wife and Rs 20,000 per month each for both their kids towards maintenance. Ali Abbas then decided to appeal to the Bombay High Court against this judgment. Ali Abbas who is the petitioner and who is aggrieved by the said order prays for quashing and setting aside the said order on the ground that the Family Court has exceeded its jurisdiction in passing the said order.
For my esteemed readers exclusive indulgence, let me also inform them that in 2015, Shehnaz filed a petition for divorce under the Dissolution of Marriage Act, 1939 before the Family Court in Bandra. She prayed for getting the custody of their children, maintenance and accommodation. She also filed a separate application for maintenance and accommodation which was opposed by Ali Abbas in an application under Order 7 Rule 11(a) of the Civil Procedure Code.
Truth be told, this application was rejected and the wife again filed an application for maintenance and accommodation on May 20, 2016. Thereafter, it was claimed by the husband that he gave her a talaq on March 29, 2017 considering how she was asking for a divorce before the family court. He also stated that Shehnaz initially accepted the amount of Mehar that was returned, only to give it back in May. In June 2017, the respondent wife filed an application under Sections 12, 18, 19, 20, 22 and 23 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
Be it noted, the petitioner’s advocate Anagha N Nimbkar submitted before the Court that both parties are governed by the Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939 and the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986. She submitted that the divorce in the said case is sought under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act by way of a ‘Khula’, which is divorce by consent at the instance of the wife in which she gives or aggrieves to give a consideration to the husband for release from marriage. Nimbkar further submitted that the divorce was sought exclusively under the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, which does not have provisions for ancillary reliefs, unlike the Domestic Violence Act.
Women are fully entitled to invoke the provisions of the DV act whenever she finds it necessary to do so.
Bombay high court said that if both parties are governed by Muslim Personal Law, women can invoke provisions of DV Act.