The Apex Court strengthened the laws protecting women in India by declaring that a woman, on the ground of cruelty is allowed to lodge complain against her ex-husband even after divorce.
Facts of the Case
A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi, R Banumathi and Navin Sinha was listening to an appeal against an order of Rajasthan High Court in which it was held that absence of subsisting domestic relationship in no way prevents a court from providing relief to the aggrieved women. High Court had passed the above-mentioned order while deciding a matrimonial dispute and to bring home the point also cited the following example that even after the dissolution of marriage between the parties, if an ex-husband attempts to commit an act of violence such as entering the place of employment of the divorced wife, trying to establish contact with her or causing violence to her dependents or other relatives, she is not precluded from seeking protection orders under the law. Similarly, if the divorced husband attempts to dispossess the woman from the shared household or property jointly owned, she can approach a court for appropriate relief.
Counsel for the estranged husband Mr. Dushyant Parashar argued before the bench that the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 which came in force on October 2006, cannot be applied retrospectively. He further elaborated his argument by saying that if the provisions of the domestic violence law were allowed to be applied retrospectively, then it would be lead to mass scale misuse. Moreover, Mr Parashar also contented that husband-wife relationship often ends on a bitter note and if the provisions of the Act were allowed to be used retrospectively, then it would further increase the bitterness between two parties and rule out the possibility of any compromise and legislative intent of the statute should also be considered while interpreting and applying the law.
The decision of the case
The matter was decided by a full bench and the Supreme Court of India after listening to the facts, arguments advanced decided to not interfere with the order of Rajasthan High Court. The Supreme Court of India agreed with the High Court verdict and held that a woman on the ground of cruelty can lodge a complaint under the domestic violence law against the excess committed by her ex-husband even after marriage came to an end.
Learning of the Case
From this case, we learn that a woman has the right to bring an action of cruelty against her husband even after the dissolution of marriage.