IN THE COURT OF Dr. KAMINI LAU: ADDL. SESSIONS JUDGE-II (NORTH-WEST) ROHINI COURTS: DELHI
Crl. Revision No. 367/2010
1. Santosh Kaur
W/o Sh. Mohan Lal Kashyap
R/o 6-D, Janta Flats, Satyawati Colony,
Behind Laxmi Bai College,
Ashok Vihar, Phase-III,
2. Ms. Ritu Kashyap
D/o Sh. Mohan Lal Kashyap
R/o 6-D, Janta Flats, Satyawati Colony,
Behind Laxmi Bai College,
Ashok Vihar, Phase-III,
3. Mrs. Sarika Mehta
W/o Sh. Kamal Mehta
R/o F-8, 2nd
Smt. Nidhi Kashyap
W/o Sh. Gaurav Kashyap
D/o Sh. K.C. Ahuja
R/o C-4/428, Lawrence Road,
Delhi – 110035………… Respondent
Date of institution: 29.5.2010
Arguments heard on: 16.8.2010
Date of Decision: 28.8.2010
This revision has been filed against the summoning orders dated 24.2.2010, 25.3.2010 and 23.4.2010 passed by the Ld. Trial Court in the petition filed by the respondent Nidhi Kashyap under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The revisionist no.1 Smt.Santosh Kaur is the mother-in-law of the respondent whereas the revisionist no.2 Ms. Ritu Kashyap is her unmarried sister-in-law (Nanand) and respondent no.3 Mrs. Sarika Mehta is her married sister-in-law (Nanand).
Briefly the case of the respondent Nidhi Kashyap/ applicant before the Trial Court is that she was the class mate of revisionist no.2 Ritu Kashyap who is the real sister of Gaurav Kashyap (respondent no.1 before the Ld. Trial Court) and had friendly relations with him. According to Nidhi Kashyap, her father is a property dealer and mother is a bank employee and they have strong a financial background. It is pleaded that they are only two sisters and therefore as a part of well planned conspiracy, the revisionists before this court induced her to enter into a matrimonial relationship with Gaurav Kashyap despite the fact that both belonged to different communities. According to the respondent, her marriage with Gaurav Kashyap was solemnized secretly on 29.7.2008 at Arya Samaj Mandir, Birla Line, Kamla Nagar, Delhi according to Hindu rites and ceremonies after which she left for her parental home as she was asked to disclose the factum of her marriage to them only after 45 days. It is further pleaded by Nidhi Kashyap that on 12.9.2008 when she entered into her matrimonial home at 6-D, Janta Flats, Satyawati Colony, behind Laxmi Bai College, Ashok Vihar, Phase-III, Delhi the revisionists before this court, under a well planned design conspiracy and in a pre planned manner, called her parents at their home and disclosed the factum of the marriage of their son with the present respondent (Nidhi Kashyap) on which her parents received a serious shock but finding no alternative they ultimately gave their consent and approval to the matrimonial ties and on 12.10.2008 as per the demands of her in-laws, her parents organized a joint reception where they gave a large amount of gold and jewellery and domestic articles and cash to her. According to Nidhi Kashyap, the respondent before this court court, the revisionists are in domestic relationship with her due to her matrimonial relationship with Gaurav Kashyap (respondent no. 1 before the Ld. Trial Court). She has alleged that on 13.10.2008 after she entered into her matrimonial home, her Nanand the revisionist no.2 Ritu Kashyap raised a demand of Hundai i10 car and it was made clear to her that in case if she wants to live peacefully she would have to ask her parents to satisfy their demands. Again on 13.10.2008, her mother-in-law Smt. Santosh Kashyap the revisionist no.1 before this court took a sum of Rs.20,000/- from her purse against her will and consent and in the evening the revisionists no.2 and 3 took away entire gold and diamond jewelleries except one Mangal Sutra, one gold ring, nose pin and ear rings and thereafter did not return the same to her despite her repeated requests and demands. The present respondent Nidhi Kashyap has also mentioned numerous other occasions alleging that the revisionists before this court had been disclosing their intent and expectations for cash and other articles from time to time and she had been subjected to harassment, torture and violence on account of the repeated dowry demands made by the revisionists before this court including her married sister-in-law Sarika Mehta. According to Nidhi Kashyap, her entire jewellery is lying with her in-laws. A petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act filed by Gaurav Kashyap the husband of the present respondent is also pending adjudication before the Ld. ADJ, Rohini. She has alleged that she has been compelled to make a complaint before the Crime Against Women Cell, Pitam Pura, Delhi on account of the callous conduct on the part of her in-laws including the present revisionists. She has further alleged that her husband Gaurav Kashyap is the owner of property bearing no. 6-D, Janta Flats, Satyawati Colony, Behind Laxmi Bai College, Ashok Vihar, Phase-III, Delhi and he and his parents are owning and possessing 100 sq. plot as Samaipur Badli, Delhi. Further, she has alleged that her husband Gaurav Kashyap and his parents are owning and possessing the HIG Flat in TDI Sonepat having a market value to the tune of Rs.22 lacs and are running a factory under the name and style of MCO Chemical, Samaypur, Delhi and are owning and possessing two godowns at Samaypur and Swaroop Nagar and her husband Gaurav Kashyap is having one house at Sri Nagar, Bharat Nagar, Delhi. It is also alleged by the respondent before this court that her husband and his parents are owning and possessing a Maruti 800 car bearing no. DL-6019 and are also owning a truck Tata-407 and two victor bikes. She has now demanded that her husband Gaurav Kashyap i.e. the respondent no.1 before the Ld. Trial Court is under a legal obligation to maintain her and she requires independent residential accommodation which is available at the rental value of Rs.10,000/- per month excluding the water and electricity charges and also requires Rs.30,000/- per month for her maintenance and Rs. 5 lacs on account of mental torture, pain and agony suffered by her. According to the present respondent she cannot remain dependent upon her parents for her shelter and therefore, her husband Gaurav Kashyap is required to make the arrangements for separate residential accommodation. In her petition, the present respondent Nidhi Kashyap has further demanded that her husband and her in-laws including the present revisionists should be restrained from entering into her parental home and from making any kind of communication to her and from committing any act of Domestic Violence and aiding or abetting in the commission of acts of domestic violence. Further, she has demanded that they be restrained from alienating and parting with her istridhan articles and also from creating any third part interest and parting with the possession of the property bearing No. D-6, Janta Flats, Satyawati Colony, Behind Laxmi Bai College, Ashok Vihar, Delhi and property bearing no. 77, Bharat Nagar Delhi till her husband make the provisions for her independent residential accommodation. She has also claimed Rs.3,000/- from her in-laws including the present revisionists as litigation expenses.
Pursuant to the aforesaid petition, the Ld. Trial Court sought a Domestic Incident Report from the Protection Officer. The said report was duly filed which I have duly perused. The said report clearly reflects that Smt. Sarika Mehta the revisionist no.3 before this court is not a member of the shared household and is separately residing at her matrimonial home residing at F- 8, 2nd Floor, Kamla Nagar, Delhi with her husband Sh. Kamal Mehta whereas Smt. Santosh Kaur the mother-in-law and Ritu Kashyap the unmarried sister-in-law are all residing at 6-D, Janta Flats, Satyawati Colony, Behind Laxmi Bai College, Delhi. The report further shows that only one incident of domestic violence on 3.7.2009 by the husband has been reported on which day the present respondent was beaten by her husband and was asked to leave the house. The report further reflects that the only incident of verbal and emotional abuse are of insults for not having brought dowry, demeaning, humiliating, undermining, ridicule and name calling by her husband and her in-laws and preventing her from meeting a particular person. She has also alleged economic violence upon her by her husband by not providing her money, food, clothes, medicine etc. and forcing her out of the matrimonial house and has alleged that her in-laws including the present revisionists have disposed off her istridhan articles by selling or pawing the same without her consent and forcibly taken away her salary, income or wages etc.
The revisionists before this court have alleged that the orders of summoning are also bad as they have been passed without calling upon the respondent to furnish and establish the material facts necessitated for passing such orders. It is submitted that no domestic violence has ever been committed by the revisionists upon the respondent before this court (complainant before the Ld. Trial Court) and the petitioner under the Domestic Violence Act has been filed on false and frivolous grounds and the complaint filed by the present respondents against them before Crime Against Women Cell, Pitam Pura has been filed only to harass, humiliate and to extort money from them. The revisionists have pointed out that the marriage of Gaurav Kashyap with the present respondent was a simple one without any demand and was an outcome of the love affair. They have pointed out that the parents of the present respondent were against her marriage and therefore, they secretly got married without informing their family members at Arya Samaj Mandir which was a dowry less marriage and the respondent had come in wearing clothes and it is in this background that the parents of Gaurav Kashyap including the revisionists organized a reception on 12.10.2008 at Janak Vatika, Bharat Nagar. The revisionists have further pointed out that on 3.7.2009 the present respondent Nidhi Kashyap picked up a quarrel with her husband Gaurav Kashyap and called her father with 5-6 other people who beaten up Gaurav Kashyap and even shouted on road and use abusive language for Gaurav Kashyap. Thereafter the present respondent went to her parent’s house by saying that she would not live nor would maintain any relations with them and Gaurav Kashyap made umpteen efforts to bring her back but she refused. According to the revisionists they are themselves aggrieved and victim of the violence inflicted upon them by the present respondent. It is further stated that all the properties mentioned by the present respondent does not belong to the husband of the respondent. The revisionists have placed their reliance on the following authorities:
1. S.R. Batra & Anr. vs. Smt. Taruna Batra reported in 1 (2007) SLT 1.
2. Shumita Didi Sandhu Vs. Sanjay Singh Sandhu reported in 2007 (96) DRJ 697.
3. Mohd. Maqeenuddin Ahmed & Ors. Vs. The State of Andhra Pradesh & Anr. reported in 2008 (1) JCC 85.
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is a special legislation in favour of women. It is the duty of the court to ensure that this special legislation reaches out to the effected lot but at the same time is not allowed to be misused by anyone.
Wikipedia defines domestic relationship between two individuals as a legal or personal relationship to live together or share one domestic life but are neither joined by marriage nor the civil union.
The Indian law i.e. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 does not define family but it defines Domestic Relationship between two persons who live or have, at any point of time, lived together in a shared household, when they are related by consanguinity, marriage or through a relationship in the nature of marriage, adoption or are family members living together as a joint family. Domestic relations are meant to cover sisters, widows, mothers and daughters and single women. The Indian law does not specify separate relationship and mentions members in a joint family.
The intent of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is to protect the value system and institution of family and save it from destruction. This being so, the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 have to be so interpreted to ensure that the existing family system is preserved. The misuse and abuse of the Act is a matter of serious concern for the courts who are required to be careful and ensure that a woman petitioner is not made a puppet or pawn in the hands of her male relatives so as to manipulate the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and use it for ulterior motives.
In the present case it is an admitted case of the parties before this court that the respondent Nidhi Kashyap who is the wife of Gaurav Kashyap (respondent no.1 before the Ld. Trial Court) has filed the complaint under special legislation (Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005) wherein she has spared none and roped the entire family including the young unmarried sister-in-law who was her friend and class-mate even before her marriage and also her married sister-in-law who is residing separately with her own family. It is admitted that the marriage between the present respondent Nidhi Kashyap with Gaurav Kashyap was solemnized secretly and was an outcome of a love affair as Nidhi Kashyap was known to Gaurav Kashyap through the revisionist no.2 Ritu Kashyap who was the batch mate of Nidhi Kashyap and was studying with her. It is also an admitted case of the parties that on having come to know of marriage a reception had been organized after which the present respondent Nidhi Kashyap started staying with her husband and her in-laws. It appears that unfortunately the said marriage is not worked out resulting into spade of litigation between the parties and Gaurav Kashyap even filed a petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage act which is still pending adjudication and the present respondent Nidhi Kashyap has filed a case in Crime Against Women Cell alleging dowry demands and harassment against one and all.
The provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 have been invoked by the respondent Nidhi Kashyap not only against her husband Gaurav Kashyap but also against her aged father-in-law Mohan Lal Kashyap (respondent no.2 before the Ld. Trial Court), mother- in-law Smt. Santosh Kaur (present revisionist no.1 before this court), unmarried sister Ritu Kashyap (revisionist no.2 before this court with whom Nidhi Kashyap was previously studying and through whom she came to know Gaurav Kashyap and had a love affair), married sister Smt. Sarika Mehta and her husband Sh. Kamal Mehta who both are residing at F-8, 2nd Floor, Kala Nagar, Delhi.
At the very outset I may observe that merely because the revisionist no.3 Smt. Sarika Mehta happen to be the real sister of the husband of present respondent would not ipso-facto imply a domestic relationship to the extent as contemplated under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,2005 as she is residing separately with her own husband and cannot be deemed to be a member of the shared household as a joint family. The revisionist no.2 Ritu Kashyap is a young girl of 22 years who had been the classmate of the present respondent and through whom the present respondent had came into contact with Gaurav Kashyap and had an affair culminating into the marriage. The revisionist no.1 is the aged mother-in-law. The allegations against her are general and non specific.
Daughters married or unmarried cannot be terrorized into abandoning their parental family under the fear of their involvement into litigations connected with Domestic Violence. Married sisters residing in their own matrimonial houses are not a part of the shared household or joint family as contemplated under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 but at the same time they have certain rights in their parental home which cannot be denied to them. Even an unmarried sister of the husband residing in the shared household with her parents has certain rights which cannot be taken away. Making wild allegations against an unmarried sister-in-law of a tender marriageable age by an estranged wife of brother tentamounts to inflicting violence upon her and it is the duty of the court to ensure that she is protected from the same. Violence can also be inflicted by an estranged wife or daughter-in-law or sister-in-law upon other members of the husband’s family to gain and secure personal points and financial control or for separating her husband from his parents and other family members. In the zeal and endeavour to implement the rights of one woman (daughter-in-law) it is necessary for the courts to ensure that the rights of another woman (in her capacity as mother-in-law or sister-in-law married or unmarried) are not taken away or infringed in any manner. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 protects the mothers, sisters and daughters from any kind of physical and mental abuse or violence in as much as it does the daughter-in-law. The court as a protector and implementor of rights, is required to perform a balancing act. It is necessary to ensure that it does not get swayed by the astute legal drafting of the counsels and is equired to get at the truth of the allegations by examining the pleadings on the touch-stone of reasonableness and probabilities. Where a complaint appears to have been filed on filmsy grounds only to humiliate the family members, the same is required to be thrown out at the earliest opportunity. Mother-in-law or sister’s- in-law (married or unmarried) cannot be permitted to be subjected to harassment only because they happen to be related to the estranged husband of the woman (complainant).
In the present case firstly I have considered the allegations reflected in the Domestic Incidence Report and the allegations so made by the complainant Nidhi Kashyap before the court which do not inspire confidence and appears to have been made in routine. The respondent has alleged that the present revisionists had forcibly taken away her salary and wages which allegations on the face of it are false and incorrect since it is an admitted case of the respondent before this court that she is not working. The question of her husband or in-laws taking away her salary, income, wages etc. under these circumstances does not arise.
Secondly the report of the Protection Officer also show that the dowry related harassment pertains to the demand of car and cash of Rs.3 lacs. The respondent Nidhi Kashyap has also attached the list of Stridhan articles alongwith the petition to support and substantiate her allegations regarding misappropriation of her Stridhan articles which I have perused. I may observe that the said list so attached along with the petition is not a duly authenticated list signed by both the parties as required under the Dowry Prohibition Act. This is the list of articles which only the respondent Nidhi Kashyap claims were her stridhan which list does not bear the signatures of the respondent. Under the given circumstances as the list is not signed by both parties, it was necessary for the complainant Nidhi Kashyap to have attached alongwith her list the receipts/bills showing purchase of these articles which has not been done. Therefore, the above allegations also do not appear to be credible and truth-full particularly keeping in view the background that the marriage between the respondent and Gaurav Kashyap was a secret, runaway marriage as an outcome of a love affair which marriage was kept secret for many days and ultimately when the same was disclosed to the parents of the respondent by her in- laws a joint reception was organized.
Thirdly the present respondent Nidhi Kashyap has not placed on record any document to show that her husband is the owner of any of the aforesaid properties or have any independent right over the same. The allegations are non specific and general. It is settled law that the claim for alternative accommodation can only be made by a women against her husband and not against in-laws or other relatives nor can she claim any right to stay in the said house (Ref: S.R. Batra & Anr. Vs. Smt. Taruna Batra reported in 1 (2007) SLT 1 and Shumita Didi Sandhu Vs. Sanjay Singh reported in 2007 (96) DRJ 697). The present respondent has not placed on record any document to show that the properties in the present case belonging to her husband Gaurav Kashyap and the complaint in Crime Against Women Cell.
Lastly it is an admitted case of the parties including that of the complainant Nidhi Kashyap that her marriage with Gaurav Kashyap is an outcome of the long standing love affair between them. She was a classmate of the revisionist no.2 Ritu Kashyap through whom she was introduced to Gaurav Kashyap (her real brother) with whom she developed love affair culminating into a secret marriage which was disclosed to her parents much later. This being the background of the case, the allegations made by the complainant against one and all family members of her husband where none have been spared do not appear probable. It is apparent on the face of the pleadings that they have been so drafted so as to involved all the family members of the husband sparing none including the present revisionists who are the aged mother-in-law, unmarried sister-in- law of marriageable age and married sister-in-law residing separately. This, it appears has been done for the purpose of harassing the entire family of the husband with a sinister motive and design to harass and humiliate them. Given the background of the case, the allegations made against the Revisionists on the face of it do not appear to be truthful and probable warranting any interference from the court under this Special Legislation.
In view of the above background and in the interest of justice, I hereby set aside the orders of dated 24.2.2010,
25.3.2010 and 23.4.2010 passed by the Ld. Trial Court thereby summoning the present revisionists i.e. Smt. Santosh Kaur, Ms. Ritu Kashyap and Smt. Sarika Mehta since there does not exist sufficient material on record to summon them and to proceed against them under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
Revision is accordingly allowed. Trial court record be sent back along with the copy of this order. Revision file be
consigned to Record Room.
Announced in the open court
(Dr. KAMINI LAU)
Dated: 28.8.2010 ASJ-II(NW): Rohini
Santosh Kaur Vs. Nidhi Kashyap
CR No. 367/2010 28.8.2010
Present: None for the Revisionists.
None for the respondent.
Vide my separate detailed order dictated and announced in the open court, I set aside the orders of dated
24.2.2010, 25.3.2010 and 23.4.2010 passed by the Ld. Trial Court thereby summoning the present revisionists i.e. Smt. Santosh Kaur, Ms. Ritu Kashyap and Smt. Sarika Mehta since there does not exist sufficient material on record to summon them and to proceed against them under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
Revision is accordingly allowed.
Trial court record be sent back along with the copy of this order.
Revision file be consigned to Record Room.
(Dr. Kamini Lau)
ASJ-II (NW)/ 28.8.2010