NEW DELHI: A Delhi court has expressed its concern over the misuse of the Domestic Violence Act to settle civil dispute between sparring couples with the use of women as "pawn" by the male relatives.
"The misuse and abuse of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is a matter of serious concern for the courts which 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 Act and use it for ulterior motives," Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said.
The court said the purpose of passing the welfare law was to protect the family value system and not to create a civil right.
"The provisions of special legislation in favour of women cannot be abused as the short cut for establishing a civil rights where none exists," the court said.
"The intent of the Act is to protect the value system and institution of family and save it from destruction. This being so, the provisions of the Act have to be so interpreted to ensure that the existing family system is preserved," it said.
The court made the observation while dismissing an appeal of a woman who challenged an order rejecting her plea to be given a wholesome right to reside in a shanty also being occupied by her brother-in-law and sister-in-law.
"It is evident that the attempt of the appellant (woman) is to ensure the division of the property and create her independent right in the same under the garb of the present petition," the court said. It also noted that the woman as well as her husband have "collusively" filed the petition by "camouflaging a dispute" and have sought the invocation of the Protection of Women from the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, with the sole object of seeking the removal of her brother-in-law and sister-in-law from the property in question.
"This court cannot be a party to any such attempt of the parties to abuse the special legislation enacted to grant immediate relief to women who are victims of Domestic Violence. The right of one woman (the appellant) cannot be implemented by infringing upon a similar right of another woman i.e. sister-in-law/jethani in the same property," ASJ Lau said.