MADURAI: The Madras High Court today called for a "neutral and unprejudicial" law to protect genuine victims of domestic violence, irrespective of the gender, noting that existing law contains a flaw that lends itself to easy misuse by women.
"The notable flaw in this law is that it lends itself to such easy misuse that women will find it hard to resist the temptation to teach lesson to their male relatives and will file frivolous and false cases," Justice S Vaidhyanathan said.
He was dismissing a petition by a woman who sought to stop the promotion of her father-in-law, a government school teacher, citing pendency of a criminal case filed against him and other in-laws on a complaint from her.
The judge pulled up the woman for using domestic violence act as a tool to 'wreak vengeance' on her father-in-law and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on her.
He observed that filing of cases under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act by women had become common and a neutral and unprejudicial law was needed to protect genuine victims of domestic violence, irrespective of gender.
"It is no doubt true that the perpetrators of domestic violence need to be appropriately punished and dealt with but at the same time protection cannot be withheld to real victims for reasons whatsoever least of all their gender," the judge said in his order dismissing the petition by Loha.
He further said, "Since the petitioner's father-in-law is a government servant, it has become so easier for her to target him."
She wanted to throw him out of the job by lodging a complaint in order to pressure him to come for a settlement in one way or the other using the domestic violence act.
Taking action against the father-in-law was within the realm of the education department officials and the petitioner could not harass him by making representation to officials to act in a particular manner. She has no locus standi to ask for documents pertaining to her father-in-law and seeking to stop his promotion, the judge said.
The direction being sought by the petitioner (to stop promotion of her father-in-law) was in no way helpful to her to resolve and amicably settle the issue so as to live with her husband, if she was really interested in reunion, he said.
The petitioner had submitted she was thrown out of her matrimonial home after she lodged a police complaint accusing her husband of demanding dowry and father-in-law of attempting to molest her based on which a case had been registered.
She came to know that her father-in-law was going to be promoted as headmaster, she said contending that as per rules a person having a criminal case against him was not entitled to be promoted.
She made a representation to the officials against her father-in-law to take departmental action, but no action was taken.