NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK – A Shakti Vahini Research Initiative
V.D. Bhanot v. Savita Bhanot, (2012) 3 SCC 183
After considering the constitutional safeguards under Article 21 of the Constitution vis-à-vis the provisions of Sections 31 and 33 of the PWD Act, 2005, and after examining the Statement of Objects and Reasons for the enactment of the PWD Act, 2005, the learned Judge held that it was with the view of protecting the rights of women under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution that Parliament enacted the PWD Act, 2005, in order to provide for some effective protection of rights guaranteed under the Constitution to women, who are victims of any kind of violence occurring within the family and matters connected therewith and incidental thereto, and to provide an efficient and expeditious civil remedy to them. The learned Judge accordingly held that a petition under the provisions of the PWD Act, 2005, is maintainable even if the acts of domestic violence had been committed prior to the coming into force of the said Act, notwithstanding the fact that in the past she had lived together with her husband in a shared household, but was no more living with him, at the time when the Act came into force.”
We agree with the view expressed by the High Court that in looking into a complaint under Section 12 of the PWD Act, 2005, the conduct of the parties even prior to the coming into force of the PWD Act, could be taken into consideration while passing an order under Sections 18, 19 and 20 thereof. In our view, the Delhi High Court has also rightly held that even if a wife, who had shared a household in the past, but was no longer doing so when the Act came into force, would still be entitled to the protection of the PWD Act, 2005.
In our view, the situation comes squarely within the ambit of Section 3 of the PWD Act, 2005, which defines “domestic violence” in wide terms, and, accordingly, no interference is called for with the impugned order of the High Court. However, considering the fact that the couple is childless and the respondent has herself expressed apprehension of her safety if she were to live alone in a rented accommodation, we are of the view that keeping in mind the object of the Act to provide effective protection of the rights of women guaranteed under the Constitution, who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family, the order of the High Court requires to be modified.”