IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 141 OF 2020
(Arising out of SLP(Crl.) No.4979 of 2019)
SHYAMLAL DEVDA AND OTHERS …..Appellants
J U D G M E N T
R. BANUMATHI, J.
- This appeal arises out of the impugned judgment dated
18.02.2019 passed by the High Court of Karnataka at Bengaluru in
Criminal Petition No.5959 of 2015 in and by which the High Court
has dismissed the petition filed by the appellants stating that the
Metropolitan Magistrate, Bengaluru has the jurisdiction to entertain
the complaint filed by the respondent under Sections 18, 19 and 20
of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (For
short “Domestic Violence Act”).
- Brief facts which led to filing of this appeal are as follows:-
The marriage of respondent-wife and appellant No.14-Manoj
Kumar was solemnized on 01.05.2006, as per Hindu rites and
customs in Rajasthan. After marriage, the respondent was residing
with appellant No.14 in her matrimonial house at Chennai along with
appellants No.1 and 2 who are the parents of the appellant No.14.
In April, 2014, appellant No.14 and respondent-wife went to
Bengaluru from Chennai to attend respondent’s sister wedding.
After the said wedding, the respondent expressed her desire to
remain at Bengaluru for some time; which was acceded to by
appellant No.14 with the understanding that the respondent would
stay in her parent’s house for short time. According to the
appellants, the respondent thereafter refused to join her matrimonial
home or cohabit with appellant No.14. Appellant No.14 filed O.P.
No.11355 of 2015 under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act for
restitution of conjugal rights before the Family Court, Chennai.
Thereafter, respondent claiming herself to be a victim of domestic
violence seeking protection order under Section 18 and residence
order under Section 19 and monetary relief under Section 20 of the
Act filed Crl. Misc. No.53 of 2015 before the Court of Metropolitan
Magistrate at Bengaluru against her husband- appellant No.14, her
in-laws-appellant Nos.1 and 2 and other relatives of her husband
who are in Chennai, Rajasthan and also in Gujarat. The learned
Magistrate, Bengaluru vide order dated 16.04.2015 issued notice to
the appellants by holding that the Court has the jurisdiction to
entertain the petition filed by the respondent under Section 27 of the
Domestic Violence Act.
- Aggrieved by the issuance of summons in Crl. Misc. No.53 of
2015, the appellants have filed a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C.
before the High Court seeking quashing of the entire proceedings in
Crl. Misc. No.53 of 2015 on the file of the MMTC-VI at Bengaluru.
Vide the impugned judgment, the High Court dismissed the petition
by holding that in the complaint filed by the respondent, various
instances of domestic violence at different places viz. Chennai,
Rajasthan and Gujarat are narrated by the respondent and
therefore, the complaint filed in Bengaluru is maintainable under
Section 27 of the Domestic Violence Act. Being aggrieved, the
appellants have preferred this appeal.
- Mr. Balaji Srinivasan, learned counsel appearing for the
appellants contended that neither the marriage of the parties was
solemnized at Bengaluru nor the matrimonial house was at
Bengaluru and therefore, the Magistrate Court at Bengaluru has no
jurisdiction to entertain the petition filed under the Domestic
Violence Act. Learned counsel submitted that vague allegations
have been levelled against the family members of the husbandappellant No.14 which are not at all substantiated. Learned counsel
further submitted that with a view to harass the family members of
her husband, the respondent has arraigned all the family members
of her husband including those who are residents in the State of
Rajasthan, Gujarat and other relatives in Chennai and the complaint
is an abuse of the process of the Court.
- Ms. Nidhi, learned counsel appearing for the respondent has
contended that by virtue of Section 27 of the Domestic Violence Act,
the place where the complainant permanently or temporarily resides
or carries on business, Court has the jurisdiction to entertain the
complaint and grant protection order and other orders under the
Domestic Violence Act. It was submitted that the respondent is
currently residing within the territorial limit of the Metropolitan
Magistrate of Bengaluru City and that the High Court rightly held
that the Metropolitan Magistrate at Bengaluru has the jurisdiction to
entertain the complaint. Taking us through the averments in the
complaint, learned counsel for the respondent has submitted that
there are several instances of domestic violence against the
husband-appellant No.14 and other relatives particularly, appellant
Nos.1 and 2-father-in-law and mother-in-law who have been
harassing the respondent who have taken away respondent’s
jewellery and insisting upon her to buy properties. The learned
counsel submitted that the High Court rightly refused to quash the
order of taking cognizance.
- We have carefully considered the contentions and perused
the impugned judgment and other materials on record.
- Section 18 of the Domestic Violence Act relates to protection
order. In terms of Section 18 of the Act, intention of the legislature
is to provide more protection to woman. Section 20 of the Act
empowers the court to order for monetary relief to the “aggrieved
party”. When acts of domestic violence is alleged, before issuing
notice, the court has to be prima facie satisfied that there have been
instances of domestic violence.
- In the present case, the respondent has made allegations of
domestic violence against fourteen appellants. Appellant No.14 is
the husband and appellants No.1 and 2 are the parents-in-law of
the respondent. All other appellants are relatives of parents-in-law
of the respondent. Appellants No.3, 5, 9, 11 and 12 are the
brothers of father-in-law of the respondent. Appellants No.4, 6 and
10 are the wives of appellants No.3, 5 and 9 respectively.
Appellants No.7 and 8 are the parents of appellant No.1. Appellants
No.1 to 6 and 14 are residents of Chennai. Appellants No.7 to 10
are the residents of State of Rajasthan and appellants No.11 to 13
are the residents of State of Gujarat. Admittedly, the matrimonial
house of the respondent and appellant No.1 has been at Chennai.
Insofar as appellant No.14-husband of the respondent and
appellants No.1 and 2-Parents-in-law, there are averments of
alleging domestic violence alleging that they have taken away the
jewellery of the respondent gifted to her by her father during
marriage and the alleged acts of harassment to the respondent.
There are no specific allegations as to how other relatives of
appellant No.14 have caused the acts of domestic violence. It is
also not known as to how other relatives who are residents of
Gujarat and Rajasthan can be held responsible for award of
monetary relief to the respondent. The High Court was not right in
saying that there was prima facie case against the other appellants
No.3 to 13. Since there are no specific allegations against
appellants No.3 to 13, the criminal case of domestic violence
against them cannot be continued and is liable to be quashed.
- Insofar as the jurisdiction of the Bengaluru Court, as pointed
out by the High Court, Section 27 of the Protection of Women from
Domestic Violence Act, 2005 covers the situation. Section 27 of the
Act reads as under:-
- Jurisdiction –
(1) The court of Judicial Magistrate of the first class or the Metropolitan
Magistrate, as the case may be, within the local limits of which –
(a) the person aggrieved permanently or temporarily resides or
carries on business or is employed; or
(b) the respondent resides or carries on business or is employed;
(c) the cause of action has arisen, shall be the competent court to
grant a protection order and other orders under this Act and to try
offences under this Act
(2) Any order made under this Act shall be enforceable throughout
A plain reading of the above provision makes it clear that the
petition under the Domestic Violence Act can be filed in a court
where the “person aggrieved” permanently or temporarily resides or
carries on business or is employed. In the present case, the
respondent is residing with her parents within the territorial limits of
Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Bengaluru. In view of Section 27(1)
(a) of the Act, the Metropolitan Magistrate court, Bengaluru has the
jurisdiction to entertain the complaint and take cognizance of the
offence. There is no merit in the contention raising objection as to
the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Magistrate Court at Bengaluru.
- In the result, Crl. Misc. No.53 of 2015 filed against the
appellants No.3 to 13 is quashed and this appeal is partly allowed.
The learned VI Additional Metropolitan Magistrate at Bengaluru shall
proceed with Crl. Misc. No.53 of 2015 against appellants No.1, 2
and 14 and dispose the same in accordance with law. We make it
clear that we have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the
January 22, 2020.