A domestic violence case can be filed to the Magistrate under section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which says, “(1) An aggrieved person or a Protection Officer or any other person on behalf of the aggrieved person may present an application to the Magistrate seeking one or more reliefs under this Act: Provided that before passing any order on such application, the Magistrate shall take into consideration any domestic incident report received by him from the Protection Officer or the service provider.”
A Delhi court in 2015 had taken cognizance of the case against the mother who was dragged to court by her daughter over sexual harassment. The case was filed under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. However, as no provision in the statute of the Act mentions of a mother as the respondent in a case of domestic or sexual harassment, the court questioned the maintainability of the complaint. The lawyer of the complainant in the said case told the court that as per the Delhi High Court judgment on Kusumlata Sharma versus State, it was held that female relatives can also be respondent in domestic violence proceedings.
The real objective of the Act is to give protection to the women, connected and related to such issues. The term “respondent” has to be interpreted so as to extend the protection to all the victims of domestic violence who are females, irrespective of the fact that such dv is meted out by the wife or female in a relationship in nature of a marriage or step-mother. The definition of “aggrieved person” contained in section 2(a) must not be confined to wife and daughter-in-law.
Reference: Violence, Harassment