A woman can file a claim under section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act even after a statute of limitations: SC

The Supreme Court considered the scope of the provision of Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act, set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court, while allowing a woman’s appeal and held that the woman may make a claim under section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act 2005 even after a period of one year of the alleged domestic violence.

It would be up to the Magistrate to consider all the factual aspects presented before him, including whether the allegations constitute continuing harm, observed by Justice UU Lalit and Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha.

“It is therefore clear that the High Court wrongly equated the filing of an application under section 12 of the Act with the filing of a complaint or the commencement of proceedings. In our view, the High Court erred in observing that the application under Section 12 of the Act should have been filed within one year of the alleged acts of domestic violence,” noted the Supreme Court.

The Divisional Bench of Judge UU Lalit and Judge Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha confirmed with the Protection Officer’s Home Inspection Report filed on 02.08.2018 which showed that with respect to the allegations against husband Lakshmi Narayan , there was a gap of 10 years, where nothing was alleged from the date of 16.09.2018

The Supreme Court, with respect to the scope of the limitation under Section 468 of the CrPC, has determined that knowledge of an offense of the categories specified in Subsection 2 cannot be taken after the expiration of the period specified in the conditional clause.

The Apex Court reviewed the Constitution Bench judgment in Sarah Mathew v. Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases etc. and others. On this basis, two judges considered that “Article 468 of the Code stipulates that the “knowledge” must be taken within the specified period from the commission of the offense, invoking the principles of purposive interpretation, this Court ruled that a plaintiff should not be impleaded, if for reasons beyond the control of the Crown or the plaintiff, the knowledge took place after the statute of limitations. It has been observed by the Constitutional Court that if the filing of the complaint or the opening of the procedure takes place within the prescribed period from the date of commission of an offence, the Court would be entitled to take cognizance even after expiry of the prescribed period.

The Supreme Court relied on the Adalat Prasad judgment, in which the law clearly stated that when a magistrate becomes aware of an offense and initiates proceedings, in which case instead of returning to the magistrate, the remedy is to file a petition under section 482 of the code.

Thus, the scope of notice under section 12 of the Act only requires calling a response from the respondent in accordance with the law so that after considering the rival bids, an appropriate order can be issued, held by Judge UU Lalit and Judge Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha.

The High Court held that the claim under Section 12 of the DV Act filed by Kamakhi, wife of Lakshmi Narayan should have been filed within one year of the alleged acts of domestic violence.

The factual matrix of the case is that Kamatch filed an application under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, requesting appropriate protection under Sections 17 and 18 of the Act. against her husband Lakshmi Narayan and in the laws. The protection officer filed the report on 21.08.2018, containing allegations against the husband and the laws. Kamatchi and her husband celebrated their marriage on 7.09.2007. it was alleged by Kamatchi that before the wedding, my husband’s family members came to our house to give an invitation and caused mental stress and said jewelry and dowry were not enough. Furthermore, the husband’s parents tortured the complainant Kamatchi and did not let her go with her husband.

Subsequently, the Appellant’s father-in-law and sister-in-law filed a motion under section 482 of the CrPC to seek the annulment of the proceedings. Husband Lakshmi Narayan also filed a motion to quash the proceedings seeking the same relief under Section 482. The father-in-law and sister-in-law’s appeals were upheld and the proceedings against them were dismissed. cancelled.

Following the petition filed by the respondent, husband Lakshmi Narayan, the High Court held that the petition should have been filed within a year of the incident and since the plaintiff as a wife had left the matrimonial home in 2008, the claim filed by his wife was an abuse of court process.

The assertions of the Kamatchi wife’s lawyer with regard to the statute of limitations were that no knowledge should be taken by the Court more than one year after the commission of the offense in accordance with Article 468 of the CrPc. Second, the offense referred to in section 31 of the act will only be deemed to have been committed following the violation of an order made under section 12 of the act.

There is no limitation under the Code or the provisions of the Act for the filing of a claim and as such the High Court erred in finding that the proceedings were prescribed by limitation, as the argued on behalf of wife Kamatchi.

The assertions on behalf of the Respondent – Mari were that the chart prepared by the Protection Officer in his report indicates that after 16.09.2008 for almost 10 years nothing was alleged against the Respondent or the father-in-law or sister-in-law., and the two have been living apart for some years, so the wife’s claim was clearly an abuse of process.