The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday emphasised that Courts must strive to ensure that women are not subjected to any form of domestic violence.[Srikant Ray vs State of West Bengal].
Single-judge Justice Shampa Dutt (Paul) observed that Courts must protect the constitutional right of women while dismissing a father's plea against an application filed by his daughter, under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, alleging that he was violent towards her and her mother.
"..it is the duty of the Courts to protect the constitutional rights of women and to ensure that they do not become victims of any kind of domestic violence," the judge observed.
The Court was considering an appeal moved by the father against the decision of a Sessions Court that had set aside an order of a Magistrate Court in which daughter's application under section 12 of the DV Act was dismissed, on the ground that the girl was a minor at the time of filing the plea.
The appellant-father claimed that his daughter was a minor of only 15-years when she filed the application. He argued that the daughter being a minor, should have had approached the court via a natural guardian - mother or someone else.
Therefore, he prayed that the order of the Sessions Court be set aside.
The High Court observed that if the mother had filed the case for herself and her minor daughter, no controversy would not have arisen in the first place.
However, it noted that even though the daughter was a minor when she filed the application, she had attained majority by the time the Magistrate passed its order in 2018.
"The petition on the date of filing was a mere irregularity and on the daughter becoming a major, the petition was regularized. And it happened before the final order was passed by the Magistrate," the judge noted.
Holding that the Magistrate's order was improper in light of several precendents, the Court upheld the order of the Sessions court.
"Here it is the father, who is the person accused of domestic violence. As such, the Sessions Judge, Serampore rightly allowed the appeal, directing the Magistrate to hear the case afresh. The Sessions Judge, also kept in mind that the case was under a beneficial legislation and the appellant (daughter) was clearly/admittedly a major on the date of order of the Magistrate," the Court said as it dismissed the appeal.
Advocates Sanjib Mitra and Suryasarathi Basu appeared for the appellant.
Advocates Narayan Prasad Agarwal and Pratick Bose represented the State.
Advocates Prabir Kumar Mitra, Pinak Kumar Mitra and Ariba Shahab appeared for the daughter.