Domestic Violence Act – Legal Representative Can Not Seek Monetary Reliefs On Behalf Of Deceased Woman: Bombay HC

By – Alankriti Narayan

While deciding on a plea, the Bombay High Court ruled that an aggrieved person, as defined by the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (DV Act), “must be alive at the time of filing of the petition,” and that after the death of the victim the case can not be filed under the act to gain monetary benefits.

The plea was filed by a little girl(via her grandmother) on behalf of her deceased mother, for seeking monetary benefits from her father and paternal grandparents.

The petitioner Kanaka Sapre’s major point of dispute was the usage of the phrase “any other person on behalf of the aggrieved person” in section 12 of the DV Act, which refers to filing an application with the Magistrate.

According to the facts of the case, Suchita and Kedar married in November 2009 and had a daughter in October 2012. She died in October of 2013 after a long illness. Through her maternal grandmother, the minor daughter filed an application with the Judicial Magistrate First Class in Pune, saying that Suchita had been mistreated by her husband and in-laws throughout.

The daughter said that Suchita was subjected to domestic violence because of which she used to remain ill most of the time. When she was admitted to the hospital, the in-laws neither looked after her nor paid the hospital bills. The hospital bill was compensated by Suchita’s mother and post-Suchita’s death, her daughter, Kanaka stayed with her maternal grandmother.

The DV Act application demanded the return of all the jewelry, as well as compensation of Rs. 60 lakh for Suchita’s treatment and Rs. 50 lakh for Kanaka and her maternal grandmother. The JMFC refused the application in March 2019, and the Additional Sessions Judge in Pune confirmed it in March 2021. The daughter then approached the Bombay High Court.

The petitioners did not claim to be aggrieved persons; rather, they were expressing their entitlement on behalf of the deceased, whom they claimed to be an “aggrieved person,” according to Justice Shinde. While the Act allows “any other person on behalf of an aggrieved person” to file an application, the “other person” cannot maintain an application without the “aggrieved person.” In light of the Act’s Statement, Object, and Reasons, the court further noted that the term “aggrieved individual” must have a narrow definition. On the mentioned grounds, the plea was dismissed.