The Delhi High Court on April 11, 2019, in the case of Shome Nikhil Danani v. Tanya Banon Danani, has observed that proceedings under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, and proceedings under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, are independent of each other. Thus monetary relief could be granted under the DV Act in addition to an order of maintenance under section 125 CrPC.
A Singh Judge Bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva passed the judgment on a petition filed by the husband against the order of the appellant court.
In this case, the respondent/wife left her matrimonial home on May 28, 2015, allegedly on account of being physically and mentally tortured. She filed a petition under section 125 CrPC, wherein interim maintenance was granted to her from the date of filing of the petition. Thereafter, the wife also filed a petition under the DV Act for monetary relief.
The Trial Court rejected the said petition on the ground that she had already been granted maintenance of Rs 1,20,000/- per month under section 125 CrPC by the family court.
However, in appeal, the appellate court overturned the verdict passed by the Trial Court and held that “the trial court had not considered the judgments of the Supreme Court as well as this court wherein it had been laid down that both CrPC and DV Act provided concurrent jurisdiction and the relief under Section 12 of the DV Act was in addition to any relief which could be granted by any court of law in any forum.”
Noticing the fact that the trial court had not considered the law as laid down, the appellate court remitted the matter to the trial court to reconsider the relief sought for by the respondent. Aggrieved by the said order, the husband moved the High Court on the premise that wife having already granted maintenance cannot claim double maintenance by filing DV Act petition.
After hearing both the parties, the High Court observed that “Cleary the scope of Section 20 of the DV Act is much wider than that of Section 125 CrPC. While Section 125 CrPC talks only of maintenance, Section 20 DV Act stipulates payment of monetary relief to meet the expenses incurred and losses suffered as a result of the domestic violence including but not limited to loss of earning, medical expenses, loss caused due to destruction, damage or removal of any property from the control of aggrieved person.”
Further, citing Section 20(1) (d) of the DV Act, the High Court said that “This clearly shows that an order under Section 20 DV Act is not restricted by an order under section 125 CrPC. The Trial Court clearly erred in not appreciating the distinction between the two provisions and the reasoning is clouded by an impression that the respondent – wife in the application under section 23 was only seeking an order of maintenance, which is not the case. In her application under section 23 of the DV Act, the respondent wife has inter-alia sought residence rights under Section 19 and protection under Section 18 apart from the monetary relief under Section 20.”
“Further, it may be seen that proceeding under the DV Act and under section 125 Cr.P.C are independent of each other and have different scope, though there is an overlap. In so far as the overlap is concerned, law has catered for that eventuality and laid down that at the time of consideration of an application for grant of maintenance under DV Act, maintenance fixed under section 125 Cr.P.C shall be taken into account,” the High Court added.
In view of the observations made, the High Court found no infirmity in the order passed by the appellant court and therefore, it dismissed the petition.