Del HC | Wife can claim monetary relief under S. 20 of Domestic Violence Act in addition to maintenance under S. 125 CrPC; trial court order holding contrary set aside

Delhi High Court: Sanjeev Sachdeva, J., reiterated that proceedings under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and under Section 125 CrPC are independent of each other and have different scope.

The parties, though married, were living separately. The wife had filed an application under Section 125 CrPC wherein she was granted interim maintenance of Rs 1.20 lakhs per month. Subsequently, she filed an application under Section 23 of the DV Act seeking, inter alia, monetary relief under Section 20. However, her application was rejected by the trial court on the ground that she had already been granted maintenance under Section 125 CrPC and all her claims were considered by the family court while granting the same. The wife filed an appeal against the order of the trial court, which was allowed and the Appellate Court remanded the matter back to the trial court for fresh consideration. Aggrieved thereby, the husband filed the present petition.

Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra, appearing for the husband, submitted that the Appellate Court erred in passing the impugned order as maintenance was already granted to the wife. Per contra, it was submitted on behalf of the wife that she suffered domestic violence and was thus entitled to monetary relief. The wife was represented by Madhav Khurana and Trisha Mitta, Advocates.

Noting that the scope of Section 20 of the DV was much wider than that of Section 125 CrPC, the High Court observed: “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.”

It was categorically stated: “an order under Section 20 DV Act is not restricted by an order under Section 125 CrPC.” As such, the trial court was held to have erred in not appreciating the distinction between the two provisions. In such view of the matter, the High Court did not find infirmity in the order of the Appellate Court. Resultantly, the petition was dismissed. [Shome Nikhil Danani v. Tanya Banon Danani, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 8016, decided on 11-04-2019]

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