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High Court Upholds Rs 3-Crore Compensation To Woman In Domestic Violence Case


The couple had got married in 1994.

Mumbai:

The Bombay High Court has upheld a trial court order directing a husband to pay a Rs 3-crore compensation and monthly maintenance of Rs 1.5 lakh to his estranged wife, observing a factor that can be considered for deciding the payout quantum is the impact of acts of domestic violence on the aggrieved person.

The amount is granted to the woman as a recompense not only for physical injuries but also mental torture and emotional distress, noted Justice Sharmila Deshmukh in her March 22 order in the domestic violence case.

“For obvious reasons, there cannot be a straight jacket formula applicable to all and the quantum will differ according to the facts of each case. In my view, while determining the quantum of compensation, one of the factors which can be considered is the impact of the acts of domestic violence on the aggrieved person,” the high court observed.

Justice Sharmila held that the trial court’s finding was based on a discussion that there were continuous acts of domestic violence from 1994 to 2017, which cannot be faulted.

The couple tied the knot in Mumbai in January 1994 and later moved to the USA, where, another marriage ceremony was held.

In 2005, the duo returned to Mumbai and started living in a house jointly owned by them. However, in 2008, the wife moved to her mother’s house, while the husband went back to the US in 2014.

In July 2017, the woman filed a case against her husband under provisions of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) before a metropolitan magistrate’s court. The woman alleged that, during their honeymoon, the husband called her “second hand” over her previous broken engagement.

In the USA, she was subjected to continuous acts of domestic violence, such as suspicion about her character, making false allegations of illicit relationships with other men and beating her up till she confessed to the same, the woman alleged.

The trial court noted the evidence of the woman as regards incidents of domestic violence which were corroborated by her mother, brother and uncle.

In its order passed in January 2023, the trial court held that the woman was subjected to domestic violence at the hands of her husband and directed him to pay Rs 3 crore as compensation to her.

It ordered the man to find a suitable accommodation – a residential flat of at least 1,000 square feet carpet area – for his wife in Mumbai’s Dadar area or alternatively pay Rs 75,000 towards house rent.

He was also directed to return all jewellery (‘streedhan’) and other belongings to the woman and pay her Rs 1,50,000 per month towards maintenance.

Aggrieved by the trial court’s order, the man filed a revision petition in the high court.

The single bench judge, while upholding the trial court’s order, said the compensation is to be granted for the injuries, including mental torture and emotional distress, caused by the acts of the accused.

It was of the view that although the abuse will necessarily result in mental torture and emotional distress for the aggrieved person, the gravity will differ from person to person.

“In the present case, admittedly both the parties are well educated and highly placed in their workplace and in social life. That being the social standing, the acts of domestic violence would be greatly felt by the woman as it would affect her self worth,” the court noted.

The high court said that the woman has been subjected to physical, economic, mental and emotional abuse and has to reside with her mother for nine years. The husband left the woman and went to the USA without making any provision for her.

The bench noted that the magistrate has granted the compensation considering the entire facts and circumstances and decided the quantum by considering the status of the parties and income.

The trial court came to its finding based on the discussion that there were continuous acts of domestic violence from 1994 to 2017, which cannot be faulted with, the high court said.

“I don’t find any reason in exercise of revisional jurisdiction of this court, to interfere with the impugned judgment and order. Revision application stands dismissed,” the judge added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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