High court: No need to merge cases under domestic violence act & marriage act

The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has ruled that proceedings under the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act (PWDV) 2005 should not be merged with petitions under the Hindu Marriage Act.

"It is not necessary that in all cases common evidence will be necessary and will be of assistance to the trial court. It is possible that the application under PWDV Act could be decided without reference to the pleadings and evidence in a Hindu Marriage petition," Justice ML Tahaliyani ruled while giving relief to a petitioner wife.

The petitioner - Ananya Dubey - had moved the high court after Nagpur family court declined to hear her application under Section 17 of PWDV Act. The family court judge had kept her application in abeyance, citing the pending proceedings on her husband's divorce petition under Hindu Marriage Act.

Prior to her application, Ananya's husband Pramod Dubey had filed an application for annulment of marriage in the family court under Hindu Marriage Act. Her application under PWDV Act was not registered separately, and was given exhibit number in Pramod's case.

The family court judge observed that it would be proper to have further evidence on record before her application under PWDV Act was decided. He further directed that her application should be considered at the time of final judgment in the Hindu Marriage petition by her husband.

Ananya had prayed for quashing of family court order and expeditious decision on her application separately.

Justice Tahaliyani observed that though wife's application was treated as one of the exhibits of Hindu Marriage petition, this is not the proper procedure for registration of application filed under PWDV Act. "It is possible that two proceedings are pending before the family court for which it may give common judgment. Yet, the fact remains that the initial registration has to be kept separate," he said.

"The grievance of the applicant is genuine and her application under the PWDV Act shall be registered separately," the judge ruled, observing that family court judge's views were "absolutely wrong and frustrates very purpose of PWDV Act".

Justice Tahaliyani directed the family court to register Ananya's application separately and give separate registration number to it. He also asked the family court judge to hear her application as expeditiously as possible and consider her prayers for interim relief.