Delhi HC agrees to examine section of DV Act ‘whether woman can be ousted from house’

Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court on Monday agreed to examine the constitutional validity of Section 19(1)(b) of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which prohibits the expulsion of any female from the matrimonial home.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Satish Chander Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad, has issued the notice the Central Government and The National Women Commission. The bench has also appointed senior advocate Rebecca John to assist the court in determining whether the DV Act’s prohibition on the issuance of orders against women is constitutional.

Attorney Preeti Singh, on behalf of a mother-in-law, filed a writ petition stating  the clause of the Act to be unconstitutional, which restrains the ousting of any female from the matrimonial home.

The mother-in-law had previously petitioned the Tis Hazari District Court to have her daughter-in-law ousted from the marital residence, but the case was later dismissed on the grounds that no such orders could be made against a woman in accordance with Section 19(b) of the PWDV Act, 2005.

The Domestic Violence Act of 2005, according to attorney Preeti Singh, is a law that benefits women and grants the victimised woman the right to live in her own home under Section 19 of the Act.

The Magistrate has the authority under Section 19(1)(b) to order the other family members to vacate the joint residence. However, its caveat expressly forbids giving such directives to a female.

Preeti Singh also argued that as the law does not distinguish between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law, the proviso to Section 19(b) obstructs senior citizens (mothers-in-law) from exercising their legal rights, which is a violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.

Adv. Singh further argued that any woman in a live-in relationship is also eligible to use the right to residence provided by the PWDV Act, 2005, against her live-in partner. However, this restriction prevents a woman from using the same privilege against her female live-in spouse.

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