Atmaram, a professor in Bheed, married with 2 daughters, one major of 22 years , another 16 years old minor. Atmaram filed a suit challenging an order given by Magistrate u/s12 of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,2005. Atmaram was married to Sangita in 1993 and cohabited since then. After a few days of marriage, she was subjected to physical violence and mental abuse by her husband, because, Atmaram wanted an educated wife and Sangita is illiterate. Even though she was abused, Sangita never filed any complaint about the same.
Sangita was made to sign D.Ed (a course where a special seat is given to divorced women), by fraud and was compelled to obtain a divorce in Hindu Marriage Petition. Sangita alleged that she was forced and threatened to take a divorce or she would be deserted with her 2 daughters by her husband. Atmaram had also promised her that she could stay at his place and that the divorce only would be on papers and not in practice. Hence they obtained a decree of divorce in 2000. Even after passing of the decree for divorce, she continued to stay with Atmaram along with the daughters for 10 years.
In April 2010, Atmaram gets married to Sheetal Bade and bought her home. He disowned Sangita by saying that since they were validly and legally divorced and had no relation with each other, he could marry Sheetal. In August 2010, Sangita filed an F.I.R against Atmaram of being abused, beaten and being dragged out of the house. Atmaram on knowing this fact got angry and assaulted Sangita again to which she again filed another complaint against him. The series of offense continued twice thereafter. Sangita also added that the amount decided for her maintenance during the decree of divorce by the court was also not given and Atmaram didn’t maintain her or their children for their daily expenses and education.
In 2011,Sangita filed a suit seeking divorce null and void with filing of complaint under S498-A [Cruelty to women], S.494 [Bigamy], S.420 [Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property], S.323 [Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt] of Indian Penal Code, and various other relief under Domestic Violence Act. The counsel of Atmaram, Dhanukar, argued that the decree of divorce was full and final and she is filing a case after 10 years even after exceeding the appeal period, hence it must be set aside.
Replying to which the Counsel of Sangita, Sudarshan Salunke, replied that there’s enough evidence with them to prove that the divorce was obtained to enable Sangita to take admission in D.Ed course. Both the parties also took the reference of Juveria Abdul Majid Patni v/s Atif Iqbaal Mansori and ors. to put forward their point.
After listening to both the parties, the Court cited the case of Inderjit Singh Grewal “when the decree for divorce has been challenged by the Respondent no.1 by filing a civil suit wherein she is alleging that it was obtained by fraud or misrepresentation, so long as the decree for divorce is not quashed and set”.
The court added that both the lower court gave importance to a second child who was born after 3-4 months of divorce and that after dissolution no child was born was ignored, also the fact that she stayed to continue to cohabit with him was also to be taken care of. There was ample evidence before the two Courts below to come to a plausible conclusion that though the decree of divorce was obtained in the year 2000, the Applicant and Sangita had continued to cohabit in the same household. If that was the case, she was indeed entitled to file a proceeding under Section 12 of the D.V. Act.
In conclusion, the Court held-
1- No fault in the decision of the previous court.
2-Proceedings initiated u/s12 of the Domestic Violence Act is maintainable.
3-During cross-examination, Atmaram admitted that he earned Rs 45,000 per month and was in possession of an ample amount of land from which he got ample amount of money.
He also admitted that the second daughter stayed with the mom and since 2010 First daughter had been residing with him. He also couldn’t show any receipt of spending money in their education and admitted that he didn’t provide any maintenance as prescribed to the wife. Hence, based on the above grounds, the Court dismissed Atmaram’s revision petition.