Foreigners can file complaint under Domestic Violence Act: Rajasthan HC [Read Order]

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The Rajasthan High Court recently held that a complaint under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (DV Act) can be filed by a foreign national (Robarto Nieddu v. State of Rajasthan).

Justice Vinit Kumar Mathur stated that a plain reading of the Domestic Violence Act reveals that it also extends protection to temporary residents who are covered under the definition of “aggrieved person” under Section 2(a).

In fact, the single-judge also cited Article 21 of the Constitution, which extends the right to life and personal liberty to a person who is not a citizen of India.

“Article 21 states that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law. Therefore, looked at from that angle, a person aggrieved i.e. respondent No.2 is very much entitled to get protection of section 12 of the Act of 2005,” the order stated.

The High Court was hearing a second appeal filed by a foreign national against an order of the Additional District & Sessions Judge (Women Atrocities Cases), Jodhpur Metropolitan. This court had dismissed an application filed by the petitioner husband seeking rejection of a complaint filed by his wife under Section 12 of the Act on the ground of maintainability. The husband and wife were both Canadian citizens, and the latter had been residing in Jodhpur for the last 25 years.

Before the High Court, counsel for the petitioner argued that the parties were not Indian citizens, and therefore, were not amenable to the Act’s jurisdiction.

However, counsel for the wife brought the Court’s attention to Sections 2(a) and 12 of the Act. Section 2(a) defines “aggrieved person” which includes a foreign citizen who is subjected to domestic violence. Further, Section 12 states that an aggrieved person can prefer an application through the protection officer to seek relief.

After hearing the parties, the Court concluded, “in view of definitions enumerated under sections 2 (a) and 12 of the Act of 2005, it is held that the application preferred by the respondent No.2 before the trial court is maintainable.”

The Single Judge also relied on the judgments of the Supreme Court in Shyamlal Devda v. Parimala and Chairman, Railway Board v. Chandrima Das (Mrs.) which fortified the maintainability of the wife’s complaint.

In light of these considerations, the Court found that the order under challenge did not suffer from any infirmity and dismissed the petition.

Advocate Manoj Bhandari appeared for the petitioner. Public Prosecutor SK Bhati represented the State.

Read Order order:

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